America’s Lawyer E49: Florida governor Ron DeSantis is running for President, and so far the media has focused only on his culture war issues. And that’s good news for Ron, because his record of actually governing the state is among the worst in the country. Democrats in Arizona are suing to block third-party candidates from the ballot in 2024 – a clear sign of desperation for the Party. And legislation that lawmakers are pushing to ban TikTok would actually give the government more power to spy on your internet activity. 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. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is running for president, and so far the media has focused only on his culture war and that’s good news for Ron because his record of actually governing the state is the worst in the country. The man is a terrible governor. Democrats in Arizona, well, they’re suing to block third party candidates from the ballot in 2024, a clear sign of desperation for the Democratic party. And legislation that lawmakers are pushing to ban TikTok would actually give the government more power to spy on you and your family. All that and more. It’s coming up. Don’t go anywhere. America’s Lawyer starts right now.

Ron DeSantis has been very lucky that the media’s only talking about his ridiculous culture wars and not about his actual record in Florida, which is disgusting. The state ranks among the last in the country in nearly every metric that matters to voters. I have Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins with me to talk about what’s happening. You know, interesting thing, I think we started doing stories about what was happening in Florida and people said, well, you got a national show. Why are you worrying about Florida? We did stories on his ridiculous effort to do away with the Democratic Party. You remember that? And how he was gonna make bloggers register and be fined if they don’t register. And then the latest is to do away with the First Amendment and try to change New York Times versus Sullivan. So we did all those stories to let the public know that if he’s in charge as president, you better be ready for something. And it ain’t gonna be pretty. Right?

Farron Cousins: No. I mean, what has happened to the state of Florida is so much worse than what most people realize because it’s not just the culture war stuff, I know that’s what grabs the headlines, but across the state, people are suffering economically. We’re suffering educationally. We’re suffering as consumers. Across the board, this state has become, you know, by almost every metric, one of the worst in the country. We’re 49th in teacher pay. We are the worst in the country, by the way, of knowledge retention from students from fourth to eighth grade. So our children in Florida statistically get dumber as they move through school compared to every other state in the country.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. Just so there is, we’re talking objective numbers here.

Farron Cousins: Yes.

Mike Papantonio: School, we’re last, at the bottom where it comes to educating our kids. Healthcare, at the bottom in taking care of our healthcare in Florida. Elder care, at the bottom. I’m talking about like number 47 through 50 kind of bad. Salaries, the lowest in the nation. Unemployment benefits are the stingiest in the nation. Although taxpayers in Florida, the privileged pay, the privileged pay what? 1 to 2% taxes. Everybody else pays 12% taxes. And you just look, all you gotta do is look at this and say, okay, well this is his legacy. This is, take all this stuff, put it up here on his head and that’s what you got. This is the guy that’s running for president of the United States, and all you have to do is look at what he did to Florida. Disgusting record in Florida. The latest takes away people’s right to sue when they’ve been injured, malpractice, when their home gets blown away in a hurricane. All of these rights have been trampled on by this man who wants to be president of the United States.

Farron Cousins: And it gets so much worse too, because in terms of life expectancy, life expectancy in Florida continues to fall. We’re among the top in the country in cancer death, diabetes, drug overdoses, teen birth rates, infant mortality. And I was having to look up statistics the other day, we are among one of the worst states in the country with the rise in violent crime. So what we see in states like New York is a massive rise in property crime. But down here in Florida, property crime is declining, but violent crime is rising. So yes, in New York, you’re more likely to get mugged, but in Florida you’re more likely to get killed or beaten half to death because violent crime is becoming so rampant throughout the state.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Okay. So let’s talk about the media’s handling on this. The media’s handling on this is like a yawn. Okay. The only thing they know how to do is hate talk. Let’s hate on this guy. Remember he was running against Charlie Crist, let’s talk about the hate aspect of him. Let’s hate on Ron DeSantis. They had all of this stuff to talk to and Charlie Crist was doing the same thing. That’s why he lost. He had all of this material, last in schools, last in healthcare, last in elder care, last in employment. I mean, you could go down this list, but the media is so dumbed down now that the all they’re looking for is low hanging fruit.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. And I’ll tell you another reason Charlie Crist couldn’t talk about this because, you know, plenty of these numbers started.

Mike Papantonio: With him.

Farron Cousins: On his watch when he was governor, a governor as a Republican.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Yeah.

Farron Cousins: And then from Rick Scott, who you know, should have been in jail instead of the governor’s mansion.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. For stealing $1.6 billion, who’s now a senator in Florida.

