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Archive for the ‘Republican Party Of Florida’ Category

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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So much for Rick Scott’s “7-7-7″ plan to create 700,000 jobs in Florida.

This morning Scott unveiled his proposed budget at a private meeting of activists from the Tea Party. For a man who campaigned on promises to create jobs and cut spending, he seems to have only made good on the “cutting” portion of those promises. His proposed budget will cut spending by $4.6 billion.

His proposal also includes cutting 8700 jobs, but Scott prefers to call that “cutting the size of government” since it’s state positions he would eliminate. Scott’s reasoning is this:

Though cutting those state jobs would add to the state’s unemployment rate, Scott indicated that the best way to grow the state’s economy was through his “jobs budget,” which shrinks state government and cuts property and corporate-income taxes by nearly $1.4 billion.

That explanation also conveniently provides red meat for the Tea Party crowd, and was apparently the reason he chose the private “preaching to the choir” budget presentation that he did:

“As long as 1.1 million Floridians are out of work, we can’t afford a government that runs wild with taxes, regulations and excessive spending,” Scott told the enthusiastic crowd of a 1,000 conservative activists.

“Reviewing a governmental budget is much like going through the attic in an old home. You come across some priceless things you need to protect,” Scott said. “But there are a lot of odd things someone once thought we needed. Much of it we’ve outgrown. And it just doesn’t  fit anymore. Over the last month, I’ve spent a lot of time in that attic. And I’m cleaning it out.”

Most people would value education as one of those “priceless things you need to protect.” Well, not so the Tea Party types who no doubt fit education into the “it doesn’t fit anymore” category if you’ve observed the mindset, behavior and the misspelled rally signs of Tea “Baggers” and the rich corporate leaders who seek to keep them very much uneducated and in the dark. As evidenced when he began touting his “worse than Jeb” ideas on what to do about education in Florida, Scott hinted that he didn’t value education so much either, and he made that quite clear today when he also announced his proposal to cut education. In one of the largest cuts in his budget, Scott wants to eviscerate education by slashing it by $3.3 billion.

Yes, you read that correctly: $3.3 BILLION. The cuts would come from K-12, community colleges and state universities. However, none of the cuts come from charter schools.

Also “cleaned out from Florida’s attic:”

Department of Community Affairs: ($668 million and almost all the employees), Department of Children and Families: ($178.5 million), Justice Administration: ($489 million, plus $39.5 million in cuts to the court system.) Scott also made cuts in Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection, Law Enforcement, Legal Affairs, Juvenile Justice, Transportation, Elder Affairs, and Health among others. A list can be viewed here.

Among things he increased funding for: adding $629 million for the Executive Office Of The Governor.

Looking at Scott’s budget, it’s not too surprising to see that he chose to give the first look to Tea Party activists. Why a private meeting? Well, why not? That’s the way Scott operates. “We the people” don’t matter once the votes are counted. (Although Scott’s working on the problem of “fair elections” too, since he’s quietly trying to get rid of those pesky Amendments 5 & 6 that the voters clearly wanted, and some members of the legislature are helping him out.) But you wouldn’t know that from listening to Scott. His explanation for the private budget presentation was this:  “I do things different. The world does not revolve around Tallahassee…that’s why I’m announcing my budget in the real world.” Ah yes, The “real world.” In Scott’s neighborhood, reality is a gated community of lobbyists and COC members and business leaders where he merely commutes to Tallahassee and his day job: Florida. It’s just a business, as he’s been so quick to point out.

Over the weekend Scott gave another explanation. In his radio address he said this:

“In the days ahead, the special interests and those who support big government solutions will attack my budget. They don’t recognize, as you and I do, these times require a bold new path.”

The “special interests” will attack my budget. Really? Does he mean these special interests? They may want to help him plan his budget, but attack it? Not so much.

Sure, as he says “you and I” recognize these times require a bold path.

Unfortunately the path that the clueless Rick Scott is leading Florida down isn’t just bold.

It’s dangerous.

