Florida

South Florida Wars On Homeless And Voters: Signs Of Heartless Attitude Toward Poor, And Minority Right To Vote

The Republican Party in the state of Florida has become as heartless and disgraceful in their treatment of the homeless, the poor, and minorities, as already demonstrated in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and elsewhere.

But now South Florida, where the author lives, has reached a new low!

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, center of Broward County, is now working to outlaw the homeless in their jurisdiction from having ANY personal items with them, including clothing, food, medicine, and personal items. These homeless are already degraded, but now they can have no personal possessions, an absolute outrage!

And Dade County is now setting up voting rules that will close all public restrooms on voting days, since many of them do not have adequate conditions for disabled people, so that means voters will have to wait on line for hours under restrictive rules for voting days and hours, and be unable to relieve themselves, thereby discouraging many voters from even getting on line.

What kind of community bars anyone from having personal posessions on their person or near them, and what kind of community cloes all restrooms as a method to cut voting numbers?

This is unconscionable, and the Department of Justice MUST intervene to stop both actions, and similar ones elsewhere in the nation!

How could anyone claim that the Department of Justice should not sue on these matters, as a violation of civil rights?

What kind of a nation are we becoming, when we take away all human dignity from the homeless, and have jurisdictions closing restrooms to prevent voting?

How can anyone justify this in the name of human decency and compassion and justice?

The Worst Governor In Florida History: Rick Scott!

Florida Governor Rick Scott may have gained less attention than other “Bully” Republican Governors elected in 2010, but he is, in many ways, the absolutely worst governor in America, and easily, the worst Governor Florida has ever had in modern history!

Florida has had some really outstanding Governors, including Leroy Collins (1955-1961); Reubin Askew (1971-1979); Bob Graham (1979-1987); Lawton Chiles (1991-1999); and Charlie Crist (2007-2011). Republican Governors Claude Kirk (1967-1971) and Bob Martinez (1987-1991) both lost re-election and were controversial. Jeb Bush (1999-2007) had his controversies, but did an excellent job dealing with eight hurricanes during his time in office.

Rick Scott came into office with the record of having paid a record fine for his Medicare corruption as the leader of the nation’s largest hospital chain, and should have gone to prison instead, for his misdeeds. He won the Governorship by only 50,000 votes, the smallest margin in Florida history.

Scott spent $73 million of his own money to get himself elected, despite a personality that was and is a turn off to most people who have any intelligence or compassion for others. It was an example of how backward Floridians were, that they would allow a convicted felon to become their Governor.

Scott has done massive damage on voting rights, privacy rights, public schools and higher education, environmental protection, and health care. His party controls three fourths of the seats in the legislature, and has taken Florida backwards at a time when it is about to become the third largest state in population.

Scott has made it harder for Florida citizens to vote; for those who are unemployed to gain unemployment compensation; for renters to avoid eviction; and made it easier for borrowers to be charged high interest rates on short term loans.

Scott has refused to accept Medicaid money for the poor, despite the fact that the federal government will pay all the costs for three years, and 90 percent after that. He fought ObamaCare tooth and nail, and still makes it difficult for citizens to apply for it.

Scott rejected federal money for high speed rail, while creating another state university, Florida Polytechnic University, which undermines the University of South Florida market for students. His administration spends less per public school student than when he took office, and promotes private charter schools over public schools. He has undermined respect for a liberal arts education, and teachers at all levels have been treated with disrespect by his education policies.

Scott has undermined the environment protections put into effect by his predecessors, and sees Florida as equivalent of a corporation that needs to be given freedom to abuse in every way possible, including health insurance rates, higher electric rates, and tax breaks for businesses that have not created the promised number of jobs.

Scott has demonstrated little concern for individual rights, wanting drug testing for state employees and welfare recipients; purging voter rolls, and restricting early voting. Luckily, there has been reaction against these ideas by courts, county elections supervisors, and the public.

The man has no compassion or empathy, and comes across as a cold, calculating individual, and it makes one wonder how Floridians could possibly consider him for a second term, but Scott is willing to spend whatever it takes to fool people, and to keep the vote numbers down by any means he can conjure up.

Scott gains less attention nationally than Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and other “Bully” Governors, all of whom are considered Presidential possibilities, but IF Rick Scott is re-elected, do not be surprised if he tries to bring his corruption, mean spirit, callousness, and lack of empathy or compassion to a national campaign for President.

