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seafan's Journal - Archives
Posted by seafan in General Discussion
Tue Oct 30th 2012, 02:22 PM
Today's Tampa Bay Times lays out the truth.

Just say 'no' to all 11 amendments


Florida doesn't need a single one of the measures authored by the Legislature and presented with attractive but deceptive titles and dense summaries.

The amendments fall into two broad categories. One is a pernicious effort to sneak a conservative social agenda into the state Constitution by soft-selling the changes. The other is a raft of tax cuts that benefit arbitrary groups of people and interests. To the casual observer, these tax measures may sport the veneer of beneficent public policy, but they would only make Florida's property tax system more unfair. None is a good deal for the state or the average Floridian.

The kind of duplicity that afflicts many of the amendments is most apparent in Amendment 8. Titled by lawmakers "Religious Freedom," Amendment 8 actually constricts religious freedom by lifting limits on state funding for religious institutions and schools. It would result in Floridians being forced, through their taxes, to support faiths they reject — the very definition of religious compulsion.

Amendment 6, a direct assault on a woman's legal right to choose an abortion, is dressed up to look like palatable limits on public funding of abortion. And Amendment 5, titled "State Courts," is a power grab by the Legislature to wrest greater control over the state judiciary. The amendment's excessively wordy summary will confuse as much as enlighten, particularly when the real fallout of passage would be more politicized courts.

Six of the 11 amendments would shrink public coffers and handicap the ability of the state and local governments to invest in education, public safety, parks and essential services. Amendment 3 would implement a tax-cap scheme that Colorado has already suspended due to its devastating effect. Amendments 2, 9, 10 and 11 represent a cherry-picking approach to property tax breaks, where sentimentally favored groups such as disabled veterans, low-income senior citizens and surviving spouses of those killed in the line of duty, plus businesses, get special deals. And Amendment 4 would further complicate an already grossly unfair property tax system that can find like-situated owners of identical homes or businesses paying far different taxes.

Voters may be tempted to just skip the amendments altogether, but that may be what lawmakers had in mind. Passage requires only 60 percent of the votes cast for each measure, not 60 percent of all voters. Taking the time to vote "no" is essential to defeating them. (Voters in Pinellas County should take care and not confuse the amendments with a school funding measure, which is deserving of voter support.)


(bold type added)

Florida voters, please take the time to vote NO on all of these amendments. We must push back against the duplicitous extremism of the GOP members of our Legislature.

Vote against all state GOP candidates as well, as all of Florida's House and Senate seats are up for election next week. After the past 14 years of the GOP Legislature holding Florida's people as economic hostages, it is time to banish them from power.

Only after that will Florida even begin to recover from these years of malicious abuse by the wanton greed of a few.

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Posted by seafan in General Discussion: Presidency
Sat Oct 27th 2012, 09:03 AM
NO to ALL of the GOP legislature's self-serving, intentionally misleading constitutional amendments.

YES to retain the three state Supreme Court Justices.


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Posted by seafan in Latest Breaking News
Sun Oct 14th 2012, 03:23 PM
Source: Palm Beach Post

Florida’s TB outbreak, dubbed the worst in the nation in 20 years, flourished as state and federal health officials placed political concerns and protocols ahead of informing the general public, documents and interviews show.

More than 4,000 emails among staff at the Florida Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obtained by The Palm Beach Post, show how a disease outbreak became secondary as Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s staff advanced his political priorities to downsize and privatize much of the department.

The emails, which span 2009 to mid-2012, portray CDC staff as consistently deferential to the state, even as their concerns about Florida’s handling of a deadly TB outbreak grew. A key worry: A disease cluster, once confined to the homeless, apparently had affected two Jacksonville teens in 2011, an indication it might be reaching new communities.

Also concerning to CDC epidemiologists, Florida appeared to have no plans to inform the public. In fact, months after the CDC recommended wording to warn the public, the outbreak remained undisclosed.


As all of this was going on last year, outside of public knowledge, Governor Rick Scott and the GOP-controlled Legislature were simultaneously pushing legislation to outsource health department functions; dismantle the centralized Department of Health; eliminate the position of the state health officer; eliminate positions of epidemiological investigators and environmental health officials; and to close Florida's 60-year-old TB hospital in Lantana.

As a result, Florida's only TB hospital, A.G. Holley sanatorium in Lantana, is now closed. And critically important, separate departments have now been merged.

Rick Scott and this GOP-dominated Legislature are a scourge on the state of Florida.

These people are endangering the health of all Floridians, in their pursuit of money, power and control.

They must be stopped, and now.

Vote every single one of these thieving GOP traitors and fraudsters OUT in November.

Where is justice for the beleaguered people of Florida?

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Posted by seafan in General Discussion: Presidency
Sun Oct 14th 2012, 01:50 PM
Former governors offer stern warning about Florida's future

From left, former Florida governors Charlie Crist, Bob Graham and Buddy MacKay chat during the UF law school’s Allen L. Poucher Legal Education Series on Friday. Crist said a “bipartisan approach is what we desperately need in Washington today.”

