America’s Lawyer E60: Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign seems to be going under faster than any other campaign at the moment, and the Florida governor has no idea how to get things turned around. If you’ve ever spoken out about the US military, then you can bet that the Pentagon is keeping tabs on your social media – we’ll bring you the details. And President Biden’s team swears that they aren’t worried about the fact that most Democrats want him to retire after his term is over – and they’d much rather see ANYONE else running for President in his place. 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. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign seems to be going under faster than any other campaign at the moment, and the Florida Governor has no idea how to get things turned around. If you’ve ever spoken about the US military, then you can bet that the Pentagon is keeping tabs on your social media. We’ll bring you the details. And President Biden’s team swears that they aren’t worried about the fact that most Democrats want him to retire after his term’s over. Well, it’s like it’s not a problem. We’ll see if it’s a problem. All that and more, it’s coming up. Don’t go anywhere. America’s Lawyer starts right now.

Ron DeSantis is really bad at campaigning and the loss of support that he’s suffered since announcing his run is pretty much proof of that. The Florida Governor’s now dropped by nearly 10 points since entering the race and even though his main opponent is under criminal indictment, he seems to be falling still. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins joins me to talk about that. Farron, you know, when he started his campaign, a lot of fanfare, a lot of whistles, a lot of, you know, banging and clanging. But if you look at this story and other stories like it, you gotta wonder.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. It’s funny because, you know, we’ve been doing this for two decades. We’ve covered so many campaigns and I don’t know, legitimately, that I can say I’ve ever seen a candidate enter a race and lose support. Typically when candidates enter a race, even if it’s been teased for a long time, they see a bump in support. Nikki Haley saw a huge bump in support that did immediately evaporate. This guy lost points. Chris Christie had a bump. Asa Hutchinson had a bump. The other guys I think have had a one or two point. He lost support. More people said, oh, well I don’t like you now. It’s so funny.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Well, what also is happening, I mean, Larry Hogan does a story for Newsweek. The very fact it’s in Newsweek to me is suspect. I mean, it’s just, what a trash source. But he’s the former Maryland GOP governor. And as I see him out here saying, you know, that he’s in a demise. That he can’t turn it around. There is something you have to throw out there and that is opposition puts people like Larry Hogan to do this. You understand what I’m saying? So, but if the numbers are reflecting it, then that gives him credibility. But there’s gonna be a whole army of Larry Hogan’s out there, Newsweek magazines out there that are trying to shape this presidential election. So when I read this, it doesn’t mean anything to me. I mean, it’s just, it’s basically BS, Larry Hogan. But as I look at the numbers, they seem to support that, don’t they?

Farron Cousins: They really do. Because DeSantis for the first time in his, well since becoming governor, he’s now got an approval rating of a net negative 19 points. So he is finally underwater. He, again, lost nine points if you look at the conglomerates, some polls have it a little higher, some a little lower. So he’s trailing to a guy that is under criminal indictment in both New York and federally in Florida now. And he’s losing support.

Mike Papantonio: Seems to be an inability to connect.

Farron Cousins: It is.

Mike Papantonio: He’s not a good speaker. He doesn’t, people aren’t comfortable with him.

Farron Cousins: He’s not comfortable with people.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Even when he’s in a room with small crowds that are going, there’s kind of an ick factor, which is amazing because he’s a very smart guy. I mean, Harvard educated, but when they put him in a room or put him in front of a camera with a microphone, he’s kind of in bad shape. And the question is, can he turn that around? Ah, he’s got time to do it. I don’t know.

Farron Cousins: Right. And the other thing here is DeSantis, like Donald Trump has a very short fuse, and he is known to snap and lash out at people. But when Trump does it, it’s different. And I don’t want to give Trump credit.

Mike Papantonio: Maybe they expect Trump to do that, right?

Farron Cousins: Well, they do. And plus Trump occasionally can make it seem funny almost, I guess is the word I’m struggling to find, but.

Mike Papantonio: Well, laughing at him is an easy thing to do. Yeah.

