Family Group Vows to Remind Voters Of Consequences of 296

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA— Florida Family Action has released documentation today gathered from the Duval County Supervisor of Elections office displaying how the citizens of Jacksonville voted on Florida’s Marriage Protection Amendment in 2008. The report is broken out by each Council Member’s district, showing both the precise number and percentage of voter’s voting for marriage and against the creation of new gay rights on this issue.

Not a single district had less than 59% voting in favor of the Defense of Marriage Amendment, which amended the Florida Constitution to include language to prohibit “no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”

Percentages range from district to district, all showing a decided majority in favor of maintaining the traditional definition of marriage. Districts 1, 8, 10 and 11 had more than 70% voting in favor of the Amendment, with 78.9% of District 12’s citizens voting Yes.

John Stemberger President of Florida Family Action released the following statement today:

Jacksonville residents will not be fooled about the real intent and purpose of this ordinance. Full legalized gay marriage is the goal of its proponents. 2012-296 is just a stepping stone to that end. In every state where traditional marriage laws were overturned to allow homosexual marriages, whether by judicial decision or state legislature, proponents of gay marriage cited the collective scheme of non discrimination ordinances that created new protected classes like the one proposed in 296. Local ordinances of this nature have been consistently used as legal precedent for introducing gay marriage. Even state constitutional amendments supporting traditional marriage, like California’s recently overturned amendment, are not safe. We pledge to remind the constituents in every Council Member’s district who votes for this bill on August 15 about its true effect. It would be our hope that members of the Council will remember both the commanding vote margin in this research and the recent record lines outside of Chick fil A stores in Jacksonville this past week in support of natural marriage.

This data has been released for the information of the City Council while they are considering Ordinance 2012-296, a bill that would amend several City ordinances to add “sexual orientation, and perhaps gender identity or expression” to the listings of personal conditions or statuses which cannot be discriminated against. The ordinances proposed to be amended include Public Accommodations, Fair Housing, and others.

Voting yes on 296 would be decidedly against the will of the citizens of Jacksonville, who overwhelmingly voted to uphold the traditional definition of marriage when given the chance. The City Council may wish to consider the way their constituents voted when this similar issue was presented directly to them.

TEA Party Pulls Endorsement of Broward School Board Candidate Leach

Tea Party Fort Lauderdale, America’s longest running tea party, has pulled their endorsement of current Broward County School Board member and District # 3 Candidate Katherine “Katie” Leach. Leach has received the endorsement of Equality Florida, a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender organization that opposes traditional pro-family Christian organizations along with the popular national fast-food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A. http://eqfl.org/node/1901

According to TEA Party Fort Lauderdale, on Equality Florida’s website Broward County School Board Leach is mentioned as receiving a 100% rating on their School Board Candidate Questionnaire she had filled out. “TEA Party Fort Lauderdale apologizes to the loyal followers of our voting recommendations for us not vetting this candidate closer. On their website, Equality Florida lists opposition to traditional pro-family Christian organizations Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and many others,” in an email.

According to the TEA Party Fort Lauderdale email, “Members are made-up of Republicans, many extremely vocal Independents, and a growing number of Democrats. Members are black and white, male and female, young and old, rich and poor. They share one common bond… uniting to protect our Constitution by changing our government thru the ballot box.”

RELATED COLUMN:

Tea Party to Leach: Nevermind, we don’t like you; United Christians of Florida: Neither do we

By Brittany Wallman August 3, 2012 02:31 PM

Broward School Board Member Katie Leach, running for election in schools District 3, is a Republican. But that’s about as far as her likeness to some of the Tea Party and United Christians of Florida members goes. Both groups are telling voters not to select her. The Tea Party unendorsed her Friday, after learning she was endorsed by Equality Florida, a gay rights organization. READ MORE…

Heritage Alliance Grades FL Republican Primary Candidates

Heritage Alliance has graded all the candidates with opposition in the Republican primary in Florida. Below are the grades for those contested primary races. At the bottom of the list are the criteria for the Heritage Alliances’ grades.