Farron Cousins: So we have just had a string, Jeb Bush before Charlie. My god, we have been cursed down here in Florida, but this is as bad as it’s been. And I’m terrified to see what could come after this guy, because you know it’s not gonna get any better.

Mike Papantonio: Take all of these bad statistics, hang it around his neck and you tell me that this is a guy you want to vote for, for president of the United States. You know, that’s really the story here, isn’t it?

Farron Cousins: Yep.

Mike Papantonio: Democrats in Arizona are taking a very undemocratic approach to the 2024 election, and they’re suing to prevent a third party candidate from appearing on the ballot because they’re so worried about their dysfunctional party. We need more parties than two parties in the, pick it up from there.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. This, look, it’s the group No labels that the Democrats in Arizona and we hate No Labels. Go back and look through 19 years of Ring of Fire, you’ll see us talk about how terrible they are. But they’re suing because they don’t want No Labels on the ballot because their, you know, fear of course is that well, you’re gonna take the moderates away and we’re gonna lose the election because we can’t win an election on our own merits. We have to make sure we keep out all the competition so that you don’t screw things up for us. It is a farce. This lawsuit they filed is so stupid. They’re saying, well, the petitions that they gathered to even get on the ballot, uh, they kind of filled out paperwork before they had all the petitions. So the paperwork isn’t technically legal. It’s so BS.

Mike Papantonio: This, yeah. Look, the point is this, we need three parties and for the Democrats to take a position where we’re gonna do everything we can do to sue from keeping this terrible party, they are a terrible party, don’t get me wrong, but we’re gonna keep ’em off the ballot. It just looks so cheesy.

Farron Cousins: It does.

Mike Papantonio: It looks so, it looks like you are so concerned about your ability to win that you’re not gonna allow this to happen. Now quick rundown. No Labels driven by Wall Street. Okay. Originated on Wall Street. Had all these talking heads, Joe Scarborough used to be our, one of our law partners. He was one of their talking heads about how important No Labels is because, you know, he was owned by Wall Street. But all of these folks that are talking about this, that’s what it is. It’s Wall Street. But you still don’t say, we’re not gonna allow you to be a third party. Right?

Farron Cousins: That is truly disgusting. And especially when Democrats in Arizona are seeing a massive surge in their own popularity, in the victories that they have in the state. Things are looking up for the Democrats in Arizona and you’re shooting yourself in the foot by trying to keep this party off the ballot because it makes you look petty. It makes you look weak and it makes you look anti-democratic.

Mike Papantonio: And why might the public be attached to this party without even knowing how bad they are? Because there’s so much hate, there’s so much division with the Democrats. There’s so much hate and division with Republicans and that’s all, that’s all the public sees, is division and hate. And so they’re thinking, well maybe these people are different. Well, they’re different if you want to be a real victim as a consumer. Yeah. Go vote No Labels. But they should still be on the ballot. And the Democrats look stupid for trying to keep ’em off.

Whistleblowers from a Swiss bank have come forward claiming that the bank was helping wealthy Americans hide billions of dollars from the IRS even after they had been prosecuted. Farron, they were, the bank was prosecuted just not a few years ago for doing the same thing. They’re criminals. They don’t look like criminals because they got this nice suit on. You know, they’re dressed up in a suit. They got a white shirt, they got a tie on so they don’t look like criminals. They’re absolutely criminals. Pick it up from there.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. So what these whistleblowers have come forward telling us, and this is Credit Suisse, which is now not even a bank. UBS basically bought them out after they had failed repeatedly and got bailed out by, you know, the Swiss government. But these whistleblowers said, listen, under United States government sanctions, we were put under these strict orders. You couldn’t do this. You couldn’t have these accounts. You couldn’t hide money. And we’re here to tell you, because they came to the federal government and said this, we’ve been doing it. We have all of these documents. We have evidence that we’ve been destroying documents. We’ve been hiding all of this. They’ve been telling us to hide it. They’ve been putting quotas on us for how many people’s accounts we had to sign up. It is just a criminal enterprise from top to bottom.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. Do you remember, you know, Eric Holder, again, Eric Holder, 2014 says, look, you guys have been, you have sham entities where you’re saying that this American citizen actually is a corporation and he’s a British corporation, and therefore that’s one way to hide money. They have destroyed, they destroyed account records for that made up entity. They actually hand delivered cash in America. They would show up in Miami and with boxes of cash for this person that they’re trying to, you know, trying to squirrel away from paying taxes. They changed nationalities for people. That’s what this bank did. Now that’s what Eric Holder found them doing in 2014. You know what, nobody went to prison, just like Eric Holder on HSBC, where we found the banks were washing money for terrorists that were killing American soldiers and American contractors, 16 pages where they admit doing that, Eric Holder throws nobody in prison. And that’s why this is happening again.

