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Archive for the ‘Pam Bondi’ Category

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?

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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?

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In the wake of the ruling yesterday by Florida Judge Roger Vinson against the Affordable Care Act as “unconstitutional,” the Republican Party is absolutely beside itself with joy and cheering that the health care law is now all but defeated. Nothing to see here, move along. But as they happily bow at the feet of the health insurance companies and the lobbyists that they serve, let’s put some of this into the perspective of reality for a moment.

Yes, the ruling was troubling for those who were going to benefit from it with affordable health care that has eluded their grasp for so long. Yes, the ruling is just what the health insurance companies ordered over the recommendations of actual doctors, which is also the point. But is the Affordable Care Act really “over” as many are running victory laps are predicting? No, not necessarily. I will defer to those with more expertise on the many details of the ruling and the law like Ezra Klein does so well here.

But there’s one little thing I would like to point out here. After the ruling came out yesterday every Republican official in Florida was racing to be the first to declare the ACA a defeat and the true death panels, the health insurance companies and the Republicans who carry out their wishes, the clear winners. From our newly elected Gov. Rick “Who was Never Charged With Medicare Fraud” Scott, right down to every local Tea Bagger wannabe GOP involved in government in any way, they all rushed to crow about the ruling.

One in particular gave me pause. Newly elected Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. In her news release declaring victory, she said this:

“Today’s ruling by Judge Vinson is an important victory for every person who believes in the freedoms granted to us by our Constitution,” said Attorney General Bondi. “This proves that the federal government requiring Americans to purchase health insurance is in fact unconstitutional. In addition, the bipartisan effort from Attorneys General across the country shows the federal government that we will not back down from protecting the constitutional rights of our citizens.”

Really? This proves that the federal government requiring Americans to purchase health insurance is in fact unconstitutional.” Actually it “proves” no such thing. (Perhaps we should ask for proof of Bondi’s law degree.) What it “proves” is that one more Republican judge ruled against it. Two Democratic judges also upheld the ACA. Yet Bondi needs no more proof than this one ruling. She’s good! Thanks for playing!
That aside, it also shows that the The Family Research Council and the religious right found a judge who agrees with them so much that he used some of the very language in that ruling that they use. What a coincidence, huh?
Even beyond that, it appears that groups like The Family Research Council (also branded as a hate group by the SPLC, mind you) can have great influence on judges. Furthermore, it also appears that the religious right and The Tea Party and their corporate funders with big pockets also have “great influence”  in elections, thanks to that other court ruling: Citizens United.
Of course, there’s no “proof” of that, it just looks that way.  But hey, what do I know? I’m no Attorney General.

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While we listen in on the second day of the Republicans in the House making their arguments in the charade of “repealing” the health care reform law passed last year, it’s important to point out one more development in the lawsuit filed originally by former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum. The lawsuit argues that the law is unconstitutional. In his run for the Governor’s mansion McCollum ran largely on the promise of “protecting Floridians” from health care reform. Never mind the cost to taxpayers from that very lawsuit which threatened to take away reforms that were popular among Florida voters. 20 other states joined in the lawsuit, along with business interests with a stake in the fight. Of course, McCollum lost the election to someone even worse as far as health care laws are concerned, Rick Scott, formerly known from Columbia/HCA, of Medicare fraud fame. (Scott himself was never charged with a crime.)

Today we learned that six more states have joined the lawsuit challenging the health care legislation that Republicans claim they want to “repeal and replace.” Or as some have said, actually “repeal and forget.” That’s now a total of 26 states jumping on the lawsuit bandwagon: Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Maine.

Not exactly surprising, many state officials who joined the lawsuit may have pretty good reasons for doing so. Like their Republican colleagues in the House who, as I write are grandstanding in their effort for “repeal,” they are big beneficiaries of campaign contributions from, wait for it….the health care industry!

From The Center For Public Integrity:

The state officials who joined together to file a lawsuit challenging federal health care reform have collectively received at least $5 million in campaign contributions from the health industry over the course of their political careers, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis.

