Saturday, December 27, 2014

GOP Consultants Mock Florida Public With Christmas Card

Data Targeting is the mega-shady, right-wing outfit that drew our extraordinarily gerrymandered legislative and congressional boundaries for the Fl GOP in direct violation of our state constitution. The very small amount of explosive emails obtained showed a tale worthy of a spy novel describing the clandestine shenanigans; including pinning the whole operation on a college kid.

Yet for the most part, Data Targeting got away with withholding the majority of documents from the public. However, the Florida Supreme Court did rule they had to release hundreds of documents pertaining to their gerrymandered maps. Thus far, they have refused (for obvious reasons).

Pat Bainter, the founder of Data Targeting, made a last-ditch attempt to get the GOP justices of the US Supreme Court on his side, but that failed. So he did what any red-blooded, patriotic conservative would do--wiped his computers and shredded his documents. Because, you know, screw you.

We are never going to see those documents, and Bainter will not be held in any kind of contempt. That's fine because this is Florida and we suck. Of course, Bainter and his executives had to get in a parting shot:

He sent out a "Christmas Card" featuring himself with a mountain of shredded documents. Seriously.

It's animated Christmas card comes with jingling bells and features Pat Bainter in a Santa coat with colleagues Matt Mitchell and Mike Sheehan at his side. It announces "But there's one 'secret' we've made sure they'll never get."

A countdown clock notes that the message will self destruct in 15 seconds, and the card then slides into a paper shredder and ends with: "Merry Christmas."

If you don't believe me, see it for yourself: CLICK HERE

Who can blame them? After all the GOP has done to this state, they were rewarded with more seats in the House and Legislature. Sure, gerrymandering had a lot to do with it, but that doesn't explain Rick Scott's and Pam Bondi's victory. Voter apathy ruled the night.

As an added bonus, the Legislature is going to use taxpayer money again next year to try and get rid of the Constitutional amendments against gerrymandering. Sure, why not? We aren't using them anyway.

Oh well, hope you all had a Merry Christmas.

7:47 PM PT: Click here to find the 2014 winner for My Stupid State. I didn't think we could do worse than last year: I was wrong. Here's to an even dumber 2015.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Winner of 2014 MY Stupid State: Rick Scott Re-Election

Last year, the winner of the 2013 My Stupid State was No Changes to Stand Your Ground. I thought it would be tough to beat this year, but it wasn't.

FLORIDUH!! He didn't even fool you once, you knew he was a criminal. And then he got elected. He cut funding for everything and gave to his cronies, he ruthlessly cut disabled children's funding, locked up medically fragile children in adult nursing homes, and he abandoned his own rescue puppy.

Fool you once, shame on you. Fool you twice... what the fuck?

This proves Florida deserves the title of My Stupid State.

NOW that he is able to kick off the three liberal justices on the Supreme Court, he will have full control of our state. If you think his voter purges, suppression, kickbacks and kicking the middle class was bad before... just wait.

We had a unique opportunity because everyone could compare the records of Crist and Scott. If we couldn't win with a very popular and capable politician against the fatally flawed Monty Burns caricature, I don't know when we ever will. This is a state filled with Dems yet has the GOP in every statewide office (except for Bill). The GOP juggernaut is too big, and our FL Dems are too inept. I never realized how much until an activist and I had to hold our own rally/fundraiser for candidates which the FL Dems should have helped.

Charlie and the FL Dems made a critical error in trying to rehash the old Medicaid scandal in every ad. If FL didn't care then, they care less now. He NEVER said word one about the Medicaid district scheme where his cronies would rake in Billions. He NEVER brought up the Solantic scandal where they would drug test every state employee. He NEVER brought up that every bill Rick Scott supported hurt Latinos, including a AZ-style bill that exempted "Canadians and Western Europeans".

He never brought up the fracking scandal that Scott profited from. People in Scott's own neighborhood were protesting..... Charlie should have joined them! Charlie NEVER even mentioned in one appearance or one debate when Rick Scott used emergency powers to layoff people who helped disabled children. Not word one on Scott's largest contributor, DUKE, which Scott allowed to double everyone's energy bill. (And now that he's re-elected, sky's the limit).

Rick Scott did everything he could to keep good jobs out of this state. He killed rail, he refused to expand healthcare, and is keeping our standard of living way down. We did have job growth but that was due to Obama's policies that Rick successfully claimed credit for. The only good jobs that Rick created were for his cronies, several of them heading behind bars. We KNEW better, but as I say in my tagline, the biggest obstacle Florida has is voter apathy. Not even a criminal who used and abused Florida to increase his wealth to billionaire-status was enough to turn out voters. There is literally no one the FL GOP can run that doesn't have a great shot at the governor's mansion. My hope is that our idiot state party will learn from their mistakes: run a real progressive to appeal to the base for a change, and get things done through ballot initiatives and Constitutional amendments. Otherwise, we will be My Stupid State for many years to come.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Where the "Interview" is playing on Christmas Day in Florida

I had no intention of watching until the pudgy man-child of North Korea said we couldn't. Since right-wing nuts like Mark Cuban refuse to show the move in their theaters, independent theaters have stepped up. For me, that means I am going to have to go all the way to OBT here in Orlando (unless the deal with Enzian in Maitland goes through, which they say they are working on).

Here's the current list of theaters. Also, Sony is working on a deal to get it distributed through YouTube, but so far all the deals with online services have fallen through.

Bonita Springs: Prado Stadium 12

Ft Lauderdale: T-Bird D/I 14

Ft Myers: Edison Park 8

Jacksonville: Sun-Ray 5 Points 1

Key West: Tropic 4 Cinema

Lake Worth: Lake Worth D/I 2

Orlando: Touchstar Cinemas Southchase 7

Palm Bay: Nova Cinemas Of Palm Bay

Shreveport: Robinson Center

Tampa: Funlan D/I 4

Titusville: Satellite Cinema 10

Gulf Breeze: Treehouse Cinema

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tallahassee Regime Defies Same Sex Marriage Ruling: Threatens Jailing Clerks!

People who love to wrap themselves in the Constitution sure don't mind using it as toilet paper.

Two weeks ago, a good day was had in Florida. A Federal judge ruled that Florida's stupid ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

That's a word conservatives love to use, but only with legal executive orders or lawful bills that become law which they don't like. When it's something that truly is "unconstitutional", but permitted them to discriminate, they defend it no matter how reprehensible.

Rick Scott's personal, extraordinarily corrupt Attorney General went bananas over the ruling. Wasn't she and Rick in charge of everything? They have already spent a small fortune in taxpayer money fighting same-sex marriage and lost every time. Immediately after the ruling, Pam "I have friends who are gay so it's all cool" Bondi tried to demand a request for an extended stay on the now illegal ban and was instantly shot down by a Florida Judicial Court judge.

Undeterred, Bondi has now filed an "emergency stay" with the US Supreme Court. Given their past rulings, that will fail miserably too but Pam Bondi is left grasping at straws. (UPDATE: SCOTUS denied the stay 7-2)

It's over. The fat lady is singing. Aging bigots are the only ones left cheering Bondi on with this quixotic quest, and now she has nowhere to go. Legal experts have already weighed in saying that because the law was ruled unconstitutional, county clerks of court can start issuing marriage licenses when the stay expires after midnight on January 6.

However, this being Florida, and in true GOP fashion, the Tallahassee teabags who run our government are going to be dicks about this all the way to the end.

In what can only be described as appalling, the Tallahassee-based lawfirm, Greenberg Traurig, which represents the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers, sent out a memo designed to intimate all 67 Clerks of Court saying that anyone who issues a marriage license to a same-sex couple will be "committing a misdemeanor" punishable up to one year in jail.

