There are plenty of good reasons to criticize Florida Gov. Rick Scott. Two videos purporting to be from the loosely organized hacktivist group Anonymous fail to make them.
The videos, produced in the familiar style of Anonymous, popped up in the past few days on an obscure Facebook profile registered in the name Sài Gòn and quickly made the rounds in the Florida media.
"Greetings, citizens of Florida and the world," a computer-generated voice says in the first video. Meanwhile, a person in a black cloak and a Guy Fawkes mask appears behind a desk.
"We are Anonymous and demand that impeachment proceedings immediately take place and that Gov. Rick Scott be forced to resign," the voice continues. "War has been declared."
"The citizens of the world have watched him destroy the great state of Florida's ocean wildlife by allowing the polluted waters from Lake Okeechobee to be directly passed into the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. This water must have been easily sent south to the Everglades."
Political Fix Florida was the first to report the video and the first to point out that "the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers uses the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers to relieve flooding from Lake Okeechobee because it's a system they developed roughly a century ago." In other words, the problem is not due to any special evil plan instituted by Scott.
In a second video, Anonymous accuses Scott of covering up "one of the most planned-out criminal acts to ever be committed on the bench in the history of the world."
The video claims that former 20th Judicial Circuit Judge Mark Steinbeck has committed fraud by continuing to act as a judge despite tendering a resignation effective December 31, 2014.
Which is partially true. Steinbeck did retire as a circuit judge that date. He also continues to oversee cases.
This is not any sort of convoluted conspiracy, however, but instead a common form of semiretirement known as "senior status." Any circuit judge over the age of 65 who has served for at least 15 years can resign his position as a circuit judge and continue to serve as a senior judge with a reduced caseload.
In fact, that's why Steinbeck is still listed on the 20th Judicial Circuit's website as a senior judge.
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SHOW ME HOW
There's no big coverup or anything outrageous going on here. It's certainly not one of the biggest cases of judicial fraud in the entire of Earth.
Of course, the result of Anonymous being a loosely organized group means that anyone who wants to can upload a video with computer-generated speech placed over Anonymous graphics and pretend it's coming from the group.
That seems to be what's going on here. The videos don't include any new evidence leaked to (or hacked by) the group, but rather just a bunch of jumbled misunderstandings and half-grievances.