Farron Cousins: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if these executives had been walked away in handcuffs, if they were in orange jumpsuits picking up trash on the side of the road, the next CEO’s not gonna do this same crap. But because they know, okay, we can make X amount of money before we get caught. When we get caught, we will have to pay out this amount. So we’ll make a profit of, you know, whatever X over Y. That’s our profit.

Mike Papantonio: Why doesn’t the Department of Justice prosecute these people? We talked about it last week, where even Ronald Reagan prosecuted 800 bankers, threw 800 bankers in prison. That hasn’t been done with Bill Clinton, wasn’t done with Bush, wasn’t done with Obama, wasn’t done with Trump. Certainly wasn’t done when they had ’em dead to rights. They had ’em signing documents, we did all these bad things, and nobody’s prosecuted. What’s up?

Farron Cousins: Well, that’s where all of these Justice Department lawyers want to go work when they leave office or that’s where they came from before they went to the DOJ. These are their friends. These are the people they grew up with. We went to law school together. We’re not gonna, we’re not gonna get you. Don’t worry.

Mike Papantonio: Eric Holder, great example. Right? Covington Burling, their specialty is defending white collar criminals. He comes from Covington, Obama takes him outta that firm, puts him in to the AG in America. He’s the guy that makes all these decisions. He lets all of these criminals go. And then the story really ends well for him. They, Covington Burling hires him back. They triple his salary. They give him this luxurious office on the fifth floor where basically he has the entire floor. That’s the payoff for not prosecuting. Right?

Farron Cousins: Yep. And that’s where he came from. That’s where he returned to as soon as he retired. And that’s what we see because we’re not picking attorneys general who come from, you know, your firm. I mean, hell, this country would be a much different place if we did, we’d see a lot more people in jail. But we’re getting the corporate defense lawyers who made their fortunes defending these people and they continue it once they get power.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Major health insurance companies have stopped using humans, I can’t make this story up, they’re not using humans to review insurance claims and they’re now using computer algorithms to deny claims when a person has to have surgery or when a person needs medication or when a person needs physical therapy. They’re using computers to say, no, you can’t have that heart surgery. Right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. This is a terrifying story. And this is, you know, ProPublica did a wonderful job as they always do.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: One of the last few truly independent journalism places.

Mike Papantonio: Love that site, man.

Farron Cousins: But they have found that, Cigna is one of the worst offenders, but it’s happening across the board. And what Cigna did is they started to use a program called PXDX that was developed by a doctor who now is making boo koo cash from insurance companies. And what it does is it flags any claim that has something that this particular doctor thinks shouldn’t be a treatment or a test with that particular illness. And therefore the claims are immediately denied. These doctors, or excuse me, these insurance executives are now able to deny hundreds of claims per minute instead of spending an hour or so on each claim.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. They’re using, okay, like the doctor that is making a decision about whether or not you get heart surgery, because you had a heart attack and the doc says you really need heart surgery, the doctor who’s making that decision is a podiatrist. Okay. He’s a foot doctor and he’s making the decision based on what comes out of that algorithm in the computer that says, no, we can’t give this guy heart surgery. If he does, he’s gonna have to pay for it. And Cigna has gotten away with it. All of these insurance companies are doing that. And Congress knows this. Congress knows that this is the biggest scam. The idea, here’s what, here’s the idea of it. Deny, deny, deny benefits and maybe people will just go away. Maybe they won’t actually do anything about it. Right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. Because they have it built into their system like so many other corporations, we know that if we deny 100 claims only on average five of those claims, the people will actually challenge. So 95%, that’s their number, 95% get that letter saying we’re not gonna cover it and they just accept it and they go on with their lives and they get this massive medical debt. But they say, there’s nothing I can do. My claim has been denied. Only 5% of people will say, well, hold up. My doctor diagnosed me with this and said I need this test. Yes, it’s cancer. But they said, I have to have the ultrasound because they wanna see if it is spread over here.