One might say, wait, there is already Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio as potential candidates for President from Florida! The answer is: So What? Scott has never let ego or ethics get in his way in the past, and do not be surprised he might mount a national campaign if he defeats former Governor Charlie Crist, who has switched parties, and faces a massive challenge to be elected Governor as a Democrat, in a state with such a large Republican dominance in the state legislature!

The problem is that, even if Crist were to win, he is likely to face a hardline legislature, where only his veto might sometimes be effective, as Florida politics now represents one of the most backward agendas of any state, despite the fact that the state has nearly 20 million citizens, including many elderly, poor, sick, and disabled!

This is NOT a state where anyone who has a choice to move would decide to remain. YES, the weather is great, but the future for the elderly, the poor, the sick and the disabled, and for children in general, is gloomy!

Maryland, anyone?

Kathleen Sebelius A True Hero In Promotion Of ObamaCare: History Will Treat Her Well!

Former Kansas Governor and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has had, probably, the most difficult job of anyone working under President Obama, in trying to promote the Affordable Care Act.

She was vilified for the disastrous beginning of ObamaCare last October, but now, despite the rough start, 7.5 million Americans are covered, plus millions more on Medicaid. For this, she is a true hero!

Meanwhile, many Republican Governors have refused to expand Medicaid, and people are dying for lack of accessibility to health care. This is absolutely unconscionable, and one wonders how Rick Scott of Florida, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Rick Perry of Texas, and other despicable GOP Governors can sleep at night!

While treated roughly by Republicans, and elements of the national news media, Sebelius will, in the long run, be well remembered and honored in history, as she is the person most involved in bringing health care to millions, and in so doing, fulfilling the “American Dream.”

She is an honorable lady, who, hopefully, now leaving the cabinet after five years, will have another role to play in public serice!

Let every decent person salute Kathleen Sebelius for her dedication and commitment!

Liz Cheney Vs. Rand Paul, And The Rachel Maddow “Connection” On Iraq War

Fox News commentator Liz Cheney, formerly a Senate candidate from Wyoming, who withdrew from the race due to poor polling numbers, is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

She is as much a nightmare as her infamous father, who is the hawk of all hawks, the ultimate neoconservative, who manipulated us by lies to enter the war against Iraq, a losing war, that emboldened the more dangerous neighbor, Iran, over the past eleven years.

Liz Cheney defends her father while attacking Tea Party Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has denounced the Iraq War as an unwise and mistaken action.

But Liz Cheney has claimed that Rand Paul is mouthing the main talking points of MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow, who has produced a documentary, already shown on that channel, denouncing the war, and showing how it was based on lies and deception at the cost of 4,400 American lies and over 30,000 wounded, many seriously, while Cheney enriched himself immensely through his Haliburton connections.

The idea that Rand Paul has, somehow, been working alongside Rachel Maddow is laughable, as she has been a major critic of his libertarianism and other views, and is no “friend” of Rand, or Ron Paul, his dad and the former Texas Congressman.

This is a sign of the splits developing in the GOP, not only the Cheneys and other neoconservatives (such as former UN Ambassador John Bolton) against Rand Paul, a likely frontrunner for the Presidential nomination in 2016; but also the hard line right wingers against former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his approach to the immigration issue, particularly undocumented immigrants.

Anyone who would deny the Rachel Maddow expose against Cheney and others who prosecuted the Iraq War on false pretenses is a fool, and the words to describe Liz Cheney are not printable here on this blog!

The Bushes Vs. The Tea Party Movement, Right Wing Evangelicals, And Many Congressional Republicans: The Battle For The Soul Of The GOP Is On!

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has declared war on the Tea Party Movement, the right wing evangelicals, and many members of the Republican Congressional majority in the House, and some in the US Senate, by his statements at the George H W Bush Presidential Library defending undocumented immigrants who risk their lives to make a better future for their families, by coming illegally to the United States!

Stating that what these immigrants are doing is “an act of love” and should not be seen as a felony, what Jeb Bush has done is to decide to confront the right wingers in his party, as he considers a run for President in 2016. He admits that he might be shot down, but is testing the waters to make the Republican Party a more open, embracing party, as he sees the only future for the party is to broaden its support, including the backing of immigration reform!

Whether one likes Jeb Bush or not, and is thrilled or not at the thought of a third Bush Presidency, any rational, reasonable person can applaud what he is saying. This author has been bitterly attacked in past years on this blog for supporting reasonable immigration reform, including the passage of the DREAM Act, giving the children of immigrants an opportunity to advance in their country of adoption, through college attendance and or military service, and staying out of trouble.

