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New address here: Beach Peanuts

Beach Peanuts is fast approaching its second “birthday” and in honor of the occasion I thought it was time to relocate and redecorate. What started out here as a small “experimental” blog in May 2009 has been a positive one and because of that, it has outgrown the original site. Also, it was just time for a change. In order for the blog to grow, I made the decision to move, and I hope my readers will “move with me.” As much as I like the old site, I think this one will be a better fit.

The original Beach Peanuts site here on WordPress will stay up as is, but only as an archive from May 2009 up to Feb. 24, 2011. All new posts will be on my new site here from now on. If I decide to relocate the archives from the old site, I will post a notice, but for now the old site will remain as is.

I hope you’ll like the new site as much as I do, and hope that you will all “move” with me by updating your bookmarks and feeds to the new location: http://www.beachpeanuts.com/ I also hope you’ll be patient with me as I get used to the new site and work out all the inevitable kinks that go along with switching platforms.

That being said, I’ll get back to “tidying up” my new “home” so I can continue doing what I love to do, anything I can to help Florida and the Country turn back to “Blue!”

Thanks for your patience and I hope to see you all at the new site!

- Inkberries

Coming in a week where we saw a 16 year old kill a policeman with a gun he bought for just $140, a political action committee is trying to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would do away with permits to bear arms in Florida.

That’s correct. No. Permit. Necessary.

From The Florida Independent:

The proposed initiative, titled “Unalienable Individual Right to Bear Arms; No Permit Required For Any Manner of Bearing Arms,” would change that wording (.pdf) so that the right to bear arms

“cannot be regulated away or infringed upon; no permit shall be required for any manner of bearing arms in Florida, only the open carry of handguns may be regulated by law. Permits may be issued by request to facilitate travel in reciprocal states and as an exemption to waiting periods.”

The amendment currently has zero valid signatures — to be placed on Florida’s 2012 ballot, it needs 676,811.

The PAC proposing the ballot initiative is one led by Richard Antolinez, of Jupiter, Florida, who is listed as the Chairperson and Treasurer. The registered Agent is listed as John Parsons.

So there you go. Just a few thousand signatures from say, NRA members and their votes are all that stand in the way of people carrying guns with absolutely no permit required. That will make it even easier to kill citizens, and even more policemen than we have lost already in recent months.

No. Permit. Required.

Feel safer Florida?

If reports today from the St. Petersburg Times are true, Florida Gov. Rick Scott will not back down in his decision to turn down federal funding for the high-speed rail project in Florida. If he does that, he’ll be throwing away thousands of jobs, millions in money the state has already spent on the project, the will of the voters who favor the project, and decades of hard work in bringing Florida forward in what is a desperately needed new mode of transportation for its citizens.

All that Rick Scott has used to base his decision on throwing it all out the window is one study. Unlike his campaign promises, he didn’t wait for a study from the Florida Department of Transportation to make his decision. Nope. Instead he relied on a “study” from the Reason Foundation, which has ties to none other than David H. Koch.

Yes, that’s the same David H. Koch that another Governor thought he was talking to on the phone as reported yesterday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Walker all but showed that it is the Koch’s who are behind the Gov.’s push to crush the unions in that state.

Yes, the same Gov. Walker who Rick Scott spoke to yesterday on the phone, who Scott said was having a “tough” time right now in his maneuvers to strip away collective bargaining powers from the unions there. Scott also spoke of the upcoming meeting of the Republican Governors Association this weekend where, I’m sure, more of the strategy in what appears to be an orchestrated plan against the middle class in this country by the Republicans and their backers, like Koch Industries, will be on the agenda.

It’s becoming more clear every day that while people may have thought they were voting for Republicans who had their best interests at heart, they were really electing corporate interests who couldn’t care less about them and are pulling all the strings. Many of the Republicans in power right now clearly have no idea how to govern. But that doesn’t matter to these corporations because they don’t either. They are interested in protecting only one thing: their bottom line. That’s why those voters are being sold out. The corporate interests like Koch Industries are using their investment in Republicans in order to do away with jobs, human rights, regulations, and any number of other things.