By Mary Ellen Klas, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
October 13, 2012

GAINESVILLE — Five of Florida's living former governors met at the University of Florida Friday and offered up a stern bipartisan warning about the future direction of the state.

The governors — Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, Bob Martinez, Buddy MacKay and Charlie Crist — lamented the loss of environmental protections, the dismantling of guided growth management, and the recent partisan assault on the Florida Supreme Court.

Absent from the panel was former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush. The "Conversation with Florida Governors" was sponsored by the UF law school's Law Review as part of the Allen L. Poucher Legal Education Series.


Today's legislative leadership "is basically faced in the wrong direction" again, (MacKay) said, "blaming things on the federal government and basically saying we don't need a plan: let the hidden hand of the market take care of it."

He drew chuckles and applause from the crowd when he said Gov. Rick Scott also "believes in the hidden hand of the marketplace — which some people think is a fist clenched. Others believe it's a hand with the middle finger sticking up.''


Oh, yeah, Jeb Bush wasn't there.

He's too busy endorsing yet another corrupt Republican from Florida for the U. S. House.... and tearing down the foundation of public education in Florida and across the country via his multiple "educational foundations", from which he and his cohorts stand to gain from the wholesale privatization of public education.

The past fourteen years have ushered in one of the worst periods of engineered decline in Florida's history, fueled by the wanton greed of a few. And it is the work of harshly fanatical, bullying right wing conservatives, who are interested only in grasping the levers of power to enrich themselves and their cronies.

We have had enough.

Voting for Democratic control of the state legislature is the only way to put a halt to the iron-fisted, barren wasteland of well-funded ideological control that Republicans have held since 1998 over the state of Florida.

(Consequently, there still may be time to shut down JD Alexander's "legacy" university construction.)

All Republicans must taste defeat this November.

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Posted by seafan in General Discussion: Presidency
Fri Oct 12th 2012, 10:25 AM
That sums it all up nicely. The Cliff's Notes version.

In a brilliant blog piece from Charles P. Pierce at Esquire early this morning:

October 12, 2012

For the second time in as many presidential elections, Joseph Biden got to debate a young, attractive Republican candidate who was demonstrably less qualified to to be president than I am to be chairman of the World Bank. Joseph Biden is a very lucky man. The Great Political Matchmaker in the Sky keeps handing him people who are trying — and failing — to fight above their weight class, and he keeps blowing through what can now legitimately be called the Bum of the Quadrennium Club.

There is a deeply held Beltway myth of Paul Ryan, Man of Big Ideas, and it dies hard. But, if there is a just god in the universe, on Thursday night, it died a bloody death, was hurled into a pit, doused with quicklime, buried without ceremony, and the ground above it salted and strewn with garlic so that it never rises again. On foreign policy, Ryan occasionally rose, gasping, to the level of obvious neophyte. (He was more lost in Afghanistan than the Russian army ever was.) On domestic policy, his alleged wheelhouse, he was vague, untruthful, and he walked right into a haymaker he should have seen coming from a mile off, when he started bloviating about Biden's role in the "failed" stimulus program, only to have Biden slap him around with Ryan's own requests for stimulus money for his home district back in Wisconsin. He also made it quite clear that a Romney-Ryan White House will do everything it can to eliminate a woman's right to choose. This should make for some fine television commercials over the next few weeks.


Moreover, the battering that Biden gave Ryan brought something into sharp relief that the Republican party has been fudging ever since Romney put the zombie-eyed granny-starver on the ticket — that, for his entire political career up to that point, on critical economic issues, Paul Ryan was an extremist even by the standards of the modern Republican party, which are considerably high indeed. He was for full privatization of Social Security. He was for the absolute elimination of the defined-benefit Medicare and Medicaid programs. Since being selected, it has become clear that the Romney people have forced him to soften these positions. (His stance on Medicare, for example, has evolved from Kill It Now to Arrange for Its Slow Death Later.) On Thursday night, Biden dragged out the old Paul Ryan — and, I would argue, the real Paul Ryan — and put him on display, and he made the new Paul Ryan own him. For one brief moment, he almost got Ryan to commit to Social Security privatization again. You could hear the screams from Romney headquarters all the way up the Charles to where I was watching.


So if Paul Ryan gets his way, and Medicare as we know it gets eviscerated in favor of a pot full of offal on which Paul Ryan has slapped a label reading "Medicare," and my inadequate health-insurance allowance comes by e-mail, then it's not a "voucher" because it wasn't a check I got in the mail? And this is the issue on which Paul Ryan is supposed to be Genius on roller skates. This was humiliating enough, but when they started talking about war and peace, specifically in Afghanistan, Ryan looked like a toddler trying to cross the Hindu Kush.

He stammered. He vanished into his syntax. He gave Biden the chance to ask him if he preferred that American soldiers carry the fighting in the worst parts of the country rather than Afghan troops, a devastating comeback for which Ryan had no answer. He kept rambling about maintaining the country's "credibility" until, if you closed your eyes, he started to sound like Robert McNamara in 1965. And when Raddatz asked him, deftly, what would be worse, another war in the Middle East or Iran with a nuclear bomb, he leaped in precipitously with the latter, while about 75 percent of the country, including the two other people on stage with him, looked at Ryan as though he'd lost his mind.