This has got to be the most tortured legal logic I've ever heard. The memo argued that even though the Federal court ruled the state law was unconstitutional, it only applies to one county "where the original ruling was made".


Lemme get this right. A state law is ruled unconstitutional, but the decision by the Circuit Court was meant for just one county and not all the others because....well, we're Florida. Oh, and we'll arrest you for not following this discarded law.

This is the kind of extreme stupid that makes our state so famous:

Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, called the prospect of clerks being arrested ludicrous.

"Are local officials seriously preparing to arrest and criminally charge county clerks for enforcing a federal judge's order? That's preposterous."

"When a federal judge declares a law unconstitutional, all public officials should cease enforcing that law. Period," he said in a written statement.

Attorneys are justifiably outraged. Attorney Sasha Westerman-Keuning said criminal prosecutions would indeed be a real abuse of power, but unfortunately, that never stopped anyone here before.

Besides, if the goal of the memo was to intimidate, it has worked beautifully. Osceola County had planned to allow the Kissimmee clerk's office to open one minute after midnight to allow couples in, but after the memo was released they cancelled.

My advice? Every same-sex couple that wants to get married in Florida should be at Washington County's Clerk Office on Tuesday morning, January 6: 1293 Jackson Ave Ste 100, Chipley, FL 32428. You will have to drive through Tallahassee so make sure your car is decked out in streamers, cans, and a nice big "Getting Married" sign --- with the added words "get used to it, Pam".

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Corrections: The Rick Scott Barometer

The burning question for 2015 has been, which Rick Scott did Florida's benighted voters re-elect? 

Did they re-elect Tea Party Rick Scott, the one who cuts funds for disabled children and education? Or did they re-elect Happy Face Scott, who put those funds back?

As I've said before, while I think we need to watch out for Tea Party Rick Scott returning, I think that we'll see Happy Face Scott, thanks to the national GOP, which needs Florida badly for the 2016 Presidential election. The fact that Jeb Bush is taking steps to run for President in 2016 makes this even more likely: How embarrassing would it be for him to run, and not win Florida?

The good news (maybe) is that we now have a barometer to help us figure out which Rick Scott was re-elected. That barometer is Julie Jones, Scott's newly selected head of the Florida Department of Corrections.

The fact that Scott selected her so soon after the resignation of Michael Crews is itself nothing short of parting-the-Red-Sea miraculous. Remember, Scott was the one who took nine stinking months to select a new lieutenant governor, and left hundreds of lower appointment positions unfilled. Scott is never in a hurry to replace people, and that he brought Jones in so quickly is a point in favor of the return of Happy Face Scott.

Another point in favor is Jones herself, who has a reputation as a tough reformer. She's so hardcore on reform that even Mike Fasano likes her. (Fasano is one of the few Republicans in this state we can count on to be reasonable. He campaigned for Charlie Crist against Scott, and is one of those Republicans in the populist mold, who hearkens back to the time when Theodore Roosevelt represented the ideals of the GOP, with such progressive ideas [horrors!] as conserving the environment and standing up to big business interests.) Jones wants to do everything from which Scott has previously recoiled: Not just clean up corruption, but also increase community outreach and request more funding for corrections. Tea Party Scott would be especially reluctant to endorse the latter.

Watch corrections carefully. If Jones is allowed to clean up the messes Scott's neglect has caused (via his catspaw, Crews), then it's a sure sign we'll be seeing Happy Face Scott in charge through at least the 2016 Presidential election. On the other hand, if she ends up suppressed, or canned like Edwin Buss, Scott's first corrections secretary (who was also thought of as a reformer), we'll be seeing a return of Tea Party Scott. 

It's a good barometer. Keep your weather eye open.

Monday, December 15, 2014

F U Mark Cuban! You are a Coward!

mark cuban is a rightwing nut. He LOVES Ayn Rand and HATES Net Neutrality.

In typical bagger fashion, he loves to preach about how great 'merica and freedom all is... until it's difficult. With blatant hypocrisy, he gave an interview where he talked up the movie, "The Interview", because freedom. However, when the hyperbolic North Korean hacker group threatened us, he immediately pulled the premiere from his lame movie theater chain.

Seriously, the cognitive dissonance was eye-popping. He went from saying we can't live in fear (when asked about making the movie) to saying he pulled the movie completely out of fear.

I had no intention of watching the film originally, but I don't like people-especially a foreign enemy-telling me what I can and cannot watch. Fuck you. I would have seen it. The first amendment is not just a fucking platitude that you quote for political gamesmanship, which is what conservatives use it for. It quintessentially defines who we are as a nation. It's something Americans live for and many a soldier has died for.

You either believe in what we stand for or you don't. You either stand up to a bully (in this case, a pudgy megalomaniac from a backwards nation) or you cower. They demanded the movie be pulled because they didn't like it--Mark complied. That is the definition of a coward. That is the definition of a conservative. To them, the Constitution is only a document for misquoting to either attack Obama or use on homemade rally signs (along with the prerequisite misspelling).

If you don't think the Constitution is worth standing up for, Mark, then quit referencing it in your nutball tweets. I don't know what you are, Mark Cuban, but you shouldn't be calling yourself an American. You can, however, call yourself a coward.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

DAMMIT!! FL Dem "Strategists" Ensuring Our Loss in Next Gov. Race!

I really want to punch these people. Right in the face.

We already lost the governor's race to one of the worst people in political history--twice. Unlikable, criminal, and a colossal screw-up, Rick Scott should not of won. Yet he did, in an election that has had our lowest turnout in history. As I expected, our perpetually stupid state party took the wrong message from their defeat: AGAIN. Next time, they say, they'll run a conservative:

Former State Dem Chair Rod Smith:

"We simply cannot write off a quarter of a million votes, and have a chance," said Smith.

Translation: For all the talk by Democratic strategists about the importance of driving up turnout among Democrats in South Florida — especially minorities — Democrats will never be successful if they don't also improve their standing among voters in North Florida, especially white voters.

What makes more sense: getting Democrats to the polls or convincing teabaggers to vote for you? Dumbass.


Tampa Bay Mayor Bob Buckhorn, interviewed on Bay News 9 who said he "may already be the frontrunner for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2018":

...we asked him why he did zero to help Crist this year and what Democrats need to do next time.

"Democrats have to have a candidate that can compete in areas other than the traditional Democratic areas. If you cannot compete, and if you don't have a compelling message, and if you aren't looked upon as someone who is pro-business, who is centrist, who is all about getting things done, north of Orlando you don't stand a chance," Buckhorn said.

You stupid. stupid. stupid people.

You think Alex Sink and Charlie Crist were raging liberals???

Alex Sink was the freaking president of Bank of America! Bank-friendly, wishy-washy, and a horrible campaigner: she embodied everything the FL Democratic Party looks for in a candidate. She campaigned more in the North than the Democratic base in the South. She was uncomfortable running in the minority areas of Miami. Enthusiasm was non-existent in an already tough midterm election, save for the drive to stop the worst fraudster in history from taking office. She failed. After her loss, she learned nothing and tried to get a Congressional seat earlier this year. Somehow, her Democratic strategists thought that attacking the president and running from ACA would be a winnable strategy. Not so much.

After her loss, my party gave up and said "F It, run a republican". So we ran Charlie Crist. Crist as is "centrist" as a politician can possibly be. He's run as a conservative, an independent, and a Democrat. No liberal activist has ever accused him of being a liberal.

So what's next, geniuses? Should we run Ted Cruz?

We did not lose over money. Scott ran ads 2-1. You will never match GOP funding-but you don't have to. What you DO have to do is run on a strong core message and stick to it. Most of all, you need a candidate who will RALLY THE BASE. That means running a GD progressive!