One of their biggest “gets” was apparently Gov. Rick Scott, who told us he wanted to run Florida like a business. Those voters may have thought this meant prosperity for the state of Florida and its residents, and he’s still telling them that while he slowly chips away and sells Florida to the highest bidder. He clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing, and that’s more than apparent with the rejection of high-speed rail.

But at least his corporate backers are happy, and that’s all that matters here in Florida, Inc.

Right?

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi

Last Friday the Obama Administration asked U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson of Pensacola, Florida for a clarification in his recent ruling that a portion of the Affordable Care Act mandate was unconstitutional.

From Bloomberg:

The federal government, in papers filed with Vinson yesterday, asked him to clarify whether that decision relieves the suing states of their rights and obligations under the act while the U.S. pursues an appeal.

“We believe it is important to put to rest any doubts about the ability of states and other parties to continue to implement these critical programs and consumer protections provided under this statute,” Tracy Schmaler, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement announcing the U.S. filing.

Florida’s newly elected Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi doesn’t like this request for a clarification by the Obama Administration at all, so much so that she is “advising” the administration to just “appeal the ruling” already. She accuses the administration of “delaying tactics” by asking for a clarification.

From The Palm Beach Post:

“Department of Justice’s motion to clarify is merely an attempt to delay the process when the order clearly required a halt to implementation,” Bondi said in a statement….

….“Our memorandum states that time is of the essence in this matter, and the Court should deny the defendants’ motion for clarification as well as their thinly disguised request for a stay,” she said. “Everyone knows this case will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Department of Justice should join us in seeking an expedited appeals process. This issue is too important for delay, and we urge the
President to file an appeal in the appropriate appellate court, as was done in Virginia and Michigan. It is in the country’s best interest to present this case before the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as possible.”

Bondi certainly seems to be in a hurry to get the case to the Supreme Court, in fact she even sounds a little desperate. Of course the U.S. Supreme Court has some  justices who seem to have what appears to be some “conflict of interest” problems and it’s widely feared that those will interfere with the legal process in the health care ruling. I suppose that could be part of the reason Republicans who want to overturn the law are in a hurry to get it to the Supreme Court.

That being said, what else is Pam Bondi so afraid of? Why the rush? People’s lives are at stake here. Don’t they deserve the very clarification the Obama Administration is requesting? Because the last time I checked, Attorney Generals were elected to serve the people of the Florida. Bondi was not elected to serve those who may have a vested interest in the outcome of rulings against the Affordable Health Care Act and who supported Bondi in her campaign, like the National Federation of Independent Business.

Bondi seems less interested in legalities, and is more selective on which rulings she chooses to follow, basically only the ones that suggest the ACA is unconstitutional. Bondi was just as thrilled with Judge Vinson’s ruling as she was thrilled with all the money the NFIB was throwing into her lawsuit. Where’s the impartiality?

But again, why is Bondi in such a hurry to want the Administration to skip that clarification and just move ahead with a hastened appeal? Perhaps this ruling on Feb. 22 that got little attention in the media had something to do with it:

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler has become the third federal judge to rule that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, and that Congress was within its constitutional authority to regulate health insurance under the Commerce Clause.

“We welcome this ruling, which marks the third time a court has reviewed the Affordable Care Act on the merits and upheld it as constitutional. This court found — as two others have previously — that the minimum coverage provision of the statute was a reasonable measure for Congress to take in reforming our health care system. At the same time, trial courts in additional cases have dismissed numerous challenges to this law on jurisdictional and other grounds. The Department will continue to vigorously defend this law in ongoing litigation.”

Instead of looking at this ruling, Bondi has chosen to ignore it altogether and instead doubles down in urging President Obama to just forget that whole “clarification” thing and hurry along an appeal so the case can advance quickly to the Supreme Court where Republicans have reason to think they will have a more favorable outcome against the ACA.

So I ask again: just what is Pam Bondi so afraid of?

 

Gov. Rick Scott spoke by phone with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker today (if it was really Gov. Walker, of course.) but according to the Palm Beach Post, Scott didn’t reveal much about the call:

Scott earlier in the day also spoke briefly by phone with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whose pension overhaul and bid to end collective bargaining for public employees has spawned days of protests and a walkout by Senate Democrats.

