Hundreds (321 in total) of other companies have signed a petition from the Human Rights Campaign that broadly condemns anti-LGBTQ legislation, but those companies did not specifically call out DeSantis. So, the governor -- in a move that plays to his political base -- has made a bunch of petty moves against Walt Disney (DIS) - Get Free Report.
DeSantis stripped Disney of its Reedy Creek special district. He painted that move as taking away special status from the company. The problem is that Florida has thousands of special districts including one for The Villages, a retirement village whose residents are overwhelmingly conservative voters, and the Daytona Speedway, home to the Daytona 500.
The governor isn't some sort of Robin Hood taking away Disney's tax breaks, he's a politician using a well-known company as a plot point in his campaign for president. That's not a part Disney seems willing to play.
Disney CEO Bob Iger made it very clear that his company had other options for its billions of dollars during his company's most recent earnings call. He didn't say anything implausible like that company would leave Florida (it can't and it won't). Instead, he made it very clear that Disney could continue to invest in Florida or it could use that money elsewhere.
Call it a threat, or label it Iger simply showing DeSantis that he wasn't the one with the leverage, but it was a strong statement that Disney followed up on by pulling a $1 billion headquarters project from Florida. The company also canceled moving thousands of workers -- highly-paid white-collar workers -- from California to Florida.
Conventional wisdom says you should never pick a fight you can't afford to lose — but looking at the ongoing feud between Disney and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, the state looks like it's on shaky ground.
After more than a year of escalation, Disney's latest move was to scrap a $1 billion development in Florida. The corporate campus could have brought more than 2,000 jobs to the Sunshine State, but reports said Disney's current relationship with Florida was one of several reasons the project was abandoned.
The announcement renewed questions about DeSantis' decision to pick a fight with one of the state's largest employers — and who had the most to lose: Florida, the governor, or the company.
A study by Oxford Economics said that Orlando tourism generated $75.2 billion for central Florida in 2018. While that includes other attractions, Disney dominates the area's tourism with four theme parks and two water parks.
The study also said Orlando tourism accounted for nearly half a million jobs, bringing in $5.8 billion in state and local tax revenue for public safety, infrastructure, schools, and more.
Disney said it employed 75,000 people in Florida — which made it the state's second-largest private employer behind the Publix grocery-store chain, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
And Disney Cruise Line ships leave from three ports in Florida.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
In 2016, then the vice president, Mr Biden said his son’s cancer could have been caused by the toxic burn pits he was exposed to during his service in the Middle East.
The New York Times reported that Mr Biden said he was “stunned” when he read a chapter concerning the death of his son in the book The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers by Joseph Hickman.
Biden also said that reading “The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers,” a book on the topic by Joseph Hickman, which included a chapter on his son Beau, opened his eyes to the possibility of a link to his son’s cancer.
“There’s a whole chapter on my son Beau in there, and that stunned me. I didn’t know that,” Biden said. He added, the author “went back and looked at Beau’s tenure as a civilian with the U.S. attorney’s office [in Kosovo] and then his year in Iraq. And he was co-located in both times near these burn pits.”
Because we've called it out all along, long before he became president.
A Stroudsburg man has been convicted in federal court of torturing an Estonian citizen in 2015 in Iraq.
The U.S. Department of Justice says it was in connection with running an illegal weapons manufacturing plant in Kurdistan.
Ross Roggio, 54, was convicted of torturing an employee who raised concerns about what they were doing.
Man Convicted of Torture and Exporting Weapons Parts and Related Services to Iraq
A federal jury convicted a Pennsylvania man on May 19 for numerous crimes, including the torture of an Estonian citizen in 2015 in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, in connection with the operation of an illegal weapons manufacturing plant in Kurdistan.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Ross Roggio, 54, of Stroudsburg, arranged for Kurdish soldiers to abduct and detain the victim at a Kurdish military compound where Roggio suffocated the victim with a belt, threatened to cut off one of his fingers, and directed Kurdish soldiers to repeatedly beat, tase, choke, and otherwise physically and mentally abuse the victim over a 39-day period. The victim was employed at a weapons factory that Roggio was developing in the Kurdistan region of Iraq that was intended to manufacture M4 automatic rifles and Glock 9mm pistols.
In connection with the weapons factory project, which included Roggio providing training to foreign persons in the operation, assembly, and manufacturing of the M4 automatic rifle, Roggio also illegally exported firearm parts that were controlled for export by the Departments of State and Commerce.
“Roggio brutally tortured another human being to prevent interference with his illegal activities,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Thanks to the courage of the victim and other witnesses, the hard work of U.S. law enforcement, and the assistance of Estonian authorities, he will now be held accountable for his cruelty.”
“Today’s guilty verdict demonstrates that Roggio’s brutal acts of directing and participating in the torture of an employee over the course of 39 days by Kurdish soldiers could not avoid justice,” said U.S. Attorney Gerard M. Karam for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. “We thank all the prosecutors and law enforcement agents who worked tirelessly to address these acts that occurred in Iraq.”
“Today’s milestone conviction is the result of the extraordinary courage of the victim, who came forward after the defendant inflicted unspeakable pain on him for more than a month,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “Torture is among the most heinous crimes the FBI investigates, and together with our partners at the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center, we will relentlessly pursue justice.”
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is firmly dedicated to pursuing those who commit human rights violations, like Roggio, to ensure perpetrators face justice for their atrocities,” said Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director Tae D. Johnson of ICE. “Our investigators will continue to work tirelessly with government partners so these horrendous acts do not go without consequence.”
“The illegal export of firearms parts and tools from the United States often goes hand in hand with other criminal activities, such as the charge of torture on which the jury voted to convict the defendant,” said Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Carson of the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), Office of Export Enforcement, New York Field Office. “I commend our law enforcement colleagues for their dedication to bringing justice in this case.”
Roggio was convicted of torture, conspiracy to commit torture, conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, exporting weapons parts and services to Iraq without the approval of the Department of State, exporting weapons tools to Iraq without the approval of the Department of Commerce, smuggling goods, wire fraud, and money laundering. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 23 and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Roggio is the second defendant to be convicted of torture since the federal torture statute went into effect in 1994.
The FBI and HSI investigated the torture and were joined in investigating the export control violations related to the firearms manufacturing equipment by the Department of Commerce’s BIS Office of Export Enforcement.
Trial Attorney Patrick Jasperse of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, Trial Attorney Scott A. Claffee of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd K. Hinkley for the Middle District of Pennsylvania are prosecuting the case. The Estonian Internal Security Service, the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, and the Pennsylvania State Police also provided valuable assistance.
Members of the public who have information about human rights violators in the United States are urged to contact U.S. law enforcement through the FBI tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI or the HSI tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE, or complete the FBI online tip form or the ICE online tip form.
- Truest statement of the week
- Truest statement of the week II
- A note to our readers
- Iraq and the UN
- TV: The four stories of LOVE TO LOVE YOU, DONNA SU...
- Books (Ruth, Ava and C.I.)
- Tweet of the week
- 2013 passings
- Event of the week
- Stan on the streaming services
- This edition's playlist