Saturday, June 28, 2014

Just How Clueless is Rick Scott?

From a recent interview:

With the St. Petersburg Pride Parade on the books for this weekend, his stance on gay-marriage was the first topic addressed.

“People have different views, but by constitution in Florida- there was an amendment in 2008- the voters said marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said. “Now what’s important to me is that we don’t discriminate against anybody, but I’d be surprised if a court is going to overturn the people.”

He'd be surprised if a court is going to overturn the people....?



And how many more? On just THIS issue? Never mind other issues in past!

Like I have said, this is a man who has no idea what is happening more than 5 feet in front of his own nose.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Rick Scott's fake "Progressive Group" launches race-baiting ad against Crist

Rick Scott has no trouble running racially offensive ads, like this one.

Yet even someone as thick-skulled as Rick Scott knows that he isn't in ANY position at all to run an ad to say he is a champion of African-American rights. You see, if you are primarily known for fighting the Justice Department and Civil Rights groups to make it harder for minorities to vote, while simultaneously targeting them for purging disproportionally from the voting rolls (in the area of 87%!!), it's kinda hard to make that claim.

Also, ending state support for our only two historically black colleges, abolishing a state office that helps minority-owned businesses outright refusing to appoint more minority judges, doubling-down on our awful "Stand Your Ground" killing laws, and assuming most blacks are poorly educated and come from public housing probably doesn't help your image much either.

So Scott is trying to do for his election the same thing he wants to do in every election: keep the African-American vote light. Suppression and purging will only do so much. People here have showed they will vote if they are angry enough--no matter how many polling places you close or how many hours you make them stand (or how many bathrooms you close at polling places.)

And how does he do this? By doing THE WORST thing he could do to Charlie Crist: convince people that he is just like Rick Scott.

The following despicable ad isn't directly from Rick Scott's campaign. It's from a fake front group that calls itself "Progressive Choice Florida". This is an underhanded strategy that Scott's own campaign manager admitted that he would do last November. I already wrote about this phony group back in May. It refuses to list donors, has no contact information, and supports conservative causes like local anti-tax initiatives and school vouchers.

Then outright offensive ad targets African-American voters and accuses Charlie Crist of being everything Rick Scott actually is: anti-black and pro-NRA:

The punishment fits the crime. It's enshrined in our Constitution -- the essence of American Justice, unless you live in Florida and happen to be black."

"Under Gov . Charlie Crist, the NRA called the shots in Tallahassee, giving Crist big money and an 'A' rating, stopping even the most sensible gun control bills, allowing weapons to flow into our cities, even permitting concealed guns at work."

"But while Crist was coddling the gun lobby, he was cracking down on us -- passing maximum sentencing laws, signing the nation's harshest marijuana laws, and enacting the country's strictest penalties against non-violent offenders, many of whom just happen to be black."

"It's time Charlie Crist answer to Floridians for his record, for a lost generation of African-Americans and for trampling on the ideal that the punishment fit the crime."

What liberal African-American is going to hear this and say, "Yeah! I DO want a governor who won't coddle the NRA and will stand up for us! That's Rick Scott in a nutshell"!

Charlie Crist called the ad "a new low for Rick Scott and his special interest donors".

I couldn't disagree more. After four years, I've seen how low he can go and believe me, this doesn't come close.

Rick Scott's Flip Flop Circus

Whether you plan to support Crist or Rich in the Democratic primary upcoming (as an "indie" I have to sit it out -- sorry!) you have to be less than tolerantly amused by how often Rick Scott's manic supporters make an issue of Crist "flip flopping". In the main, they get upset about his changeover from R to D, and it usually involves one or more slogans of this type:

"He doesn't even know what party he's in!"

"He's a traitor!"

"He's switched parties TWICE!"

On that last one, it's always fun to inform them that "Independent" is not a party. 

On the first one, I usually remind them of party switchers past, including Ronald Reagan (D to R, and one of their heroes). Others include Hillary Clinton (R to D, like Crist), Teddy Roosevelt (R to Bull Moose), and many more.

Then they might complain the Crist switched parties during an election. Again, not really, because Independent isn't a party. They also say that he switched because he was "loosing" (sic) and trying to win another way. That's only partly true, because as anyone with  the barest political knowledge knows, switching to "Indy" mid-race is about the same as trying to thread a needle with a sledgehammer. It has very little record of success, and the more likely reading, given Crist's impetuous nature, is that he felt the need to take a stand and made what was, politically, a rash decision.

The closest analogy to what Crist did is probably from the 1980 Presidential election, where John Anderson pulled out of the GOP to become an Independent. Like Crist, Anderson had a history of rethinking his beliefs over time. 

But anyway...for this entry, the theme is flip flops, and Rick Scott has plenty of his own. His followers like to use slogans of him like, "promises made, promises kept" as though he's never changed his mind in his life, much less while Governor. The record shows otherwise. Here's a version from my list, which I use on Scott's Facebook page.

 Rick Scott's Flip Flops

A lot of Scott supporters make a big deal about Charlie Crist as a "flip flopper." It's too bad they can't see the same circus act in their own candidate. Here's a list of issues Scott has flip-flopped on, which include things related to the core principles he ran on as a candidate in 2010.

1) Early voting

"Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill late Monday night that will allow supervisors of elections to restore the early voting days he and the Legislature cut just two years earlier.

"The 2011 law was partly to blame for the long lines last November that once again made Florida voting a national laughing stock.

"Throughout last year's election, Scott vigorously defended his decision to sign a bill that, among other things, cut early voting days from 14 to eight and eliminated early voting on the Sunday before Election Day. Then in January, after critics lambasted Florida's voting, Scott said he supported more early voting days and sites and shorter ballots.

"The Republican governor quietly signed the bill right before he left on a trade mission to Chile. His office didn't notify the media that the bill had been signed."

2) The pill mill database

"One way Florida is hoping to combat the over-prescribing of pain medications like oxycodone, Scott said, is by implementing a statewide drug database that will track prescriptions that pharmacists fill for patients. The hope is that law enforcement officials can spot doctors who are prescribing too many drugs, or patients who are hopping from doctor to doctor satisfy their fix.