Farron Cousins: Well, and but then DeSantis does it and DeSantis feels more personal and mean when he lashes out at a reporter. Trump can get the crowd to join with him and they mock the person. DeSantis seems like he instantly wants to punch that person in the face. And that’s the difference in personality.

Mike Papantonio: The media, you’ll see, I promise you, within a matter of months will be moving towards a Gavin Newsom versus DeSantis clash. That’s what it’s gonna be. If Biden does drop out, which he should, he absolutely should and Kamala Harris never should step into those shoes. It leaves a Gavin running against DeSantis and the numbers probably favor DeSantis in that, regardless of what a bad candidate. We’ve had a lot of bad candidates, but if he can make the distance, you know, we’ve done, I don’t know how many stories anti DeSantis. I’m telling you, I’m putting that aside now and giving you my analysis from the standpoint, I really don’t believe, I just don’t believe that Biden’s gonna be standing when we get into the real election. I think Gavin Newsom may emerge and it’s gonna be him against Gavin Newsom. It’s not gonna be Trump.

Farron Cousins: No. And it is funny because as bad as things are looking for DeSantis, he’s still leaps and bounds ahead of everybody else in that Republican field.

Mike Papantonio: It’s not even close really.

Farron Cousins: Chris Christie is doing his best to try to get attention, but he’s so bad.

Mike Papantonio: Chris Christie’s the only person, maybe worse than DeSantis.

Farron Cousins: And Mike Pence has no personality. The other folks, there’s so many, I’ve already forgotten a lot of their names.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah, yeah, me too, me too.

A new report from The Intercept has revealed that the Pentagon is scrolling through social media, trying to identify people making mean tweets, mean tweets about military generals. They claim they’re doing this for the safety of the country, but they’re actually trying to keep tabs on anyone that’s critical. I mean, literally critical of the US war machine. That’s what this is about. We were attacked on this. Do you remember? What, Suzanne Spaulding, remember?

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Whatever that hinky organization she was with that was, they were, you know, US Chamber of Commerce, they were associated industry. They attacked us, me in particular, about how I was ruining democracy by being critical of judges, I guess the military and the military complex. You go figure. But this is a crazy story.

Farron Cousins: It really is. And again, gotta hand it to The Intercept. They do such a good job with these kinds of stories. So what they’ve uncovered is the fact that the Pentagon under the guise of keeping our generals safe is going through people’s social media. They’re looking at, oh, okay, this person said something bad about this general, so we gotta beef up security for this general. And they swear to us they’re only using publicly available information and that, as The Intercept points out, is a misleading term because publicly available information means also what they’re selling to corporations. Your data, your browsing history, the places you visited, locations, all of that, that isn’t actually publicly available, but it is if you’ve got the money to buy it.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Okay. So let’s get down to the brass tax. The brass tax is, this is so we can avoid having somebody embarrass or humiliate a general, a sitting general or an ex general along with causing injury or kidnap. I get all that. I mean, you know, that makes perfect sense. But when you start saying you become a target, if you embarrass or humiliate that ex general or sitting general, or if you express opinions that are, these are the words, express opinions that are critical of that general and maybe what he did to flame up a war that shouldn’t have taken place. You name it. But, you know, go ahead and pick up with the secretary Betsy DeVos. You’ve got Mark Pruitt. You’ve had agencies that also are looking for the same protection, right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, DeVos was tens of millions of dollars spent on her protection based on people being mean to her online.

Mike Papantonio: Literally being mean to her online. That’s the operative word.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. Not threatening her, not saying, Betsy.

Mike Papantonio: $24 million.

Farron Cousins: Right. They weren’t saying, Betsy, I know where you live. I’ll see you tonight. They said, wow, she’s really bad at education. But to me, what we see is we see so many people, we see it on the right, we see it on the left. They’re worried about social media is gonna censor us. They’re coming after the left, they’re coming after the right. No, the people who are actually working on censoring and monitoring your data that’s coming from the Pentagon itself here. And we are being divided into the left and right on this issue to distract from the fact that they are the ones, the government itself is the ones coming after us. And they have been for years. They just continuously evolve in their monitoring methods and the latest is social media.

