DeSantis v. Mouse and Other Farces

Some of you live in Florida. How is the governor’s war with Mickey Mouse going over with the natives?

I wrote awhile back that I thought the alleged DeSantis presidential bid had already peaked, and it seems the nation’s political analysts are coming around to the same conclusion. And I don’t think getting sued by Disney is going to help him any. I suspect the Disney lawsuit has merits, since from this distance it sure as bleep looks like the governor has been singling Disney out for punishment, presumably for speaking out about the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. See, for example, Bess Levin, Disney Sues Ron DeSantis for Being a Colossal Asshole.

Last week, DeSantis threatened to try to change state law in order to subject Disney’s theme park to new inspections. Then he suggested his hand-selected board would look into raising the company’s taxes and that the land next to Disney World might be turned into a rival park or perhaps a state prison.

I’m guessing those public statements will be part of Disney’s evidence. Note that DeSantis is currently on a “trade mission” to Japan, Israel, South Korea and the United Kingdom, wife and kids trailing along. The Miami Herald is questioning who is paying for this trip and why the itinerary isn’t more public.

Liz Granderson at the Los Angeles Times notes that DeSantis didn’t seem especially concerned about “the Gay” early in his administration.

In June 2019, DeSantis and his wife appeared at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando to mark the anniversary of the deadly 2016 shooting rampage there. They were approached by a state representative who expressed disappointment that the DeSantises’ proclamation about “Pulse Remembrance Day” hadn’t specifically mentioned the queer or Hispanic communities. And you know what the governor did? He corrected the omission, later tweeting: “today Casey DeSantis and I joined the LGBTQ and Hispanic communities in Orlando to pay our respects as our state and nation mourn and honor the precious lives that were lost.”

In 2018, during a Republican primary forum as he sought the governorship, DeSantis was asked about transgender people and the restroom debate in many states, and he said: “Getting into the bathroom wars, I don’t think that’s a good use of our time.

All that changed, Granderson says, is that he got bit by the presidential ambition bug.

 In other news: Josh Marshall has a fascinating blog post about Jack Teixeira, the kid who leaked classified information on the web for kicks. The government has filed a motion to keep Teixeira locked up awaiting trial, which seems sensible to me. But this is news:

Teixeira’s record suggests he was carrying most of the red flags we’d expect for a future mass shooter. You can see the filing here.

As the government filing explains, Teixeira was suspended from high school in 2018 when a classmate “overheard him make remarks about weapons, including Molotov cocktails, guns at the school and racial threats.” Later that year he was denied a firearms identification card because of the local police department’s concerns about his threats and suspension at the high school.

In addition to a steady stream of comments about violence and murder, Teixeira also had some fantasy and/or plan to carry out some kind of mass shooting event with an “assassination van.” He sought advice about the best kind of rifle to use from the back of an SUV or what he termed “mobile gun trucks” and “[o]ff-road” and good assassination vehicles.” It was apparently with this kind of hardware in mind when he said that if he had his way he would “kill a [expletive] ton of people” in an effort at “culling the weak minded.”

Finally, he had hardware to back up these fantasies/plans. He had extensive arsenals at both his primary home and that of his father, what the government calls a “virtual arsenal of weapons, including bolt-action rifles, rifles, AR and AK-style style weapons and a bazooka.” At his main home these were contained in a gun locker next to his bed, in addition to stashes of ammunition, “tactical pouches on his dresser” and some kind of silencer type device. Other military style gear in his home he apparently tried to throw away shortly before his arrest.

And, of course, the next question is, how the bleep was this individual assigned to a job that gave him access to classified information? But do read the whole post. See also The Online Racists Stealing Military Secrets at Rolling Stone.

In more other news: My heart goes out to E. Jean Carroll for having to testify yesterday. Today she’s being cross examined by Trump’s attorneys. The attorney who seems to be doing most of the talking for Trump is Joe Tacopina, and from what I’ve seen of him on television that’s going to be a nightmare for Carroll. He’s all aggression and bluster.

And the news won’t stop: Kevin McCarthy’s horrible debt ceiling bill passed by just two votes yesterday, and I note that there were two House Democrats who didn’t vote (Peters, Calif.; Watson Coleman N.J.). I’m wondering what was so almighty important for them not to be in the House yesterday. But McCarthy’s bill won’t ever become law. What’s the next step for the Chaos Caucus? And will the Biden Administration pull some kind of technical maneuver to raise the debt ceiling without help from the House? 

Paul Krugman recently (no paywall):

One possibility is that faced with looming financial chaos, McCarthy will allow a floor vote on the debt ceiling, and that a few sane members of his party will cross the aisle and help Democrats raise the ceiling. As far as I can tell, that’s the Biden administration’s plan A.

What about plan B? There are several options. Moody’s Analytics seems to think that the Biden administration might simply ignore the debt limit, invoking the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which says that the validity of U.S. public debt “shall not be questioned.”

Another possibility is the famous platinum coin. U.S. law allows the federal government to issue commemorative platinum coins in any denomination it chooses; so it could in principle mint a coin notionally worth, say, $3 trillion, deposit it at the Federal Reserve and pay its bills by drawing down the account thereby created. (The Fed would offset any effect on the money supply by selling off some of its large portfolio of U.S. government bonds, so this would in effect simply be borrowing through the back door.)

Yet another possibility would be to issue “premium bonds.” These are bonds that offer an unusually large “coupon,” i.e., annual interest payment, relative to their principal, the amount they pay when they come due. The Treasury could auction off these bonds for substantially more than their face value, in effect borrowing without increasing the official size of the debt.

All of these plans have drawbacks, and considered in isolation they each sound a bit silly. But they should be graded on a curve — compared not with normal fiscal management, but with the catastrophic consequences if the U.S. government simply stops paying its bills.


20 thoughts on “DeSantis v. Mouse and Other Farces

  1. I am sad that whoever wrote that headline went with “colossal asshole,” when that’s not true. It’s not illegal to be an asshole. It IS illegal to use the power of the government to silence/punish the governor’s critics. It’s really stupid to let readers think this is about a personality conflict when in fact, it’s a crime that is at issue. The governor broke the law. It’s not about his gross demeanor. 

    That’s the media for you. I’m sure they tittered at getting to say a swear, despite making their headline nonsense. 

    • “Media” really aren’t supposed to say that someone has broken a law until there’s a conviction. There are liabilities involved. Until conviction, it’s always “allegedly.” The headline might have read something like “Disney alleges DeSantis broke laws,” which is lame. Calling him a “colossal asshole,” on the other hand, is protected speech.

  2. Re: Cross-examination of E. Jean Carroll.

    I would think Tacopina knows enough not to go after Carroll hammer and tong. Juries hate that.

    • “I would think Tacopina knows enough not to go after Carroll hammer and tong.” One would think. The New York Times is reporting that “Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, has faced pushback from the presiding judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, who called some of the lawyer’s questions ‘argumentative’ and ‘repetitive.'”

        • From what I'm reading in the live updates in the NY Times, Tacopina is being a consummate asshole and has been rebuked by the judge several times. 

        • Tacopina is not only playing to a jury of one, he is playing to the actual jury.  He'll keep planting seeds of doubt as long as he only gets warned.  The judge instructing the jury to ignore certain statements Tacopina has made will not remove the doubt that has been planted. I'm sure this gets done a lot in jury trials.  Hope the judge has courage to punish crossing the line.

          • He'll keep planting seeds of doubt as long as he only gets warned. 

            Obviously that's what he's doing, but he has a delicate line to walk. If he is too belligerent toward Carroll he increases the chance that the jury will find her sympathetic and side with her. 

  3. From age 5 to 35 I loved The Mouse, until it all became too expensive.  But I did once seriously consider a prank where I’d run down Main Street Disney in a Mickey costume trapped inside a giant mouse trap yelling “Oh no! Oh no!…” before getting caught and kicked out.  A better, more timely prank, might be to run down Main Street Disney in a DeSantis/Nazi costume yelling gibberish because I’m starting to think that I might not get kicked out.

    But yeah, besides expressing the liberty to freely bully in increasingly idiotic ways, it sure seems that these fools believe in very little else.  Lesson learned for next time: make sure you’ve got all the lawyers and courts paid off first.

  4. Not that he's a saint, but Tacopina isn't always an asshole representing even worse assholes.

    Not always, but quite a few times!

    On the plus side, he helped overturn a BS conviction for rapper Meek.Mill.

    And unless I'm wrong, I've seen his name involved with quite a few things with Al Sharpton.  He and Al even talked about it when Tacopina was a guest a few weeks ago on Al's show.  Tacopina's eyes gave away what he was thinking:  "Please, Al, don't think that much less of me for representing tRUMP. Please! Please…"


  5. I'm thinking Texeira is one lucky guy. They caught him before he went on a rampage. Of course who knows how much damage was done by his leak – unknowingly aided by a traitorous pro Russian female veteran who did most of the spreading of the docs across the internet.

    I read that Nikki Haley offered South Carolina as a site for a Disney park, saying they're not woke but they're not sanctimonious about it (whatever that means). As usual she tries to have it both ways.

