Monthly Archives: April 2011

More Insights From Allen West

Allen West held his second town hall since he cast controversial votes that have been plaguing Republicans who returned to their respective districts earlier this week.

It’s that damn Paul Ryan and his budget bill.  The Tea-Party freshman were going to return to a loving embrace at their town halls.  But Karma’s a bitch, and instead time-warped them back to the circus of 2009.  Only now, these town-hall attendees actually live in the area and are yelling at the Republican Congressmen whose plan threatens their Medicare and health care while adding to the massive budget deficit they promised to close.

Less than a minute in to this first clip, West defends his choice to de-fund Planned Parenthood and NPR, a measly 1% of the budget, while the Department of Defense has doubled their budget to over $600 billion.  West’s response is a fantastic demonstration of the art of room clearing:

He might have pissed off all those people with those Planned Parenthood remarks, but he really dug himself into a hole when he pivoted into the “not turning his back on the people he served with” justification.

About 6 minutes into the next clip is West’s read on how the 2 parties can work together for the great good of America as a nation:

There is an incredible ideological chasm developing in the United States of America and the gist is very simple: if you got more people who are tied or dependent upon government, by subsistence check or employment check, it becomes upside-down in the United States of America.  And if there are people who believe that what built this great nation in 234 years is large government, I can’t compromise with that.  Because that goes against our principles – that goes against everything the founding fathers wrote, that goes against everything that has built this country to where it is now.”

That’s depressingly unsurprising.  Allen West stands firm on his tea-bagger platform of not cooperating with anyone who supports helping the greater good of those he was hired to represent.

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Video of Nicole Sandler Arrested From Allen West Town Hall

around minute 8 is where the arrest occurs

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Congressman Allen West Defines his Debt Ceiling Conditions

Florida Congressman Allen West held a town hall event in Fort Lauderdale this evening.  It would have been a better show (by which I mean “authentic”), however it did start with some fireworks.

Upon arriving, everyone was given a card to fill out with standard info such as name, address, phone number, and email.  We were also asked to fill out the question/concern we wanted West to address.  Initially I assumed it was so they could gauge the temperature of the crowd.  Ya know, take stock of general areas of interest and call people to the microphone accordingly.  This isn’t unusual considering what most GOP congressman have faced at their respective town halls this week.  If anything I figured they were hoping to avoid the Medicare voucher vote entirely.

He works for "you"....just don't ask him any questions

This wasn’t the case it all.  Instead of calling people down to voice their concerns, Allen West had 2 staffers allegedly read the questions to him. I know for a fact they threw aside most of genuine questions because they threw out at least 4 people who took issue with this Q & A format.  One woman was taken into police custody.

Dave Weigel reports that a Wall Street front group is loading conservative activists with soft ball questions and packing them into GOP town halls.  That was what I expected. Instead we have a Congressman totally ducking any questions and soft-balling himself.

With regard to the Debt Ceiling, West defined the terms under which he’ll vote to raise it: a constitutional “balanced budget” amendment”, a provision in the constitution that triggers automatic budget cuts when the federal budget nears the debt limit, deregulation and cutting corporate taxes to 20%.

**UPDATE** Turns out the woman who was arrested by Fort Lauderdale police was Air America’s own Nicole Sandler.

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Republicans Attack Unions in Florida

Republicans in the Florida state legislature are taking aim at public unions.  The measures taken in this southern swing state, resemble those taken in states like Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Michigan. Republican governors are battling with public unions and the rights they are entitled to.

I swear, there are a few reasons people want to move to Florida....two of them pictured here

The House passed a bill that would prohibit automatic deduction for union dues from the paychecks of public sector workers. It would also require individual members to annually give express consent for their dues to be used for political purposes.  Other legislation would for the first time require that all public workers take a 5% pay cut so the state can direct that same amount from state workers’ pensions. The Senate budgetary committee also passed a measure denying any fees collected to be used for political purposes in any way.

But here are a few catches:  For one thing, Florida’s state constitution guarantees the right for workers to unionize.

According to Article 1, Section 6. Right to work — The right of persons to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or non-membership in any labor union or labor organization. The right of employees, by and through a labor organization, to bargain collectively shall not be denied or abridged.

Jeanette Wynn, president of the Florida chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents 110,000 workers across the state said the measures fail to address the most important issue:  job creation. “This is all political and not at all economic”.

Florida is considered a “right to work” state. That means any person who works in the state of Florida does not have to join the union in order to work here. In other words: you don’t have to belong to a union to hold a job. It’s entirely optional.  Additionally, workers who do join unions are allowed to end their membership at any time.

Because of this, many see the moves by the Republican legislature, as an attempt at union busting. And these feelings aren’t without warrant.  According to the Chairman of the Palm Beach County Republicans, Syd Dinnerstein, “This is a hot issue across the country because we have public-sector employees who have been allowed to unionize and to become involved in politics and we should never have allowed either one”.