For years, Paul Ryan has been the shining champion of some really terrible ideas, and of a dystopian vision of the political commonwealth in which the poor starve and the elderly die ghastly, impoverished deaths, while all the essential elements of a permanent American oligarchy were put in place. This has garnered him loving notices from a lot of people who should have known better. The ideas he could explain were bad enough, but the profound ignorance he displayed on Thursday night on a number of important questions, including when and where the United States might wind up going to war next, and his blithe dismissal of any demand that he be specific about where he and his running mate are planning to take the country generally, was so positively terrifying that it calls into question Romney's judgment for putting this unqualified greenhorn on the ticket at all. Joe Biden laughed at him? Of course, he did. The only other option was to hand him a participation ribbon and take him to Burger King for lunch.


Photograph by Rick Wilking/Getty Images (via Esquire)

Just think, Marco Rubio, this easily could have been you.

Swinging your feet atop that chair next to Vice President Biden. Your own harshly ideological career's swan song. Plucked, de-boned and deep fried to a crisp.

But, we're patient.

See you at the polls, everyone. It's gonna be a damn fine day.

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Posted by seafan in General Discussion: Presidency
Mon Oct 08th 2012, 09:28 PM
Greg Palast: 'It wasn't Roger Stone who brought down Eliot Spitzer. It was Ken Langone.'

(Heard this past week in an interview on Ring of Fire Radio)

Billionaire Ken Langone has it in for former NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for charging him for conspiracy in 2004, for 'subverting a stock exchange regulator's investigation into monkey business by Langone's investment bank.'

We have seen what has happened to Spitzer since. But Mr. Spitzer may get the last laugh, in the end.

This report is from Greg Palast, so we know it's something we're not going to hear researched and reported from the so-called "mainstream media", which are obsessed these days with creating "a horse race" out of the cash-fueled ether swirling around Mitt Romney. One thing I learned in those pesky, 'lies from the pit of hell' science classes in school--- ether burns.

Tell it, Mr. Palast.

Uber-Vultures: The Billionaires Who Would Pick Our President

Thursday, 06 October 2011
By Greg Palast, Truthout | Investigative Report

Hedge fund magnate Paul Singer likes to breakfast on decayed carcasses. What he chews down is sickening, but just as nausea-inducing are his new tablemates: billionaires Ken Langone and the Koch Brothers, Charles and David.

Singer has called together the billionaire boys' club for the purpose of picking our next president for us. The old-fashioned way of choosing presidents - democracy and counting ballots and all that - has never been a favorite of this pack. I can tell you that from my investigations of each of these gentlemen for The Guardian.

Billionaire 1: Ken Langone

Langone likes to be known as the founder of Home Depot, just your local tool guy in a blue apron with a little bag of screws.

But he was also the man, with his right-wing partners, behind Database Technologies (DBT). It was in my first investigation of Langone in 2000 that I discovered that DBT had created a list of several thousand "felons" - most of them black, all of them innocent, all of them purged from Florida's voter rolls by DBT's client, Katherine Harris. And Langone's company knew exactly what was going on.

What qualifies Langone to pick our president? In his own words: "I'm nuts; I'm rich."

Billionaires 2 and 3: David and Charles Koch

You think you've read all about the billionaire brothers. Well, there's more:

In 1996, an FBI agent, Richard Elroy, told my team that oil had been pilfered from the Osage Indian reservation in Oklahoma. He and other G-men filmed the filch-theft, say witnesses, personally ordered by Charles Koch. A few barrels here, a few barrels there.

It all added up: to about a billion and a half dollars in looted petroleum, says one expert, a third of the Koch fortune at the time. David and Charles shared in the booty via their private company, Koch Industries.


...and probably the worst of them all:

Billionaire 4: Paul Singer

Now we get to the carrion king, Paul Singer, known as Singer The Vulture. I didn't give him the moniker. The name Vulture was tagged on him and his speculator colleagues by the prime minister of Britain and the World Bank.


Read the rest of this piece about what else Palast discovered about the actions of these four men, that is not widely known.

So, these uber-billionaires want to buy the White House for themselves. Why?

For Langone: So he and his friends can destroy all corporate/financial regulations. And preserve his tax cuts.

For the Kochs: So they can freely pollute the environment and steal resources without accountability. And preserve their tax cuts.

For Singer: So his ruthless brand of Vulture Speculation is untouched. And preserve his tax cuts.

Palast concludes:

Unfortunately for Singer, the Kochs and Langone, the GOP candidates currently kissing the billionaires' behinds don't seem electable.

So the Billionaire Boys Club prodded Gov. Christie, a bully-boy from Jersey, to muscle his way into the Oval Office. Christie didn't fly, no surprise. But whether they pick the GOP candidate or retreat to their old tactics of smear-from-the-rear, the fragile thing called democracy stands little chance against the tsunamic powers of the quartet's combined checkbooks.

"We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob."---FDR, October 31, 1936

How about it, Justice Alito?