"Scott initially opposed the database, saying he was concerned about the privacy rights of law-abiding patients -- and asked the Legislature to repeal a 2009 law that created the computer monitoring program.

"But his position put him at odds with leaders in the state Senate, whose support would have been required to nix the database. So the database is moving forward."

3) Campaign donations from big sugar

"Three years ago, when Big Sugar was financing the campaign of Rick Scott's GOP opponent, Scott called the sugar money "disgusting."

"He's owned by U.S. Sugar," Scott said of veteran Republican Bill McCollum. "They've given him nearly a million dollars for his campaign. And it's disgusting."

"Flash forward to last month — when U.S. Sugar gave Gov. Scott's re-election fund $100,000.

"After giving him another $100,000 back in June. And another $100,000 in March. And another $100,000 before that.

"Plus $150,000 from another sugar giant, Florida Crystals.

"Apparently the money is a lot less disgusting when it's coming your way."

4) E-Verify

"Back when he was running for governor, his campaign vowed: "Rick will require all Florida employers to use the free E-Verify system to ensure that their workers are legal."

"Now he says he won't. What's more, he now calls the idea of forced E-Verify "foolish."

"That's the word he used when he appeared before a bunch of agriculture interests — an industry reliant on cheap and illegal labor.

"It would be foolish to put Florida companies at a disadvantage," he said over lunch with the Florida Citrus Commission, according to The Ledger in Lakeland.

"Yes, he used the word "foolish" to describe his own promise — one he made two years ago."

5) Medicaid expansion

"Florida Gov. Rick Scott — a fierce foe of Obamacare who fought it all the way to the Supreme Court — on Wednesday announced that he would accept the Medicaid expansion under the health law.

"Scott had campaigned against the health legislation even before he began running for office, and Florida led the 26 states that fought it in court.

"On Wednesday, that changed as he agreed to take the federally financed expansion that would cover more than 1 million people — at least for the first three years."

6) Common Core

7) tuition hikes

"We owe it to the families in our state who are paying tuition today and those planning to pay tuition for the next generation of Floridians to be direct: Raising tuition is a tax increase," Scott wrote in the National Review Online. "And, unfortunately, it is a tax increase that directly affects whether Floridians can achieve the American dream of earning a higher-education diploma."

"If true, count Scott among the tax raisers.

"While Scott proudly vetoed a 3 percent tuition hike last month, his 2011 budget included an 8 percent hike for students, at a cost of roughly $50 million. Scott also approved a 5 percent tuition increase for state colleges in 2012, saying that "colleges remain best positioned to weigh the needs of their institutions against the burden of increased student costs."

When called down on this, he claimed the hike was part of a larger bill he didn’t want to veto. Apparently he forgot (just for that moment) that he had line-item veto power.

8) transportation spending

You think Scott is a guy who keeps his promises? You think Crist is a flip flopper? Compared to Crist, Scott is a circus acrobat!

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Next Scott Scandal

Late breaking news. Scott is such a decent, kind hearted man, he'd never encourage an atmosphere like this at one of his agencies...would he?

A former employee of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity who uncovered "systemic" fraud within the agency has won a whistleblower lawsuit against the state, her attorney said Monday.
The whistleblower, 30-year state employee Dianne Parcell, discovered 97 instances in which the agency had inappropriately reported Floridians to collections agencies for alleged unemployment overpayments. Parcell reported the findings to her supervisors, but was told to drop her investigation, she said...

A subsequent investigation revealed that as many as 19,000 Floridians had been wrongly reported to collections agencies, attorney Keisha Rice said.

What's Behind Rick Scott's Insulting Spanish Ad

To say Rick Scott has a small problem with the Hispanic community is sort of like saying Cheney has a small problem with self-reflection. There is plenty of examples of legislative action (or inaction) to see why this is the case. If that doesn't convince you, then you need look no further than the kind of antics Rick Scott tolerates from his senior staff. (Note: Personally defending staff who make fun of Mexican accents is a pretty big freaking clue.)

Yet not too long ago, the FL GOP realized that thier unpopular, crooked governor might not luck out with another incompetent opponent and might just need more than the ignorant hillbillies he relied on last time to push him over the finish line. Hence, the Florida GOP has poured millions in an "Hispanic Outreach" effort. (Or as the RNC calls it, "Hispandering".) It's big folks. In fact, the FL GOP appointed an "Hispanic Outreach" director. Ok, sure, he switched parties because of the GOP's bigotry last year, but still...effort made.

To hear them tell it, the FL GOP knows Latinos; and they get that no one understands what they like more than rich, white political consultants. If television has taught these consultants anything, it's that Latinos like them some soccer. We take that, then combine it with a fake conservative platitude, like lowering taxes. Oh, and if you could make it both condescending AND insulting, I think we'd have a homerun.



ANNOUNCER #1: We are at the beginning of this extremely important match for Florida.

ANNOUNCER #2: On one end, Charlie Crist, who abandoned us as Governor when things got difficult. On the other end the current governor, Rick Scott, who keeps working to get the state's economy on the right track.

ANNOUNCER #1 : Crist is issued a red card ... (Whistle blows) ... For worrying more about his political future than about us. With Crist, 800,000 jobs were lost in Florida. Here comes Rick Scott through the center, focused on fixing the mess Crist left. He cuts taxes 40 times for Floridians! Scott advances and scores a GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL!!

ANNOUNCER #2: 600,000 jobs created in the private sector under Scott in only three and a half years. The highlights of this match. Charlie Crist, 800,000 private sector jobs lost. Rick Scott, 600,000 private sector jobs created.

ANNOUNCER #1: With Rick Scott, let's keep working!

ANNOUNCER #3: Sponsored by Let's Get to Work

Cheeso Peezo, Rick. How many millions did you spend on this? Rick has been so desperate lately to improve his image with Hispanics that his campaign demanded a local TV station give him an Hispanic interviewer and only discuss his love of all things Hispanic. (The station wisely declined--and were understandably insulted.)