Using data compiled by the National Institute on Money in State Politics, the Center found that top recipients of industry money include Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has received more than $1 million from health care professionals since 1996, and former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, who took in at least $970,163 from the industry starting in 1992, when he was a state senator, until he left the governor’s office this week. Other major recipients involved in the lawsuit include former Pennsylvania Attorney General and newly-elected Governor Tom Corbett, who has received about $830,000, and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, with more than $770,000.

The money has flowed from a variety of interests ranging from hospitals and drug companies to health care insurers and doctors. Many oppose the mandate in the new law requiring Americans to buy health care coverage.

Florida Attorney General, Republican Pam Bondi has now continued with the lawsuit, saying she is taking up the fight “in the interests of families.” As those six states joined the lawsuit, Bondi said “It sends a strong message that more than half of the states consider the health care law unconstitutional and are willing to fight it in court. “I look forward to continuing to defend Florida’s families and businesses against this unconstitutional law and upholding the Constitution.”

In the interest of families? Bondi has also received campaign contributions from the health care industry:

Pam Bondi, who succeeded McCollum as attorney general and will take up his cause in the lawsuit, received about $75,000 from the industry, some $64,000 of which came from health professionals. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece this month, she said “our lawsuit, together with a similar lawsuit filed by Virginia’s attorney general, has exposed the health-care law’s threat to individual liberty and to the constitutional structure that the Founders designed as a means of protecting that liberty.”

As far the claim that the law is unconstitutional? Not necessarily according to The Center For American Progress, who issued a statement Tuesday signed by more than 125 legal scholars saying the law is constitutional.

As the Republicans in the House pull their “repeal Obamacare” stunt in front of the cameras for political gain, it’s pretty clear they’re acting on behalf of the health insurance companies they meet with behind closed doors who help them craft their arguments. Just like their colleagues in the House, state officials who have joined Bondi’s lawsuit have their own agendas as well.

Agendas so far to the tune of $5 million.

h/t Progress Florida

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I thought things were bad last week when Republicans not only won back control of the House, but also took control of my state as well. All election analysis aside, people seem to agree that a lot of voters stayed home rather than vote because this Administration hasn’t moved quickly enough to clean up the mess that eight years of the Bush/Cheney Administration left us with. This made me angry at those voters for being unrealistic in their expectations. I was one of the people who have defended the Obama Administration since day one in spite of compromises with Republicans who don’t deserve them in the least.

I bit my nails and nearly made myself ill watching every minute of the struggle to get a watered down health care reform law passed and cheered for the result we ended up with. I defended Obama when other liberals and progressives complained that it wasn’t good enough. And the health care bill was just one example.

Today what headline did I wake up to?

This one:

“WHITE HOUSE GIVES IN ON BUSH TAX CUTS”

I see that President Obama wasn’t kidding when he said he was willing to make compromises with Republicans after his “shellacking” in the election last week.

Now, granted, I’m just an unemployed blogger, but I have to say this to the President and his Administration who seem a bit confused over the results of the election last week:

A large part of the reason you were “shellacked” in the election last week is because you’ve compromised too much in the name of “bipartisanship” already. Much of your base didn’t stay home because they like the Republicans better. If they did they would have voted for them.

So now it sounds as if you are compromising once again.

You’re going to continue to try “bipartisanship” once again.

That’s a shame because the Republicans have no interest in “bipartisanship” or “compromise.” They won’t stop until you completely give in to all their demands. And then they’ll kick you for it in return. Then demand something else.

For the next. Two. Years.

Here in Florida Democrats lost in this election big time. For starters, Alan Grayson who was a rare breed of congressmen who really stood up for working families and tried to do the right thing, lost. He’s the one who said the Republicans health care plan was “Don’t get sick, but if you do, die quickly.” and was chastised for doing so. Well, he was right. The Republicans are proving him right in that they threaten to repeal and replace the health care laws you fought for, and then watered down.

Today David Axelrod says that while you will veto such a repeal, you will “work with people” who “have constructive ideas about how to strengthen” it. Really? And who might that be? It certainly won’t be the Republicans. It won’t be the voters. We have no say in the matter and the closest we get to having any “input” beyond our vote is a request from the Democratic Party for contributions which you won’t use to defend congressmen who will actually make a difference, like Alan Grayson.