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Posted by seafan in General Discussion: Presidency
Mon Oct 08th 2012, 11:33 AM
Thanks to Carl Hiassen, we now know who is bankrolling the nakedly blatant Republican attempt to flush three state Supreme Court justices off the bench in November. Why? Because these three Justices would not acquiesce to relentless right wing power grabs by the GOP-ruled state Legislature.

Hiaasen, from September 29, 2012:

The new stealth campaign against three Florida Supreme Court justices is being backed by those meddling right-wing billionaires from Wichita, Charles and David Koch.

They couldn’t care less about Florida, but they love to throw their money around.

Last week they uncorked the first of a series of commercials from their political action committee, Americans for Prosperity. The targets are Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince.

They were three of the five-vote majority that in 2010 knocked down a half-baked amendment slapped together by state lawmakers seeking to nullify the federal Affordable Health Care Act.

The Florida Supreme Court upheld lower court decisions in finding that the proposed amendment contained “misleading and ambiguous language,” the hallmark of practically everything produced by this Legislature. Stoned chimpanzees have a keener grasp of constitutional law.


The mission of the Kochs, hiding as always behind their super PAC, is to get the three justices dumped at the polls so that Gov. Rick Scott can appoint replacements.


David and Charles Koch are bankrolling this mission. Can't say we are surprised. The well-monied radicals absolutely want it all.

The GOP foot soldiers in the Florida state Legislature and the State Party have now pried open the door to the separation of powers laid out in the constitution. David and Charles Koch are funding this drive to oust three justices on Florida's highest court. And Rick Scott, the Medicare fraud artist posing as Governor, waits in the wings with three shiny new right wing extremists to take over on the bench.

Fla. Supreme Court justices fight back to retain seats, October 7, 2012


Republican leaders say they are angry with what they contend are political rulings from the high court. In the last two years, the court has rejected several ballot amendments drafted by the Republican-led Legislature and overturned a handful of controversial laws. The successful ouster of the three justices would give Republican Gov. Rick Scott the opportunity to select replacements.

"This is a battle of ideas, a different world view,'' said Lenny Curry, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.

The party's executive committee voted unanimously last month to oppose the justices after remaining silent in every merit retention election since the system was established in 1976.


The idea then was to take politics out of the judiciary after a series of scandals involving justices who were returning favors to campaign supporters. One justice abruptly retired after being caught on a junket to Las Vegas. Two justices were accused of fixing cases in lower courts and a fourth justice was charged with destroying evidence by shedding a document and flushing it down a toilet.

Supreme Court justices and appellate court judges are now required to go through a rigorous selection process to be appointed to the court and then, every six years, come before voters in nonpartisan elections. They don't have opponents but voters check yes or no whether they remain qualified to stay on the bench.


Here is the justices' stark warning:

"The merit selection and retention process was the remedy to remove the partisan political corruption that flows,'' Lewis said at the FSU forum. "They are trying to remove the remedy to go back to the illness that plagued Florida."

Quince worries that nonpartisan county and circuit courts could be the next target of conservatives. "We believe in a system of fair and impartial judges not beholden to any political party,'' she said.


In addition to the Republican Party of Florida, other conservative/tea party groups named in this article who are pushing for removal of these justices are Americans For Prosperity and Restore Justice 2012.

Opposing this right wing power grab are two unions, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Florida Professional Fire Fighters, saying they will fight the GOP efforts to push these three justices off the Court.

If this article didn't enrage you enough, it gets even more mind-numbing.

I was absolutely incensed by this quote from Florida Democratic Party Chair Rod Smith.

Democratic Party chairman Rod Smith said that his party "will not take a position" in the merit retention race because, he said, politicizing the judiciary will weaken its independence.

What. The. Hell.

What a pathetic, lousy and self-destructive response to this vicious right wing assault on Florida's highest court, from Rod Smith, the "Chair" of the Florida Democratic Party.

Yeah, Mr. Smith, just sit back and allow these nasty extremists on "the other side" to run roughshod over our judiciary, and to remake it in their own dark image. I've always wondered what Rod Smith's true agenda is about. It ain't what regular democrats are after. This guy must never be allowed anywhere near the governor's office.

After so many years of this frustratingly stunted, ineffectual direction of the state Democratic Party, this, my friends, is a prime example of a losing formula to lead the State Democratic Party. There is absolutely no question why efforts of regular democrats in Florida are rendered moribund.

We need a major housecleaning in our party.

Meanwhile, Floridians, we must vote YES to retain these three Supreme Court justices on the bench.

But we must say NO to the Kochs; the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF); the rabidly dogmatic conservative groups; the GOP-dominated legislature; and NO to all of their amendments on the ballot this November.

VOTE ALL REPUBLICANS OUT. And those charlatans who are posing as democrats.

It is the only weapon we have.

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Posted by seafan in General Discussion: Presidency
Thu Oct 04th 2012, 09:11 PM
We have been watching this crowd of vicious right wingers going after our right to vote for more than a decade now. No one has done a damn thing to stop them, 12 years out from the debacle of November 2000.

No matter how loudly we've been screaming.

The latest big news from Florida is the discovery of fraudulent voter registrations submitted by a notorious firm that was deliberately hired by the RNC and the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), while, at the same time, the GOP screams about widespread (virtually nonexistent) voter fraud by "the other side".