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Take This Door And Shove It?

 

Well, he DID say “these doors are open.”

Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, the self-proclaimed “open door policy” man and champion of tightening everyone’s belt but his own, has a brand new website! (And no, I don’t mean the new Mike Haridopolos Fan Site Florida Senate website.) It’s quite fitting for the guy who seems to aspire to personify the smarmiest character ever played by his lookalike William Devane.

No, the website DirtyHari.org is completely devoted to “opening the doors” to Haridopolos in all his hypocritical glory, and chronicles everything from those “silly” overlooked financial disclosures right down to every last measure  he voted to ban and subsequently sidestepped.

The new site was launched yesterday by Progress Florida and Florida Watch Action:

The site serves as an exposé “devoted to holding Senate President Mike Haridopolos accountable to the people of Florida, not just the banks, utilities, oil companies, HMO’s, big developers, and other corporate special interests who bankrolled his state senate campaign and rise to leadership.”

In conjunction with the site release, today at 11:00 AM members of Organize Now delivered hand sanitizer to attendees of a $10,000 a plate “private strategy meeting” in Orlando where Haridopolos was discussing his candidacy for the US Senate election in 2012 with wealthy supporters.  “Our message is simple: Sen. Haridopolos needs to clean up his act,” said Mark Ferrulo, Executive Director of Progress Florida.

That “sanitized” private strategy meeting reportedly raised $1 million for the U. S. Senate campaign that Haridopolos jumped into in less time than it took to remove those office doors after he was sworn in as Florida Senate President, the job which, according to Saint Petersblog,  Haridopolos told the crowd was his “political priority at least through the spring.” Just the type of statement you would expect from one of the elected officials who seek to thwart the will of the Florida voters who have the nerve to demand fair elections. Surely voters didn’t expect him to actually DO the job he was elected to?

If ever we needed to restore a little “Sunshine” to Florida’s ethically challenged backdoor politics it’s now when we have Gov. who ignores the people AND the press, and a Senate President with only part-term priorities who rips down office doors for the cameras, then holds his meetings privately in the president’s box at football games, the Governor’s mansion, and who knows where else?

Haridopolos didn’t want those office doors?

If he wasn’t “unhinged” before, he certainly is now.

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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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Well, here’s something you don’t see every day, an “honest” Republican. So honest in fact that he’s leaving the Party, but not before he states his reasons in a column published in the Tallahassee Democrat. He’s former Florida Rep. Randy Ball of Miami, and former criminal justice adviser for former Gov. Charlie Crist who left before new Gov. Rick Scott had a chance to ask him to resign.

As for his reasons? Well, his words speak for themselves:

“Republican leaders live in a fairy land where everything good — sunshine and bright blue skies, leprechauns and laughing daffodils — is bestowed by the wise Republican king, while everything bad — mold, dark nights and dragons — is inflicted by the Democrats and their snow queen,” Ball writes. “The dark must be thrown back, the evil crushed. And Republicans in their gleaming armor are the ones to do it. By golly, we will not vote for a Mother’s Day resolution if a Democrat submits it!”

Not only would Republicans “not vote for a Mother’s Day resolution if  Democrat submits it,” they would even go so far as to redefine rape to restrict abortions which are already restricted under existing federal law (and convince at least one Democrat to go along with them.) Let’s hope those “wise Republican kings” never have to face the consequences of this law they want to impose on “Mom” and all women.

To Randy Ball, I’ve got to say this: good call.

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Marco Rubio and David Rivera are making their respective debuts as two of the newest members in the House and Senate in Washington. How are they doing? What have they done for you lately? Well, today I thought we should play a little catch up, so here we go.

Tea Party? What Tea Party?

Starting his career in Washington, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-U-Kidding-Me-FL) made news right off the bat by giving a big brush-off to the Tea Party that were largely responsible for putting him there in the first place. When asked if he would now be joining the Tea Party Caucus, Rubio said “not so much.”