U.S. Senator – Republican

Long, Deon (R) Grade: C
Mack, Connie (R) Grade: B
McCalister, Michael (R) Grade: B
Stuart, Marielena (R) Grade: B
Weldon, Dave (R) Grade: A+

U.S. Rep., Dist. 3 – Republican

Jett, James (R) Grade: B
Oelrich, Steve (R) Grade: A
Stearns, Cliff (R) Grade: B+
Yoho, Theodore (R) Grade: B

U.S. Rep., Dist. 4 – Republican

Black, Bob (R) Grade: C
Crenshaw, Ander (R) Grade: B
Pueschel, Deborah (R) Grade: C

U.S. Rep., Dist. 6 – Republican

Clark, Richard (R) Grade: C
Costello, Fredrick W. “Fred” (R) Grade: A+
DeSantis, Ronald D. “Ron” (R) Grade: B
Kogut, William (R) Grade: D
Miller, Craig (R) Grade: A
Pueschel, Alec (R) Grade: B
Slough, Bev (R) Grade: B

U.S. Rep., Dist. 7 – Republican

Adams, Sandy (R) Grade: A+
Mica, John (R) Grade: C

U.S. Rep., Dist. 9 – Republican

Long, Todd (R) Grade: C
Melendez, Julius (R) Grade: C
Oxner, Mark (R) Grade: B
Quinones, John (R) Grade: D

U.S. Rep., Dist. 13 – Republican

Ayres, Darren (R) Grade: B
Vance, Madeline (R) Grade: B
Young, C.W. Bill (R) Grade: B

U.S. Rep., Dist. 14 – Republican

Adams Jr., Eddie (R) Grade: D
Otero, Evelio (R) Grade: C

U.S. Rep., Dist. 17 – Republican

Arnold, Joe (R) Grade: C
Rooney, Tom (R) Grade: B

U.S. Rep., Dist. 18 – Republican

Crowder, Robert L. “Bob” (R) Grade: D
West, Allen (R) Grade: B+

U.S. Rep., Dist. 19 – Republican

Aubuchon, Gary (R) Grade: B
Davidow, Joseph (R) Grade: C
Donalds, Byron (R) Grade: B
Goss, Chauncey (R) Grade: C
Kreegel, Paige (R) Grade: B
Radel, Trey (R) Grade: C

U.S. Rep., Dist. 23 – Republican

Bresso, Gineen (R) Grade: D
DeFario, Osvaldo (Ozzie) (R) Grade: C
Garcia, Juan Eliel (R) Grade: C
Harrington, Karen (R) Grade: B
Kaufman, Joe (R) Grade: B

About iVoterGuide.com

Volunteer Panelists

Panelists were selected after a Leadership Survey and a check of references that demonstrated conservative credentials and belief in limited constitutional government, free enterprise, strong national defense, and traditional Judeo-Christian values, such as the sanctity of life and marriage. Panelists include men and women from all walks of life who are committed to electing conservatives to public office.

Grading

After evaluating the data, panelists assigned a grade indicating what kind of voting record that candidate, if elected, would likely receive from a multi-issue conservative organization that grades on economic and social issues. Unless a candidate already has a legislative voting record, this is purely subjective. That is why the source data is provided so voters can more easily make their own evaluation.

A = 90% B = 80% C = 70% D = 60% F = below 60%
I = Insufficient information available for evaluation

A low grade does not mean panelists necessarily considered the candidate to be liberal. Rather, it may mean sufficient information was not available from public sources or from the candidate to give panelists the confidence that the candidate would govern conservatively if elected.  Sources of information considered the most important measure of conservative principles in governance are listed in descending order:

  • Legislative voting records if the candidate has recently held office
  • Financial contributions by the candidate to legislators with voting records
  • Record vote ratings for legislators to whom donors to the candidate have also contributed
  • Endorsements by conservative and liberal groups
  • Candidate Survey – less important because it represents promises rather than demonstrated action. However, no candidate can receive an A without answering the survey.
  • Statements on the candidates’ websites

Higher Gas Prices Add to Economic Slump

Courtesy of the Heritage Foundation:

Unemployment is at 8.3 percent. The economy is sputtering at 1.5 percent growth. Food prices are rising due to drought conditions across the country. And gas prices are up again, pinching Americans’ summer budgets. It is past time for the President and Congress to pursue smart policies that would put us on a path to relief.

According to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report, the current national average for regular is $3.66 per gallon. That’s up 28 cents per gallon from a month ago, and July had its biggest price jump since AAA started tracking prices in 2000. To see the average for Florida click here.