Ironically, I was originally not going to talk at all about Rick Scott for this post and instead focus on the GOP's overall pathetic effort to woo Hispanics. Yet when researching offensive ads, Google instantly gave me this gem from Rick Scott's campaign so I couldn't resist. It encapsulates the point I was going to make.

The Establishment GOP is well aware that the "Southern Strategy" is now an albatross around their necks as our nation grows more tolerant, and more diverse, every day. Their voter suppression strategy is backfiring, so they are recently making real efforts to change course. They are also failing.

The main reason is that minorities have always been their scapegoat. Their base is made up of ignorant white poor people who have been told for years that they would be well off if it wasn't for those all powerful, poor nonwhites that are somehow stealing their imaginary jobs, resources, and money. The rich corporations would gladly give these highly paid jobs to them if only our gubmint didn't make them support the "welfare queens" along with the massive "invasion" of brown people.

The challenge the GOP has was on full display in a tweet I recently received from conservative troll and Scott supporter Amy Mek. She was ranting about the outrage dejour of Valerie Jarrett discussing immigration with Rupert Murdoch. She decided to post this picture. The message is very clear. In the conservative mind, these people are representative of the Latino people and their culture. This is what we can expect if we let more of "those people" in.

Just a few years ago, the only Hispanics you ever saw on a GOP campaign were exactly that stereotype. David Vitter used this outrageously, racist ad. Then there was this equally offensive one from Senate candidate Sharon Angle.

Now, the conservatives who ran those campaigns are the same ones attempting these positive "outreach" campaigns.

Yet even if they managed to make ads that were not stereotypical, insulting, or embarrassing, they would still fail. The bigotry and ignorance of the Hispanic community within the GOP is too well entrenched. This is exactly what fundraiser Mike Fernandez tried to warn Rick Scott before he quit. Rick Scott's campaign response smearing him is all you need to know about whether they can do it.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Breaking: Rick Scott Has Ties to Company Fracking Our Everglades

#134 of My Stupid State

The Everglades is sacred to native Floridians. So much so that politicians on both sides of the aisle ran on protecting it, including Jeb, his idiot brother, and even the environment-hating Allen freaking West. No politician in Florida has ever actually run against the Everglades--until now.

We were shocked in September 2011 when Rick Scott said he supported drilling in the Everglades. Today under Rick Scott, FRACKING is now a reality in the Everglades. I wrote about Rick Scott's record and the illegal fracking that has already been done, along with the Department of Environmental Protection's embarrassing response, on my blog last month. Scott's corrupt DEP actually issued 10 oil and gas exploration permits for that region to the Dan Hughes Drilling Company, Breitburn, Burnett Oil, and others. The DEP, which is supposed to protect the environment, (which I shouldn't have to say because it's in the damn name!), was run by Scott appointee Jeff Littlejohn, the son of the Chamber of Commerce president.

The bastard had no trouble demanding the state's leading wetlands expert approve permits even though they violated state law. He resigned earlier this month for a more lucrative job. He left saying his proudest accomplishment in defending the environment was reducing "unnecessary regulatory burdens", because apparently every person Rick Scott appoints to an agency thinks their mission statement was written on "opposite day".

All of this was bad enough. But as always with our crooked governor, it gets worse.

A local TV station looked at Rick Scott's documents for a blind trust created after he won the governor's office. Even though the account is managed without his involvement, Rick Scott knows the companies that are part of the investment. Rick Scott, who has never had an issue using his office to enrich himself, his donors, or his his big donors, apparently owns six-figures worth of stock with Schlumberger.

Sclumberger is the subcontractor who has participated in the fracking process with Dan Hughes Drilling.

The governor didn't respond to questions, BIG surprise. But his re-election campaign spokesman did, (because that's appropriate), by saying that the governor ensures that oil companies comply with the regulations set by...... the DEP.

If embedded video does not appear below, click HERE

Ok, maybe hiring a right-wing nutjob who made his fortune off of scamming Medicaid recipients to be our leader wasn't the best idea we had. But surely, you would think after all of the scandals, cronyism, bigotry, corruption, record number of resignations, clear contempt for his citizens, or any of the other 220 reasons we were given that at least we wouldn't elect him again.

You would be wrong. The latest poll shows him all tied up with Charlie Crist.

JEEBUS, what does this guy have to do? Kick a disabled kid in the teeth? (Oh wait, he actually did that..).

I'm gonna need a bigger webpage.

8:48 AM PT: As always, don't just get angry, get active.

BTW, even though Collier Co. is GOP territory, the citizens there are so outraged by this they are organizing against Rick Scott. If I was advising Crist's campaign, I'd tell him to speak there to support their efforts. He could simply say the truth--that if they are shocked by this now, what the hell do you think he'll do when he has no election to worry about?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Rick Scott -- Pro-Life, or Pro-Votes?

My next entry in this series discussing my list of non-partisan reasons to vote out Rick Scott concerns the issue of abortion, and will be short. Some who have read my comments will be aware that I would be classed as pro-life. But I also acknowledge as legitimate the criticism of pro-choice position-holders, that many pro-life advocates only seem to care about life when it is inside the womb, and after that, you're on your own! Nevertheless, Scott's record in this regard should be disturbing to you no matter which side you're on.

I'd say Rick Scott is an example of that, but in fact, he is even worse. Rick Scott claims to be pro-life, but his actions show that he is only “pro-life” to the extent that it helps him gain votes. He did sign some pro-life legislation into law, including in this latest session, but his actions speak louder than a mere swipe of a pen, and show that he is a hypocrite on this issue. 
Scott is using and manipulating the pro-life movement for votes. The pro-life movement is undermining its credibility by supporting him.  In biological terms, this would be called an unhealthy symbiotic relationship.
From a non-partisan standpoint, objections from this category are:
81) Rick Scott, as head of HCA’s hospital chain, profited from abortions.
Scott has not denied that HCA provided abortions under his tenure, but has claimed that his company was “subject to” what was set up by medical staff beforehand. This is nonsense. Rick Scott was the owner and boss and it was within his authority to “knock down” anything that had been “set up.” No law requires private hospitals to provide abortions. But even if this were not the case, he could have spoken up as an alleged pro-life advocate to have abortions removed as one of HCA’s services. He did not.