“I talked to him about how he’s doing, I’m sure it’s tough,” said Scott, who plans to leave Thursday this weekend’s Republican Governors Association meeting.

”He’s not going to be able to come,” Scott said of his Badger State bro.

Yeah, it’s tough for poor Gov. Walker. Imagine, taking all that money and handing it over as corporate tax cuts while teachers and other public workers won’t sit back and allow their collective bargaining rights be taken away along with their pay cuts in return. The nerve! Human rights? Pshaw. Think how tough that’s been….for Gov. Walker.

No mention of Gov. Walker’s earlier conversation with fake David Koch yesterday, specifically this part:

“I talk to Kasich every day. John’s going to stand firm in Ohio. I think we do the same thing with Rick Scott in Florida. I think (Rick) Snyder, if he got a little support, could do the same thing in Michigan. I think if you go down the list, a lot of us new governors got elected to something big. “

Something big. Like say, destroying the middle class big? If so then, yes, we’ve noticed that. It seems to be a pattern. Too bad it isn’t working out the way they’d planned. People are funny when you strip away their livelihood and their rights. Who knew it would turn out this way?

The other thing in that phone call that was revealed was the mention of the upcoming long weekend at the Republican Governor’s Association meeting. Too bad poor Gov. Walker won’t be able to make it, as Gov. Scott lamented. After all, he’ll miss the next part of the plot when the Governors double down on their next plan of attack. Although, it’s not like the old days. We have technology now that will allow Gov. Walker to be there without really being there. Perhaps they can do a conference call or something. Think Gov. Walker will be up for that? OK, maybe if they use a secret password? Let me think.

Oh here’s one: “Sucker.”

It was on his official schedule last night, but today it’s apparently been deleted from his website. Gov. Rick Scott will reportedly be chatting it up with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker today on the phone from 5:15 – 5:45 p.m. (Gosh, I wonder if either of them will try to verify that they’re actually talking to the “real” Gov. first? That might be a wise idea.) Gosh, I wonder what they’ll talk about? Will one of the “real” Koch brothers be on the line with them? After all, the Koch’s do have ties to Gov. Scott and his high-speed rail sabotage plan, who knows what else they might be up to?

Yesterday Gov. Scott said this about unions and collective bargaining:

“My belief is as long as people know what they’re doing, collective bargaining is fine,” Scott said in an interview with Tallahassee’s WFLA FM radio station.

Sure, whatever. Of course if you know anything about Gov. Scott, you can take your chances that he means it, but I for one don’t buy it. Especially when the Florida Legislature is already working on the unions.

Sen. John Thrasher, former state GOP chairman, looks like he has filed a bill (SB830) to starve unions like the Florida Education Association, SEIU, AFL-CIO, firefighters, police unions or AFSCME by banning the Democratic-leaning organizations from using salary deductions for political purposes. The legislation also says any “public employer may not deduct or collect” union dues, etc. Lastly, it says that any public employee who didn’t specifically authorize the use of his money could be entitled to a partial refund.

The bill doesn’t seem to go as far as Wisconsin’s by ending collective bargaining rights in Florida, though in a right-to-work state there’s only so much union bargaining that can take place. Still, the language about union dues sure looks like it’s right out of the playbook of the tea party and Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker (who incidentally is not a high-speed rail fan, either).

Gov. Walker said this about high-speed rail funds in his state last Nov.:

Governor-Elect Scott Walker today released the following statement on high-speed rail:

“Since learning about the state’s agreement with the federal government we have been exploring all legal options to stop the train from moving forward, and we believe this is a step in the right direction.  We are continuing to work with members of congress on redirecting this money to fixing our crumbling roads and bridges.”

Why, that sounds distinctly familiar. That’s kind of what Gov. Scott was expecting to do. But he can’t, because the money must be used toward the high-speed rail project, or it goes elsewhere, and there’s a lot of other states with their hands out just waiting. Scott has until Friday to make a decision.

Meanwhile, back in Tallahassee, now “nationally famous so-called fiscal hero” (we know he is because the media tells us so!) Marco Rubio, the former Tea Party darling, turned U.S. Senator who now shuns Tea Bagger voters who put him in office (but not the Tea Party corporate funders of course), came back to Florida yesterday to talk money with the Florida House. He reportedly spoke with no notes, and no teleprompter, but he really didn’t need to since that speech is burned into his memory. He gives the same one all the time. All he needs is someone to pull his string and he’s off!