Grayson’s opponent Daniel Webster and Marco Rubio, courtesy of SCOTUS and Citizens United via truckloads of undisclosed donations that drowned out the opposition both won. They’re Republicans who want to defeat you and your policies.

Rick Scott, our newly elected Governor spent $73 million dollars of his own money and won, in spite of the fact that the former company he owned and ran was fined $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud.

Yes. Medicare fraud. He’s now the Governor of Florida. He’s a Republican. He also wants to get rid of the health care reform law, but you know that since he was the one who led the fight against it in the first place when he formed Conservatives For Patients’ Rights. He hasn’t changed his position.

He’ll have lots of help with our newly elected Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi, who vows to continue to move forward in the lawsuit that was filed along with other states against the health care reform law. She also won courtesy of SCOTUS and Citizens United via truckloads of undisclosed donations and Karl Rove.

They all want the same thing, and it’s NOT compromise or bipartisanship. They want to cut everything, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Education, and on and on. They also want a permanent Republican government and all the perks and money that come with it at our citizens expense.

Most of them are also millionaires. And now you’re going to sweeten the deal for them. You’re going to give them tax cuts that they don’t need when you could merely sit back and let them expire. This on top of the news yesterday that your “bipartisan” commission recommends drastic cuts to just about every conceivable thing they could come up with that didn’t interfere with incomes over $250,000 and the corporations who are pouring cash into funds used to elect the very people who want to defeat you and cut even more of these so called “entitlements” in order to further devastate what’s left of the middle class and sink this country into an oblivion of debt.

I’ll tell you what entitlements are: Tax cuts for the rich.

Mr. Axelrod says this is the only way the middle class can keep their tax cuts. Wrong. It’s not the only way. It’s the Republican’s way.

Mr. Axelrod says “We have to deal with the world as we find it,” and “The world of what it takes to get this done.” Wrong again. In 2008 I voted for “Change.” I didn’t vote for more of the “world as we find it.” If I wanted that I would have voted for the Republicans.

I voted for the candidate I thought would finally fight for the rights of the American people, and not the incompetent, foolish bullies who are dragging this country into a black hole and taking everyone in it with them.

If you plan to give in and not fight for us this time,  you’ve lost me for good. I won’t be fighting for you any longer.

“The world as we find it” isn’t good enough when there’s a better way. Not again.

Not this time.

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Governor elect Rick Scott hasn’t been sworn in yet but he already has a scandal on his hands (Well, another one if you don’t count the ones he had before the election).

It seems that when he said “Let’s get to work” to his campaign workers they somehow were under the impression that he would pay them. With money. Silly believers!

He actually paid them with gift cards instead of cash, and that is a no-no.

Part time campaign worker Mark Don Givens was surprised to get the news that instead of getting a paycheck from Scott for his work on the campaign, he would instead receive an American Express gift card. This in turn caused Givens to say he is “going Democrat.”

Scott’s campaign said there were “issues” in getting Givens a paycheck, hence the gift card. They say the card can be reimbursed for cash, minus a surcharge, which the campaign now says they will put on their tab.

Unfortunately the controversy may not go away that quickly:

“This would violate both tax laws and labor laws,” Melanie Sloan, the Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) told TPMmuckraker in an email. “It looks like the newly elected AG will be investigating the newly elected governor.

So when newly elected Republican Attorney General Pam-Palin-Bondi is sworn in she can investigate the Governor’s gift card scandal, if she can drag herself away from trying to strip Floridians and others of any health care reform benefits long enough to do so, that is. Then I’m sure she’ll get right on it.

Right.

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Yesterday’s New York Times published an editorial on last Tuesday’s election results. While most of the “Monday morning quarterback” analysis of the election has been to focus on the Republicans gaining a majority in the House, the editorial focused more on state elections, and for good reasons.

State elections got less attention in the media before the election and they may well slip under the radar now. But they shouldn’t.