There are many factors affecting prices that we cannot control—worldwide tensions, especially in the Middle East, can drive up oil prices. Global demand, especially from China and India’s rapidly growing economies, continues upward.

But after three years of adding regulatory hurdles and blocking exploratory access and development, President Obama’s policies are helping keep prices higher than necessary.

If the President truly wanted to lower gas prices, he would work to increase supply. But when given the opportunity, he has done the opposite. He turned down the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada. His Administration has made it even harder for companies to explore and extract domestic energy resources by canceling, delaying, or withdrawing a number of lease sales for exploration and development. Meanwhile, huge swaths of federal lands have been put off limits for energy exploration.

Domestic refinery outages have had a recent impact on gas prices. Two of the factors holding back domestic energy production are regulatory red tape and litigation—and these, we can do something about. As Heritage’s Nicolas Loris notes:

Environmental activists delay new energy projects by filing endless administrative appeals and lawsuits. Creating a manageable time frame for permitting and for groups or individuals to contest energy plans would keep potentially cost-effective ventures from being tied up for years in litigation while allowing the public and interested parties to voice opposition or support for these projects.

We don’t have to stand still. Congress could alleviate the energy crunch in 10 different ways by taking action on things we can control, like restrictions on oil shale development and offshore drilling.

One of the most common objections is that increasing domestic oil production takes too long and would not impact the market for at least a decade. The longer people make this argument, however, the longer it will take. The sooner we make investments in domestic energy, the sooner those benefits will be realized. And with some serious reforms, some of this oil can reach the market in much less than a decade.

Gas prices aren’t under the control of any one President. But Americans shouldn’t settle for policies that restrict oil exploration, refining, and production and artificially drive prices higher.

MORE FROM THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION:

High Gas Prices: Obama’s Half-Truths vs. Reality

President Obama’s 10 Worst Energy Policies

Florida Group Reaches Out to Evangelicals

The United West (TUW), a group of academic activists, is now reaching out to Evangelicals in Florida. The outreach is focused on educating Evangelicals on national security issues, Israel and threats against freedom of religion. Tom Trento, President of TUW states, “We will ask Evangelicals to register and vote in the primaries on August 14 and general election on November 6, 2012. We do not tell them how to vote but encourage them to vote.”

Tom Trento notes, “In the 2008 Presidential election one million Florida Evangelicals either did not register or did not vote. This is a travesty and must be addressed. We are addressing this issue in the swing state of Florida.

NewsMax reports, “Some 17 million Evangelicals failed to vote in 2008 when Democrat Barack Obama beat the GOP’s John McCain — and now the fight is on to get them there this November,” Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed says.

November’s election is critical, Reed said, because President Barack Obama is “somebody who’s called for more government, more spending, more bureaucracy. He seems to think the answer to everything that ails America is more government and bigger government.” Reed also said he believes the Obama administration is engaged in an attack on religious freedom.

According to The United West, Florida accounts for nearly 6% of the national Evangelical vote and they are concentrated in a key state. President Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have visited Florida numerous times, underlining the importance of the state in November. It was the Florida primary that helped propel Governor Romney to become the presumptive Republican nominee. Governor Romney spent over $15 million to win the Florida Republican presidential primary. Over 8.1 million Floridians voted on the 2008 Presidential ballot; had the aforementioned one million evangelicals voted they would have made up 12.5% of the electorate.

Trento states, “President Obama won Florida in 2008 by 204,577 votes. He took key areas, such as Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties by a plus 47,000 votes. It is important to insure the faith based community is well informed, registers and votes. That is what we do as academic activists – inform the public on important issues. If Evangelicals register and vote it can make a huge difference in who takes Florida in November.”

Faith-based issues are becoming a more important part of the national dialogue, including President Obama’s recent announcement that he supports gay marriage. Florida Proposition 2–“The Marriage Amendment“–was passed in 2008 by a margin of 61% to 39% and is now in the state Constitution. As more information is revealed about the Affordable Health Law and its impact on businesses, organizations and churches providing health services more are becoming engaged. Evangelicals are now paying attention.

According to NewsMax, “Conservative Christians and Evangelical conservatives will play a big role in the upcoming election,” Reed said, “and they support Romney by about 60 percent, compared to previous support for John McCain (73 percent) and George W. Bush (78 percent) … the Evangelical vote, which has historically been between 20 and 23 percent of the electorate, turns out in the largest numbers ever seen in a presidential election.”