Try to run someone who will actually EXCITE our voters to the polls. Alan Grayson is such a person. He has the name recognition and the national presence to bring in necessary funds, and he will have an army of volunteers THROUGHOUT our state.

There are more Democrats than republicans, but they don't turn out for the Jim Davises, or Alex Sinks or the Charlie Crists. I PROMISE you the problem isn't having a candidate who will run from our platform and will be indistinguishable from the GOP candidate. In our leadership's small minds, this will make him "more acceptable" to white republicans, but they will vote for the candidate with the R beside his name anyway. WHO THE HELL CARES if they vote against our candidate hating him more or less?

I can go on about the failures of our leadership, but that's counterproductive. I would rather just have Alan Grayson run in the primary in 2018. I don't even care if the FL Dem leadership likes him or not--so far everyone they have opposed has been successful anyway.

Look, we tried it their way every single time. What's the definition of insanity again? Let's say this once, JUST ONCE, we try to run a Democrat. A Democrat that embodies our principles and fights for what he or she believes in.

And just see what happens.

Merry Christmas, Ramadan, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Tet, Festivus, whatever...

I heard about someone berating a Wal-Mart greeter because the swine had the audacity to wish the person a happy holiday season. (IT's MERRY CHRISTMAS! DAMMIT!)

The squakers at Fox News have managed to make a partisan issue even out of a holiday greeting. Corporations and strangers usually go with the generic "Happy Holidays" not because they secretly hate Christians and want to wage a "War on Christmas", but more likely to be considerate of all faiths, including those who don't celebrate the birth of our Christian savior.

I do say "Merry Christmas" to my Christian friends, and "Happy Hanukkah" to my Jewish friends. But I usually wish people a happy and safe holiday season who I don't know. It's the same reason I don't go up to strangers in April and say "Happy Passover!"

If anything, the strangers get more out of this than my Christian friends... I am wishing them to be festive the entire season from Christmas to New Years, instead of just one day.

I suppose to make Bill O'Reilly happy, instead of "Happy Holidays" his bosses could have the Wal-Mart greeter memorize the following instead:

Have a Merry Christmas
and/or a Contented Feast of the Immaculate Conception
or Happy Hanukkah
or Joyous Kwanzaa
or a Kickn' "Tet"
or a Blissful Bodhi Day
or a Cheerful Maunajiyaras
or Wonderful Festival of Lights
or a Blessed Ramadan
or a Good Winter Solstice
and/or a Joyful Canadian Boxing Day
and a Festive Festivus,
and a Happy New Year!

--oh, and welcome to Wal-Mart.

Or you could just do what Fox News actually does, and wish their viewers Happy Holidays. (Suck it, Bill)

Whatever your holiday, enjoy it. --from all of us at the Seminole Democrat in Sunny Florida

Today is National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Gun Violence

I'm not a politician, but I'm decreeing it because I can.

Two years ago today, children were slaughtered by a nut with an assault rifle that was designed to do the most damage in the shortest amount of time. According to a Newtown EMT on that day, that objective "was achieved."

The mother was NRA-certified gun nut who thought it was just dandy to let her deranged kid play with high-powered assault rifles.

The killer showed no mercy. Some of the teachers, whose entire profession is constantly mocked by conservatives, gave their lives for kids who were crying that they just wanted Christmas. Yet the NRA and their supporters told the parents, in some cases literally, to go to hell. No limits to anyone for any killing machine no matter how lethal. Background checks were somehow an "affront" to the Constitution or some bullshit.

Since Newtown there have been 100 school shootings. This is a uniquely American problem. Other nations that allow citizens to carry guns don't have this problem. This is a direct result from a vocal minority being allowed to suppress any sensible legislation, and have politicians cower in their shadow. This despite poll after poll showing upwards of 85% of people favoring sensible gun laws, and the NRA being defeated roundly in every ballot initiative this past election (in what was the most red election in history).

I want today to be a day of remembrance, for the lives that were lost and what could have been if Americans didn't allow evil entities to use fear/hate to manipulate them or apathy to turn a blind eye.

All of the children killed to this point deserve better, plus the ones that will be killed inevitably tomorrow.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Two Down... (No, Make That Three)

Rick Scott hasn't even officially started his second term yet, but already, he's down one cabinet position. This time it was his head of Corrections, Michael Crews. Though it was billed as a retirement, it seems kind of funny that it happened just as a collection of scandals closed in on Scott's crew member. You know, things like inmate gangs led by prison guards taking over a prison in the Pandhandle, multiple inmate deaths like this one at the hands of sadistic guards, a health care privatization scheme that has a couple of corporate donors of Scott's doing things like treating bone cancer with ibuprofen, a whistleblower suit against Crews and Scott....just another ho hum day for the Scott administration.

Less publicized was the departure of Herschel Vinyard of DEP, who never met a polluter he didn't like. 

And now, just a day after I first wrote this...Scott's DOT secretary resigned, also under a cloud of scandal.

So if you thought Scott's second term would be cleaner than the first, it looks like you were wrong. Instead we can expect more of the same, as Scott guts state agencies to fund corporate tax breaks for corporations like Colt Manufacturing that still haven't brought jobs here after nearly 4 years. (In fact, get this....something I just discovered while writing it looks like Colt is in danger of going belly-up. Now that was a great investment of your tax dollars, wasn't it?)

It would be nice to bring something good out of all of this musical chairs in Scott's cabinet, but about the only thing I can suggest is that maybe we place some odds for who's likely to hit the dirt next. 

Maybe we should start a roulette wheel with all of the Scott's cabinet members on it and spin it to see who resigns next.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

One More Reason to Be Happy? You're Not in KANSAS!

I don't mean to make light of other people who are in greater misery (and are apparently even stupider) than we are in Florida. But if you're ever feeling down, you can always have a look at the state where the Tea Party program is being executed to its fullest -- and that's in Kansas, under Governor (and former United States Senator) Sam Brownback.

When Rick Scott was simultaneously cutting taxes and budgets early in his first term, the hue and cry became so great that he turned generous on us and restored many of the worst cuts. I happen to believe that is in part because he is a man without principles. Sam Brownback, in contrast, seems to have some degree of principle in him, and despite hue and cry in his own state when the damages piled up, he stuck to his guns.

The result? You can see it reported in papers from the area. Kansas is going into a deep revenue hole, and as a result will have to severely cut government services at some point in the near future -- including vital projects related to infrastructure, and education. Like Florida, Kansas has a balanced budget requirement, so there's no way for them to get around it. Brownback has said he refuses to consider reversing past tax cuts, or cancelling future tax cuts that are part of his plan, even though his utopian vision of businesses flocking to Kansas with more jobs has yet to come to pass

In fact, Kansas is a very, very good example of how tax breaks for businesses don't lead to jobs, even moreso here than in Florida. Wichita, Kansas is  the home of the industrialist Koch brothers, who have enough cash to wipe their rear ends with $10,000 bills every day. They also have more than enough money to start new businesses in Kansas that could employ every single unemployed Kansan for years to come, even if they never turned a profit. But as our blog host has remarked more than once, there's no reason for a business to hire anyone unless they need to. They sure won't hire someone just so they can give them a job and pay for, you know, unimportant stuff like food and shelter.

One more thing about Kansas to make you feel better about Florida. Opposition to Brownback in Kansas was even greater than opposition to Scott in Florida. In fact, opposition to Brownback was downright bi-partisan. So how did Kansas voters respond to this rare display of unity? Why, they re-elected Brownback of course -- and by an even larger margin (50% to 46.1%) than Floridians re-elected Scott.

Now don't you feel a WHOLE lot better?

Saturday, November 08, 2014

10 Reasons for Florida Dems to Smile Post Midterm Election

This "wave" election was more like low-tide: the lowest voter turnout in our history. We do this dance every two years. However, you don't have to wait until 2016 to smile....