82) Rick Scott falsely used a tragic example of a family’s suffering to pose himself as pro-life.
On the campaign trail, Scott alluded to a situation in Texas which allegedly showed he was committed to pro-life causes. The case was that of Mark and Karla Miller, and it had nothing to do with pro-life issues, and did not involve abortion specifically. Scott used this family’s tragedy for political gain, and did so even though his own involvement in the situation was marginal at best.
83) Rick Scott misrepresented the pro-life credentials of Bill McCollum.
During the governor’s campaign, Scott’s campaign ran an ad claiming that McCollum had accepted money from lobbyists for Planned Parenthood, a chief abortion supporter. This is not only false in terms of details, it also ignored McCollum’s rating of “zero” from Planned Parenthood, as a staunch pro-lifer.
In reality, the donation came from a lobbyist organization that had, at one time, represented Planned Parenthood – as well as pro-life candidates. But that donation also came at a time when the lobbyist company wasn’t representing Planned Parenthood.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The List Hits 220!

My list of non-partisan reasons to dis-elect Rick Scott has hit 220. Seminole Democrat blog readers will be pleased to know that a local TV personality to your area put it over the top of the latest number with this:

Rick Scott is known for dodging tough questions, but this is a whole new level. His campaign demanded an Hispanic interviewer and said they would only discuss Rick Scott's awesome Hispanic outreach effort. No questions on his budget, his scandals, or anything that would show the governor in a negative light--which is almost everything. The TV station essentially told him to stuff it. They expect to do interviews, not ads.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Rick Scott is a LIBERAL!

I get a lot of political e-mail I don't ask for. One of them was something from some group calling itself the Tea With Every Re-election Party (TWERP). It's very interesting, so I thought I'd share it.


Friends, I used to support Rick Scott 100%, but now, I support him ZERO PERCENT!
Why? After he signed that bill to give in-state tuition to illegal aliens, I finally realized that Rick Scott had tricked us! He's no conservative. He's not even a RINO! He's nothing but a full-on LIBERAL!

I figured this out, finally, after looking back at his record. Suddenly, everything he did appeared in a new light! This guy is more liberal than a Red Commie! 

First of all, like I said, he approved in-state tuition rates for illegal aliens!

Then there's that budget he signed -- 77.1 BILLION dollars, the largest in Florida history! I can't believe this is the same guy we voted for who called a 70 billion dollar budget "bloated"!  I agree with my friend Henry Kelley of the Tea Party Network in Fort Walton Beach: "Charlie Crist was more of a fiscal conservative than what Rick Scott has turned out to be." Scott has to be a closet liberal!

As part of that budget, Scott also included record spending on education and the environment.  On education, he admitted in a press release: "The $18.8 billion in funding for K-12 education funding is the highest in Florida history and includes a record $10.6 billion in state funds." In his State of the State speech, he said on environment: "we have invested record funding in protecting our environment....." These are two of the biggest issues for liberals! He also restored funding to the Department of Children and Families, and wanted to spend $100 million of state money on tourism advertising!  Let the private sector handle that!

How else is Scott a liberal? He's supporting Common Core, that's how! Sure, he's changed the name and added a few things, but at its heart, it's still Common Core! 

I'll give you another reason he's a liberal -- he's a pro-choicer! He says he's pro-life, but back when he ran HCA, he didn't do a thing to stop abortions there. Clearly a left-winger on abortion! 

Need more reasons? He promised us an immigration law like Arizona's! Well, it's been over three years now, and we still don't have one!

Then there's a really big one -- Scott supports Obamacare! Sure, as Governor, he can't do much about it, but he can accept the Medicaid expansion, and he's said he's in favor of it! I like what Kelley said on that one: "Will Medicaid expansion cover me for the knife @FLGovScott just buried in my back?"

Freinds, after all of this, there's no way you can tell me that Rick Scott is anything but a RINO, card-carrying liberal! I can tell you I won't be voting for HIM on election day! I'm writing in, "Ichabod Spitfizzer" instead!

Yours truly,

H. Radbolt Muckfutter
Chairman, TWERP

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Why are Rick Scott's Supporters So Surprised?

Something very strange is happening, sort of a slow motion train wreck, with Rick Scott's campaign. His formerly loyal adherents are dropping him in droves. 


Because he signed the Florida DREAM Act

Really, they were already pretty pissed before that, about Common CORE. (Makes their kids get stressed out, you know. Not nice and relaxed any more, the way those starving kids in the Third World are.) But now it's like a bunch of miniature nukes went off. Just look at these samples from Scott's Facebook page, which I'll allow to speak for themselves:

 How about getting the illegal immigrants OUT, rather than subsidizing them with OUR tax dollars?

 you can take every measure to keep roaches out of your house but if you create an environment that is hospitable to the roaches, they will always find a way inside.

Kick this RINO out and vote Adrian Wyllie! Let's pull a "Cantor Upset" right here in Florida.

  I am disgusted that you are catering to illegals You will not get my vote in the next election. I am also going to convince all of my friends that you need to be removed.

Selling out his constituency to buy a few more votes from the brown skinned people using our money = 1 step forward, 3 steps back = one DUMB politician 
 In light of all of this, the main question I have here is -- why are these people so surprised?

Before he was elected, everyone knew Scott oversaw the largest case of Medicare fraud in history at the time, and had pled the 5th more than 70 times during a deposition. No problem, said the people who voted for him.

Before in office, Scott fought Obamacare tooth and nail. Once in office, Scott flipped on the most critical part of that a state governor can impact, the Medicaid expansion. One member of the Tea Party here famously quipped, "Will Medicaid expansion cover me for the knife @FLGovScott just buried in my back?" No one else remembers this?