With long lines at Chick-Fil-A last week will Florida see long lines at the polls in November? Only time will tell what the faith based value voters will do in Florida.

RELATED COLUMNS:

Rasmussen: 87% Oppose Letting Government Officials Play Politics In the Marketplace

Rasmussen: 61% Hold Favorable Opinion of Chick-fil-A

EXCLUSIVE: Radio Interview with Ronna Romney

Dr. Rich Radio in Florida got an exclusive interview with Ronna Romney. Mrs. Romney is married to Bruce Kulp, a former executive with Ford Motor Company. They have 8 children and 13 grandchildren.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST OF THE RONNA ROMNEY INTERVIEW

In 1996 Ronna was the Republican Nominee for the United States Senate from Michigan. She was from 1984-1992 the Republican National Committeewoman from Michigan. She was Co-chairman, Bush for President, Michigan and active in the leadership of George Romney for President, father of Mitt, and Lenore Romney, Mitt’s mother, for Senate campaigns.

Ronna hosted “Back To Back”, A PBS Television show devoted to discussions of current events and public policy. From 1993-1995 she Hosted “The Ronna Romney Show” on WJR Radio. The show aired nightly for three hours and covered a variety of news related subjects with an emphasis on politics, airing in 38 states and 7 countries. From 1992-1994 she hosted “The Ronna Romney Show” on WXYT Radio. The show aired nightly for three hours and covered all aspects of the news in depth. The showed covered all of Southeastern Michigan.

Currently Ronna is Director, Park-Ohio Holdings Corporation and Chairman- Compensation Committee. Park-Ohio Holdings Corp is an industrial supply chain logistics and diversified manufacturing business operating in three segments: Integrated Logistics Solutions (ILS), Aluminum Products and Manufactured Products. The Company operates primarily through the subsidiaries owned by its direct subsidiary, Park-Ohio Industries, Inc. ILS provides customers with integrated supply chain management services for a range of high-volume, specialty production components. The Aluminum Products business manufactures cast and machined aluminum components, and the Manufactured Products business is a manufacturer of highly engineered industrial products.

Gov. Romney Is Correct Cultural Differences Explain Israeli Economic Success

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has stated that Governor Mitt Romney was correct to note, as he did during a fundraiser dinner in Jerusalem, that Israeli culture plays a large part in Israel’s superior economic performance over the Palestinians.

Governor Romney said “Culture makes all the difference … And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things … As you come here and you see the G.D.P. per capita, for instance, in Israel, which is about $21,000, and compare that with the G.D.P. per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality. And that is also between other countries that are near or next to each other. Chile and Ecuador, Mexico and the United States.”

Palestinian Authority (PA) official Saeb Erekat has denounced Governor Romney’s statement as “racist.” Erekat said, “It is a racist statement and this man doesn’t realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation … It seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people” Ashley Parker & Richard A. Oppel, ‘Romney Trip Raises Sparks at a 2nd Stop,’ New York Times, July 30, 2012).

ZOA National Chairman of the Board Dr. Michael Goldblatt said, “Governor Romney was correct to observe that culture plays a decisive role in economic performance. In particular, he was right to note that this has produced widely divergent results in economic performance between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“Israel has a culture of private enterprise, competition, innovation and technology and has had it since its earliest days. In contrast, the PA has been bedeviled from its inception with crony capitalism, endemic corruption, distortions of the market and other malpractices which also affect its economy in drastic ways, not least in the loss of foreign investor confidence.”

“Israeli society is characterized by religious, economic and personal freedom. By contrast, the PA is unsafe for political dissidents or religious or sexual minorities. Bethlehem, under PA control since 1995, has seen its traditionally Christian population dwindle to less than 20%. In Hamas-controlled Gaza, there has been an even sharper flight of Christians. And Palestinian gays who wish to live without fear of death or imprisonment often have only one option: refuge in Israel. It makes sense that a society with Israel’s open and broadly liberal culture would be more stable, better educated, attract greater investment and produce more and better goods.

“Palestinian culture is also afflicted with incitement to hatred and murder, glorification of violence and terror. One only has to look at PA TV programs, radio broadcasts and media features to see that it is the terrorist, not the entrepreneur, who is honored. The PA doesn’t name streets, schools and sports teams after scientists and inventors. It names them after suicide bombers and jailed terrorists.