How much clearer does the game plan of the true enemies of our democracy need to be?

Nathan Sproul’s firms were accused of voter registration shenanigans in 2004.
(via Tampa Bay Times)

Just the kind of corrupt contractor the RNC, Republican Party of Florida and Mitt Romney love to have on the payroll. Repeatedly.

Romney Quietly Hires Consulting Firm With Sordid History Of Destroying Democratic Voter Registration Forms (from late 2011)
(Nathan Sproul’s firms)

Republican-paid voter registration operation linked to fraud, August 31, 2012
(Nathan Sproul’s firms)

Funny, this was going on in October of 2004 as well, with Nathan Sproul’s firms:

Investigation into Trashed Voter Registrations

And, as usual, DU was on it.

Now, back to the present.

“Questionable” Palm Beach County voter registration forms forwarded to state attorney for review, September 25, 2012

The Republican Party of Florida is dumping a firm it paid more than $1.3 million to register new voters, after Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher flagged 106 “questionable” registration applications turned in by the contractor this month.

Bucher asked the state attorney’s office to review the applications “in an abundance of caution” because she said her staff had questions about similar-looking signatures, missing information and wrong addresses on the forms.

The state GOP hired Strategic Allied Consultants of Glen Allen, Va., for “voter registration services” and get-out-the-vote activities. The firm got identical payments of $667,598 in July and August.

“When we learned today about the instances of potential voter registration fraud that occurred in Palm Beach County, we immediately informed the Republican National Committee that we were terminating the contract with the voter registration vendor we hired at their request because there is no place for voter registration fraud in Florida,” said RPOF Executive Director Mike Grissom late Tuesday.


Yeah, right, Mr. Grissom. These people never tire of lying.


Firm fired (by Republican Party of Florida) over Palm Beach voter registrations had issues in other counties, states, September 29, 2012

(Yeah, finally "fired" after orchestrating nearly a year of Republican registration fraud shenanigans.... while the League of Women voters lost the entire year of 2011 to voter registration drives in Florida because of draconian new laws pushed in by the GOP-dominated Florida state Legislature... interesting how this works, no?)

Two "breakdowns" this week in Florida's statewide voter database, September 19, 2012 (Just priming up the machines, you see.)

Firm hired by Florida GOP knew weeks ago of possibly fraudulent voter registrations, October 3, 2012

TALLAHASSEE — Nathan Sproul was hardly unknown when his firm, Strategic Allied Consulting, was hired over the summer to register voters for the Republican Party.

In 2004, employees with his previous firms were accused of a wide assortment of infractions: destroying voter registration forms of Democrats, duping college students into registering as Republicans, refusing to register Democrats or independents. Nevada, Oregon and Arizona opened investigations but closed them without charging anyone.

On Tuesday, new details emerged that Strategic Allied Consulting knew of problems in Florida weeks ago in what is now a case of possible voter registration fraud in a dozen counties.


Republicans say they didn't hear about the flawed forms until a week later when told about them by a Palm Beach Post reporter.

But Cheryl Johnson, Lee County's voter registration director, told the Times/Herald on Tuesday that she noticed some odd applications that came quite a bit earlier, on Aug. 28. It looked like someone had checked Republican in a number of party registration boxes in a manner that didn't match the way the rest of the application was filled out. Four of the forms appeared to have been filled out by the same person.

Johnson called the person who dropped them off, a Strategic Allied Consulting employee named Danielle Alvarez. On Sept. 6 — 12 days before they learned about the Palm Beach forms — Johnson met with Alvarez and a man named Jack Reed.

FDLE launches criminal investigation into voter registration forms by GOP vendor, October 4, 2012

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced Wednesday that it is launching a criminal investigation into voter registration forms filed by a GOP vendor, Strategic Allied Consulting.

The FDLE spent Monday and Tuesday reviewing forms filed by the Republican Party of Florida that were deemed suspicious by elections supervisors to determine if there was evidence of illegal activity.

"Following the review, there was criminal predicate," said FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger. "There was a possibility that crimes were committed."


"It is past time for (Republican Party of Florida chairman) Lenny Curry and the Republican Party of Florida to come clean about their involvement in this escalating scandal," Florida Democratic Party executive director Scott Arceneaux said in a statement. "With almost 30 days until Election Day … Florida voters, election administrators and law enforcement officials need to know the facts. The Florida GOP owes the people of this state a clear explanation. If they refuse to come clean it is incumbent on the Division of Elections to investigate the RPOF."


It just never ends.

In Florida, Echoes of 2000 as Vote Questions Emerge , November 10, 2006

SARASOTA, Fla., Nov. 9 — A Democrat who narrowly lost the Congressional race here is seeking a recount after dozens of people reported problems using Sarasota County’s touch-screen voting machines and a significant number of ballots had no recorded votes in the high-profile race.

The Democrat, Christine Jennings, lost to her Republican opponent, Vern Buchanan, by just 373 votes out of a total 237,861 cast — one of the closest House races in the nation. More than 18,000 voters in Sarasota County, or 13 percent of those who went to the polls Tuesday, did not seem to vote in the Congressional race when they cast ballots, a discrepancy that Kathy Dent, the county elections supervisor, said she could not explain.