All politicians lie, but Rick Scott has told whoppers, especially about critical election issues, that would allow Pinocchio to go pole vaulting. The number of jobs he promised to create. Florida's credit rating. Not cutting the education budget. Incentives for Deutsche Bank. (He did that one on national television, no less.) Bill McCollum's record. The cause of the recession. The effects of Obamacare. 

And how many more signs were there he wasn't trustworthy? What about constantly dodging questions from the media? Keeping his travel records secret? Violating the Sunshine law five ways till Sunday? Giving special favors to donors? The whole scheme where he tried to keep Solantic tied behind his back while governor?

From the time before he was elected up until now, Scott's walk has been paved with bricks like these. But only now, it seems, have a raft of those who voted for him woken up and said, "Hey, hold on..." Even the Heritage Foundation has slammed Scott for this signature, and has suggested that in so doing, he broke a law signed by Bill Clinton in 1996. (Which, if true, could make for yet more state money wasted by Scott as he defends himself in court; but that's another issue.)

If we are sympathetic to those who will benefit from the Florida DREAM Act (as I am), we'll watch all of this with a certain detached wonder, tinged with disgust. Scott's signature has brought out some of the worst in those who voted for him. We can also wonder of, indeed, the possibility of a Cantor-like defeat for Scott, who is no doubt asking himself right now if $100 million really will be enough to buy the governor's seat again, even before he faces the Democratic challenger. True, unlike Florida, Virginia has open primaries, which may have had some effect there. But as you can see from one of the comments above, the seed has been planted, and Scott not only will have Wyllie to worry about, but also three other Republican primary candidates who up until now, most of his followers may not even be aware were running.

The next poll should be, to put it mildly...interesting.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rick Scott's Crazy Laws

A long time ago I made reference to "crazy laws" like the ones that forbid people to spit in the town square on Saturdays. I said a lot of those sometimes had a useful purpose that has been lost to us. In Rick Scott's case, the opposite is true. Since he's the executive branch, not the legislative branch, he's not responsible for introducing these crazy laws, but he did stand behind them, and made Florida an embarrassment by doing so. From my list:

76) Rick Scott has signed legislation allowing advertisements on state nature trails.

You also don’t need to be an environmentalist to find this disturbing. One of the main points of a nature trail is to get away from things like advertisements, not have them shoved in your face. Scott has cheapened the experience of such trails by selling them out.

It should be noted that this is not comparable to things like gift shops at ranger stations. A ranger 
station is not meant to be “unspoiled” and visitors have a choice to avoid it as a very small part of a park, not as a chief feature of it. It is also a form of blackmail to say that it was either this, or not maintain the trails. Too much of Scott’s budget cutting comes of a manufactured crisis and a refusal to levy taxes for legitimate governmental functions.

77) Rick Scott has backed and fought in court for the “docs vs glocks” law.

This is a poorly designed law that never should have been passed, as it pits First Amendment rights (of doctors to speak and ask questions) against what amounts to nothing more than what some gun owners think of as a nuisance question. (I say this as someone who is closer to what the NRA believes in terms of rights for gun ownership.) The only reasons for this law amount to paranoia (e.g., fear of such information being used for a national gun registry) rather than evidence.

78) Rick Scott has wasted taxpayer funds with invasive, ineffective, and unconstitutional drug testing of welfare recipients.

Less than 3% of persons tested were positive for drugs, while the tests of the other 97% had to be paid for by the state – a net loss of revenue. That doesn’t count court costs to defend what was obviously a violation of the 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

In addition, Scott has wasted taxpayer dollars fighting this clearly unconstitutional mandate in court. Scott has also cluelessly said it is to ensure that poor children don’t grow up in families that use drugs. Does he have some reason to think the middle class or wealthy don’t use drugs?

79) Rick Scott sought unconstitutional drug testing for all state employees.

While drug testing is reasonable in many cases (such as law enforcement employees), Scott’s desire to have all state employees drug tested was an overextension, and a violation of constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.  Scott has also wasted taxpayer funds fighting a lawsuit to stop this measure.

80) Rick Scott has opposed a “pill mill” database.

In this case, Scott later did a flip flop and approved the database. Again, even Scott’s own party recognized that his original stance was a foolish, as did law enforcement.
Scott’s alleged reason for opposing the database was that a Virginia database of similar nature was hacked, and patient information could have been compromised. While it was true that a hacking had occurred, no patient information was lost. At the same time, Scott’s concern for a well-designed website didn’t seem to be in effect when the Florida unemployment website was put online, and his desire to eliminate the state cybercrime unit shows that he certainly didn’t conceive of any such danger in other circumstances.

148) Rick Scott pandered to an absurd idea to build golf courses in state parks.

This was a sop to Jack Nickalus, who is now holding a 10K a plate dinner to raise funds for Scott’s election. As this Golf Week article points out, the idea was an absurd one: Florida has enough golf courses as is, and the legislation indicated a no-bid contract for Nickalus.

211) Rick Scott is grandstanding on Veterans Affairs.

Crist is too, but Scott has him beat.

Politicians often treat veterans more like campaign props than real people with unique issues. We hear grandiose promises during campaigns — yet much less during the four years in between.
Scott, for instance, may be loudly proclaiming his commitment to veterans now. But it stands in stark contrast to his very first budget when he proposed gutting the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs' budget by 45 percent.

Scott followed that by vetoing $12 million designated for helping homeless veterans in Brevard County.

Now Scott — who served 29 months in the Navy before leaving for college on a G.I. bill that he often touts — is asking state health officials to inspect VA hospitals and clinics.

It pure gimmickry. And Scott knows it. The state has no authority over federal VA's. It would be like the Florida Department of Law Enforcement demanding to inspect the FBI.

But let's say for a moment that Scott is right — that his staff has the authority and obligation to watch over veterans care in this state. Then where the heck was he before now?,0,3934304.column

212) Rick Scott is wasting taxpayer dollars with a frivolous lawsuit against the VA.

While the VA issue is a serious one, state inspectors simply have no jurisdiction.

