Thursday, June 28, 2012

Democrats: U have a 2nd chance. Try to tout the healthcare law this time!

The GOP opposition to "obamacare" was always phony. Obama based it on the Heritage Foundation's idea (adopted by Mittens Romney who defended it vigorously until 2010) because he thought it would get bi-partisan support in Congress. Afterall, the conservatives loved the independent mandate: conservative, free-market, and "no free riders".

Only after Obama pushed for it did it suddenly become socialism.

Once Obama scored the big victory in 2010, many House and more than a few Senate Dems did their typical squishiness and let the GOP define the law. This was in part due to a "messaging conference" that did anything but help.

A "messaging conference" was held by Families USA based on polling by the Herndon Alliance for Democrats in 2010. What they told Democratic officials should be the central theme of the law was the following:

"The law is not perfect, but it does good things and helps many people. Now we'll work to improve it."

Wow. That showed confidence.

They continued with what NOT to say:

”Keep claims small and credible; don’t overpromise or ‘spin’ what the law delivers,” it advised. Its “to don’t” items include offering “a long list of benefits” or claims that “the law will reduce costs and the deficit,” even as “Voters are concerned about rising health care costs and believe that costs will continue to rise.”

Somehow, that didn't work. Bill Clinton, who knows something about winning elections, argued the opposite: To tout the damn benefits of the law. And there are MANY:

-No more denial of claims after paying premiums for decades

-No more denial of health insurance for PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS

-Coverage for your kids until 26 years old

-Free health checkup every 6 mopnths

-Free preventative health screening procedures for cancer and heart like mammograms, colonoscopies etc.

-Lower seniors' prescription-drug prices by beginning to close the donut hole.

-Moving forward means insurance companies can no longer charge a woman more just because of her gender.

-It saves money. (When Republicans threatened to repeal health reform, the CBO determined that a repeal would increase the deficit by $147 billion!)

-No lifetime caps anymore.

There are many, many more... I just picked a few to focus on.

Not many times in politics do you get a second chance to make a first impression. But for the next several days or even weeks, all the talk will be on health care.

WE CANNOT DECLARE VICTORY AND LEAVE. The fight is just beginning!

The GOP is going to be throwing everything at this. Hundreds of millions will go to TV ads saying "death panels" and "skyrocketing costs" and "government takeover" BS. They don't shy away from their opposition and are willing to lie to win in November.

Democrats in office only need to tell the truth. But it helps if you have a spine and actually stand up for it. Some tried even running from it in 2010, and you see how will that worked.

Democrats: There are A LOT of great things about the AHCA, not the least of which is that for the first time in our nation's history, everyone has a modicum of protection.... and it didn't cost us anything extra. You should be screaming about this from the pulpit.

This isn't just our victory, this is a victory for every American. Don't be afraid to talk about it and run on it. Own it. I'm proud of it, hell, I'm elated. I would love the opportunity to talk about it, and you should be too.
9:17 AM PT: PS... I can't WAIT to see what Rick Scott has to say about this...

Friday, June 22, 2012

REST EASY FLORIDA: New Bill Prevents UN-World Government Takeover of Our State

Don Gaetz is the not just another Florida politician, he will be the new Senate President in 2013.

He was the chair for the powerful reapportionment committee. You know, the one responsible for the legendary gerrymandering maps that give an overwhelming GOP edge to a state with more Democrats? (Also where he told black leaders who complained they were drawn unfairly that "Some people would complain if you hung them with a new rope".)

That guy.

So powerful is he that he actually got donors to give tons of cash to his completely idiot son, soon after he finished college, so his fellow FL teabaggers could elect him to the state House. (Here's the dumb kid's mug shot).

Don Gaetz is what passes for leadership in the GOP.

Power abuses, insentive bigot, and slightly loony.

His top priority as incoming Senate prez seems to be a bill he has been touting, which is finally a jobs bill bill that caters to the underrepresented paranoid, conspiracy nuts:

Expect a bill that shelters private property in Florida from takeover by a United Nations-led world government effort, Senate President-designate Don Gaetz said Tuesday.

And expect that bill to receive favorable support.

Appearing on Fort Walton radio station WFTW 1260 AM, Gaetz said he expected Florida lawmakers to introduce and approve a bill similar to Senate Bill 477 that has been approved by the Alabama Legislature.
Yes, let's follow Alabama. That's a recipe for success.

Gee, if ONLY our Constiution provided some sort of protection against seizing private property, something like this:

Private property shall not be taken for a public use, without just compensation.--5th amendment
Teabaggers who claim to be experts on the US Constitution must have skipped that over that one.

So your state has birthers? I just wish our legislators where that grounded.

Funny: Romney Tells Rick Scott To Downplay Job Gains

From Bloomberg:

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign asked Florida Governor Rick Scott to tone down his statements heralding improvements in the state’s economy because they clash with the presumptive Republican nominee’s message that the nation is suffering under President Barack Obama, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Scott, a Republican, was asked to say that the state’s jobless rate could improve faster under a Romney presidency, according to the people, who asked not to be named.

Don't worry, Mittens. It's nothing Rick Scott can take credit for anyway. Not at all.

What has happened is part of a national trend, the jobless rate is slowly improving. But I challenge you to tell me anything the state GOP has done to help with that.

Here is what the Tea Party legislature has given us since last year: 17 bills to restrict abortion, the largest cuts in education and health care in our state history (along with thousands of government jobs cut), and then passed a slew of voter suppression laws you've heard about.

On top of that, Rick Scott turned down High-Speed Rail last year, instantly costing us 48,000 jobs which were desperately needed in the construction industry where unemployment was at an all time high of 20%...for the sole reason that Obama was behind it. It was our only Democratic Senator, Bill Nelson, who was fighting OUR OWN governor to KEEP those jobs in Florida.

Not ONE jobs bill in two years, unless you count that one dwarf-tossing bill as job creation. (Yes, they really did say that.) So they can take credit for the 10 people who got work out of degrading themselves.

Everything else is Obama's recovery, who seems to be the only one fighting at all for the middle class. Naturally, Rick Scott, who is now ferociously backpedaling his claim that he would create 700,00 jobs, is nonetheless trying to take all the credit for the uptick in growth:

The state Republican party ran a television ad in March crediting Scott, who is a year and a half into a four-year term, for drops in the unemployment rate.

“Companies are hiring, expanding, putting more Floridians to work,” the ad narrator said. “Florida’s unemployment rate continues to get better.”

Unfortunately, this causes Mittens some problems:

“The first time I saw that ad I initially thought it was an Obama ad,” said Brad Coker, managing director of the Washington-based Mason-Dixon Polling & Research. “They’ll have to tamp it down.”

Yes, they will have to tamp that down to help poor Mittens. My God, if people get back to work, how we will ever justify giving extra tax cuts to billionaires that has worked out so well?

Nobody is buying that Monty Burns impersonator Rick Scott can take any credit, including Mittens himself. Rick Scott remains wildly unpopular and Mittens refuses to campaign with Rick Scott when he visits Florida. But he can't avoid him forever:

This is unwelcome news for Mitt Romney: Florida Gov. Rick Scott expects a high-profile speaking slot at the Republican National Convention...

Nothing says "Elect Mitt Romney!" like an unpopular multimillionaire awkwardly making the case on national TV.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Owned by the FL NRA: Shooting neighborhoods up "for funsies" now legal

#37 of My Stupid State

An incident happened recently in a nearby neighborhood... a man fired at and killed some Muscovy ducks at a retention pond. (The ducks are pretty but not a protected species.) He fired repeatedly, surrounded by houses and children playing. No one called the cops this time. It is extremely dangerous, but thanks to the new law signed by Rick Scott, not illegal. In fact, if he was even to shoot across a road or "over any occupied premise", it would only be a misdemeanor.

The new law is forcing all counties and cities to repeal ALL of their gun ordinances by October 1 of this year. If they don't, they will be fined up to $100,000 for each ordinance that is stricter than Florida's (an EXTREMELY low bar--shooting at my house is only a midemeanor?). Orange County employees have already taken down the "no firearms" signs at county parks. In Groveland, they repealed an ordinance that banned firing a gun into the air. You can now do that in downtown Orlando as well. And the Orlando Sentinel added this nugget:

During the hurry, local governments also quietly rescinded ordinances that made it illegal to whip out the AK-47 and blast away for funsies in populated areas.

That same article talks about a poor woman who is forced to listen to rednecks shooting at her neighbor's property for 12 straight hours in an east Orange County subdivision. Certainly what our founding fathers had in mind.

Many people to thank for this genius-ness. But primarily, you can thank the second most hated person in Florida right now after Rick Scott. This person is someone you may not have heard of. She is a 4-foot-11, 73-year-old grandmother... and a sweet, little thing according to her gushy wikipedia page. But she is as close to evil as you might ever see.

She has also done more to enable the killing of innocent Florida citizens, and put many more lives in danger, than any other person in this state. She is Marion Hammer, the top lobbyist for the National Rifle Association in Florida.