1. Even in a red wave election, our issues won everywhere, even here

Amendment 1 was a slap in the face of GOP legislators who keep destroying our land. It requires that a percentage of real estate taxes go to buying land to protect our water and environment, instead of the GOP's slush funds.

Despite the loss of Amendment 2, which would have allowed doctors to prescribe medical cannabis, (although they can still prescribe OPIUM--which makes no damn sense), it received 58% of the vote! A few years ago that would have been a victory, but the GOP pushed for an amendment a few years ago to require 60% passage. (Ironically, that was the only amendment that year not to make the 60% threshold). Even in a red anger election, Amendment 2 was only two points shy of passage! They will hopefully try again in 2016 with the blue wave. Don't worry--it's coming.

Amendment 3, which was a power grab by Rick Scott, lost handily.

Meanwhile, across the nation minimum wage laws won everywhere, including the four red states of Arkansas, Alaska, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Paid sick leave was granted (everywhere but in Orange County). Voters in Colorado and North Dakota rejected the "personhood" amendment, which has now lost in every single state they tried. The biggest loser of the night? THE NRA! Gun control measures won everywhere, including Washington State where people are now required to undergo criminal background checks before buying guns online. (How radical.) And Oregon and DC legalized marijuana. (We just said at least for people suffering and dying). Which reminds me....

2. Florida Democrats can push much of their agenda through FL Constitutional amendments

The majority of the state wants a clean environment, teacher protection, sensible gun laws, worker's rights, and a higher minimum wage. All of these CAN be on the ballot in 2016.

Maybe, JUST MAYBE, the Florida Dems will finally figure out that they can get a lot of what they want through these amendments since most Floridians support them. We have a real shot at this, compared to zero chance of trying to reason with the GOP gerrymandered nutcases in the legislature. Yes, there are some GOP PACs and interest groups that might fight, but they typically bankroll candidates and don't spend money on amendments. Case in point, in 2010 Floridians received a lot of protection from extreme gerrymandering in 2010 because of two amendments that passed. The GOP claimed they only passed because everyone was pouring money into the state races. Also, Amendment 1 passed this year because no one wanted to spend big bucks this year saying they hated the environment.

3. Rick Scott and arrogant GOP will overreach, insult, and destroy. That will build the anger in 2016 as it did in 2012.

This happens every damn year after the midterms. These awful teabag guvs do their worst work during that time period. As usual, people who stayed home in the midterms will then come out in droves to support the Dems. In 2011, that is when Scott was at his peak of horror: voter suppression, HS rail kill, the emergency cuts for the disabled kids, cuts for rape centers and Veterans, massive education cuts, the scheme to turn all of our parks into golf courses, his veto of driver's licenses for immigrants along with his hateful harassment measures, etc. etc.

He is now no longer restrained by anything because this was his last election. He has no more reason to pander to the Latino and other minority groups after his extreme makeover this year. He can be his true bigoted self. Speaking of which...

4. This will tick your GOP buddies off: Rick Scott only won by backpedaling hard this year pretending to be more liberal

After cutting education by 1.3 billion in 2011, he gave a lot of it back after suddenly realizing that wasn't a great move for an upcoming election. He suddenly reversed position on every anti-Latino measure he favored: he undid his vetoes of 2011 along with dropping any support of any AZ-type bill. He let a young girl suffering from a horrible seizures get some relief from cannabis oil. He rolled back some of the more extreme voter suppression efforts after the 2012 disaster here. Also, for the first time in 15 years, this year went by with no new gun bill.

Those of us who paid attention knew exactly what Scott was up to. But it says something that both he and Charlie both thought the key to winning was moving to the Left.

Florida will no doubt be a battleground in 2016, and the GOP will PUSH HARD for him to keep this up, or at least remain less teabag crazy. Scott, however, has absolutely no incentive to do so. He made a lot of promises that will contrast to how he will inevitably act by 2016, thus helping ensure a blue state for Hillary.

5. I will have plenty to write about

Seriously, I wondered how I would do it with a sensible governor.

6. Rick Scott legally can't be our governor after 2018

No matter what, in 2018 Rick Scott will disappear. Believe it or not, the state and national GOP will actually be relieved. Despite years they put in cultivating a political process in this state that leans heavily towards the GOP candidate, and despite the 75% turnout of angry non-minorities in midterms, they had to spend MILLIONS and MILLIONS and MILLIONS to prop up Scott because he was that bad. The GOP, along with the Kochs and special interests, would much rather have spent that money elsewhere. However, turning a dog from a 10+ deficit is no cheap task. If they put up somebody who was even remotely sensible, they could have spent a lot less.

The bad news is that Pam Bondi might be our governor after Rick Scott leaves. If the FL Dems wiseup as I mentioned above, and we start early, and maybe for ONCE not put a GOP-lite candidate as our only selection--we might pull this off next time.

7. Good night for Congressional Dems: Balance kept with one surprising pickup

Well done, Gwen. Gwen Graham ran in the conservative panhandle and STILL beat incumbent Steve Southerland. She made up for the one loss in a conservative district in South Florida. Also, Patrick Murphy, who defeated Allen West just two years ago, kicked butt again. And then there's Alan Grayson, who really should be our nominee in 2018. Speaking of which...

8. Alan Grayson showed how it's done.

He didn't back off and decide the key to winning was run scared and bash Obama. No, he touted the Obama successes--cheap gas, low unemployment, record dow, and the fact that Floridians have healthcare despite GOP obstruction.

Alan Grayson really should be our nominee in 2018. He fires up the base, says what everyone is thinking, hits hard, and uses GOP tactics against them. Also, he damn sure can't be labeled an "extremist" --since that is who is running Florida right now.

FL Dems... maybe put up somebody who isn't GOP lite? Alex and Charlie didn't cut it. Alan would eviscerate Bondi in both ads and debates. I really think he would pull it off but even if he didn't, everyone if Florida would know her shenanigans.

9. Florida activists might finally channel their anger where it belongs

Gerrymandering and dark money helped the GOP, but the neither can be blamed on the state elections. Yes, voting was made harder, but people had ample opportunity to vote.

Although the GOP has an overwhelming money and power structure advantage, one of the biggest reasons we failed was our apathetic and pathetic state party. I go into more detail about this in my last post. Most candidates can't count on any kind of support from their own party. Myself and other activists had to put together our OWN event to raise funds for local Congressional candidates: they wouldn't even loan us freaking chairs! I called a dozen local chapters and none of them ever got back with me on coordinating something. My own local party had NO GOTV effort. People here complained they couldn't even get stupid signs for their lawn. What the hell is the point?

The fringe activists took over many of the local GOP parties in 2010, and others just set up their own tea party organizations. Dem activists who are both hungry and NOT stupid need to start taking control. Waiting for the FL Dems to clean up their act is a guaranteed strategy for losing every time.

10, The city of Tallahassee, where the corrupt legislators "work", just passed the first anti-corruption bill in the United States

Tallahassee residents showed the FL GOP what's what with this groundbreaking stuff that even the Koch machine was unable to defeat. The momentum for this great success should be carried on in a Constitutional Amendment for the entire state in 2016. I would LOVE the presidential candidate (likely Scott Walker) to explain why he opposes this. The momentum for intelligent but obvious no-brainers like this law is on our side, and we should take advantage now.


OH, and one more thing....If all else fails, maybe South Florida will finally be serious about succession. No less extreme than having Rick Scott for another four years.

I want to blame the GOP, but the problem was within

The GOP had a lot of advantages this election. Voter intensity, gerrymandering, voter suppression efforts, Koch money, and being able to control all the levers of power in the state government. Yet they are not the reason we lost.