In comparison, only 2 percent of voters in one neighboring county within the same House district and 5 percent in another skipped the Congressional race, according to The Herald-Tribune of Sarasota. And many of those who did not seem to cast a vote in the House race did vote in more obscure races, like for the hospital board.

More than 100 voters have told the Jennings campaign that their votes for her did not show up on the summary screen at the end of the touch-screen voting process, and that they had to re-enter them. The candidate’s lawyers said they feared that not everyone had noticed the problem or realized that they could re-enter the vote.

“There is a spontaneous combustion of outcry in this county,” said Kendall Coffey, a lawyer who was on Vice President Al Gore’s legal team in the 2000 presidential recount and is now working for Ms. Jennings. “We are determined to do everything we can to make sure that every vote counts and everything we can to get to the bottom of this.”


Tampa real estate developer with ties to Vern Buchanan pleads guilty to illegal contributions, September 27, 2012

A Tampa real estate developer and an accountant with ties to U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan pleaded guilty in federal court today for their roles in illegal contributions to the Republican Party of Florida and Buchanan's campaign, the Department of Justice announced.


Vern Buchanan financial disclosures include $100k discrepancy, September 25, 2012

Rep. Vern Buchanan's former company violated law, Federal Election Commission says, May 31, 2011

Friend of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan pleads guilty to campaign violations, September 28, 2012

In a stunning development just weeks before the November election, one of U.S. Rep Vern Buchanan's longtime friends and another man pleaded guilty Thursday to making illegal campaign contributions.

Tampa developer Tim Mobley and accountant Timothy Hohl admitted breaking federal law by reimbursing employees for $84,300 in contributions to an official described in a Justice Department press release only as "an elected member of the U.S. Congress.''

That official is Buchanan, whose office quickly issued a statement saying the Sarasota Republican was "totally unaware'' of any unlawful contributions and would "disgorge'' them, almost certainly to the U.S. Treasury.

Buchanan's campaigns have long been plagued by allegations of fundraising irregularities, but this is the first time anyone has been criminally prosecuted.


And Mr. Buchanan is gunning to stay in the U. S. Legislature. He is but one example on a long list of Florida political corruption, of what we, as a nation, end up with, when no one stands up for the sanctity of the people's vote.

One more thing.

Networks, AP cancel exit polls in 19 states, October 4, 2012

Breaking from two decades of tradition, this year’s election exit poll is set to include surveys of voters in 31 states, not all 50 as it has for the past five presidential elections, according to multiple people involved in the planning.

Dan Merkle, director of elections for ABC News, and a member of the consortium that runs the exit poll, confirmed the shift Wednesday. The aim, he said, “is to still deliver a quality product in the most important states,” in the face of mounting survey costs.

The decision by the National Election Pool — a joint venture of the major television networks and The Associated Press — is sure to cause some pain to election watchers across the country. (For a full list of the states that won’t have exit polls scroll to the bottom of this post.)

Voters in the excluded states will still be interviewed as part of a national exit poll, but state-level estimates of the partisan, age or racial makeups of electorates won’t be available as they have been since 1992. The lack of data may hamper election night analyses in some states, and it will almost certainly limit post-election research for years to come.


Here is a list of the states that will be excluded from coverage: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Now, why might exit polling in heavily Hispanic states such as Texas, for example, be curtailed? Hhmmmmmmmmm. Maybe the current 71%-21% advantage by Obama in the Latino polling has something to do with it.

This story about killing exit polls in "selected states" also troubles me, because it reminds me of another time. 2004.

I remember how, in Election (theft) 2004, Republicans went to great lengths to shave Democratic votes from areas that vote heavily Democratic (as it would raise no suspicion when Dems ended up winning these areas). The GOP also shaved Democratic votes from areas heavily Republican (So no one would miss these Dem votes anyway, as the GOP was expected to win in these areas). The aim of this was to steal large numbers of Democratic votes, whenever and wherever it would not be noticed.

I will NEVER forget this:

(Karl) Rove, who is under investigation in the leak of a CIA operative’s identity, thrilled the partisan audience with behind-the-scenes anecdotes in the West Wing or on Air Force One. He recalled his sophisticated computer program to track returns on election night 2004 that contradicted exit polls showing Bush losing in Florida.

“I’ll never forget. The first county I clicked was Hernando. Then Pasco. And about that time, Jeb called in,” Rove recalled. “I started working my way down the east coast and he said, 'Start with Broward.’ … It was clear, we were running well ahead of where we needed to run, and Jeb said, 'We’re going to win, and we’re going to win big.’”

-----June 2, 2006

The outright vote stealing by these traitors is an obscenity. They want to control it all. For all time.

These people absolutely MUST be stopped.

It there anyone left in Washington who:

1. cares
2. is in a position to get this done, and
3. has a spine?

After observing the trend over the past miserable decade, the prognosis looks bleak.