For starters, statewide elections were extremely important for one simple reason: redistricting. This cycle showed a big push to elect Republican governors that would allow Republicans to redraw districts which will be more favorable to.. (Surprise!) Republicans, and the push was successful. They gained 10 Republican governors seats, and they are now in control of 20 states compared to the previous number of nine.

From the Times editorial:

The changes in state government will have another long-term effect as states begin the redistricting process to comply with the population changes documented in the 2010 census. This means that Republicans will be in a position to consolidate this year’s gains by redrawing Congressional and state legislative district lines to their advantage.

Sound familiar? It should. Last week Florida voters overwhelmingly passed Amendments 5 and 6, which will prevent districts from being redrawn unfairly to the advantage of Republicans. More importantly, when the state legislature tried to undercut them with Amendment 7 last July, it was thrown off the ballot because it was misleading to voters, which of course, was the entire point of Amendment 7 in the first place.

When Amendments 5 and 6 passed last week, the will of the people won out. Unfortunately, the day after the election, a suit was already being filed to undo Amendment 6, which would declare it invalid and prevent it from being enforced. Amendment 6 sets the rules for drawing Florida’s congressional districts.

Today Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolous (R-Merritt Island)) announced that Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Destin) will oversee the redrawing of Florida’s district lines based on the 2010 census.

If the name Gaetz sounds familiar to those who followed the debate over Amendments 5 and 6, the so-called “Fair Districts” amendments limiting the legislature’s ability to gerrymander districts that passed a statewide vote on Nov. 2, that’s because Gaetz’s son, state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, was a vocal opponent of 5 and 6.

In the week before the vote on Amendments 5 and 6, Matt penned an op-ed in theNorthwest Florida Daily News, urging readers to vote no on 5 and 6 because they would blunt “the conservative comeback” in Florida. The remarks were unusual, because anti-Fair Districts activists generally preferred to voice their opposition in less explicitly partisan terms. (Even if the Republican Party of Florida did largely fund the organized opposition to 5 and 6.) Matt’s argument was picked up by at least one tea party group, which included his op-ed in an email newsletter.

Voters in Florida may want fair districts, but the Republican controlled legislature is determined to change that as the above examples show.

Then there’s the fact that for some reason, a majority of voters in Florida elected Republican Rick Scott, who was not charged with Medicare fraud, to be their Governor. (But his company Columbia/HCA was fined more that $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud. His current company which runs private clinics,  Solantic, is also facing accusations. As Governor, Scott may now appoint the agency head who will be investigating Solantic as well.)

Among the things that Scott ran under during the campaign was his goal of privatizing Medicaid, which would direct recipients to private clinics, like the ones Scott owns. Scott also led the push to defeat President Obama’s health care reform legislation by forming his non-profit organization Conservatives For Patients Rights. Add to that, Florida is also leading the lawsuit against the new health care reform laws filed by Bill McCollum and joined by other states as well. A majority of Florida voters also elected Republican and FOX-GOP spokesmodel Pam Bondi (also brought to you via Sarah Palin’s endorsement) as Attorney General, who vows to continue the fight to strip health care reform away from Floridians who might benefit from it.

Rick Scott also plans to slash spending by cutting government jobs and education, stripping away regulations, eliminating income tax for businesses, reducing property taxes, and many other cuts in order to “run Florida like a business.” (Recall again, Scott oversaw the company with one of the largest fines ever charged in a Medicare fraud case, which he was forced to leave, and so was never himself charged with Medicare fraud.)

Now it remains to be seen which of these goals Scott will actually be able to reach. They are lofty goals indeed and some might even say unrealistic given the realities Florida is facing. Making all of those cuts while promising to add 700,000 jobs at the same time may involve some tricky maneuvers. Scott may well be adept at tricky maneuvers, but it will take some doing in that he faces a veto proof legislature who may have different goals of their own. Campaign promises and wishful thinking don’t count.

Going back to the Times editorial:

There is no way that these newly elected Republican lawmakers and governors can follow through on their promises to erase huge deficits without raising taxes — except by making irresponsibly draconian cuts in critical state services, particularly for the poor and for education.