THIS Is How Low the FL Lawmakers Sunk To Deny Us Fair Districts

In 2010, Florida voters overwhelmingly passed the Fair District amendments that required legislative and congressional districts to be fair, compact and sensible. Districts had to be drawn with existing geographic boundaries and keep communities intact. The amendments passed well over the mandatory 60% threshold. This was during the teabag takeover, so it was clear that the majority of Floridians of both parties wanted to end the selfish practive of gerrmandering. Everyone celebrated.

Except the legislators.

The GOP legislators knew Democrats outnumbered Republicans by half a million in this state. Fair elections were the last thing they wanted. Of course, a few selfish Democratic lawmakers incredulously fought the fair district amendments as well. This included the awful Corrine Brown, whose current district was carved to be the MOST gerrymandered in the nation. That's it below:

 photo 5_zpsc9821f41.jpg

Pretty isn't it? This GOP-carved district bobs and weaves 160+ miles through NINE counties and shoves every single black neighborhood from Jacksonville to Orlando into it. This is the primary reason why the minority party has been able to have a supermajority in this state: they create a few massive Democratic districts to shove all the minorities into which allows thm to "bleach" all of the surrounding districts. These few Democratic districts have overwhelming advantages of 41 or even 58 percentge points! The GOP gets to rule Florida, and sellouts like Corrine get to keep their seats.

These rat bastards tried to run a Rovian smear campaign against the amendments. They failed. Then they tried to sue, with the GOP claiming its all about minority representation. (Because we all know that's the GOP hallmark). That also failed.

That should have been the end of it. But this is Tallahassee we are talking about. What happened next made be utterly sick, even by my state's low standards. And it was all exposed recently in a lawsuit with the League of Women Voters.

It was ugly.

First off, the "new" map the GOP approved is the most gerrymandered map ever created. That's not me saying that. That was from the nation's foremost expert on gerrymandering. He said the map was the most biased he'd ever seen. Another expert testified the district map would be "virtually impossible" to draw without intentional bias.

So OK, they are bastards. We get it. But then the story of how the maps were developed came to light.

The GOP set up a website for "public input". A young college student by the name of Alex Posada made a submission at 4:42am in the morning, right before the deadline. You can see his entry here. Now to hear the GOP legislators tell it, they stumbled across this map submitted by Mr. "average citizen" and totally ran with it.

One problem.

The young Mr. Posada, who was a member of FSU's College Republicans, at first told the prosecutor that yeah, he just whipped up a district map. All the kids are doing that these days.

But when he was called to the stand to testify under oath, he suddenly got his memory back. He swore under oath that he never drew the map and never submitted it! Not only that, the gmail account in his name wasn't even his!


And then things got weird. From the trial we learned:

-The kid now has a cush job at a firm founded by the current House Speaker's brother
-Former Speaker (Dean Cannon) deleted emails related to redistricting
-An employee of the former Speaker shared draft maps with a well-paid political operative
-Several secret meetings were held with operatives in violation of our state's Sunshine Laws
-Internal data and drafted maps were shared with paid political consultants
-Several documents were destroyed by both the consultants and the legislators

So amazingly, no one knows how that final map, which was the basis of our current districts, was submitted.

I'm sure this is a coincidence, but Alex's "mystery" map looks surprisingly identical to the well-paid political operative's map (from the GOP firm Data Targeting).

Say, you don't suppose....? NAH.

I wish I could tell you more but the presiding judge agreed with the GOP defendants that the rest of the trial should be held in secret. Because.... stuff.

But at least it's not like the GOP is spending a small fortune of OUR money to defend this crap... ohhhh wait, they are.

Look, I doubt we'll get justice in this state. But I'm damn proud of the people who put this lawsuit on the front burner. And kudos to the prosecutor for calling out the GOP's BS on the stand.

Mind you, we'll still get screwed. This is Florida, after all. But at least this may make the GOP put just a little more effort into their future scams.

UPDATE: the judge caved, we're essentially keeping these illegal districts. fuck me.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Rick Scott, "Decent Man"???

On Rick Scott's Facebook page, one of the most tragic cheers I've seen is when one of his followers describes him as a "decent man."

Decent? Talk about having your head stuck in a dark place!

In reality, Scott as a person is strikingly devoid of good character traits. He is unethical in his private life and in his business dealings, and now in in his governing of Florida. Yes, I do mean the thing with the Medicare fraud and pleading the Fifth 70+ times; but there's so much more to Scott's bad character that it boggles the mind. Scott lies with the ease of a practiced felon -- even on national television. All politicians lie, of course, but Scott has the art perfected.

Not surprisingly, many of Scott's lies are now talking points for his campaign -- particularly the lie that he cut taxes 40 times, and turned a budget "deficit" into a "surplus". He repeats each of these lies at least once a week on his Facebook page. 

It's no surprise that Scott's bad character was perhaps the longest subject area on my list.


56) Rick Scott was responsible for the largest historic case of Medicare fraud in history.

The details on this should neither be understated nor overplayed. Scott was not personally convicted of a crime, but was certainly responsible for events as CEO.

Some have pointed out that the Medicare fraud was something a lot of other hospitals at the time were accused of, and that the coding process behind medical procedures for Medicare is difficult. This is true, but this does not answer for things like false diagnosis codes, claiming marketing and advertising costs, and billing for things that were not medically necessary. Whether Scott knew of this fraud, as some whistleblowers have claimed, or not, he was still responsible.

57) Rick Scott misused his Fifth Amendment Rights when questioned about HCA’s Medicare fraud.

Here also, the details should not neither understated, nor overplayed. Scott as an American citizen had every right to appeal to the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination under questioning, even as many times as he did (75). However, it is clear that there would have been nothing to incriminate Scott in answering questions like whether or not he was employed by HCA.  Scott himself later said he used the Fifth Amendment because opposing attorneys were on a “fishing expedition” – in what was a civil, not a criminal case, and one in which Scott was not being charged. Scott had every right to plead the Fifth, but he did not use it for what it was intended.

