Friday, May 13, 2011
What is wrong with the people who voted for the criminal, Rick Scott, to be the governor of the State of Florida? He told them what he would do. He promised them pain and misery! He warned that he would screw the middle-class and the poor and make the rich richer!
How could the people vote him into office, knowing full well that if justice had been served Scott would be in jail for perpetrating the biggest Medicare fraud in history!
I'm hearing a lot of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth from those same folks who put their X's by Scott's name! Hindsight won't fix things though.
People used to flock to Florida because it held out the promise of a semblance, at least, of paradise: Warm weather, low-cost housing, good medical care, excellent universities and passable schools, surrounded (almost) by blue water, and a gazillion golf courses, plus Disney World. How could you go wrong?
Well, it's a hot place, and in the summer you may get run over by a hurricane or smashed into the earth by a tornado, but people living in Florida have been willing to take their chances as it is arguably better than trying to survive in the frigid north in the winter, especially in places like New Jersey!
But now, thanks to our criminal governor and his Repugnican conspirators in the legislature, Florida is rapidly becoming one of the worst places to live - especially if you're old, or sick, or homeless, or unemployed, or in need of an education!
1) From the St. Petersburg Times: "Out-of-work Floridians would receive fewer state benefits while businesses pay less tax under a controversial proposal approved Friday [May 6] by a divided legislature."
Unemployment benefits are cut 11.5 % and the number of weeks to receive benefits was cut from 26 to 23.
Not only so, but "The change also cuts by 10 percent the business tax that pays for unemployment benefits.
Not only so, but "The bill also makes it easier for a business to show employees were fired for cause, preventing them from receiving benefits.
2) The teaching of evolution is also under attack in Florida (as in many other states). Senate Bill 1854 necessitates a "thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution" in Florida's public schools.
This is a typical creationist ploy to create controversy and doubt relative to evolution and thus introduce the alternative religious view of creationism, which is an ongoing dream of the Christianist theocrats in our midst.
Unfortunately, it makes for stupid students in Florida!
3) Scott and his Repugnican cohorts in the Florida Legislature are busy undermining laws protecting Florida's environment. Leslie Kaufman, writing in the New York Times, says that "Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, has proposed eliminating millions of dollars in annual outlays for land conservation as well as cutting to $17 million the $50 million allocated in last year's budget for the restoration of the dwindling Everglades."
Kaufman quoted David Guest, "the managing attorney for the Florida office of Earthjustice, a national environmental law firm," who said "...Scott's budget was 'the most radical anti-environmental budget' he had seen in two decades of environmental work..."
Scott "has asked to cut staff members to 40 from 358 at the Department of Community Affairs, which regulates land use and was created to be a control on unchecked urban sprawl."
And some people actually thought he was about creating jobs and not eliminating them!!!
According to the Miami Herald, "the Florida House passed a bill to ban implementation of water quality standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration. Gov. Rick Scott ... asked the agency to rescind a January 2009 determination that the federal rules are necessary for Florida."
In other words, let the polluters destroy our waterways. Florida Repugnicans certainly wouldn't want to make it more difficult for polluters to do their damage! And who cares about clean water to drink and swim in anyway?
4) In Florida, education is taking a huge hit while the rich are getting their taxes reduced! Teachers are under assault. Promises bonuses are not being paid. Annual and step pay raises have been abandoned. Teachers must now pay 3% of their meager salary toward their pensions - which is something new and may force many teachers living on the edge already out of the profession!
Class sizes will grow and classes will become more unmanageable. Unions are losing their clout to protect teachers from the ravages of ideology-driven legislators and meddlers.
All of this is part of the national effort underway in state legislatures to destroy public education and replace it with private schools and vouchers paid for by the tax-payers. The money behind this effort comes from far right-wing christianists! We can be sure Florida is a major target with a pathetic but sympathetic governor and christianist-dominated legislature.
5) This is from Erika Wood, Deputy Director, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU -
March 10, 2011: "In less than an hour yesterday, Florida Governor Rick Scott denied the right to vote to hundreds of thousands, maybe as many as a million Florida citizens, turning back the clock decades and making Florida the most punitive state in the country when it comes to disenfranchising people with criminal convictions in their past."
[The irony here is that the governor should have been convicted of fraud and sent to jail but instead worked a deal where he left the company with $300 million, about $70 million of which he used to buy the governorship of Florida!]