The states, like the federal government, need to get control of spending. That may mean dealing with out-of-control pensions. It may mean careful cuts in services combined with, yes, higher taxes. But with millions of people out of work, this is the worst possible time for the states to try to solve all their problems by simply slashing health care spending, spending on higher and elementary education, and services for the elderly and the poor. It would lead to tens of thousands of layoffs and even lower state revenues.

Many other states have little left to cut in government services. Nonetheless, as Monica Davey and Michael Luo reported in The Times this week, many newly elected Republican governors say they will balance their budgets that way. In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry and several state lawmakers have even floated the idea of dropping out of the Medicaid program and creating a low-cost insurance program for the poor.

That is an irresponsible, and counterproductive, way to try to close the state’s $25 billion deficit. It would mean giving up the federal government’s 60 percent share of the Texas program’s $40 billion annual cost. And for nearly four million participants, it would reduce the level of health care far below a minimum standard.

No matter what the politicians have promised, there is no sound way to balance budgets, protect the most vulnerable people, and the states’ own economies, without some tax increases.

There’s also the matter of the stimulus money, which Florida is getting a big chunk of for high-speed rail projects. Scott has waffled on his support or the lack thereof for high-speed-rail. While other Republican Governors have talked big against the stimulus while accepting those very funds and taking credit for receiving them at the same time, yesterday Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated that any states which refuse to proceed with high-speed rail projects will lose those stimulus funds. If that condition holds true for Florida Scott will have to walk a fine line. If he stands in the way and blocks plans for high-speed rail in Florida, he’ll also be blocking an estimated 23,000 jobs, not to mention stimulating business development that will boost Florida’s economy which is sorely needed.

NY Times:

The Republicans’ big wins in Washington will make the states’ plight even worse. As part of their campaigns, Republican members of Congress have vowed to cut discretionary spending, much of which goes to state capitols. Meanwhile, federal stimulus money — decried by the Republicans — is drying up.

Rick Scott made a lot of big campaign promises to voters, and apparently they believed him, given his history with business and Medicare fraud. He portrayed himself to be an outsider, when in fact he lined up rather quickly with Republican cronies in a now veto proof legislature. He has to keep them and voters happy all at the same time, or risk the wrath of both. That in itself should be interesting to watch.

NY Times:

These highly partisan exercises in self-aggrandizement go on every 10 years, but the unusually large number of states with both Republican legislatures and governorships will sharply reduce the ability of Democrats to bring a little balance to the process.

States have long been in the paradoxical position of being closer to the lives of voters than the federal government, while receiving far less scrutiny and attention. But if Republicans begin abusing the privilege they have been handed, imposing unconscionable cuts and claiming an unfair partisan advantage, they may find the public’s outrage turning back on them in a hurry.

In Florida it’s in fact quite safe to say that Republicans will “begin abusing the privilege they have been handed.” They already have. They began abusing that privilege in less than 24 hours after the election last Tuesday by filing suit against Amendment 6, which will go against the will of the voters and stack the deck against them and in favor of Republican lawmakers.

All this before Governor elect Rick Scott, who was never charged with Medicare fraud, is even sworn in.

So I have to ask those voters who chose Rick Scott a question: I know it’s early, but has “voters remorse” started to kick in yet?

 

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Sure, whatever.

If you live in Florida, felt an odd vibe and heard a strange noise on Wednesday, fear not. It was just Sarah Palin gracing Florida with her presence, and that giant sucking sound you heard was politicians running for cover as she handed out endorsements.

Palin attended a dinner with conservatives at The Breakers in Palm Beach, and stopped at the headquarters of NewsMax along the way.

She then took to her “editorial” page on Facebook to write her formal endorsements of Florida candidates (or someone did), while lecturing Floridians on the importance of our elections, and “informing” us on who to vote for and why. Sarah has spoken.

I hate to break it to Sarah, but the majority of people in Florida would never take the advice of someone who probably couldn’t find our state on a map, and who was elected Governor of Alaska merely because she was “not the other guy” who was running, not to mention that she quit mid-term to profit from her latest failure as a Vice Presidential candidate, and she imagines that she sees world leaders peering at her over her front porch.