“In the PA, as the ZOA has pointed out on many occasions, a public square, a summer camp for youth, a computer center and several events have been named in honor of Dalal Mughrabi, who led the terrorists who carried out the 1978 coastal road terrorist attack on an Israeli bus, murdering 37, including a dozen children.

Many Americans will recall that Palestinian enthusiasm for terrorism extends beyond Israel to the U.S., as those Americans who saw on their TV screens Palestinians celebrating the 9/11 attacks need no reminder.

“Saeb Erekat claims that Governor Romney’s statement was racist. This is predictably absurd: there was no reference in Governor Romney’s comparison of Israel and the Palestinians to religion or ethnicity, let alone race. He referred to culture, which indeed can make a major difference. A society which aspires to terrorism and ‘martyrdom’ rather than innovation and wealth-creation is going to perform poorly by comparison in the economic sphere.

“Erekat objects that the PA cannot perform well economically because it is under ‘occupation.’ Some people cannot live without alibis and need to blame others for failure, as Erekat does here. But the facts repudiate this shop-worn, opportunistic charge. Before the PA was established – in other words, when the areas now controlled by the PA were under Israeli control – economic growth was steady among Palestinians. Economic performance tapered off immediately after the PA assumed control in 1994, following the Oslo Accords, and all the attendant problems mentioned earlier came into play.”

“Even then, the PA was doing better in the mid-1990s than it was to do after 2000, when it launched a terrorist war against Israel. Naturally, joint projects, Israeli (and much foreign) investment came to a halt and the resultant hostilities destroyed or damaged much infrastructure. You can have war, but rarely can you have war and development. The Israeli economy also suffered from this war but, because of the general soundness of Israel’s economic culture, it recovered much more quickly once Palestinian terrorism was brought under control.”

“On this point, Governor Romney is right and his critics are wrong.”

NOTE: On May 1, 2012 the author returned from a 10 day visit to Israel and observed the vibrant economy and prosperity in the Israeli community he visited.

RELATED COLUMN:

Culture Does Matter by Mitt Romney in the National Review

Weldon Campaign says “Eat Mor Chikin”

Florida Republican primary candidate for the U.S. Senate Dr. Dave Weldon is asking supporters to go to their local Chick-fil-A on August 1, 2012. Supporters are being asked to hand out brochures stating Dr. Weldon’s positions on a variety of issues including his strong support of traditional marriage. Dr. Weldon was endorsed by the United Christians of Florida PAC last week.

An email from Daniel Nokovich, Dave Weldon for U.S. Senate Door to Door Coordinator, states, “August 1st, Chick-fil-A is having a national day to support its stand on marriage between a man and one woman. It is turning out that it will be quite the place. You can Go to Chick-fil-A and hand out Vote Dave Weldon tickets for Senate.”

Mr. Nokovich notes, “If we start out with 100 people and ask each person to send out 5 emails to five republican friends that are voting in the primary and then ask them to ask five and them to ask five and do that seven times we can reach over 2 million people within 1 week.”

Former Governor Mike Huckabee has started a national campaign to show support for Chick-Fil-A after attacks by elected Democrat officials against Dan Cathy. Mr. Cathy, President of the popular fast food chain, said in an interview with Baptist Press that he is “very much supportive of the family,” that is, “the biblical definition of the family unit”. Mr. Cathy puts on the record what critics say his company’s actions have indicated for years. “Well, guilty as charged,” he said in the interview when asked about Chick-fil-A’s backing of families led by a man and a woman.

Governor Huckabee has called for a national eat in at Chick-Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1, 2012. Over 2.6 million people have committed to attend the “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” according to it’s Facebook page.

Democrat elected officials in several cities have said they will not approve building of Chick-fil-A franchises within their jurisdictions. Mark Steyn in his National Review column “The Tolerance Enforcers” reports Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno as saying, “I will now be denying Chick-fil-A’s permit to open a restaurant in the First Ward.” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel agreed with Alderman Moreno that Chick-fil-A does not “represent Chicago’s values”.

Steyn writes, “Alderman Moreno does not allege that Chick-fil-A discriminates in its hiring practices or in its customer service. Nor does he argue that business owners should not be entitled to hold opinions: The Muppets, for example, have reacted to Mr. Cathy’s observations by announcing that they’re severing all ties with Chick-fil-A. