Friday, October 26, 2012

Seminole Democrat 2012 Florida Voter Guide and Endorsements!!

Early Voting starts Saturday, October 27 thru Saturday, November 3, 7am-7pm

For all Floridians: Find your early voting locations by visiting your respective SoE site. You can find your SoE here.
In Seminole County, its at your local library or SoE office.

  • President: Vote Barack Obama/Joe Biden
  • Senator: Vote Bill Nelson
  • Congress: Vote for the Democrat!! (same for state races)
  • Constitutional Amendments: Vote NO on all Amendments--especially 5 and 6!!
    (All amendments were placed by the GOP legislature-not one by citizens. They are all are either misleading, a blatant power grab, or roll back your rights).
  • FL Supreme Court: Vote YES to retain all Supreme Court Justices!
    R. Fred Lewis, Barbara J. Pariente, and Peggy A. Quince (The GOP and the Koch Brothers are spending millions attacking them so Rick Scott can pick 3 new right-wing judges. Don't let him!)

Specific to my own Seminole County:
  • Congress, District 3: Corrine Brown
  • Congress, District 7: Jason Kendall
  • State Senate, District 20: Leo Cruz
  • State House, District 29: Mike Clelland
  • State House, District 30: Karen Castor-Dentel
  • State Attorney: Ryan Vescio
  • Seminole County Commission District 5: Gail Ellis
  • Seminole County Commission District 4: Rick Russi
  • Winter Springs Commission District 3: Pam Carroll
  • City of Oviedo Councilman, Group III: Stephen Schneck
  • Soil and Water Group 1: Tom Johnson

Printable Voter Guide to take to the polls!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

Obama WON the debate! Take a minute and hit the snap polls!

click HERE for a list of snap polls from CNN, CBS, Yahoo, and the like.... Don't allow the GOP to spin. Let everyone know that this was DEFINTELY Obama's night!!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Still Wondering How Rick Scott Won? You Need to Read This...

Crossposted as a Rec/Resc. diary on DKos

For those of you who don't know Florida, we are solid red in the north (especially the panhandle, which is called "Lower [or Baja] Alabama"), purple in the middle (Tampa thru Daytona) and deep blue in the south--especially Miami-Dade County (ranked one of the most liberal counties in America).

In 2010, during Bobblehead Rick Scott's gubernatorial fight with Alex Sink, he got creamed (expectedly) in Miami-Dade County on early voting and Election Day voting. But then something strange happened: Rick Scott won his seat with 20,745 absentee ballots from none other than Miami-Dade County.

His signature issue, (besides gutting education funding, killing high-speed rail, and anything else that makes Florida suck more), is voter suppression. On the heels of his ban on voting by freed prisoners and his now infamous voter "purge", he supported and signed into law last year a large series of voter suppression initiatives that cut early voting and essentially eliminated voter regisration drives.

All of this done in the name of "in-person voter fraud", of which he could find not one single instance of.

Yet strangely, governor Lex Luther and our GOP-controlled legislature, who claimed to be champions of curbing voter fraud, didn't curb the one election fraud issue that not only exists but is unfortunately very common here: absentee-ballot fraud.

None of this is more true than in Miami-Dade County, where absentee-ballot fraud is utterly rampant:

Absentee vote fraud destroying Miami-Dade elections - Miami Herald A dramatic increase in absentee voting in recent years means that absentee ballots are increasingly, and disproportionately, deciding our elections. But in many cases absentee voting patterns are so far out of sync with the rest of the county’s voting that it is obvious that something is seriously wrong. We have even reportedly seen cases of absentee ballots found in a local mayor’s car.

Five losing candidates in the August primaries have filed lawsuits in Miami-Dade alleging absentee-ballot fraud; and two ballot collectors (called "boleteros") were arrested.

The top boleteros are Republican, and each has teams of volunteers who have access to hundreds of voters. They are technically tasked with offering to help elderly or infirm voters fill out their ballots and ensure they get mailed. Yet in reality, many of them, shall we say, go "above and beyond" their job. There is ample opportunity to sway, bribe, or cajole their voters.... if not outright fill the ballot out for them and forge their signature.

Yes, that has definitely happened, as you can see if you read the whole article. Candidates in Miami-Dade are often contacted by boleteros promising a certain number of votes for a certain amount of money. This is not a new issue. Back in 1997, the Miami mayor’s race was overturned because of more than 5,000 fraudulent absentee ballots.

Boleteros are well-established and very prevalent in the Republican-heavy Cuban community in Miami-Dade. And Rick Scott was not above hiring them.

One of them was a person Rick Scott paid several thousand dollars to: Ms. Emelina Llanes. And much like her boss, Ms. Llanes is very ethically challenged:

But [Police Chief] Bolaños and another city employee told Miami New Times they saw Llanes go door-to-door at a Hialeah public housing building for the elderly during the city’s 2011 mayoral election, collecting ballots from elderly residents: “When she came out, we approached her because we believed she was carrying ballots,” Bolaños says. “She started yelling that she was being violated and that she had chest pains.” The ex-cop says Llanes, who allegedly had the ballots in a bag, ran into an apartment. When two Hialeah Police officers responded to the scene, they found no ballots, and Llanes denied the accusations.

Ms. Llanes is currently charged with illegally collecting ballots, which include a forged one on behalf of an elderly woman whose ballot was filled out even though she is currently unresponsive in an assisted living facility.

It is illegal to go door-to-door to pick up absentee ballots from elderly residents. Also, you also cannot ever be in possesion of more than two absentee ballots at one time. However, boleteros have been spotted with stacks, even bags full.

I grant you, this is circumstantial evidence at best. Sure, it is possible that unlike the seniors who voted in-person, maybe all those absentee ballot users in Miami-Dade overwhelmingly wanted Rick Scott for some reason. And sure, maybe Ms. Llanes and other boleteros in Miami-Dade were particularly honest in Rick Scott's 2010 gubernatorial election. We can't prove it. I get that.

But we could investigate. A task force could be created to get to the bottom of the problem.. something for some reason our leaders don't want to do.

I suppose some citizen journalists could go to these elderly voters and ask if there were any issues with someone collecting their ballots. You would also be able to tell if certain voters were comatose, unresponsive, or senile, which would wave some serious red flags. The only problem is the legislature mandated that if you vote by mail and request an absentee ballot, it must be kept secret. This is the same legislature, mind you, that mandated that if you vote early, your name will listed ONLINE along with when and where you voted! Because, you know, all the rampant problems with early, in-person.... voting?

(Granted, there is a strong argument that the secrecy helps prevent people from being targeted by boleteros from certain campaigns, but I really think its obvious they already know.)

Rick Scott and this legislature KNOW there is a problem with absentee-ballot fraud. The reason they don't care is that it normally benefits their party greatly. Rick Scott, of course, insists that nothing was shady in his election.

After all, stealing money from the elderly's Medicare is one thing, but stealing their vote? That would just be rude.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Romney DID win the debate. But here's 7 things to make you smile...

On DailyKos this morning, I noticed a few Recommended authors posting that Romney lost the first presidential debate for 2012. They even argued that he lost big time. This was behavior I usually spot on conservative blogs or FoxNews, putting yourself in an alternate reality bubble if you don't like the one you're given. I posted my own diatribe, which made it to the top of the REC list. I felt a gutcheck was needed, but also a pickup that is based on reality. Here is essentially what I said:

Democrats differ from Republicans in that they are rooted in reality. We cannot, CANNOT, attack the other side for their fantasy world of no fact checkers and imaginary skewed polls if we are going to make a fantasy that last night was somehow a good night for our President.

It was frustrating. Romney lied, lied, and lied again, and Obama not only let him get away with it, he oftentimes nodded his head in agreement.

Nothing was said last night about 47--the precentage of Americans Romney wrote off AND the ranking of job creation that Romney owned as gov. of MA. Nothing on Bain Capital or Romney's hidden money or affection for China.

Obama was passive, listless, and defensive. Romney came off as the winner. Yes I am angry, BUT... here's 7 things that make me feel better (and hopefully you too):

1. This was a needed wake-up call for POTUS. For those of us who are fans of the president, we know there are two Obamas. One is the overly nice guy who bends over backwards for the opposition, and the other is campaign kickboxer/middle-class champion who beats the hell out of the other guy. After his assessment of this, expect to see the kickboxer in the next debate.

2. Next presidential debate is townhall style. Big advantage for Obama. He can connect to folks. Romney? Not so much. He has this thing about commoners. He always comes across as condescending and awkward-- a unique Romney trait.

3. Any bump won't last more than a week. The veep debate is Oct. 11. Biden has the advantage of being seen as the underdog. That's a good thing in a debate. Biden is one tough SOB and I know he's been itching to ream Paul Ryan and his awful budget.

4. Now Obama gets to be the underdog. Before this debate, the polls showed that most people thought Obama would crush Romney. Lowering expectations right before a debate is something both sides try to do. Now that Romney has established himself as a seasoned debator, Obama gets the advantage.

5. First debates don't matter. George W. got his butt handed to him in the first debate with John Kerry. For those of you old enough to remember, Ronald Reagan was UTTERLY DEMOLISHED in his first debate. Remember how those turned out??