Candidate after candidate told me they received little if any support from the local or state Dem party. There was hardly any GOTV. There was some phonebanking, but mostly from the Crist campaign. I could find no volunteer efforts for canvassing. There was no listening to the activists about crafting any kind of message. We should have hit the FL GOP hard on their policies against Latinos, the environment, the disabled, the Veterans, and middle class families, but there was none of that. I don't even know what their message was--I truly think they didn't have one.

I recall when a young activist took over the Seminole County Democrats in the 2000s--we knocked on doors, registered voters, and then organized a fleet to drive people on election day. She made a difference and was one of the grassroots leaders that made victory possible in 2006 and 2008. This year I didn't see any opportunities like that. The GOP and the Koch group, FL AFP, swarmed neighborhoods like mine. According to the my local party's website, the only volunteer opportunities were helping the community--a noble goal but kinda misses the boat in an election year. There were no canvassing efforts, and a lady even contacted me, mistakenly thinking I was a Seminole County Dem official, and demanded to know where her lawn sign was before telling me not to bother.

I worked with an activist this year to hold our OWN event/fundraiser for Dem candidates across the state. No help from any local party, and the FL Dems even refused to announce it on their website. Eight candidates showed from across the state and some online. Crist had promised he would stop by but one of his very young "schedulers" called right before the speeches to say he couldn't come. He regretted it when he found out the turnout was great and we had more Veterans, voters, and candidates than the place he went to. WE also found out his running mate was right next door doing a failed campaign stop at the "Villages". Seriously--who the hell were you trying to talk to there?

The leader of the national party, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, from my own state, is frankly the worst leader we've ever had. Dean fired up supporters and had a successful 50 state strategy, with the revelation that we can't win national elections with fucking the coastal states and Illinois. With Debbie WS, we went right back to that mindset. She supported the "run from Obama" strategy, outright refused to go after the Veteran vote, and didn't offer help to her own party candidates. She even attacked medical marijuana, which had a 90% approval at the beginning of the year. I expect to fight--but not my own party.

Activists have to take control of the county parties. Change has to come from within. If that doesn't work, we need to organize for ourselves. Otherwise, a state with 500,000 more Democrats will forever be an entirely controlled GOP state.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Could the GOP Save Us From Rick Scott?

As the gloom of four more years of Rick Scott settles over the state, I once again contemplated what horrors may be ahead. Many think that Scott, with no re-election restraints hanging over him, will return to his Tea Party roots and once again become the kind of terror that slashed funds for disabled children and rape crisis centers.

I certainly think we need to be prepared for that possibility, and I respect the views of those who think this will be the case. It isn't at all far-fetched. But I proposed earlier in a comment here that maybe Scott would instead turn his focus towards enriching himself as much as he could (such as by encouraging fracking in the Everglades) rather than cutting budget items. That's because I believe that Scott is truly a man of no principles, save his own personal gain: It seems to me the best way to explain why he abandoned his Tea Party promises like the Arizona-style immigration law, and verbally approved of other things that his Tea Party base found offensive, like Medicaid expansion. It is also why he calls himself pro-life even after making money off abortions at HCA.

After some thought, I'd like to propose a reason why this seems a more likely approach, and one we can hope will be true (although in the same sense we might hope to be hit with a fiddle instead of with a grand piano). Oddly enough, the nationwide GOP may be our best (albeit unwitting) ally in keeping Scott leashed. And no, it's not because they care about us -- it's because they care about their own skins.

The GOP knows it needs Florida to win the Presidency in 2016. This is not in question. They need Texas AND Florida to balance the electoral weight of New York and California. Otherwise, they may as well not even field a candidate.

Scott called in several GOP Presidential hopefuls to aid his campaign: Perry, Christie, Jindal, Bush, Rubio. Walker probably would have been here too, if he had not been running himself in Wisconsin. In 2012, even a year or so after the worst of Scott's atrocities, Scott was so toxic that the GOP breathed a sigh of relief when a hurricance gave Scott the perfect excuse for not speaking at the GOP convention in Tampa. But now, they have staked their fate for the 2016 race on Scott by standing shoulder to shoulder with him.

What does this mean? Speaking figuratively, we can imagine a scene on Scott's campaign bus where Christie is taking Scott by the scruff of the neck and saying, "Don't screw this up for us." (Again, you didn't think they were here because they cared about the people of Florida, did you?) If Scott returns to the highest grade of toxicity, the same he had in his first years, the GOP Presidential aspirations will wither away gruesomely, like chaff under fire. As it is, in 2012, they couldn't take Florida while Scott's toxicity was slowly waning and the atrocities like budget cuts to disabled children were still fresh in our memories. The GOP, with their "wave" of 2014 wins, is under the miscroscope to perform, and needs to have the next two years with Florida's citizens thinking happy thoughts about Scott. Cutting funds to disabled children won't accomplish that.

But do these GOP hopefuls have anything to hold over Scott if he does not behave, you may ask? Yes, I think so. Scott may or may not have political ambitions beyond being governor, but if he does have any, they will be quashed if he does not do exactly what the national GOP wants, or if he embarrasses them. But even if he has no such ambitions, the GOP could still make things hard on his private holdings in various states. And of course, even if they can't hold anything over Scott, they could still take sanctions over whoever wants to be Scott's successor. Make no mistake -- when he rubbed shoulders with the GOP hopefuls, Scott stuck his head in a velvet vise that could as easily give him a massage as snap his neck in two.

Speaking as an Independent voter, I'd recommend that Democrats keep in mind, and keep at the fore, how Christie, Jindal, Perry, Rubio and Bush repeated Scott's campaign lies. Those lies could be used to discredit each of them on a nationwide scale, if any of them manages to capture the GOP nomination. (That also assumes Perry stays out of jail.) But for the present, I'm suggesting that Florida's position in the national election scene may stave off the worst of Scott's possible actions. It may even make him relatively tame, but perhaps that is hoping too much.

We can only hope this is a ray of light in an otherwise gloomy forecast for Florida's future.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Publix: Where Suffering Is A Pleasure

The Jenkins family, who own Publix, spent hundreds of thousands against Amendment 2, which would give life-saving treatment to suffering and dying patients.

Publix is one of the main grocery chains around here. They are known for being more expensive and crappy customer service. I stopped shopping there last year when 4 clerks ignored me. Maybe spend more money on making your damn stores better?

Why the hell would a grocery chain based in FL do something this incredibly stupid? Answer: I have NO idea why. Some speculate it is because it would crimp their alcohol and tobacco sales. Others think it is related to their pharmacies losing business.

Either way, I can't ever support those who advocate for continued suffering and incarceration for their diseases.


Still can hate on Scott....

When Will We Ever Get Rid of This Flag

In a state that has more Democrats than anything else, we have a criminal teabag governor, a supermajority House, and a complete GOP cabinet sweep. The Kochs and the NRA have complete control. Very poor wages, no benefits, voter suppression, and more cuts to education, Veterans, disabled children, and the environment. The top percent and special interests, as always, will fare well. The rest of us will continue to suffer.

I promised to confront the voter apathy here, especially at the midterms, but the ignorance is strong in our people. This is a constant uphill battle.

We are so behind in our economy (low wage hell), our health, our transportation, our education, and quality of life compared to progressive states. But that is life under the regime.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Don't Get Complacent - Go for the Landslide!

A new poll out today shows Crist ahead by a good margin. That's good news. The bad news is the same poll had Sink up by 5 with 2 weeks left in the 2010 race. The point is: Don't let the good news lead you to stay home because you think this is wrapped up for Crist. Even if the poll is 100% accurate reflecting the larger picture, we need to send a message to the FL GOP that Tea Party lunacy will NOT be tolerated, and that FL voters are not for sale.