Mike Papantonio: Okay, let me hear, I love word salad, you know, when it comes from a governmental entity. They base this on a term, we don’t want misattribution, misattribution to take place where you’re mean to a general, you’re mean to a government entity, somebody running the EPA or whatever to where you’re mean to them. The misattribution is what you’re gonna hear. But the point is, it’s worse than that. It’s not just, this agency that’s gonna be doing this is, I mean, there’s tons of these agencies, but they’re so, for example, what you have is you have the Office of Director of National Intelligence. That’s one agency. You have the Foreign Malign Influence Center, whatever the hell that is. These are all people that are doing this. Okay. They’re going into chat rooms, they’re looking at your social media. We have the Foreign Influence Task Force, right?

We have the Disinformation Governance Board. All of these, we have the, and of course you have the broad expanse of the US intelligence community, which is FBI, CIA and all those alphabets. But the point is this, it’s not just one agency. All those that I just read are doing the same thing. And they’re either protecting somebody, again, you can’t be mean to a general, God forbid. You can’t be mean to an agency head, like EPA or SEC, whatever it may be, because that’s just not appropriate. So we have the right to go into your system, your social media system, and tag you. And the next thing you know, you’re at an airport and you get one of these random checks, hey, I’m sorry, but we’re gonna have to do a random check because your name came up. That’s how your name comes up.

Farron Cousins: Well, and not to mention the fact that you do have the compliance from the social media companies, because they’re the ones who turn over the intimate data because they sell it.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: So, you know, Twitter, it’s Facebook, it’s Reddit, it’s YouTube, it’s Google, it’s every website you’re going to regularly, they’re all involved in this, you know, the level of compliance may be different depending on the app, but nobody’s hands are clean in this. But the dirtiest hands, are those at the Pentagon

Mike Papantonio: Five different agencies doing this and it’s still not enough.

Facebook has made the decision to stop allowing news articles to be posted on their platform in Canada after they were told that they would have to start paying. The efforts to force Facebook to pay outlets is being driven completely utterly by corporate media outlets who know they want to freeze out independent voices. This is all about big media putting a lot of money into this effort to try to freeze out, well, people like us. You know, make them disappear. Right?

Farron Cousins:: Exactly. And I hate when I see people online, you know, I spend too much time online, but they say, oh no, Facebook should be paying these organizations for sharing their story. And no. I mean actually most of these organizations, certainly they’d love the money, but they also agree that no, listen, we’re using this as an outlet. You know, we have ads on our site, we have all these things. So as long as it gets shared on the network, we’re gonna get our money. But if you take that platform away, we die. And they know, especially now that it’s happening in Canada, because they’ve passed this stupid law, that’s going to happen to independent media all across Canada.

Mike Papantonio: The boneheads in California are doing the same thing. Okay.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. And that’s bad.

Mike Papantonio: They don’t, it’s like they don’t get it. They don’t even know that the person running this was completely tied to corporate media in California and they, it’s just right there. Corporate media is putting in all this money hoping that they can chill independent, independent sources where they’re the only vision, they’re the only message. And you, you know, then you have to watch stupid TV. You gotta watch cable TV to hear this inane nonsense about what’s going on in the world. This is all driven by corporate media. And I, for a progressive not to have enough sense to see that, see through that, well, I don’t know if it surprises me, but it bothers me.

Farron Cousins: Well see, because corporate media wins either way. If they agree to pay, then hey, great, corporate media gets more money. If they say, well, we’re not gonna pay and we’re gonna stop article sharing, corporate media wins because independent media dies because they live on social media. If people are not sharing their articles they don’t exist anymore. So it is, yeah.

Mike Papantonio: It’s, they make it sound like it’s journal, it’s protecting journalism. It’s protecting profits for big corporations, that’s all it’s doing. And it’s a train wreck, to tell you the truth.

Poll after poll shows that most Democrats want Biden to please, please, please step aside and let someone else run for president in 2024. But the Biden campaign team says, well, they’re not worried about it at all. We’re not worried about these people telling us to do this. It’s like meaningless. Really? How many times can you say that? How many times with a straight face can the folks supporting him to be an 81 year old president that tips over about every week, to say, well, you know, we’re not worried about that. 81% say, no, please don’t do it. Get somebody who can do. What about a Katie Porter? You know, I could go on forever with good candidates that could run and they could certainly can beat Trump and they probably could beat DeSantis when he makes it through the primaries, which he’s gonna do. So, I don’t know, man. What’s your take?