“Really what I think the strength of the tea party is that it comes from the grass-roots,” Rubio told a group of Florida reporters Wednesday in an interview in his temporary Senate office. “That it is not a political organization, it’s not something run by politicians or people seeking higher office, but rather it is a movement of every day citizens from all walks of life. That’s the strength of the tea party: that it’s not a political organization run by people out of Washington. My concern is a tea party caucus could intrude on that.”

So in other words, the Tea Baggers are a grass-roots movement to get candidates like Rubio elected, but they shouldn’t necessarily have a voice in policy making in Washington?

“Some activists have taken note of Rubio’s reluctance to join the caucus — which meets for the first time Thursday — and expressed concern; others have said he’ll be judged on how he votes.”

Just how much of an observation the Tea Party will have from their vantage point under his bus remains to be seen, but here’s a hint of things to come. One of his first announcements on Wed. was that he will co-sponsor his first bill, one which will repeal the health care law. So if the Tea Baggers really don’t want a “government takeover” of their health care, well then enjoy the symbolic gesture Rubio made yesterday. In his quest to go backwards, Rubio proves once again that he’s all about talking points and little substance.

“Thanks Mom!”

Meanwhile, Marco Rubio’s bud from South Florida, newly elected Rep. David Rivera (Re-Writing-Disclosure-Forms-FL) is in a bit of a pickle. He has begun his career in the House with lots of “splainin’ to do” over campaign donations, disclosures, “thank-you campaigns,” and hiding behind his mother and godmother’s skirts. It’s quite an involved little tale, so rather than try to bring you up to speed here, I’ll refer you to a couple of timeline summaries:

Investigators look into Rep. Rivera’s `thank you’ spending

Do The Right Thing-Step Aside

Meanwhile, new Republican House Speaker John Boehner doesn’t want so much to get involved. When asked about Rep. Rivera’s “problems” he basically washed his hands of it all.

“As I understand the allegations against Mr. Rivera, they don’t involve any of his congressional service,” Boehner said. “These were activities that took place before he was elected. And I think we’re waiting to see how this plays out.”

When asked similar questions, Marco Rubio said pretty much the same thing, in almost the same words. (Shocking, I know that Rubio would spew mere talking points from the Speaker!)

Rivera’s close friend, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, reacted similarly to Boehner: “I’m aware of the issue that’s out there but when something like that is happening, it’s always appropriate not to just comment on it and let it play itself through.”

So there you go. The month of January and the progress made by two of the newly elected members from the Republican Party of Florida. If you like corruption and going backwards in time, then they’re doing a bang up job, wouldn’t you say?

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(UPDATED BELOW)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) the “Darling Of The Tea Party?” Maybe not so much.

Rubio rose in the Republican Party and on to the U.S. Senate largely by appealing to the Tea Party, with his fiscally conservative mantras (never mind those pesky investigations!) that gained him popularity from Tea Bagger types.

Now that he’s got their votes, it looks as though he, like many of his newly crowned Tea Party colleagues may be abandoning the very constituents he made all those promises to. Just as predicted, his Tea Bagger persona may have begun morphing back into the Republican mold he was fitting himself into all along.

Sorry Tea Baggers, looks like the joke’s on you.

No, Marco Rubio isn’t letting any “grassroots” grow under his feet.

From Politico:

An aide to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told POLITICO that he’s still mulling whether to join the official Tea Party caucus on Capitol Hill.
“Senator Rubio is proud of his relationship with the tea party movement and shares its commitment to tackling the debt, defending the free enterprise system and restoring our limited government tradition,” said Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos. “He simply has not made any decisions about any caucus memberships.”

Shorter Rubio: “Talking point, talking point, hey it’s been great, thanks for the votes and the cash memories! Now excuse me while I join the good old Washington insiders, politics as usual boys club. See you around!”

Wow! Bummer for those of you in the Tea Party, but hey, can’t say we didn’t try to warn you.