Message to Rick Scott and the Koch Brothers: 10 Reasons FL Hispanics Are Not This Stupid

Early Voting TODAY in Florida!! Go NOW before polls close today!

From the article Americans for Prosperity Builds Political Machine

Andres Malave walks the street of a west Miami neighborhood. He started the day huddled with about a dozen volunteers in a Cuban restaurant here, offering them a last-minute pep talk before they went out to meet with voters....These volunteer ground troops make up the backbone of Americans for Prosperity, the flagship organization of the political network overseen by industrialist billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch.

... Malave, the group’s Hispanic outreach chief in Florida, spent more than three hours knocking on doors in the scorching sun on a recent Tuesday. He kept asking the questions and punching in the answers on his iPad so leaders at headquarters could figure out which messages were working

Koch billionaires. These are the rat bastards behind Arizona's "papers please" law and the media demonization of small children fleeing violence in Central America in an effort to stop immigration reform. They're building a massive database to target specific groups of people with specific messages. What is disgusting is that they will have people going to poor, white neighborhoods to find people who will be targeted with the ultra-racist "scary brown people are coming for your jobs" narrative. Simultaneously, they have these "Hispanic Outreach" programs that target Hispanic neighborhoods telling them that "Obamacare is coming for your jobs".

For the FL gubernatorial election, Hispanics are being told that Rick Scott is a friend to brown people everywhere... he just can't show it. That's the message being given:
"He's not flashy, he's quiet about it," said an aide to a Hispanic House member, "but when you're around Rick Scott enough you know he's pro-Hispanic all the way. He listens to us and he gets a lot of his ideas from us."

Translated: I secretly like you but I just can't let anyone know that I do. Maybe that's why I screw you over all the time, but we're cool, right??

The FL GOP continually spits on our Latino community and then thinks they will forget a few weeks before the election when they pander. No amount of money is going to change the feeling about rightwing conservatives. You need to look no further than Rick Scott. Last year I wrote a very short list about his issues with Hispanics. I have added to it, along with evidence of what the FL GOP is really all about. This is our last chance to get the message out before Election Day.

1. Rick Scott has a history of discrimination

Rick Scott's Solantic, the medical chain he founded from his Medicaid fraud scandal, was not a friendly place for people who weren't "mainstream" (Rick Scott's words). The Regional Medical Director complained he was not allowed to hire well-qualified applicants who had the slightest Hispanic accent. His claim is verified by multiple employees.

And if you need a clearer picture....

2. Rick Scott insults Hispanic fundraiser, then defended bigots on his staff!.

Like Solantic, Scott has "mainstream" people make up his core staff--and there is a well-known intolerant culture. One exception to his core staff makeup was Miguel ("Mike") Hernandez, Scott's finance co-chair. Mike was his largest single donor and his best fundraiser. Naturally, he was treated to a racist incident involving two high-level white, male staffers who thought it hilarious to mimick a Mexican accent on the way to Chipotle. (His staff is as socially inept as Rick Scott.) Mike fired off an angry email about the incident and was brushed off. He then abruptly quit.

Rick Scott's campaign wasted no time in apologizing stabbing Mike in the back. His campaign director called him "bizarre" and a "renegade donor" (what??). He also called his complaint "immaterial foolishness". Scott's campaign manager just called him a liar.

Rick Scott then DEFENDED the two immature bigoted young men, simultaneously insulting his Hispanic "friend" and allowing his culture of intolerance within his campaign to continue unabated. You would think his largest single donor AND most successful fundraiser would carry some weight---but he was brown and his staffers were white, sooooo.....

3. The RNC's Florida Hispanic Director and GOP FL lawmker switch to Democrat over the FL GOP's "culture of intolerance" and hate

RNC State Director Of Florida Outreach, Pablo Pantoja, switched to the Democratic Party last year saying:

It doesn’t take much to see the culture of intolerance surrounding the Republican Party today. I have wondered before about the seemingly harsh undertones about immigrants and others. Look no further; a well-known organization recently confirms the intolerance of that which seems different or strange to them

He was joined this year by a prominent Republican activist and former GOP legislator, Ana Rivas Logan, who also had enough and switched.

4. GOP leaders call Puerto Rico a "basketcase" and its people "foreigners"

This year, the GOP chair for Orange County, one of Florida's largest counties which includes Orlando, described Puerto Rico as a "semi-socialist government where the highest aspiration is a nice secure government job." The fact that we have a large Puerto Rican population didn't phase him, because he went on to say the whole island was "a terrible basket case." None of that is true. Puerto Rico is not remotely socialist, and their government jobs are comparable to the US as a whole. But whatever.

Now-former GOP Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite didn't call them leaches, but did say they were "foreigners". Not only did she insult them, she had the unmitigated gall to have her staff insist to journalists that she stood by her statement even after repeatedly being told that statement was factually incorrect. Facts mean little to republicans. The fact that they can be so insulting to one out of five Floridians shows how little regard they have for their fellow American citizens who might look a little darker.

5. Despite near unanimous support in legislature, Rick Scott vetoed driver's license bill just to be a racist dick!

Even in our wacky, teabag conservative legislature, the state senate passed a bill that would have allowed children of undocumented aliens to obtain temporary Florida driver's licenses 36-0. The even teabaggier House passed it 115-2. It was a slam dunk. Yet Scott vetoed it.

He didn't gave a reason. It passed with such a margin that it would be overridden, but Scott vetoed it anyway just as an FU to brown people.

Years later, in the Telemundo debate with Charlie Crist, he was directly asked why. He said some nonsense that it wouldn't have made a difference because applicants who get work permits can get driver's licenses at the same time. This is not always the case. Sometimes the paperwork is weeks or months delayed, and the law would have allowed Dreamers to get their temporary driver's license until the permit came in. Again, Scott was just being an ass.

Said State Sen. Soto: “Simply unconscionable, it’s a[n] .... anti-Hispanic move."

6. Rick Scott tried to purge THOUSANDS of Hispanic voters

Such is the case in Florida. Of the 180,000 potential noncitizens identified for purging in 2012, less than 0.02% were actually ineligible. Nearly 60 percent of those included in the initial list were Hispanic – meanwhile, Hispanic voters make up only 13 percent of Florida’s electorate.

Only about 60 were legitimate out of Scott's initial 182,000 purges. Keep in mind millions of Floridians voted.

And Sick Rott had promised to try again in 2014. He was even going to do the same bastard move of purging 55 days before the election like in 2012, but luckily, an appeals court shut him down.

7. Study showed that Florida Hispanics wait in the longest lines to vote

Scott signed a sweeping voter suppression act during his first full year as governor. Many polling places throughout South Florida were eliminated, along with early-voting days. A study by the Advancement Project found that out of all the ethnic groups, it was Hispanic voters who waited the longest. In Miami-Dade, the average time was 73 minutes. There were reports of people waiting up to EIGHT freaking hours to vote.

Other highlights from the study showed that Hispanic voters were more likely to have to use a provisional ballot and almost twice as likely to have those ballots rejected.

8. Rick Scott supported AZ-style anti-brown bill... That EXEMPTED white people!!

GOP chairman of the House Judiciary committee, William Snyder, proposed a law that would allow police to harass people "suspected" of being here illegally yet specifically exempted Canadians and Western Europeans to ensure only the appropriate "brown-people" minority would be targeted. (This was the closest to saying "leave Whitey alone" and get away with it). He even admitted it wasn't about "rule of law" or "jobs" but was worried about what was happening to our country.

This law was too bigoted for even for the Florida legislature, but Rick Scott not only supported it, he embraced it and promised to sign it if it made it to his desk!

9. Rick Scott even insults when pandering

Rick Scott insulted a Latina reporter by trying to strong arm her into only discussing his love of brown people and NO OTHER QUESTIONS. She took to the airwaves to say how wrong that was. And then there was that insulting ad that was pulled for trying a little too hard. (Ironically, the one featuring a Miami business owner who turned out to be a convicted human smuggler was not pulled.)

