In a scorching column in the Miami Herald, Fabiola Santiago brutally called out Florida Gov. Don DeSantis (R) for the latest piece of legislation that he has signed which she called just another step down the path to fascism as he sets himself up for a White House run in 2024.
As the columnist notes, DeSantis has signed a bill he demanded that would, in essence, criminalize protesting in direct contravention of the U.S. Constitution.
Santiago notes, "Florida lawmakers have assaulted and trampled the U.S. Constitution during this legislative session like the state hasn't seen since Jim Crow days. Every bill, every strategy was already cooked, party-ready, at the behest of the state's maximum leader, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis," before adding, "DeSantis is, after all, channeling his political mentor, Donald Trump, and following his bombastic, destructive script to reelection next year, and onward, to the White House in 2024, perhaps."
Focusing on the bill, the columnist notes that any Floridian caught up in a protest against DeSantis's polices --or malfeasance by the police -- could quickly find themselves in jail without bail for "rioting."
Writing "DeSantis and his enablers turn the Constitution into a pliable document, chipped away by legislating at the state level in order to win elections, then so be it," the columnist added, "If, in the process, DeSantis quacks like a racist, that's just the price of doing business with the base."
Pointing out that DeSantis "surrounded by more than a dozen white men and women" signed the bill as America awaited the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case, Santiago explained that the state can expect to be hauled into court as civil rights attorneys have a field day challenging the law.
"Without an ounce of sensitivity, DeSantis assaults the rights of Floridians to protest, presiding over a major crackdown on free speech, delivered by the acquiescent, overwhelmingly Republican Legislature via the HB 1 bill — their No. 1 priority after more than a year of a pandemic. Coming in a close second: voter suppression," she accused. "Who's going to go to a protest knowing that if a few protesters get violent or more rowdy than police feel like tolerating — and you get caught in the melee — you'll be carted off to jail, charged with a felony and held without bail like a murderer? What low-income minority resident who works — and they're the ones holding down essential jobs tied to a schedule — is going to risk losing a job to stand in hours-long lines when they find themselves without a mail-in ballot?"
"In his quest for absolute power, the Ivy League-educated governor, a lawyer, forgets the law of the land isn't that of his scribes in the Legislature, but the document signed on Sept. 17, 1787. Bring on the civil-rights lawyers," she wrote before concluding. "Florida needs them to show the governor who's boss."
You can read the whole piece here.
Louisiana is experiencing a sharp spike in new coronavirus cases and is now the country's worst COVID-19 hot spot.
"The tsunami of new coronavirus cases washing over Louisiana in a fourth wave of the pandemic has once again left the state with the most severe outbreak in the country," The Times-Picayune reports. "The delta variant of the disease has found fertile ground in Louisiana, which has among the worst vaccination rates in the U.S., leading to a surge that so far appears on track to outpace any that came before it."
Only 40%% of Louisiana's population has received at least one vaccine shot, according to CDC numbers.
"Susan Hassig, an epidemiologist at Tulane University, says "It's all unnecessary."
She warned of a sharp spike in new cases, but one that could dissipate quickly.
"In places where people are not masking and going out and still going to the bars and all that kind of stuff, living their normal life, the virus is going to burn through those populations pretty quickly because it's going to be spreading like a proverbial wildfire," Hassig said.
But she did note one model showed the state's surge lasting until the fall.
MyPillow CEO and election-fraud booster Mike Lindell, who is one of Fox News' top advertisers, isn't pleased with the right-wing network over its failure to promote — or cover, or even mention, for that matter — his upcoming "cyber symposium" event scheduled for mid-August in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Lindell has long promised that this event will unveil data conclusively proving that Trump was the real winner of the 2020 election, musing earlier this week that a billion people might tune in and it could become a bigger phenomenon than Elvis Presley's legendary 1973 "Aloha From Hawaii" concert.
In a phone interview on Friday afternoon, Lindell told Salon he plans to place ads on Fox News, since the conservative network continues to ignore his media blitz endeavoring to "get the word out" about his symposium. "Fox [News] does not talk about anything with the election," the pillow king lamented. "So I'm going to make ads that will talk about — at least advertising for FrankSpeech.com — that we're going to be televising this [cyber symposium] for 72 hours straight."
Lindell explained that the ads tailored for Fox News will be geared towards spreading "awareness" to Fox's viewers, who are overwhelmingly Republicans and Trump voters: "I just want their viewership to watch it, so we don't have to go out the next day and say, 'Hey, did you watch that?'"
Asked by Salon if he's already made the ad buy or contacted the network about his plans, Lindell explained he hadn't done that yet, since the ads had not been produced. "I gotta make them!" he said.
A Fox News spokesperson didn't return a Salon request for comment.
A day earlier, the man who has brought better sleep to millions vented his anger at Fox News in an exclusive interview with Salon on Thursday afternoon. He suggested Salon should ask the network why it has remained silent on the Sioux Falls event and Lindell's ever more ambitious goals — which include a 9-0 Supreme Court decision that returns Trump to the White House, by an unknown mechanism. "Shame on Fox that they haven't come," he said. "You should reach out to them!"
The symposium is slated for Aug. 10 to 12, and according to Lindell, will show the world that the so-far baseless claims of widespread voter fraud in from the 2020 election are in fact 100% valid, leading to Trump's reinstatement.
"Fox News has refused to cover election fraud, especially the machines," Lindell wrote in a text message to Salon after the interview. "Shame on Fox News!"
This is not the beginning of the pillow CEO's feud with Fox News. In April, Lindell announced he had hired a team of "private investigators" to dig into the network's reluctance to cover his election-fraud endeavors, saying he had "spent a lot of money" on the probe. No results of such an investigation have been revealed.
Attorney in Gaetz case smears young victim for decisions made after she was allegedly sex trafficked
On Friday, Politico reported on the latest in the sex scandals swirling around Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
As Daily Beast reporter Roger Sollenberger noted, there was a "bombshell" buried in the 19th paragraph of the story.
"Under the federal sex-trafficking law, sex with a minor for money is a crime — even if the minor lied about his or her age. However, the circumstances of the case involving Gaetz is giving prosecutors pause, according to two attorneys representing separate people in the case who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the evidence they have seen," Politico reported.
The publication quoted one of the attorneys in the case.
"The federal government doesn't like to try out novel legal theories in court, especially against sitting members of Congress because it usually doesn't work," the attorney said. "Yes, there's strict liability for someone who has sex with a 17-year-old even if she's only a few months away from turning 18 and even if she becomes a hardcore porn star. But prosecuting a case like this would be highly unusual if there's no hard evidence showing Gaetz has done this and the case rests on an admitted liar like Greenberg and the word of a hardcore porn star."
Sollenberger offered his analysis.
"An attorney representing a person in the Gaetz case indicates the underage sex trafficking victim has told authorities she had sex with Matt Gaetz when she was 17," he explained.
"Should also point out Politico printed this smear job on an underage sex trafficking victim from a defense attorney who has the interest of protecting Gaetz," he added.
Should also point out Politico printed this smear job on an underage sex trafficking victim from a defense attorney… https://t.co/02NjAg22wD— Roger Sollenberger found true love, suckers (@Roger Sollenberger found true love, suckers) 1627085516.0
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