6. Romney sucks and is too far behind. There is nothing Romney can do to erase the epic ton of gaffes that has made him the most unlikable and worst challenger in modern presidential history. He will get a small short-lived and small bump from this, but he can't erase the large deficit in all the battleground states.

7. This is my favorite. SUPERPACS will stop diverting money to downballot races. No doubt snake oil saleman Karl Rove is on the phone asking for millions for Romney that otherwise would have gone to much closer Senate and House races. SuperPac money in the presidential race is wasted (Just read this). This is great news for us.

Finally, bonus. #8.

This should be a wake-up call to all of us. If you were thinking of sitting this election out... DON'T! If you haven't volunteered, canvassed, phone-banked, registered voters, poll watched, etc. DO THAT NOW!! This is not and has never been in the bag for us by any means. Complacency can cost us this election. Obama got that message last night and will step up.... will you?

Monday, October 01, 2012

Help Me Fight 3rd ATTEMPT by Rick Scott to Replace Supreme Court Justices

Crossposted as an Election Diary Rescue on DKOS.

An independent judiciary is to tyrants as sunlight to vampires. €”Martin Dyckman

As you may well know, our Florida state legislature is overwhelmingly Republican (even though our state has more Dems). On top of that, we have the worst, most radical, most tea-party aligned governor in the nation who rightfully has the lowest approval ratings of any governor in modern history.

The only thing that has kept our state from sinking into complete tea party excrement is the Court system. Our Florida supreme court is evenly balanced, and they have been a voice of sanity in this crazy state. And boy have they paid a price. From having their funding cut, to REPEATED legislative attempts to curb their authority, to the current disastrous Amendment 5 on the ballot this year that would give the Legislature direct authority over the courts! (Dear God, people.. VOTE NO ON ALL FLORIDA AMENDMENTS THIS YEAR!!)

But the most cynical and devasting attack would be the removal of three sitting state supreme court justices who have previously ruled against governor egghead. They have CONSISTENTLY, for two years, been the target of the governor and his right-wing ally'€™s wrath: Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince. If Scott is successful in getting rid of them this election, he will get to replace all of them....

This is why Scott has been hellbent on removing them from the bench. There have been THREE blatant attempts so far to get rid of them:

  1. The first came when Tricky Ricky worked with the GOP legislature to divide the court in two branches, and pledged to put these THREE judges (who have been there the longest) on a newly created "criminal division". Almost worked but it fell apart at the end.
  2. The second came when Gov Scott attempted to smear these particular justices by ordering state law enforcement to investigate if they used court employees to help prepare election documents. This is common practice among all judges; and they were cleared of any wrong doing. Rick Scott was furious.
  3. Now #3. The Florida GOP, in an unprecedented partisan assault, voted last week to formally oppose these three Supreme Court justices during their merit retention this Fall. They said they were "extreme" and cited their disapproval in a nine-year old murder case (yeah, right). Up until last week, there was only a shadowy tea party group, Restore Justice 2012, whose sole purpose has been to push these three justices off the bench. But the FL GOP adds more funds and muscle.And now, the Koch Brothers have gotten into the act.

Those two greedy bastards are spending millions to run attack ads against the justices. Again, unprecedented. Their front group, Americans for Prosperity, released the first of what they said would be series of ads. If you care to see it, look just below. The attack is some garbage about the Supreme Court rejecting a proposed constitutional amendment against Obamacare. (BTW, the three justices were joined by two others in ruling that the non-binding amendment included a misleading summary that made numerous promises such as ensuring €œaccess to health care services without waiting lists.€)

This merit retention system of judges was put in place to keep the state’s high court above politics. The intent was never to try to pack the court with ideologues.

This is so bad that even JEB Bush came out against it. (He's a saint in Florida politics.) Other Republicans have called this out for what it is. The former RPOF chairman said this action should scare Floridians to death. All the newspapers, the other Supreme Court justices, along with 23 former presidents of the state bar, have also all decried this as a power grab. (To which Rick Scott would say, "well duh...")

Please HELP! Destroying the Court will give Scott unlimited power, and my state can't handle much more. This is perhaps the most important statewide election this year, and the GOP is counting on people not being too engaged on this.

This merit retention election will determine whether Scott gets two more years in office... or two decades of his bitter legacy!!

Two PACS have been created to fight this injustice, and they need help: Defend Justice Florida and Democracy at Stake.

Websites for the justices:

Finally, here's a sticker for your car. First time I used zazzle. If I get any royalties, I promise it will go to help fight for these folks. (I think it's just a few cents per sticker, but I'll kick in a few bucks as well. The goal here is awareness anyway.)


In a way, Rick Scott IS on the ballot this year. EVERYONE who votes for Obama and Nelson, please vote YES to retain all the FL Supreme Court justices this election!