Hallucinations aside, Palin is probably unaware of her bottom of the barrel favorability polls and that even people like whacky Carly “Barbara-Boxer’s-hair-is-just-SO-yesterday-and-did-I-mention-I-also-killed-Hewlett-Packard?” Fiorina and her job outsourcing cohort Meg Whitman are trying desperately to flee an endorsement from her, “you betcha!'” Even crazy radical Tea Bagger candidate  Joe Miller, who has trouble hitting the “send button” on his e-mails, wouldn’t give her a “Presidentially qualified” endorsement beyond acknowledging that, while she is breathing, hey, anythings possible!

Sarah, or her Facebook ghostwriter, had this advice for voters in Florida:

Had a great visit with Newsmax and the great folks in the Sunshine State yesterday! I spoke to Michael Reagan about his father’s grand legacy and to Dick Morris about not accepting what President Obama wants America to believe is some kind of “new normal” of economic woe.  I spoke to concerned Floridians about the energy in the Tea Party movement, and explained that I wrote a lot about it in my book, “America by Heart”; and I had the privilege of being interviewed on Sean Hannity’s show regarding voter turnout favoring conservatives this year.

Florida is fortunate to have great candidates willing to run and serve for all the right reasons. The repeal of the mother-of-all-unfunded mandates, Obamacare, is foremost on the minds of so many concerned Floridians, along with job, jobs, jobs. Thankfully they have candidates bold enough to promise to shake things up, put “We the People” first, and support free market and results-oriented solutions to all these challenges.  Please support these great Sunshine State candidates:

Rick Scott for Governor

Pam Bondi for Attorney General

Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate

Steve Southerland (FL-2)

Allen West (FL-22)

Sandy Adams (FL-24)

One thing we can thank Sarah for are those endorsements. One can only hope that those candidates sink like stones in the polls as others have after an official nod from Palin.

Just a couple of things I would like to point out here. Sarah doesn’t read, or she would have known that slimy prostitute aficionado and FOX commentator (go figure) Dick Morris whom she “had a great visit with” had a few words to say about one of those candidates himself, Rick Scott. Morris recently said that “Rick Scott is a criminal who belongs in jail, not in the governor’s office.” I may have to take a shower after admitting this, but I have to say I kind of agree with Morris on this one. (Shuddering.) Didn’t look that one up first did you Sarah?

As for others on the list, well it’s predictable because they’re all GOP-Tea Bagger candidates. Pam Bondi, probably endorsed because she’s also a woman, and although she has no children, she’s a “Momma Grizzly” by osmosis I guess?

Marco Rubio, well, he’s the male-Palin of Florida, and if you gave them the words “Reagan, tax cuts, common sense and conservative” perhaps between the two of them they could string a sentence together. Lets face it, she doesn’t know anything about them beyond the fact that they have an “R” behind their names on the ballot.

Allen West? He’s a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. He also claims to have higher security clearance higher than the President in spite of facing a court martial over brutal interrogations, and he claims he threatened to kill a man in Iraq, among other things. Another “fact-check” Palin missed.

As for those “concerned Floridians” she spoke to? Well, she was preaching to the choir. “Obamacare” is actually popular among voters and hasn’t gone far enough, and on the “jobs, jobs, jobs?” Thanks to the stimulus, 153,000 jobs have been created or saved in Florida thanks to that stimulus. Sarah would also probably be surprised to find that 6,000 jobs have been created or saved as well in her home state of Alaska, if she could tear herself away from her home studio, her mirror and her ego long enough to study up on the subject.

And speaking of studying up, or in Sarah’s case, no studying at all, there’s a new article in the November Vanity Fair that, among other things, tells what the disastrous toll of picking Palin as his running mate took on John McCain. Never mind what it did to the country and the unqualified droves of potential candidates we find coming out of the woodwork now, thanks in part to the “gem” that was Sarah Palin, and to John McCain in 2008. A virtual tsunami of idiots who know nothing about governing, nor anything about the constitution they use as a talking point, just like Palin.

Yes, Sarah, we do have “candidates bold enough to promise to shake things up.” Unfortunately we don’t need things “shaken up.” We need people who can govern.

What we don’t need, or want, is your advice. On anything.

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