10. Rick Scott worked with PamBo to spend tax money on fighting Latino resident citizens from getting in-state tuition!

Scott says “I completely oppose” the Texas program, which Gov. Perry defends, of granting in-state tuition rates to illegal alien college students.

That was from a newsmax article in 2011. He says he never said that now that he is desperately trying to pander to Latinos.

Our tax dollars went to defend what the judge correctly described as a "blatantly unconstitutional" policy to deny American citizens the right to in-state tuition unless their parents could prove legal residency. The US District Court judge even lectured the state for trying to take their rights away. But that didn't stop Rick Scott or Pam Bondi. It wasn't their money.

Scott reversed himself this year and is now saying he was for it all the time. Because we are all idiots.

Well, maybe we are. We did vote him in and the race is a lot closer than it should be. Scott is right--we do have short memories. Nothing I'm saying here should be news to anyone, but it always is.

Take action. ActĂșe Ahora.

These are just a few examples of how Hispanics specifically have been hurt the past four years. Rick Scott has hurt everyone of us who is well-connected or extremely wealthy by taking money from the disabled, our Veterans, our environment, the uninsured, and our working families to pay for schemes that allow he and his cronies to get very, very wealthy. All Floridians, whatever our heritage, deserve a hell of a lot better than this. Please vote today....

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Florida 2014 Elections Endorsements from the Seminole Democrat

Go and bookmark this page on your mobile phone. Then go vote. NOW!

In Florida, early voting started Monday, October 20. The best place to find your early voting locations and/or the polling place on Nov. 4 is your LOCAL County's Supervisor of Elections website (click here). The best way would be to put all the information in one location but our Secretary of State under Rick Scott isn't much into helping you vote. (You can see what his focus is on the main elections website with voting fraud getting the bold treatment. After all, we've had 0 incidents of in-person voter fraud.)

The state races I give. For local races I can only do Seminole County. If somebody clues me in to an important local race or candidate, (see "contact us" button at top or use comments below), of course I'll research and include that. Special thanks to Howard Mass.

Remember, this is a progressive state blog that is in no way affiliated with the Seminole Co. Democratic Party. I even disagree with both of their Congressional choices (especially FL-7).

For races that are particularly important to me, I explain my rationale in the link with their name:

Governor/LT. Governor: CHARLIE CRIST (D)

U.S. Congress: In every district that has a Democrat, VOTE DEMOCRAT with three exceptions:

U.S. Congress District 7: Al Krulick (NPA) (not Republican John Mica or Democrat Wes Neuman)

U.S. Congress District 5: Glo Smith (R) (not Democrat Corrine Brown)

U.S. Congress District 53: Dean Kearns (NPA) (not Republican John Tobias or Democrat Santa Isabel Wright)

U.S. State Legislature and State Senate: VOTE the DEMOCRAT in every election. If there is no Democrat, vote NPA or third party (even Libertarian).

Attorney General: George Sheldon (D) (NOT PamBo)

Commissioner of Agriculture: Thad Hamilton (D)

Chief Financial Officer: Will Rankin (D)

Florida Constitutional Amendments:
Amendment 1: Conservation: Yes
Amendment 2: Medical Marijuana: Yes
Amendment 3: Lame Duck Governor Picks Judges: HELLS NO!

Court of Appeals Judges (Designated by YES or NO):
A word on District Court of Appeals Judges


  • House District 29: Mike Clelland (D)
  • House District 30: Karen Castor Dentel (D)
  • House District 28: Franklin Perez (LPF) (not Republican Jason Brodeur)
  • Senate District 10: Walter Osborne (NPA)
  • School Board District 1: Rich Sloane
  • Circuit Judge Group 13: George Paulk
  • Circuit Judge Group 19: Mitch Krause
  • Circuit Judge Group 23: Nancy Maloney

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Having trouble voting in Florida? Call this number...

Colorado Station Busts Megyn Kelly for Outright Lying; FoxNews Offers No Correction

What bobblehead Megyn Kelly did was literally make this up:

On her Fox News show this week, Megyn Kelly drew viewer attention to possible voter fraud in Colorado over a law that she said “literally allows residents to print ballots from their home computers, then encourages them to turn ballots over to collectors.”

She used air quotes to say "collectors". Worse, she opened by saying that this was a scheme by Democrats to do away with "traditional polling places". She added, with a smirk, "what could go wrong?"

And this is Why Fox News and their rightwing supporters are the only ones left who try to say it is anything other than a sleazy, ideologoical sham posing as a news agency.

Megyn Kelly outright lied: Colorado citizens cannot print their ballots and give them to "collectors". One simple phonecall to any elections supervisor or Sec. of State office would have told her that, if there was any fact checking going on at Fox.

The only people who can print out ballots are active military personnel serving overseas, which as Rachel Maddow pointed out in a blistering response, they could always do even before the vote-by-mail law passed:

Neither Fox News nor Megyn Kelly offered a correction. They never do. So Colorado 9News anchor, Kyle Clark, had to draw a rebuke since Fox News refused to recall a blatant lie:

“We normally reserve our truth test for political ads, but that claim is misleading.”

Can anyone here name a "news" outlet that would blatantly lie and then continue to lie even after being called out on it? There are none--because Fox has never been one. Legitimate journalists try to get to the truth, Fox (and friends) tries to make up the truth to suit their rightwing objectives.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Rick Scott sends white supporters to harass black voters

Nice, Rick:

What began Saturday afternoon in Fort Lauderdale as an early voting rally for Charlie Crist turned into a shouting match, featuring the former governor’s supporters squaring off against those backing his opponent Rick Scott.

Crist’s bus pulled into the parking lot of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center at about noon Saturday and was greeted by a crowd of supporters, mostly black Democrats. Also on hand were Scott supporters, mostly white, carrying “shame on you” signs. Scott’s group included one person barking into a megaphone.

He had to harass them this weekend, because Rick Scott eliminated early voting the Sunday before election day for the sole reason of preventing black Churches from organizing poll drives.

You know, Rick Scott has spent the last four years suppressing the African-American vote, fiercely defended George Zimmerman while refused any changes to our "Stand Your Ground" law, cut completely state support for our black colleges, refused to appoint minority judges, and even told black legislators they had a sixth-grade education. You'd really think he's done enough to show his contempt.

But you don't know Rick.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Twelve Foundational Falsehoods of the Scott Campaign

 This is an update to a list I made earlier. Pass it around and make sure everyone knows what Scott's campaign is based on.

Lie: Charlie Crist was responsible for the loss of over 800,000 jobs in Florida.

Fact: Those jobs were lost because of a nationwide recession that resulted in jobs being lost in EVERY state -- and which no one could, or did, do anything about.

Scott’s campaigners have said that Crist “oversaw” the last economic crisis (e.g., Crist “oversaw massive spikes in unemployment”). But Crist clearly had no control over, and had nothing to do with, a nationwide economic crisis that mostly had to do with a bursting real estate bubble and bad loan crisis. 

Scott has also absurdly claimed that Florida should not have lost jobs during the last recession, citing things like the lack of state income tax. None of the factors he cites would have had any bearing on the causes of the recession, which affected states that had no income tax. Scott was clearly making that claim up.

Scott has now invented a jingle about Crist being "powerless for the jobless." But the fact is that if he had been  in charge in 2008-9, he would have been able to do nothing more helpful. He has never answered questions about what Crist could have done to stop the loss of 800,000 jobs.  

A new attack ad asks why Florida lost the second most jobs of any state in the nation. It seems rather obvious that the state with the third largest population would be likely to rank second in job loss, especially when its economy depends heavily on tourism (and other people having money).