"The Florida constitution denies the right to vote for life to anyone with a felony conviction, unless he is granted clemency by the governor. Essentially it gives the governor, an elected official, the power to decide who will (or won't) be allowed to vote in the next election.
"The new clemency rules not only roll back reforms passed by former Governor Charlie Crist, they are far more restrictive than those in place under former Governor Jeb Bush." Suffice it to say that these rules will effectively disenfranchise mostly African-Americans which is a Repugnican delight as African-Americans tend to vote Democratic."
Welcome to the "good ol' days," when Jim Crow ruled in Florida. And "Florida's law is now the most restrictive in the country."
6) From The Associated Press and Ocala.com -
April 24, 2011. "The Florida Legislature is poised to cut the popular Bright Futures scholarship program, meaning thousands of college students and their parents will by paying higher costs and less affluent families may have to take out loans, seek other financial aid, get jobs, or maybe even go on a low-cost diet.
"Cuts to the merit-based scholarship program would come as the Legislature is also raising tuition at public colleges and universities."
So, once again, the Florida budget will be balanced on the backs of those least able to afford it.
7) Citizens Property Insurance is a state-run company for those people who are unable to obtain insurance from other carriers. It is a life-saver for millions of Floridians.
From Ocala.com, April 23, 2011: "Gov. Rick Scott has secretly pushed to kill Citizens Property Insurance before his first term ends ... "
Even some insurance folks think Scott has gone too far. "The industry lobbyists protested that Florida carriers could not absorb all of Citizen's business ... The gap would force many Florida property owners to turn to the unregulated surplus lines market, where rates are unchecked and policies are not backed by a state guarantee fund."
A word of warning: If you plan to come to Florida and buy a house anywhere near the ocean and cannot afford exorbitant hurricane insurance, be prepared to let your house blow away when a hurricane comes. Nobody in Tallahassee, including the governor, gives a damn!
8) Also from Ocala.com, April 24, 2011: Florida is a haven for scam artists who prey on the young and old alike. Always has been! It is reported that "the state's main consumer hotline registers more than 40,000 complaints annually." And it is more than likely that this is a small fraction of the number of people who have been ripped off by unscrupulous individuals or businesses.
Most Repugnicans don't like any regulations on business. As Rep. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, said: "Our concern is - number one - getting out of the way of business." Let the buyer beware! [Sheeet! I thought it was about creating jobs?] And so the Florida House passed a bill, sponsored by Rep. Hukill, which reduces "business licensing requirements." It's such a bad deal that even some Repugs are against it!
A word to the wise: If you live in Florida or plan to visit Florida in the future, watch your back. Folks doing business in the state will have a free hand to rip you off seven ways from Sunday!
Here's one last comment from Rachel Maddow:
Florida Republicans have also decided to start mandatory drug testing of Florida residents receiving public benefits -- not people who are suspected of drug abuse, but everybody forced drug testing by the government.
And the state will have to pay for those forced drug tests for the folks who aren`t, you know, on drugs. Or they will reimburse those forced drug tests. The bill also says you actually have to front the money for your forced drug test. You have to front the money for your forced drug test.
Just paying for those forced drug tests could cost the state of Florida $1 million to nearly $8 million. If you -- you have to front the money to pay for your forced drug test. And then if you turn up clean, they`ll reimburse you the money. So, the state is then paying for it. If you don`t turn up clean, then you`re the one who has paid for the test. That`s their new small government system.
So, Florida is slowing down their own economy in a way that doesn`t help the deficit, in a way that hurts the worse-off people among them, in a way that spends a bunch of money in order to expand the government to a never-before-seen size. So, the government in Florida, it will now be big enough that it can seize your bodily fluids even if you are not suspected of anything amiss with those fluids.
This is the world according to the Republican Party in the state of Florida, which is now as always the great Petri dish of American politics.
Watch Maddow's program here.
I would add to this that according to my information, the proposed drug testing will be performed at offices of Solantic, which is a company co-owned by Gov. Scott. When he took office he transferred his shares to his wife. Although he claimed he had no interest in the company some time ago, he sold his interest just a few days ago (May 13, I believe).
Someone told me the other day that he wasn't too worried about Scott because he said at some point Scott will do something so overtly illegal and criminal he will be forced to leave office. I hope my friend is right. And it can't happen soon enough!
Posted by Lowell at 2:51 PM