Mike Papantonio: Let’s call out names. These are names, doctors that were working with Cigna, Dr. Dopke. Okay. Dr. Dopke, he rejected 121,000 claims based on the computer algorithm. Dr. Richard Capek, he denied 80,000 claims that came out of the computer. Clear denials. Now that’s during a two month period of time. That’s two months. Dr. Rossi, denied 63,000 claims that came out of the computer. Well, here’s what I’m going to do, just so you know, let me land this story. We are now gonna start bringing lawsuits against the doctors who make these decisions because in the chain of events they’re committing malpractice. Okay. When you have a podiatrist that’s making a decision that a person can’t get heart surgery, you do the math on that. It’s just a matter of time. We’re gonna find the perfect case and we’re, it’s gonna be very public. We’re looking for it right now.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. And for the record, the doctor that created this PXDX, Dr. Alan Muney. Alan Muney is the guy that created this.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Litigation is making its way through Congress that could give the government unprecedented power to snoop on your internet activity all under the disguise of preventing China from spying on your internet activity. Wow. You know what, let me jump back in time. The first time you saw this story about TikTok, you know what you said to me, you said Pap, let me tell you where it’s going. And we sat and talked about it and we said, absolutely this is where it’s going. Tell us where we are with this internet ridiculous story.

Farron Cousins: We’re actually even worse with this legislation than I would’ve thought because what this, the Restrict Act is what it’s called, and there’s no mention of TikTok in it, even though it’s supposed to be the bill to ban TikTok and China from taking your data. And what it does is it creates this board controlled by the president of the United States because the Democrats I think don’t understand that Biden’s not gonna be president forever.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Or maybe not even the next time probably, you know.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. So, you know, you’re gonna put a horrible person, you know, maybe there already is one in charge. But anyway, it creates this board that is gonna have broad jurisdiction, no judicial oversight to accuse any American of engaging in illegal activity online and they immediately get that user’s entire internet history. Their online purchase information, everything that person has ever done online. And you can’t appeal it. You can’t take it to a court. You cannot challenge it. This is dictatorship.

Mike Papantonio: Well, okay. There is no, there’s no appellate process. There’s no review at all. The committee that makes the decision was appointed by the president that makes the decision, I don’t really like this. Let’s wipe it out. There’s, you have no idea even why they’ve wiped, even why you’ve become a target. They don’t have a duty to even tell you why you’ve become. Mark Warner, now, Mark Warner, Democrat from Virginia, he’s the guy behind this. He’s there with John Thune. And they’re, they say, oh, this is brilliant. Mark Warner, Democrat from Virginia is the guy that helped draft this. He’s the one pushing it. And this is like a nightmare. You know, I hate, I hate to use 1984. Everybody, you know, every jerkwater in the world, 1984. But this really is.

Farron Cousins: It truly is. And look, you could be facing 20 years in prison if you use a VPN to access a banned website like TikTok.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: Or up to a million dollars in fines. So if you get on TikTok with a VPN, if we’ve banned it, you could have to pay a million dollars just to be on TikTok for a few minutes. This is insane.

Mike Papantonio: Here’s my prediction. Biden is not gonna be reelected. Okay. He’s not. I don’t know who it is, but he’s not gonna be reelected. You’re gonna have the Republican, maybe another Democrat, I don’t, I’m not sure. But you’re gonna have a different person making these decisions. So if you’re saying, oh, well I’m good with Biden making these decisions, you better be able to say, oh, I’m good with Trump making these decisions or DeSantis making these decisions. I’m fine with that. You better be able to say that before you swallow this ridiculous story. Right?

Farron Cousins: Absolutely. And I’ll tell you how bad this legislation is. You have AOC, Tucker Carlson, Alex Jones, Josh Hawley, Jamaal Bowman, conservative media outlets, Fox News, liberal media outlets, everybody is united in warning about how terrible this is. And when you’ve managed to unite the entire country with how bad your legislation is, that should be clue number one.

Mike Papantonio: I have got to read this. Let’s take a second. This is the response, this is the committee’s response when ProPublica asked them, what the hell, what are you doing? Here’s what they said. Well, this gives us the ability to mitigate the national security risk posed by high risk technology business in the US and would strengthen our ability to address discrete risks posed by individual transactions and systematic risks posed by certain classes of transactions involving countries of unknown concern and unknown sensitivity. What the hell? That’s word salad. And so this word salad is what they’re telling everybody. Basically, that means nothing to me. It’s as vague as the, it’s as vague as the legislation itself

Farron Cousins: To me what that means is, listen, Americans, if anybody’s gonna be stealing your data, it’s gonna be your own government. That’s what that means.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. And you’re gonna be okay because Biden, Biden’s a good guy, and he’s not gonna let anything bad happen. And maybe Trump won’t either. Maybe DeSantis won’t either. God Almighty. Farron Cousins, thank you for joining me.

Farron Cousins: Thank you.

Mike Papantonio: That’s all for this week, but all these segments are gonna be available throughout next week. And make sure you 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 don’t let ’em, or their political connections to the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, 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.