During the third debate, he was asked this question and gave a misleading answer explaining how he thinks Crist could have REPLACED the lost jobs, not how Crist could have prevented their loss in the first place. But his answers are part of the second great falsehood of the Scott campaign.

Lie: Rick Scott is responsible for the return of over 600,000 jobs in Florida.

Fact: Economists predicted that Florida would recover 1 million jobs by 2017 no matter who was elected governor. Scott has just sat by and warmed a chair while it happened.
When he has tried to bring jobs by his own actions, his failure rate so far is 96%. Scott offered tax incentives to a number of companies to come here, but of the approximately 40,000 jobs that were supposed to come from this, only 4% have materialized. Some of the companies offered incentives have even gone out of business.

During the third debate, Crist pointed this out, and Scott replied that these jobs took time to develop. This may be true, but as long as it has taken, if Crist had done the same thing in 2009, we would still be waiting for the jobs even now, and the Scott campaign would no doubt be using it as an example of how Crist's policies were a failure. 

In addition, Scott has religiously attended ceremonies to announce when companies offered these incentives (like Colt Manufacturing) have agreed to take them, and used them as campaign props. Why doesn't he wait until the jobs are actually here before touting it as an achievement of his administration?

Lie: Rick Scott denying saying he would bring 1.7 million jobs to the state by 2017. 

Fact: Scott had campaigned on bringing 700,000 jobs to the state by 2017. He was confronted with the fact that economists predicted 1 million jobs for the state by 2017, no matter who was governor. In response, he said he meant 700,000 jobs ON TOP OF what was predicted. He is recorded twice saying this on camera. He later denied he said it.

Lie: Rick Scott turned a "deficit" under Crist into a surplus.

Fact: Florida's constitution requires a balanaced budget, so there can be no "surplus" or "deficit". Scott is misusing terms. What he refers to as a "surplus" is an actual revenue overage. His so-called "deficit" is actually a projected revenue shortfall. Using the terms this way, in his last year, Charlie Crist had a $433 million "surplus" and a $3.6 billion "deficit" at the same time!

Lie: Rick Scott cut taxes 40 times for families.

Fact: Scott reaches this number dishonestly: By counting the same yearly sales tax holidays multiple times, including those that were in existence before he took office; by counting tax credits (which still require a person to spend money on something else); and by elminiating future scheduled increases in certain fees (so the person still pays money!). Most of the "cuts" are also for businesses, not families, such as one that gave breaks on repairs to planes over a certain weight.

Lie: Rick Scott saved the state pension fund by taking 3% from state workers' pay.

Fact: Florida's pension fund was alrwady one of the healthiest in the world and didn't need "saving". The money also did not go into the retirement fund, but back into the state budget.

Lie: Charlie Crist instituted an automatic 15% tuition hike.

Fact: While Crist did sign a law allowing tuition increases (which was approved by the mostly Republican Legislature, mostly the same people now there under Scott), the increase was not automatic, and did not have to be 15%. 

To make matters worse, Scott himself signed a 15% tuition increase into law in his first year in office.

Lie: Charlie Crist has been part of 3 political parties in 3 years.

Fact: This claim now even appears in a recent attack ad and is used to imply that Crist has no core values. But Crist has been part of only two parties in three years -- Republican and Democrat. The third "party" is not a party, or an ideology: It refers to when Crist ran as an Independent for U.S. Senate. That simply meant he was running apart from any sponsorship of any political party. During that run he was still a registered Republican.
Once that is settled, Crist is no more a "flip flopper" than countless other politicians who have switched parties, including two major Republican heroes who switched from being Democrats in what could just as easily be said to be self-advantageous conditions: Ronald Reagan, and Pam Bondi.

Lie: Charlie Crist "ran away" from the mess he created by running for the U.S. Senate instead of a second term as governor.

Fact: Three questions reveal the falsehood behind this claim.

First, how is it "running away" from a state's problems to run for U.S. Senate representing that state? 

Second, given that the problems of that time were nationwide (even worldwide) in scope, wouldn't running for U. S. Senate be a case of running TOWARDS problems rather than away from them?

Third, if Crist "ran away" by running for U. S. Senate, then so did Marco Rubio, who, although he had term-limited out of his former office, could have easily run for some other state office. In fact, Rubio could even have run for governor of Florida.

Lie: Charlie Crist raised taxes over 2 billion dollars.

Fact: The lie here is not so much that Crist didn't approve tax increases, because he did. The lie is one of leaving out an important fact: These tax increases were first approved by the Republican-dominated Legislature that served with Crist. If Scott points a finger at Crist over this, he also points a finger at his GOP colleagues, including many who still serve in the Legislature to this day. He also points a finger at himself, since Scott did not move to repeal the most popular tax increase (on motor vehicles registrations) until after three years in office. So did we need the money (in which case, Crist was right to raise taxes), or not (in which case, Scott was wrong to keep it going so long)?

Lie: Crist increased the state debt by several billion dollars.

Fact: Here again the problem is one of important information left out. The debt in question was actually bond debt, which is used to fund long term projects. This amount owed by the state did go up under Crist, and did go down under Scott.

However, as with the tax increases, all of this must first have been approved by the Republican-dominated Legislature under Crist. That means Scott is again pointing a finger not just at Crist, but at his own colleagues. In addition, Scott fails to report that bond debt had been going steadily up for decades. It even went up under Bush.  Finally, he fails to report that we still have over 20 billion in bond debt.

Lie: Crist was bankrupting Florida.

Fact: Scott said this in the third debate, and it is a ridiculous claim. Florida is required to have a balanced budget, by law. And again, the Legislature holds the purse strings, which means if this were true, Scott is also blaming his GOP colleagues.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Second Great Secession?

Three days ago I was debating what we ought to do if something worse than a zombie apocalypse happened: What if Rick Scott wins re-election? One of the thoughts I had was that perhaps some part of the state of Florida should secede.

The next day, I saw this story.

That was so prescient I almost bought a lottery ticket.

No, not really. I have lived in this state for decades now, and for full disclosure, I have lived for an extended period in each of the three sectors of it -- North, Central, and South. Secession of some part of the state has always been on someone's mind. But if Scott wins again, that could be the straw that breaks the state's borders.

The article specifies global warming concerns as the reason for the proposal, but it really goes deeper than that. There are currently vast cultural and political divides between what I'll call Tea Party Florida and Progressive Florida. The line between the two runs roughly along I-4, although on the map I saw, divided by county lines, not the highway itself. (That means -- with apologies to  my gracious host here -- that Seminole County would be part of Tea Party Florida. Though, I gather from past posts that he wouldn't disagree with that assessment.)  Metro Orlando and Tampa would be in Progressive Florida. 

Under this scenario, Progressive Florida keeps most of the big money-making spots for the state. That seems appropriate because I find it attractive to stop the Tea Party apparatus in the state from spending our money to advance their agenda. (As the article says, Progressive Florida brings in 69% of the revenue.)

Tea Party Florida can still survive with the port of Jacksonville and the tourism hubs along the Gulf. But it'll be more like Alabama in terms of standing. (Rather appropriate, since when I lived in the Panhandle, so many people there called it "LA" -- lower Alabama.)

Of course there will also be certain pockets left that don't fit the new states. I'd gladly trade the Naples area to Tea Party Florida in exchange for the pockets of students in the university towns. But as a whole, the division would better represent the interests and well-being of both areas.

It's food for thought. If Scott wins, I might just throw my weight into this idea. Maybe I will even if Crist wins. As a native-born son of Florida, I've grown tired (as many have) of having decisions made for me by people far removed from my experiences and ideology. Tea Party Florida is an albatross on the neck of the rest of the state, and maybe it is past time to cut it free.