“The math is straightforward. The federal government this year, in order to operate, will have to borrow one-and-a-half trillion dollars. – trillion dollars,” Rubio said. “Medicare and Social Security as they currently are structured, is unsustainable,” he said to applause. “They will bankrupt themselves and ultimately bankrupt our country.”

But despite his calls for bipartisan solutions, Rubio gave no specifics and offered standard party-line fare to reduce spending and not raise taxes.

“Apart from all the ideological rhetoric,” he said, “an increase in taxes will destroy the ability of our economy to grow, which will mean less revenue to government. It’s a vicious cycle. They’re starting to doubt about our ability to pay our debt back”

Of course, he gives no specific ideas, but then he never does.

“What I fear most of all is that we have a political process in Washington that is frozen,” he said. “The White House knows this. The congressional leadership knows this. But no one wants to go first because they don’t want to get beaten up about it….

“If we don’t figure this out, none of these politics and elections are going to matter anyway because this country will decline so rapidly that you won’t even recognize it by 20 or 30 years. It’s not going to be a third world country. But it’s not going to be exceptional or unique. Our decline is not inevitable.”

You don’t have to be psychic to see why he was giving this speech, or where he was going with it, but chances are Social Security and Medicare are on Rubio’s mind as well as on the table, but Rubio doesn’t want to “go there first” anymore than he claims other political “chickens” do either, so he didn’t say the words. Wink, wink.
Also from the same article was this:
Prior to his speech, Rubio met privately with Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, all of whom are Republicans. Rubio said he discussed Panamanian and Colombian free-trade issues with Scott and discussed Bondi’s efforts to fight so-called “fake cocaine” sold under the guise as bath salts.
How very secretive of them. Gosh, do you suppose they talked about unions too, along with talking points dolled out by the Koch brothers, and some on health care from the National Federation Of Independent Business, the lobbying group helping to foot the bill for Florida AG Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, AND who gave generously to Bondi’s campaign as well last year and endorsed her?

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi told a state House committee this month that most of the rest is being covered by the National Federation of Independent Business, a group that opposes the law because of what it considers unconstitutional costs and regulations on firms and people.

“They have dedicated a tremendous amount of resources to the lawsuit,” Bondi said Feb. 10. “We’re thrilled, because that’s saving our state money. That’s saving the 25 other states money as well.”

Did they discuss these issues along with other ways to bleed Floridians in addition to Gov. Scott’s already draconian budget plans? Maybe they did discuss such things, maybe not. But we’ll never know, because they’ve taken up Gov. Scott’s habit of meeting secretly with only Republicans. The rest of us are just not privy to their plans until it’s too late.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall during this afternoon’s phone call between Gov. Scott Walker and Rick Scott. If they’re really who they say they are.
Hello?……Hello?

If you haven’t seen this video yet, you should take the time to watch, because what’s going on now in Wisconsin and may play out in other states as well is not about state deficits or budget cuts. It’s about union-busting and the power that goes with it. Breaking the unions is a stepping stone to that “permanent Republican majority” that the GOP have been working towards for years. It’s also about the money that the Citizens United ruling allowed to flow directly to the Republicans, and the corporations that are throwing it at them. And they’re not going to stop. It’s about plutocracy.

Just look at what Republicans are doing now. Redefining rape, de-funding health care, draconian laws against women, abortion, pushing for laws that make the killing of abortion doctors “justifiable homicide,” guns in schools, churches and bars, deregulating everything like big polluters, oil companies, repealing laws from the FDA, EPA, FAA, and these are just a few. Do you really want Republicans who are puppets to corporate rule to have a permanent majority? Look what happened in Arizona. They’re willing to do just about anything to get there, and trashing the country is of no concern to them. Just like John Boehner shrugged off job losses, they’re willing to trash the very Democracy they claim to love so much:

“So be it.”

They. Don’t. Care.

Watch this video below from Rachel Maddow and pass it along.

You can also read this piece for more background on what Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is really doing from Ezra Klein. Pass it along too.

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