More damning, however, is Scott’s profession not to know many things that, as head of HCA, things he ought to know, including simple definitions of industry terms. This indicates, again, either utter incompetence or utter evasiveness.

58) Rick Scott’s clinic company, Solantic, was passed on to his wife in a way that violates the spirit of conflict of interest principles.

Scott had to divest himself of interest in the company because of potential conflicts of interest with state policies and regulations. But this simply isn’t sufficient distance to avoid conflict of interest. As usual, when called on to explain himself, Scott dodged answering. He also attempted a questionable compromise by saying Solantic just wouldn’t do business with Florida. Finally he moved to sell the company.

59) Rick Scott has had a questionable association with convicted felon Ken Jenne.

60) Rick Scott has profited from a company that makes money off of illegal immigration.

This is in spite of the fact that early in his term, he advocated for a strict Arizona-style immigration law.

61) Rick Scott professes Christian faith, but follows a corrupt pastor.

Many Christians voted for Rick Scott because he professed to be a Christian. Scott was a founding member of Naples Community Church, which was started when Scott followed his pastor, Kirt Anderson, from First Presbyterian in Naples. Andersen had left because of a feud with church leaders.

It is not hard to see why. Andersen’s church is fiscally irresponsible, and is a mirror image of Scott’s own preferences. The church bought a home for itself in a building worth 2.5 million dollars. In contrast, to celebrate the opening of that 2.5 million dollar building, the church gave a comparative pittance of $50,000 to Habitat for Humanity, and a mere $37,000 for an impoverished church in Immokalee.

62) Rick Scott barely made the residency requirement to run for Governor.

Scott barely made the required 7 year residency requirement. Can a person who is a relative tourist here actually have a real understanding of the issues in this state? No. It took a lot of gall for Scott to think he understood this state well enough to be its governor.

63) Rick Scott has falsely blamed his predecessor for increasing the state’s debt, and misrepresented his accomplishments in reducing it.

Scott touts having reduced the state’s debt by 2 billion dollars. But it obscures the fact that Florida's debt has gone from 28.2 billion to 26.2 billion under Scott. The claim is sometimes stated as though to leave the impression that Scott has reduced the debt by 2 billion, and made it totally disappear. (His re-election website does make this clear at one point, to be fair.)

As part of this claim, he has also noted that the debt was raised 5.2 billion by Crist. But there is much more to this issue. The state debt was even numerically lower under Crist, in the earlier parts of Crist's term, than it is under Scott right now. (That may not account for inflation, though.) Further, the real "credit" for most of the difference comes from a normal and necessary funding cycle.

64) Rick Scott has lied about Florida’s credit rating in order to claim success for his administration.

Scott falsely claimed that Florida’s credit rating has gone up since his term in office began. In reality it has been “AAA” – the highest rating available – since Jeb Bush’s administration in 2005. Scott confused a different issue, the “outlook” for Florida, with the credit rating. This may not seem significant, but as a businessman, Scott surely knows the difference, and so this lie is particularly damning.

65) Rick Scott misled Florida about the cost of high speed rail to taxpayers.

Regardless of your final opinion on the usefulness of high speed rail, all should agree that an honest estimate of costs and benefits is a key to making a decision about it. Scott nullified an honest investigative process by falsely claiming high speed rail had a $1 billion price tag. Scott relied on a flawed study and misrepresented the facts, which include that the state would have had to cover no more than $280 million. His attorney also misled the Florida Supreme Court about how much money had been spent on the rail system at the time.

66) Rick Scott lied about not cutting the education budget.

In 2011, turning away from his campaign promises, Scott produced a budget that cut the education budget. Asked about this, he manufactured another lie redefining his promise.

67) Rick Scott has misled the public about his connections with gambling interests.

Although taking a public stance against gambling, Scott has accepted large donations from gambling interests.

68) Rick Scott claimed that he had “nothing to do with” a voting limitation bill that he signed himself.

69) Rick Scott lied about the cost of the Medicaid expansion in Florida.

Again, regardless of how you stand on this issue, all should agree that an open and honest presentation is needed for an informed decision. Scott did not provide that.

70) Rick Scott misrepresented himself as turning a budget deficit into a surplus.

In reality, since the state’s budget is required to be balanced, there is no “deficit” or “surplus.”

71) Rick Scott has lied about the difficulty of US regulations.

Scott called United States regulations “the most difficult in the world” but in reality, they are among the least restrictive. Scott’s response is noteworthy in that in dodges the issue, by citing difficulties and ignoring the comparative aspect which was critical to Scott’s statement.

72) Rick Scott called for movement on ethics reform, then did nothing about it.

73) Rick Scott misled voters about his role in improving the FCAT test.

Scott posed himself as a pioneer in improvements, when in reality he was continuing something started in the previous administration.

74) Rick Scott lied – on national television – about incentives offered to one company to move here.

Asked directly if Deutsche Bank was offered any incentives to come to Florida, Scott said no. In reality, they were offered as much as $2 million in incentives.

75) Rick Scott has falsely tied record state tax revenues to his “pro-growth” policies.

In reality, the collections reflect a nationwide trend in which collections are up. Scott also failed to account for inflation when claiming a “record”.

153) Rick Scott has an extended record of dodging critical questions from the media.

This article lists multiple incidents: Scott has avoided answering questions about how well his staff checked out former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who was forced to resign last year over ties to a questionable veterans' charity; whether Florida Power & Light should be allowed to raise rates on consumers; whether it was right for Attorney General Pam Bondi to ask that he delay an execution because it conflicted with her campaign fundraiser; whether the state should sell flood insurance to homeowners; and whether he agreed with Republicans in Congress who were willing to risk a federal government shutdown last fall to end funding of Obamacare.