    DeSantis will never make it out of Florida. Someone pointed out that he was asked hard questions during his overseas trip, and he just got flustered, not used to dealing with people outside his bubble.

    Much like the Tennessee 3, a trans state legislator in Montana, Zoey Zephyr (Missoula) was kicked out of session for saying something that displeased the Republican body, and became an instant superstar. Ali Velshi interviewed Zephyr along with one of the Tennessee 3 and Matthew Frost of Florida – these are the future of the Democratic party. Zephyr comes across as instantly likeable and disarming – even as a novice politician it's not hard to see how she got the job, she's a great ambassador for her cause. There's a brief YouTube of this interview (sorry no linkee), it's worth trying to find.

  6. maha, here's (maybe) something to consider regarding young Mr. Texiera, the alleged leaker – and possible potential phycho killer:

    The army ain't beanbag.

    It ain't the Eagle Scouts.

    Who better to become a successful soldier, than an incel with a gun fetish?

    So maybe he's not such an aberration after all?

    Maybe guys like this is what the Army wants?  

    Maybe this is their way to keep these murderous beasts out of schools and off our streets?*

    I ain't sayin'.

    I'm just sayin…

    *And if this your way to get these guys out of society, maybe you should make them infantryman and NOT put them in positions where they have access to intelligence.

    Not sayin.

    Just sayin…


    • An army made up of mean and homicidal meatbags is what Russia ended up with. And mean, homicidal meatbags don't really make good soldiers. The U.S. military is supposed to be better than that. It isn't always, of course.

  7. "how the bleep was this individual assigned to a job that gave him access to classified information"

    Good question my experience with DOD background checks was that they are pretty thorough? I was denied a clearance in the Army because I had registered as a conscientious objector on my 19th birthday, that was 1980 the first tear that Carter reinstated registration for the draft, I went to the post office and filled out the forms. Hell no I won't go, two years later I enlisted? Anyway about 2 weeks before I was supposed to go off to Germany my drill Sergent called me in and broke the news: " you aint going anywhere kid, you failed the background check! I spent my entire active enlistment 2 years at Fort Sill! I even had trouble getting out after my active enlistment was up "ETS" they couldn't process my paper work, I ended up spending two extra days while they straightened it out, the solution was they made me register for the draft even though I was on active duty, it's the Army. Decades later (after 9-11) as an Engineer I did alot of work for DOD on sensitive site power systems, again I had an issue getting clearance and had to submit a formal explanation before they would issue it so I could go to the sites? So how this kid got a top secret clearance is beyond me, clearly something went wrong? Maybe Stump signed off on it?

  8. ZOMG!

    And ZOINKS!!

    On MSNBC, I just saw a piece on Tacopina's harrassment of tRUMP's rape victim!

    There’s gotta be a better way to make a buck…

  9. Regarding Rhonda Santos: he's running a strong second, relative to any other candidate, and a weak second, relative to Trump. How's he doing is entirely relative. As I view it, he's the candidate who will inherit the nomination IF Trump drops dead or drops out. Trump is facing more emergencies between now and November '24 than even Trump suspects. A lot of these crises are felony charges – two felony criminal cases may be pending in state court, where Trump will never have influence. I've been through one felony federal criminal charge, relatively minor and relatively simple. I can conceive of a scenario where Trump is facing FIVE different unrelated felony trials – (2 NY, 2 federal, 1 GA) – simultaneously!  IMO, Trump will crack up BEFORE the general election – when and what form the collapse will take is hard to predict, physical, mental, or simply becoming incoherent. (Insanity becomes a defense?) Related to DeSantis, he can't beat Trump, but Trump will fall apart. DeSantis needs to declare and continue to run a strong #2, waiting for Trump to drop out. If this happens after Trump wins the primary but is incapable of completing the general – an interesting problem for the GOP. 

    Re Floridians and the war between DeSantis and Disney… It varies. If you are woke (not my favorite word) in Fl, you despise DeSantis. For the conservative-leaning Floridian, it's all squishy, They are for being against being woke which they do not understand. But it's bad. 

    On the merits, this is not complex and it's not about "woke."  Disney publicly disagreed with a DeSantis policy. (What the policy is is irrelevant. Whether you side with Disney or DeSantis is irrelevant.) The government of Florida (Desantis and legislature) openly enacted legislation in reprisal, first abolishing Reedy Creek until they discovered it placed a several billion dollar tax burden on the citizens of Orlando. The redo was a takeover of Reedy Creek where the governor appointed cronies (social warriors unfamiliar with infrastructure) to run a board that's entirely about infrastructure with a directive that they'd be able to influence CONTENT. Like Mother Hubbard, they found the cupboard was bare – in the last meeting of the Disney Reedy Creek Board, they transferred the power of the board to Disney until 21 years after the death of the last heir of King Charles III. Foiled again! DeSantis is (or was) publicly announcing how he'd get even with the Mouse – for the offense of opposing King DeSantis. 