The reality is that there is no way to deport an estimated 12-13 million people; that these people do important jobs others will not take; and that they are not stealing jobs from Americans, or causing widespread crime.

Ironically, the Obama Administration has deported more undocumented immigrants than George W. Bush, and has taken people who have not committed serious crimes, and forced them out, leaving their children without their parents in this nation, in many cases. This is a violation of basic human rights, to break up families, and unless someone has committed serious crimes, there is a dire need to change this unjust, immoral policy pronto!

Jeb Bush Suddenly Emerges As GOP Front Runner For 2016!

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has suddenly emerged as the theoretical front runner for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016, after a visit to Las Vegas and kissing the ring of billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

Other present time Governors–Chris Christie, Scott Walker, John Kasich—also saw Adelson, who is willing to spend tens of millions of dollars to back a Republican who will support his causes, including strong support of Israel, and working to overcome the Barack Obama Administration initiatives in many areas of domestic policy.

Jeb Bush has the advantage that he might draw support from a portion of the Hispanic-Latino community, as well as African Americans, and women. He is a favorite of the Establishment Republicans on Wall Street, who are terrified at the horrible Tea Party activists, such as Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio.

But the fact that his brother was unpopular, and in many ways, disastrous, works against Bush, and really, many might say, three Bushes is a bit much!

Once he would actually announce, his record as Florida Governor will be dissected, and while there are some good points one can make about Jeb, he was not universally popular when governor of the Sunshine State!

His own mother, Barbara Bush, has advised against running, and Bush has been out of office for ten years by 2016, making him longer out of office than any Presidential nominee who held an elective office, since Abraham Lincoln, who was out of office for twelve years, when he ran for President in 1860.

Much more could be said about the pluses and minuses of Jeb Bush as a Presidential candidate, and particularly against Hillary Clinton. There is time for that if Jeb actually announces. Could he, for instance, really win the caucuses and primaries in a party that is so right wing now? Does the nation really want a Bush and a Clinton in the same election, with Bushes going back to the 1980s, and Clintons to the 1990s, when now we are in the mid 2010′s?

That discussion can wait until he decides to run, and do not bet on that occurring!

The Loss Of A Classic Great Governor: Reubin Askew Of Florida (1971-1979)

When one examines the history of state Governors throughout American history, one discovers that a very large percentage of them have performed horribly, with many mediocre at best, and very few standing out as exceptional in their performance in office.

We often say that the best place to look for Presidential candidates is to go to the states, and find effective Governors, who have proven their ability to govern.

But when we look, even at the present group of 50 Governors in the United States, it is hard to find many who give one a sense of optimism, as to their honesty, concern for the average citizen, and commitment to good government.

So when we do find such a Governor, he is to be treasured, although often not recognized adequately in his own lifetime.

Such a case is former Florida Governor Reubin Askew, easily rated the greatest Governor in Florida history.

But Askew is much more than that, as he is rated by scholars in one study as one of the top ten all time Governors in the history of all states since 1789!

Askew came out of obscurity in the Florida State legislature to serve two achievement filled terms as Governor of a state with a long list of mostly mediocre Governors. He was the first Florida Governor able to have two terms in office, due to a change in the state Constitution in 1967.

Askew was one of the NEW SOUTH Democratic Governors who came out of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, and Arkansas Governors Dale Bumpers and Bill Clinton. Sadly, the Republican Party did NOT produce forward minded Governors then or since, and we see the product of it in such Governors as Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and other disastrous Southern Governors given their states by the GOP!

Askew was a liberal on racial issues, in a state not known for open mindedness and tolerance, in the years before 1970. He was able to overhaul the tax laws of the state, and to promote open government through “sunshine” laws, and also advocate environmental protection. Additionally, he promoted streamlining of the state government and courts, and also pushed ethics laws.

Askew had tremendous accomplishments, but was always very humble and decent as a human being, not letting his power to go to his head, a rare thing among state governors, past and present.

Askew was so highly regarded that he was offered the chance to be the Vice Presidential nominee with George McGovern in 1972, but turned it down. He also had a brief run for the Presidency in 1984 and for the Senate in 1988, but disliked having to work to raise campaign funds.

He was born to a poor family, worked his way through school, and never forgot the common touch, which in itself, made him a great man!

Florida and the nation have lost a true giant, a model for others, but not many are following in his footsteps, either in Florida or in other states around the nation, something to be mourned, as we mourn his death!

Our 18th Century Political System No Longer Works In The 21st Century!

The Founding Fathers of the late 18th century created a political system that worked for a long time, despite many crises.