Farron Cousins: I think it’s incredibly irresponsible. Look, I actually go back even further here. I remember you and I doing stories back in the day where George W. Bush when he was president, came out and said, I don’t pay attention to polls. And we talked about how stupid that is because the polls are what the public thinks. And so today, you know, 20 years later, the Biden people are saying, ah, we’re not worried about polls. We’re not worried that every poll shows us that people don’t want him to, not people, Democrats don’t want the Democrat running.

Mike Papantonio: You worry about 81%.

Farron Cousins: You do.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. So, wake up call for all you little, the Biden cabal, all you people telling me everything is okay. It ain’t okay. And so it’s not okay for the American public. It’s not okay for Democrats. And somebody has to make the tough decision. If they want Gavin Newsom put him in the fight now, you know, and don’t even suggest VP is, Kamala Harris as VP. The numbers for VP have never been lower in history. Did I get that right?

Farron Cousins:: A hundred percent. A hundred percent. There was actually a story that just came out that explained she is the least popular to this point in her president, or vice presidency than we’ve ever had. Since polling on vice presidentials, vice presidents existed. But you cannot ignore the negatives that Biden has and it’s irresponsible for any member of the Democratic party to look at this and say, no, no, no, no, you guys just don’t like Biden. Well, we’re not thrilled with him. He hadn’t been that great. We’ve got better people that are out there waiting in the wings for their chance. But we gotta get the octogenarian out of the picture before they can run.

Mike Papantonio: Is it a self-identity problem? Do you think it’s an identity problem when somebody sees it’s right there in front of them? It’s right there on the wall. I mean, he’s, the guy’s falling apart. Okay. He’s got a VP who is a train wreck and they can’t pull themselves to say, let me be honest with myself. Let me just talk, be brutally honest with myself and say, this is where we are. And, you know, you can’t, God forbid you should mention RFK or even Gavin Newsom or anybody else being a, Maryanne Williams being a prospect. But it’s, they just can’t get in their head that this is real. It’s like a slow motion train wreck. And they’re saying, no, there’s not gonna be a collision. Well, the collision’s already taken place.

Farron Cousins: It is. And, you know, speaking of train wrecks, we’ve got a president here who’s not showing the kind of leadership that we need to see because he has members of his own cabinet and that’s what made me think when you said train wrecks who are horrible at their jobs. They’re grossly unqualified.

Mike Papantonio: Buttigieg.

Farron Cousins: And are putting people in danger. And yes, Buttigieg is at the top of that list. If he had the leadership skills he needed, he would’ve fired him a year and a half ago.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. You and I have always in defense of Biden, we’ve defended him and defended him and I’m through defending him. I’m totally through defending him. But we’ve always said that part of the problem is the people he surrounded himself with. They’ve been very, very bad where it comes to advice and it’s just, you know, poor guy. I mean, it’s a pitiful thing. It’s almost elderly abuse. It’s like Feinstein. It’s the same thing. It’s elderly abuse. Let’s be honest with ourselves and it’s difficult sometimes, but that’s where we are. So we gotta make another move.

Farron Cousins:: And look, we’re not alone in thinking this, the majority of the Democratic party believes the same thing we believe in. We’re not on the fringe.

Mike Papantonio: No. And, you go, you know me, I don’t care. I don’t care. All the Biden trolls are gonna come in. How dare you? You’re Tucker Carlson. What? You know their crazy talk. I don’t care. I don’t even read this stuff. So the point being we have to continue saying it. There’s still time. There’s time to save the Democratic party. Farron, thanks.

Farron Cousins: Thank you.

Mike Papantonio: That’s all for this week. But all those 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’re gonna tell you stories every week that corporate media won’t tell you because their advertisers won’t let ’em or their political connections are so strong to the Democrats or so strong to the Republicans that they’re not allowed simply to talk about reality. Well, we do here on Ring of Fire. 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.