In Clearwater in November, Scott attended a groundbreaking for a storage company's expansion. When WFLA's Mark Douglas asked Scott how a registered sex offender got a state license as a massage therapist, Scott replied by saying how "exciting" it is that Florida's crime rate keeps dropping.
But Ferre wanted a yes-or-no answer on whether Scott favors the Common Core standards for students, and his reply deftly avoided one: "My goal is, have high standards. Measure everything. Reward success."
Ferre wanted to know what Scott thinks of Charlie Crist as a 2014 gubernatorial opponent, and he answered by saying how much he wants his three grandchildren to get jobs.
After the U.S. Supreme Court's same-sex marriage rulings last June, Capitol reporters asked Scott how he would feel about a petition drive in Florida that would legalize the practice.
"Oh, gosh," Scott replied. "I'm focused on making sure everybody in our state can get a job."
Is this leadership?

158) Rick Scott has lied about how long it takes to get an environmental permit in Florida.

Trying to brag about how he has cut regulations, Scott claimed that he has cut permit times to two days. His own staffer disagreed and said the wait remains at 30 or more days. He was confusing a certain type of permit with a certain license.

159) Rick Scott has misled voters regarding education spending in 2014.

Scott has touted this year’s education budget as the largest ever. In this, Scott failed to account for inflation, and more importantly, for per-student spending. In neither case is this the largest budget.

160) Rick Scott has misled voters regarding the tax savings from a hurricane supplies tax holiday.

Scott used 2007 numbers to make his estimate. As a businessman, he certainly knows better than to use numbers that old to make estimates. The tax holiday itself is an obvious pander to voters in an election year; inflating the numbers makes it even worse, especially when Scott had available to him more recent estimates made by economists.
170) Rick Scott travels via his own private plane on state business in order to evade accountability.

Scott claims this is for security reasons, but if that is true, then he is evidently far more paranoid than most state governors, who don’t see a need to do this. He is also more paranoid than Florida’s past governors, and even himself, since he formerly did not do this. It is also belief by the fact that he hides so much of his schedule.
177) Rick Scott has lied about the impact of Medicare cuts on senior citizens.

178) Rick Scott misled voters, in the State of the State speech (2014), about Florida’s lowering crime rate.

Scott cited this year as having a record low crime rate, but the reality is that Florida’s crime rate has been steadily going lower since the early 1990s. Scott can take no credit for this, which is no doubt in part due to policing, but also because Florida’s population has (thankfully) been growing faster than criminals can keep up.

179) Rick Scott evaded explaining why Crist should be blamed for the 2008 recession’s effects in Florida.

In the State of the State speech, Scott said:

Some say these statistics were all because of a global recession. They say it doesn’t matter who was running our state – that anyone would have been just a victim of the times. 

I disagree.

As Americans, our freedom and our optimism make us anything but victims – even in the worst circumstances and the toughest times.

Our leaders especially – and every person in our state – are not simply bystanders in the arena of life where the hard battles are fought and history is made.

He goes on like this for a while, but the one thing he doesn’t do it explain what, exactly, Crist (or any state governor) was supposed to do about a worldwide recession. Optimism won’t pay your mortgage. Scott goes on about fighting battles and not being a victim, but he never gets around to explaining what, exactly, ought to have been done – because he can’t. The reality is that if he had been governor in 2008, he would have been standing around with his jaw dropping the same as so many other politicians.

180) Rick Scott relied on a questionable report to claim that Florida’s teachers were second most effective in the nation.

181) Rick Scott misled voters when claiming Florida’s 4th graders ranked second in the world in reading.

Actually, they ranked second in a study which sampled fourth graders from around the world. This was not a ranking of all students worldwide, but of selected groups from select locations.

182) Rick Scott overstated the range and impact of his “$10,000 degree” program.

Scott incorrectly says that it is available is “all” Florida community colleges. It is only in 23 as of this date. He also fails to add necessary caveats, such as accessory expenses of going to college (books, lodging, etc.)

183) Rick Scott lied about the causes of the recession in Florida, in his State of the State speech.
He blamed “taxing and borrowing” for the recession in Florida, but the real cause was the real estate crisis, plus the nationwide recession.

184) Rick Scott misled voters by claiming he cut taxes 24 times.

Some of the cuts were temporary. Some are not cuts, but credits. Others are tax holidays, which he counted more than once if they happened every year, even though they are the same cut. Finally, he is also counted tax incentives and breaks that only apply to a handful of businesses. In fact most of the “cuts” have been for businesses.

185) Rick Scott lied about “record funding” for environmental concerns in his State of the State address.

This one requires a lot of caveats, but the sum of the matter is, Scott portrayed record funding on one sub-issue (springs restoration) as though it were funding for all environmental concerns.

187) Rick Scott lied about the impact of Obamacare on businesses with under 20 people.

You may or may not like Obamacare, but again, correct information is required to make a decision. Scott falsely claimed that a small business with 20 or less employees could go out of business because of the ACA. But businesses with under 50 employees aren’t even required to provide coverage.

190) Rick Scott has a personal friend managing his alleged “blind” trust fund.

191) Rick Scott deceptively bragged about Florida’s voluntary pre-K program.

While he correctly asserted that Florida’s access to VPK is the best in the nation, he ignored the low per-pupil spending and the resulting poor quality of Florida’s programs.

193) Rick Scott lied about Obamacare driving 2.5 million people from the workforce.
This relies on a widespread misuse of a CBO report. The same ad also doesn’t tell the whole story about 300,000 people losing insurance policies.

200) Rick Scott is leading a charge to deceptively repackage Common Core.

Whether you love or hate Common Core, this is obviously a dishonest way to deal with it.

201) Rick Scott engaged in discriminatory hiring practices at Solantic.

202) Rick Scott misleads voters about Crist’s record on tuition increases.

203) Rick Scott refuses to withdraw or correct a false campaign ad about effects of Obamacare on insurance.

Typically, Scott simply made an assertion that the ad was correct, and refused to say more. This is in spite of the fact that even insurance companies agree that the ad is incorrect.

205) Rick Scott has lied about cuts to Medicare Advantage.

207) Rick Scott is using diversionary tactics to avoid providing public records.

Scott is telling those who request public records that they need to go to the employees who are “custodians” of the records. This serves to make it harder to get these records.

209) Rick Scott is using his wife as a shield for his financial investments.