Sadly, it no longer works when one realizes that we have a system where land counts more than people, as in the US Senate!

The top NINE states in the 2010 US Census had a combined population which is a majority of the nation—California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan! So two Northeastern states, three Southern states, three Midwestern states, and one Western state are where the population is most concentrated!

Also, the next eleven states,in total, have over 25 percent of the total population. So that means TWENTY states have over 75 percent of the entire population of the country in their midst!

Also, if you add states 21-30, it adds another 15 percent of the nation’s population, and that means 90 percent of the country is in 30 states, while the other 20 states have less than ten percent of the entire population combined!

Also, 70 percent of the American population lives on TWO PERCENT of all of the land of the country!

Despite this, we have the 30 percent of the population living on 98 percent of the land, and 41 states out of 50, having the ability to dictate most actions of the Senate, and the House of Representatives!

And 30 states, having less than 25 percent of the total population, can, in theory, block action, or bring about action through the filibuster, in the Senate, with their 60 votes!

There is no immediate or long range solution to this reality, but it is important that people realize that the Founding Fathers, as brilliant as they were, could not, possibly, conceive how the nation would change over 225 years!

Jeb Bush: Can He Do What Only Abraham Lincoln, Richard Nixon, And Ronald Reagan Did?

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the son and brother of two Presidents, is again having his name bandied about for President of the United States, despite his mother, Barbara Bush, saying there have been enough Bushes in the White House, and that more than three or four families have talent for the Presidency. While saying that repeatedly, she always adds that her son is best qualified to be President, so it is an odd statement, to say the least!

But Speaker of the House John Boehner went out of his way to suggest Jeb Bush would be a great nominee, and certainly, the “Establishment” Republicans on Wall Street see him as more likely now than ever before, as their front line of defense against the Tea Party Movement and Ted Cruz et al, and the libertarians and Rand Paul.

Both Cruz and Paul, and really EVERY other suggested nominee, has all kinds of issues with their extreme right wing tilt. That is why New Jersey Governor Chris Christie seemed so appealing to many, after his wide victory for a second term. But now the scandals that have erupted have besmirched his reputation, and in any case, Christie would have had great trouble winning in Iowa, South Carolina, and other states as he is from the Northeast, and seen as too much like John McCain and Mitt Romney, failed GOP Presidential candidates, who are disliked by right wing talk show hosts, conservative think tanks, and the Tea Party right wingers.

So who is left for the “Establishment”? Really, only former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who also was Ambassador to China, under President Obama, an excellent, and really the best choice, but with not a chance in hell of being able to compete, because he is too “moderate” by comparison, too smart, too intelligent, too interested in science and world affairs, too independent minded, and even not allowing his Mormon faith to dictate public policy views!

Huntsman would have the best chance to win of any Republican, but the party has a death wish, and he will not be the nominee. More likely, it would be one of a large group of horrible candidates, including, not only Cruz and Paul, but also Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and other “nightmarish” candidates!

So the only place to turn for the “Establishment” is to another Bush, who is comparatively a moderate conservative, who has not come across as a “whacko” in office and in his public statements. He has shown tolerance on immigration issues, as with his brother, President George W. Bush, and he seems to have a comparatively open mind.

But his challenge, beyond overcoming the Bush name, after the damage his brother did in eight years in the Presidency, is that Jeb Bush has been out of public office for ten years by 2016, after eight years served as Governor of Florida. While a few military people, including retired ones, have become President, only three non military people have become President with extended periods out of public office.

Abraham Lincoln had 12 years since his one term in the House of Representatives, until his Presidential triumph in 1860.

Richard Nixon had eight years since his defeat for the Presidency in 1960, until his victory in 1968.

Ronald Reagan had six years since his Governorship of California until his victory in 1980.

Note Nixon and Reagan had a shorter number of years, than Jeb Bush has, and Nixon ran for Governor of California in 1962, and Reagan competed for the Presidential nomination in 1976, both two years after they left public office.

And Lincoln, while twelve years since his last time in public office, ran for and lost the Senate race in Illinois against Senator Stephen Douglas in 1858, ten years after his one term in the House of Representatives, and just two years before he won the Presidency.

So Jeb Bush really has no exact comparison to Nixon and Reagan, and comes closest to Lincoln.

The ultimate question is whether Jeb Bush can copy Lincoln, or even Nixon or Reagan. The betting odds on his nomination are less than 50 percent for now, and far less in a race against any Democrat in 2016, particularly Hillary Clinton!