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Posted by seafan in General Discussion
Tue Sep 25th 2012, 10:48 AM
Geniusofdespair at EyeOnMiami gives excellent advice to Florida voters:

September 25, 2012

Vote No On All The Constitutional Amendments and Vote Yes To Retain the Supreme Court Judges.

One or two of the State Constitutional Amendments are not so bad (if you want to help veterans (2) (9) but those are what they call "feel good amendments" purposely inserted only so you can't say NO to them all (Try explaining to your friends which ones are good or bad). Don't be fooled. Most of the rest are just SO VERY BAD, I am recommending a vote of NO on all the Amendments. I am not alone - THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OPPOSES THEM ALL too.

The State Republican Party have announced their plan to unseat the 3 Supreme Court Judges - R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince - that are up for retention. If they succeed in removing them guess who gets to appoint the new ones? None other than Rick Scott our loser governor. Don't let this happen. Even Republican lawyers don't like this. Tell all your friends to vote to retain these 3 judges. Put it on your facebook pages.


Here is the backstory on the latest Florida GOP legislative land mines awaiting us at the ballot box in November.

These jackals never quit.

But we can put a stop to their 14-year tyrannical rule over the House, Senate and Governor's office by voting a Democratic Legislature into power in November.

This is mandatory; it is the only way to put a check on Rick Scott in the middle of his miserable term.

NO on all constitutional amendments.

YES to retain the Supreme Court justices.

NO to all Republicans running for state, federal and local offices.
(And here is a prime example of why.)

See you in November.

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Posted by seafan in General Discussion
Mon Sep 24th 2012, 06:19 PM
Just in.....

Another "family values" Republican falls from glory:

Florida GOP state Rep. Mike Horner resigns; his name linked to brothel, racketeering

(Here's an unexpected opportunity to vote into office the Democratic candidate Eileen Game of Frostproof for this District 42 House seat in November.)


Gov. Rick Scott's "low unemployment numbers" claim is actually due to many fewer job-seekers actively looking for employment

And, now, he's getting very snippy about it.


Oh, and on his much-touted "listening tour" on education around the state, he's busy using the state's highest law enforcement agency, the FDLE, to run background checks on parents who want to attend those meetings to ask him questions. He sees parents as a "security risk".


Scott just reappointed Lisa B. Edgar to the Public Service Commission; she currently stands accused of having a history of being too close to the utility industry in rate-paying cases. Scott can't have anyone on the utilities commission who looks our for the consumers, no siree.


Remember that controversial wetland permit that a notorious private company formed in part by The Carlyle Group insisted on obtaining from the state, for a 'wetland mitigation bank'? The one that the state wetlands expert denied because this land wasn't "wet", and she was subsequently fired because she opposed it? Rick Scott's man at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued it anyway.


A former Orlando Sentinel columnist has gone to work for one of Jeb Bush's "Educational Foundations". This guy outed himself some time back. Maybe a more unbiased journalist will take over his work space at the Sentinel.


And yet another Democratic candidate drops out of the race for a state legislative race, leaving an odious wing nut a victory by default in November. To allow even one more of this crop of Florida conservatives occupy a seat in the Legislature is a damn shame.


In the meantime, the Florida GOP is trying to remove three state Supreme Court justices from the bench via the November ballot---clearing the way for Rick Scott to pack three of his conservative zealots onto the Court. This is a very bad turn of events for Floridians, in maintaining an independent judiciary.


Floridians, we have the power to stop this 14-year tyrannical GOP assault on our state, by voting for a Democratic Legislature in November.

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Posted by seafan in General Discussion
Sat Sep 22nd 2012, 08:56 PM
Well-funded public education goes further to:

1. Level the playing field for all kids, regardless of income, ethnicity or location, but for some inexplicable reason, this administration seems oblivious that a wealthy, greedy few are trying to starve it to death and steer private profit to themselves.


2. Encourage and reward advanced training, years of experience and long-term dedication of teachers for their public school students.

.... when compared with the orchestrated destruction of public education (high-stakes testing/disruption of teachers' unions/odious merit pay rules/vouchers/explosion of unaccountable charter schools/"Parent Trigger" traps) that people like Jeb Bush, the Waltons, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein or Rupert Murdoch are hotly pursuing.

What in sam hill is this administration thinking when it comes to public education? Why do they seem so blinded to these facts?

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Posted by seafan in Latest Breaking News
Fri Sep 21st 2012, 10:56 PM
Source: Tampa Bay Times

TALLAHASSEE — The Republican Party of Florida waded into a traditionally apolitical fight Friday, announcing it will oppose the retention of three state Supreme Court justices on the November ballot.
In a statement released by its spokeswoman, the party said its executive board voted unanimously this week to oppose Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince in November's retention elections. The justices do not face opponents, but voters are asked every six years to vote yes or no on whether they should remain on the job.


Supporters of the justices accused the state GOP of using the merit retention vote, and the case, as a subterfuge to try to seize control of the courts. If a majority of voters reject the justices, Republican Gov. Rick Scott will have an opportunity to appoint their replacements.