Florida has the dumbest and most lax gun laws in the nation. We are a breeding ground for gun stupidity and danger. Yes, we were the first in the nation to try "Stand your Ground/Castle doctrine", which was used by Zimmerman to hunt down and kill Trayvon Martin. (Apparently, your "castle" includes any sidewalk or street.) Justifiable homicides have skyrocketed, which is JUST WHAT WE PREDICTED would happen when asshat Jeb legalized Marion's shoot first law:


Not be content with the extra killing, Marion went on a rampage when a Tallahassee pediatrician asked her granddaughter about having a secured gun in the house. (Those pediatricians like to ask standard "invasive" questions like if a pool is fenced in or if dangerous chemicals are locked up.). Her minions in the legislature worked to restrict doctors from asking about guns in the home: “Docs versus Glocks” law. Leading Marion's call was my own state rep, idiot and complete liar Jason Brodeur, a Sanford Republican, to sponsor a bill where a doctor who dared to ask if a gun was locked up would be thrown in prison for five years and fined ... up to $5 million freaking dollars! Thankfully, the Courts sided with the physicians, but Rick Scott promised to appeal. (Might as well, since he'll be in Court fighting the Justice Dept. on the purge anyway.)

On average, the legislature passes 1-2 gun friendly laws a year, each one crazier than the last. Many are to blame: the subjugated legislators, apathetic voters, and cowardly candidates for local office who are now for the first time being forced by Marion to fill out intimidating questionnaires with loaded questions like this:

"Do you agree that no victim of crime should be required to surrender his life, health, safety, personal dignity, autonomy, or property to a criminal, nor should a victim be required to retreat in the face of an attack from any place he or she has a right to be?"

a. "Yes, I believe the 'Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground' is appropriate and victims have a right to fight back without a duty to retreat."

b. "No, I oppose the 'Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground' and believe victims should surrender to criminals or retreat to avoid fighting back."

Answer the question their way, or be a target. And don't think about not answering: "Questions that are not answered will be graded as a response against Second Amendment rights."

SO thank you Marion and Rick, for your strong advocacy for the 2nd amendment. I hope there is a retention pond near your houses so someone can show off the sounds of freedom to you as well.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

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"Truly Terrible": Daily Show Hits Rick Scott Hard

Every now and again, a politician comes along who is just truly terrible and really deserving of more scorn than even we can go out with our nightly 21 min, 30 second wise-ass-athon. I give you Fl governor and Mr. Clean impersonator (if Mr. Clean had for some reason reduced his caloric intake for a period of time) Rick Scott. --Jon Stewart
I'm not as good at this as BruinKid is, so I won't transcibe much. Jon Stewart really hit Rick Scott hard. He has hit him before, such as when he tried to make state employees (with the exception of politicians like himself) perform expensive, unnecessary drug tests. But this was in the context of other horrible governors. But last night Jon really took the gloves off and focused on our nightmare that is Rick Scott. He mentions Scott's dehumanizing campaign to test welfare recipients, which he pointed out saved our state government.... NEGATIVE $45,000. Then pivoted to why Rick Scott is making news today. His campaign to purge voters from the voting rolls, which has ensnared thousands of eligible people, (mostly Hispanic, Democrat, and Independent) to go after that small segment that Jon described perfectly:
Those people who live in fear of deportation but insist on voting.. there must be tens of those.
Noting that black Floridians were not forgotten: besides cutting down early voting, our legislature eliminated the Sunday RIGHT BEFORE ELECTION DAY for one reason: that particular day is the largest day that African-Americans vote because it is the day that black Churches organize drives to get out the vote. They didn't even try to hide it. Which brought Jon to the last target: newly registered voters, which overwhelmingly skew Democratic. Again, if you have paid attention at all in Florida, you realize that it was made a crime to turn in a registration form after 48 hours. This had the effect of all nonpartisan registration outfits like the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote leaving Florida. (Thankfully, there is an injunction against that madness and most returned, but the effect the GOP wanted succeeded... registration is down over 20% from last year). John Oliver talked with Fox News contributor and writer for American Spectator John Fund, who tries like hell to spin the 48 hour time limit law as a good thing and gets his ass handed to him. John Oliver nails him several times...It's worth the watch.

