Monday, May 22, 2023

Theater of Ron

Another day, another appalling story about Ron DeSantis—his "law enforcement relocation plan" that has spent $13.5 million luring anti-vaxx cops from other states to move to Florida with no vaccine mandate ad $5,000 payments up front has recruited some really bad officers:

They include a former trainee deputy with the Escambia county sheriff’s office charged with murdering her husband; an officer with the Miramar police department fired for domestic battery and kidnapping; and a former member of the New York police department (NYPD) who was hired by the Palm Beach police department having once been accused of an improper sexual proposition.

That officer, named by the Daily Dot [which is responsible for the reporting] as Daniel Meblin, was also part of a $160,000 settlement by the NYPD for violence at a 2020 protest against the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in which officers were accused of beating Black males without provocation.

A Palm Beach police spokesperson told the Daily Dot that Meblin – who had complaints against him including abuse of authority and sexually propositioning a teenager – had disclosed his background during the hiring process, according to the NYPD watchdog

At least two dozen of the recruits from the NYPD have names matching those of officers on a New York Civilian Complaints Review Board list for having "unlawfully pepper sprayed, assaulted, and pointed their firearms at suspects, as well as used chokeholds and offensive language regarding race and ethnicity." I guess we're not sending our best

There has to have been some kind of vetting process in this operation, and I can't believe the recruiters didn't find out any of this stuff. It's more likely that's what they (meaning DeSantis and his advisers) were looking for. And maybe hoping it would come out this way, for the presidential primary campaign, to demonstrate his "toughness". Like the kidnapping of Venezuelan asylum seekers to Martha's Vineyard, or the terrorizing of voters (mostly Black) with felony convictions, it's meant above all as theater, the Theater of Ron, though he's naturally always glad to see some innocent people suffer—that's his kink.

Then there's the new Florida law on undocumented workers

  • Tougher penalties for knowingly hiring or transporting undocumented in the state 
  • E-Verify employment screening for new hires at businesses with 25 or more employees [with $1000/day fine for not complying]
  • Florida hospitals will collect immigration status and the state will no longer recognize outside driver licenses for undocumented.
  • Florida's migrant relocation program also gets another $12 million after previously flying nearly 50 undocumented from Texas to Martha's Vineyard. 

which seems designed to destroy the state's agriculture and construction industries

WPTV is told that some farm workers are already too scared to go to work and are considering leaving the state, which could cause a huge staffing crisis for Florida agriculture....

"I've been hearing that probably they will not be sending their kids to school, and they are afraid to go to work, and it's sad," Denise Negron, the executive director of the Farmworker Coordinator Council of Palm Beach County.

Finally, there's the NAACP, which has joined the League of United Latin American Citizens and Equality Florida (an LGTBQ+ rights group) in issuing a travel advisory, suggesting the state may be unsafe for travelers of color:

The N.A.A.C.P.’s travel advisory does not explicitly recommend against travel to Florida. But it urges travelers to be aware of the state’s politics, and the organization said that “the governor and the state of Florida have shown that African Americans are not welcome in the state of Florida.”

The N.A.A.C.P. said in a statement on Saturday that the travel advisory was in “direct response to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity and inclusion programs in Florida schools.”

In the short run, I'd imagine this is actually "good" for DeSantis, as the handicappers say: showing the voters he's after at the moment that they've got common enemies, and his theater is nastier than Trump's; he got a surrogate to deliver the response

"As Governor DeSantis announced last week, Florida is seeing record-breaking tourism. This is nothing more than a stunt," DeSantis' spokesperson said Monday about the NAACP advisory. 

but Senator Cruz rode in to offer assistance:

The hatefulness of these people is so endless! I can't stop thinking there will be a penalty later on.

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