Robert Dow, president of the 8,000-member Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association, said it’s not about ideas it’s about money. “This is a struggle over who will control wealth in this country.” He said  “the shift in wealth in US away from the working-class and middle-class and to the wealthy since the 1970s has been astounding.

“Before that as, unions built and grew strong the middle class built and got stronger. And is unions have diminished middle-class wages have gone stagnant and have even begun to go down. What they are trying to do now is destroy the only effective voice workers have.”

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Republicans Move to Control Supreme Court

Florida’s Republican legislature is taking aim at dramatically overhauling the Supreme Court.  The House passed 3 measures, including a constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot next year.

If approved by 60% of voters, the 7 member Supreme Court would add 3 new members and be split into civil and criminal court divisions.  The 3 most senior justices – the only remaining justices appointed by the last Democratic Governor – would be moved to the criminal bench.

The 3 new appointees to be picked by Rick Scott would sit on the civil division.  The civil court would oversee social issues like abortion and political redistricting.

GOP has no love for the Florida Supreme Court

Also included in the proposed Supreme Court rigging amendment, The Governor would appoint all members of the Judicial Nominating Commission – only one third of which are currently appointed by the Governor.  The Republican controlled Senate would be able to confirm the Governor’s appointments.  It would also allow the state legislature to repeal court rulings.

“No one party should be in control of all levels of government,” said Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek. “This is an attempt by leadership to not only command the governor’s office, the House and the Senate — but also the judiciary.”  Democrats charge the Republicans are overreaching – an attempt by the GOP legislature and Governor Scott to shape redistricting efforts by restricting the court’s independence.

Over 60% of Floridians who voted in November approved Amendments 5 & 6, the Fair District Amendments.

Republicans in the state have been working against the measures, first with their own amendment that was struck down by the courts for being intentionally misleading, and most recently with their lawsuit against implementation.  Governor Voldemort even went so far as to withdraw the amendments for review by the DOJ (in compliance with the Voter Rights Act) before the state legislature resubmitted them with prejudicial language.

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Rick Scott’s First 100 Days: Your Reaction in One Word

TBO.com asked for 1 word reactions to Rick Scotts first 100 days in office, and the word cloud is telling

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Floridians Deserve The Right To Recall

A letter from Floridians Deserve The Right To Recall

Florida law currently allows for the recall of local elected officials, but there is no provision to allow for the recall of state officials, unlike 18 other states. Engaged citizens deserve the tools to hold their public servants accountable without having to wait for the next election!

Thats why I introduced legislation to create a citizen recall process in Florida. And to show the widespread support our bill has, I created this petition to be delivered to the Florida State House, the Florida State Senate, and Governor Rick Scott. The petition simply says:

“Create a citizens recall process for state elected officials in Florida by passing Rep. Rick Krisemans House Joint Resolution 785 and House Bill 787.”

Will you sign the petition? Click here to add your name, and then pass it along to your friends:

http://bit.ly/recallScott

Thanks!

–Representative Rick Kriseman

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Rick Scott Has a Plan For Jobs – Cut Them

Follow up on earlier post:  Recall Rick Scott

This blog is in no way dedicated to Governor Voldemort, but he hit new levels of evil with the most recent, despicable executive order cutting 15%  of the funding for the severely handicapped, slashing payments by 40% for the 30,000 disabled Floridians who rely on the state’s Medicaid program.

His rule of governing can’t be any clearer: he’s literally stepping on the most vulnerable to kiss the asses of the few corporations who hoard their cash despite record profits.  There is no reason he deserves the 30% approval rating he currently has.

In order to stress the need for a recall effort, I wanted to underscore this by updating some information from an earlier post. Recently, I commented on the stunning contrast between Florida Governor Rick Scott’s campaign promise to bring 700,000 jobs to the state of Florida. I noted then that the state of Florida was projected to cut almost 70,000 cash-money jobs.

Those numbers were wrong.

More recent numbers suggest that in the 4 months since taking office, Scott has cost the state roughly 74,000 jobs (estimates includes the number of jobs that were lost, in the long run, with the high-speed rail project). This includes 1,600 jobs cut from the Department of Health; 1,690 cut from the Department of Corrections and the Department of Children and Families; 28,500 expected to be lost from road projects;  about 4,106 job losses are yet to be determined but are planned for next year, or a total of 12,700 lost over the next 2 years;  and of course 24,000 to 40,000 jobs that would have come from the high-speed rail project that Scott nixed.

 

Thank Rick Scott for why China is ahead of us.

Thank Rick Scott for why China is ahead of us.

Those are just the state/public jobs that were cut by Rick Scott.

Florida A&M University, a private school, recently voted to eliminate 242 positions by their board of trustees.

Since taking office, private businesses such as the French firm, Teleperformance, has had to lay off 1,200 workers and retailers in Florida estimate they’ve had to fire over 5,700 employees due to Florida’s plummeting economic climate.

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