"The Republican Party has demonstrated with this decision that there are special interests in this state that not only want to control all three branches of government, they want to own all three branches of government," said Dick Batchelor, a former Democratic lawmaker now working with Defend Justice from Politics, an advocacy group. "The question for the public now is, do we want an independent judiciary, or do we want to surrender the sovereignty of the court to a political Legislature?''


"The announcement that the Republican Party is engaged in this effort would shock those wonderful Republican statesmen who helped create the merit selection and merit retention processes," said Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte, former president of the American Bar Association who, as a former legislator, helped to craft the law in the early 1970s. "Surely we do not want to go back to the broken past."

Read more:

GOP House Speaker Dean Cannon has been gunning for the state Supreme Court for years, out of revenge, in retaliation for earlier rulings by the Court to remove unconstitutional, deliberately misrepresented, Republican-crafted amendments from the ballot.

Plan to overhaul Florida Supreme Court clears a Republican committee, March 17, 2011

FL GOP House Speaker Dean Cannon's court reform proposal is attempt to stack deck for redistricting, April 8, 2011

These extremist Republicans controlling the Florida Legislature never quit; there are eleven new lengthy and confusing amendments matching the above description that will appear on November's ballot.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: All 11 amendments are a bad bet, September 2, 2012

Florida Trend: Tagged 'Florida-Amendments-2012', September 4, 2012

Tampa Bay Times: Florida voters facing a long, long ballot in November, September 10, 2012

Bob Graham in the Tampa Bay Times: Florida: Prepare for another voting fiasco, August 28, 2012

It has never been clearer, Floridians, that we MUST vote into power a Democratic Legislature in November. It is the only way we have to put a check on Rick Scott and the current GOP Legislative battering ram.

Florida is screaming out for relief from these lifeblood-sucking parasites.

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Posted by seafan in General Discussion
Thu Sep 20th 2012, 10:34 PM
Jeb Bush is smack in the middle of the mad push to privatize and profitize public education, which is directly leading to its destruction.

Jeb Bush wants to become very, very wealthy, you see. Apparently, it's not quite fast enough for him; now he's struggling for relevancy by writing a book. LOL

This orgy of greed by the wealthy few, that is sucking public school education dry, must be stopped cold.


Special Report: The profit motive behind virtual schools in Maine, September 13, 2012

Documents expose the flow of money and influence from corporations that stand to profit from state leaders' efforts to expand and deregulate digital education.

Bush, Levesque, ALEC and Their Corporate Bankrollers, September 2, 2012

Figures…Another Bush Loyalist Cites Bush Study to Justify Bush Reforms, September 8, 2012

Bush Financial Backer K12 Inc Under Investigation From Florida DOE, September 11, 2012

Jeb Bush Facing the Reality of Opposition Within His Own Party on Education, September 15, 2012

Here is a but a taste of what Jeb Bush has been up to on his "bold educational reform" push, since leaving office in 2006:

Heads up NC: Jeb Bush to bring ALEC's "educational reform" agenda to McCrory fundraiser April 30, April 19, 2012

Education think tank: Jeb Bush Foundation's educational research is "nonsensical, confusing, disingenuous", June 1, 2012

Once again, Jeb Bush's legacy of educational failure slaps Florida in the face., June 19, 2009

Jeb Bush pushing "Digital Learning Now" offensive to remove textbooks and teachers from classrooms, March 3, 2011

Jeb Bush Leads Broad Push for Education Change With 'Florida Formula', March 30, 2012

Jeb Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future behind "Parent Trigger" bill, March 6, 2012

Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp behind aggressive push into 'bold educational reform', July 27, 2011

Jeb Bush flimflams Minnesota lawmakers on "bold educational reform", May 12, 2011

“It reminds me very much of President Eisenhower’s warning to beware of the military-industrial complex,” said Noh, who clashed with K12 Inc. while in the Senate. “It seems to me that what we’re seeing here is the educational-industrial complex that’s operating behind the scenes, with people like Rupert Murdoch. They are interested in the millions of dollars, frequently taxpayer dollars, which they can glean through the political process.”

----Former Sen. Laird Noh, a Kimberly, Idaho Republican who retired in 2004 after 24 years in the Legislature, saying he fears privatization will twist policy to the detriment of students.

I want to be very wealthy, and I'll be glad to tell you when I've accomplished that goal.---John Ellis (Jeb) Bush, son of the president

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Posted by seafan in General Discussion
Tue Sep 18th 2012, 03:07 PM
Hats off to David Corn of The Nation.

Transcript to follow.

Be sure to watch The Ed Show tonight.

Today is a day for the history books.

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Posted by seafan in General Discussion
Tue Sep 18th 2012, 11:19 AM
Hat tip to Daily Kos for winnowing out these clips from Romney's sneering, hyperprivileged mouth.

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

My heritage, my dad as you probably know was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico, and, uh, had he been born of, uh, Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot at winning this. (Rich donors cracking up)

But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. He lived there for a number of years. And, uh, uh, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be, uh ... Latino.

We ... we, uh, use Ann sparingly right now so that people don't get tired of her.

Too late, Mitt.

(And, by the way, maybe Seamus will lend you his old doghouse for that comment, LOL.)

Diarrhea of the mouth.

Stay tuned. There is undoubtedly much more to come.

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