Next up for Rick Scott: Handwriting analysis for voter signatures (no snark)

If you are not paying attention in Florida, you need to. If you are, you will forgive the quick rehash of what has happened up till today. It is important in the context of what this diary is about: Right now, under Rick Scott’s Florida, you can be declared a "non-citizen" with no repercussions... and the onus is on YOU to prove otherwise. The self-proclaimed superpatriot TeaBags in the Legislature are surprisingly unconcerned about the trampling of our fundamental Constitutional right to vote. However, today in Florida, an eligible Democratic voter who has voted his entire life, such as a 91-year old war hero, is declared a "non-citizen", given a few days to drive to the Supervisor of Elections office and “request an administrative hearing to present evidence”. (Good thing Obama is not from here, since Birth Certificates don’t count anymore with the GOP.) The 2012 voter purge we are all discussing is the middle step of a highly coordinated effort. (Google “voter purge” and see Florida in all its glory). Rick Scott was obsessed with creating a “non-citizen” database soon after he took office. Don’t take my word for it: his own former Secretary of State, Ken Browning, admitted as much when he turned from the Dark Side and resigned rather than comply. The purge is based on old driver’s license data with the excuse that if you are snagged, you can just make a lot of unnecessary effort and get your Constitutional right back again. (JEEBUS... we're only talking your right to vote! not your right to carry a gun!) An analysis by the Miami Herald showed that the list was predominantly made up of Democrats, independents and Latinos. Coincidence, no doubt, but there are also plenty of "helpful" private efforts to purge legitimate voters coming from Republican hate groups. Now, Rick Scott could have done a database over a year ago, but the idea is to purge people as close to an election as possible. Besides, last year was the FIRST step of the process: Voter Suppression. In 2011, Scott disenfranched 100,000 previously eligible ex-felons who'd been granted the right to vote under GOP Governor Charlie Crist and signed the most sweeping voter suppression bill in our state’s history. You know, the one that shut down non-partisan voter registration drives; levied thousand-dollar fines for turning in registration forms late (something a teacher found out when she tried to criminally register her students), shred early voting, force provisional ballots to those who changed their name (women) and moved (college students), and allowed vote-caging operations. Which brings me to today. There are plenty of diaries and a lot of outrage on the voter purge, as there was a lot of anger with the voter suppression efforts last year. But I wish to talk a bit more about what I see as the final bullet coming from last year's law that received little attention. The one bullet that alters the standard for review of the voter signature. From a recent article by Adalia Woodbury:
Florida Concocts Signature Test to Purge Democratic Voters Even if you survive seriously flawed basis by which Florida is purging people from the rolls, you still need to contend with the signatures please law. This law requires voters to register their signatures with the government because signatures change with age…. ...let’s consider who will be deciding IF your signature matches the one on file. I’m guessing the same people who have done such an awesome job in the battle of nonexistent voter fraud so far will also be assessing your signature. Will they have the training needed to assess whether your signature is a match with the one on file with the Scott regime?
Folks, there will be thousands upon thousands of provisional ballots cast this election year. Before the teabag takeover of 2010, if you had changed your address or changed your last name you could sign an affidavit and vote normally. The 2011 Voter Suppression law changed that and now forces you to use a provisional ballot, which are not counted the majority of times. However, if we are in a tight election, these provisional ballots, along with the thousands of absentee ballots, might be pivotal. The GOP already succeeded in getting these likely Dem voters off the regular voter rolls... so what would be the best way to stop the provisional ballots from tipping an election? You can prove new residence or new name... but how can you stop someone from saying your signature doesn't match? Granted, I'm being cynical. Voter abuse here in Florida? Perish the thought. lets assume everybody who works at SOE is above reproach and will simply honor the new law requirements for my signature and the upgraded standard for review. It begs the question, who deemed these people experts in handwriting analysis? I doubt most of them have a Graphology degree. Heck, I'm not even sure I have a signature on file with the SOE… and I know for a fact that I never "update" it. It's a fact that signatures change as we age, and I don't think anyone has ever thought to visit an SOE office just to "update" a signature. Yet any SOE website has the fine print: Volusia Co. SOE:
Signatures on your registration record are used to verify signatures on petitions, absentee ballots and provisional ballots. If your signatures do not match, your petition or ballot will not count. To update your signature, submit a Florida Voter Registration Application Form to the Department of Elections.
Alls I know is that I nor anyone else voting in this election here in Florida is going to have any chance to fight an injustice, such as having a provisional ballot thrown out because it didn't match a signature block. Since that awful day in Nov. 2010 you'd think we'd be used to this by now. What the GOP is doing is beyond brazen, and here I am on Dkos being asked to petition Obama's own DOJ to even bother to fight these efforts. (It's here if you want to.) But what really teas me off is my state Dem party won't even attempt a citizen initiative to reverse the Voter Suppression law or for that matter, do a damn thing about anything, except make crappy web ads. If we are ever gonna win here in Florida, we have only ourselves to count on.