It sure looks like you’ve bagged yourself a big ole’ heap of buyer’s remorse.

h/t: Senatus

UPDATE:

Also not part of his Tea Party fans plans, there’s this on Afghanistan:

Sen. Marco Rubio spent the weekend in Pakistan and Afghanistan and said he found encouraging signs, but he criticized the Obama administration’s goal of beginning to withdraw U.S. troops this summer.

“I think we are on the timeline this year to have some real good news and make some significant progress,” the Florida Republican said Monday in a conference call with reporters from Kabul. “But I think if you attach a date to it … you are really creating a difficult situation. The bad guys, the Taliban and even al-Qaida, must know all they have to do is wait.”

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In the wake of the shootings in Arizona, and the one at Florida State University last week where a drunk student accidentally killed his girlfriend’s twin sister with an AK-47, you might think that logic would dictate the idea of tightening notoriously permissive gun laws in Florida. Unfortunately, that logic goes out the window thanks to the National Rifle Association and lawmakers in Florida.

In fact, there are now three separate bills on the table that will further weaken firearms regulations in the Sunshine State. One seeks to restrict local governments from regulating firearms, and a second would prohibit physicians from asking about guns in the home. The third proposed bill, if passed, could make it even easier for more shootings just like the one that took place at FSU, accidental or otherwise. In that bill, lawmakers want to allow those with permits to carry weapons on college campuses. The reasoning behind the proposed laws are basically “because you can,” “free speech,” and in the case of the third, because “concealed weapons permit holders are adults, with the same rights as others.” That, according to NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer. Of course, adults also have the right to attend classes and move freely on a college campus without getting shot or killed too, but those rights are always trumped by the rights of gun owners. Add to that the lobbyists for the NRA who dole out truckloads of contributions to lawmakers who have no spines and, well, there you go.

Only two days after the shootings in Tucson, Florida Republican Rep. Joe Negron filed the bill that would prohibit local ordinances that might impose firearm and ammunition restrictions, and anyone who tries could be thrown out of office and could be fined up to $5 million.

Two days after the shootings.

According to Negron the timing had absolutely nothing to do with Tucson, he had been working on the bill with the NRA for over a month already.

Sadly in Florida, as well as nationwide, when it comes to gun laws it isn’t so much the lawmakers, but rather the NRA who dictate gun laws. (Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) who lost her husband in the Long Island Railroad shootings, is introducing a bill that would outlaw high-capacity magazines like the one the Arizona shooter used, and already she faces an uphill battle against it.) It was only a day or two after the Arizona shootings, if even that, when the subject of possible restrictions came up, and they were quickly “shot down” by those in authority. Not going to happen. Not the right time. (As if there could be a better time?) As for Florida? Well, we just elected a Governor who was given an “A” rating by the NRA.

It’s “not the right time” for tighter gun and ammunition restrictions. If it’s never the right time after shootings like those above, when is it? I can’t think of a better time. Gun laws in Florida are permissive enough already:

I’ve heard all of the arguments against gun control laws. We all have. “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” Yes. Armed people. Does that mean we should make it that much easier to obtain a gun?

As for those those who claim President Obama wants to take away their guns, that’s utter nonsense. If anyone needs further evidence of that, look at what happened in Tucson. The only reports of problems the gunman had was having to try a second Wal-Mart when the first wouldn’t sell him the ammunition.

In the wake of every single shooting the subject of gun control comes up, and every time we discuss it for a couple of days, while others just throw up their hands in denial, and the powers that be like the NRA start complaining that someone wants to take away the rights of the gun owner, while they throw money at the feet of our lawmakers who will make the complaints go away.

In Florida, it’s one lawmaker who is willing to turn around and file more permissive gun bills just days after the deaths of a 9 year old girl in Arizona, and a college student in Florida. Once again there can’t even be a discussion of how to combat the problem. Florida’s only answer to the problem is more guns! Less restrictions!

Let no one get in the way of the NRA and one’s right to own and carry a gun.

You may have rights, but so do the gun owners.

And they’re armed.

Sorry, but that’s not an acceptable answer.

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