The Dominance Of Political Family Dynasties

It now seems clear that Hillary Clinton will be running for the Presidency, and that she is very likely to become the 45th President of the United States, and its first woman President.

Every poll imaginable shows her far in the lead against any Democratic challenger, including Vice President Joe Biden, who is the only other Democrat to even score more than a couple of percent in any poll, but about 50-60 points behind the former First Lady, former Senator, and former Secretary of State.

And every poll also shows that NO Republican comes anywhere near Hillary Clinton, with the only one who seemed to compete, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, rapidly collapsing in the midst of the “Bridgegate ” and associated scandals, with the issue of funding of projects with federal money for Hurricane Sandy the more dangerous scandal for Christie and his future.

Hillary Clinton enters the 2016 campaign almost as if she was an incumbent, and really, no one has ever been in as enviable a position as she seems to be. But this means that she must not take anything for granted, run hard and vigorously and not assume victory as Republican nominee Thomas E. Dewey thought in 1948, before he lost in an upset victory by President Harry Truman.

Hillary Clinton must be able and willing to take as much flak and attacks on everything imaginable in her record and life story, and she does seem to be tough enough to deal with that, plus the inevitable death threats which will be visited upon her at a rate probably at least equivalent to Abraham Lincoln, and possibly at the same astronomical rate of President Barack Obama, who faces, approximately, 30 death threats in some form per day!

Many might think that a person who will be 69 and three months of age at the time of the inauguration, making her the second oldest inaugurated President in American history, after Ronald Reagan, who was about eight months older at his first inauguration, would think twice about spending the next ten years of her life, until age 77 and three months, if she served two complete terms, with the pressure cooker and stresses of running for President, and dealing with an increasingly complex and troubled world and nation. But she seems game for the challenge, and would certainly come into office more experienced and better equipped for the Presidency than almost any occupant of the Oval Office we have seen.

But her likely accession to the Presidency, with the full team support and financial backing of many Obama Administration and campaign functionaries, is a true sign that Vice President Joe Biden should give up the quest for the White House, as he is about five years older, and would be the oldest first term President, and if he were to serve two terms, would be past 82 at the end. This author is a great Joe Biden fan, but it does seem time for party unity, in the midst of Republican chaos and anarchy, for him to accept reality, and as soon as Hillary Clinton announces, to be gracious and announce he will not challenge her for the nomination.

There is no likelihood of any Democrat bothering to challenge her, particularly if Biden drops out, and the long range shot by former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer would only be like a Don Quixote battling a windmill!

If Hillary Clinton succeeds in her quest, she will have made the Clinton dynasty the most dominant in modern American history, without any debate. Consider that her husband, Bill Clinton affected the nation from the time he ran in 1992 until he left in 2001, followed by Hillary as Senator from New York for eight years, and then four years as Secretary of State, making for a total of 21 years, now followed by two years in private life, but ten years into the future of campaigning, and possible two terms in the Presidency, which would make for a grand total of 31 years of national influence. And even these two years of private life, Hillary Clinton remains a national figure of great respect and renown, so one could say 33 years, a third of a century, the Clintons may have been the dominant influence in American history–between 1992 and 2025!

The dominance of the Clintons is only matched recently by the Bushes, with father George H. W. on the political radar from his 1980 challenge to Ronald Reagan until his forced retirement in 1993, after losing to Bill Clinton. Then, his son George W. came on the scene as Texas Governor in 1995 and son Jeb as Florida Governor starting in 1999. When George W. ran in 2000, and then won two terms, leaving in 2009, it meant a total of 14 years of senior Bush, followed by 14 years of junior Bush, for a total of 28 years. Ironically, if Jeb were now to run, which his mother does not advise him to do, and which Speaker of the House John Boehner thinks he should do, and were he to win, he could surpass the potential Clinton family record!

Compared to the Clintons and the Bushes, no other family dominates, as the Kennedy generation of John and Robert only lasted 8 years, and after Ted Kennedy lost his only real chance for the Presidency in 1980 against Jimmy Carter in the primaries, it meant a total of maybe 20 years of Kennedy dominance, although Ted did stay as an influential Senator until his death in 2009.

The only other family worthy of mention are the Roosevelts, if one counts Teddy and Franklin as part of the same dynasty, although different parties and generations completely. But even TR and FDR were only dominant for a total of 20 years combined, although TR remained a national figure for the ten years after his Presidency until his death.

It would certainly be ironic if we ended up with Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush opposing each other in 2016, as a battle of the titans, the two families who have more dominated American politics than any other in American history!