    The "average" low-information conservative voter thinks it is about woke and about protecting children from indoctrination. And keeping Aunt Jemima on bottles of fruticose syrup. Not to mention the Braves and the Redskins. (I'm not exaggerating – this is the conversation I had at work yesterday.)

    Florida will try to claim Disney has no standing in federal court over a dispute in Florida but there's a LOT of evidence that the root cause of the ire of DeSantis is Disney expressing an opinion. I'm not predicting how the judge will rule. If Disney prevails, Florida will have to back off. That won't make Disney autonomous in FL but Disney may be able to hold FL liable for harassment directed exclusively at Disney (taxes, inspections, etc.) And if Disney wins, DeSantis looks woefully unprepared for the international stage, having been bested by an imaginary rodent. 

    Carrol seems to be holding her own, from what I read. Trump has been trying to influence the trial from Truth Social with his posts and Junior. He's pissing off the judge – bigly. Trump's not attending and he might think giving the judge the middle finger is great sport. There's another trial happening in NY – If Kaplan issues a warrant for Trump for contempt in the Carrol rape trial, it might not expire just because the trial ends. Which means Trump – if he continues – might be taken into custody after a procedure before Bragg to face Judge Kaplan for contempt. Trump very much wants to show contempt. I'm hoping he will. 

    Trump's lawyers sent a ten-page letter to Congress asking for a "legislative solution" and indicated Congress should force DOJ to "stand down" on a criminal investigation. I don't know why they didn't just ask for a stack of Get-out-of-jail-free cards good in federal or state prisons. A large stack. Behind the scenes, I think (opinion) Trump is hoping debt-ceiling negotiations will bear fruit. Trump has enough slaves in the House to take on a last-minute provision for a mandatory cease of federal investigations.  I don't think it will pan out because I don't think Biden will even start down that road. Trump has his Richard in a wringer and doesn't know how to get out. He keeps putting it where it shouldn't be. 

    Regarding morons with access to top-secret information – we keep having breakdowns at every level. We need a czar with the power to go anywhere in government that anything classified or above is handled. Biden and Pence had stuff at home. Obviously, mishandling classified materials is rampant. The average public library has a better system of knowing what they have, what's out, and who has it than any branch of federal service handling secret docs. It has to be brought under control and heads have to roll where there is failure. On a large scale, "how the bleep was this individual assigned to a job that gave him access to classified information?"  Biden should step up on this – requiring authorization from Congress for a top-to-bottom inspection and implementation of security procedures.

    The GOP is in a world of hurt. The Carrol trial will "prove" Trump is a rapist. The Manhattan civil trial will prove Trump is a cheat. Between those, GA will charge Trump with election fraud and racketeering. Sometime before the Second Coming of Christ, and hopefully this year,  DOJ will charge Trump with Obstruction. Soon after the Manhatten civil trial, Bragg will bring the criminal counterpart. The point being, Trump will be badly wounded this year and DOA as a presidential candidate if he wins the primary. Will GOP leadership try to replace Trump and save the '24 election or just hope when Trump goes down, there's not too many down-ticket losses he takes with him. 

    There's the unforgettable scene from "Titanic" when the stress of sinking becomes so great the ship splits in two. Inconceivable forces doing the impossible in real-time before your eyes. This is happening politically in the next 18 months or so.

  10. Desantis lives the Oscar Wilde quote "the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about".

    He seems to know that face-time will leave an impression no matter how outragious and false his statements are. 

    He cares not one whit about disney other than his bizarro political theater. Win or lose, he can claim to be an iconoclast or the victim and get that whiney voice and squinty eyed mug on as many media outlets as possible across the nation. People will know who he is and not know what he is after the wimpy "both sides do it" whitewashing by the typical media. 

    Florida, typically, is is split in his popularity and little will happen to move the political needle. 

    To paraphrase George Carlin ; Think about how stupid the average "unwoke" voters are in Florida, and then think about the fact that half of them are dumber that that.


  11. So, I guess in Kansas now, your photo ID will have to include full frontal nudity baby picture with it so the public bathroom and locker room guards can keep law and order.

    Oh, what a twisted state legislature we have.  

    Next year mandatory leash laws for unicorns.  That should be easier to enforce.


Comments are closed.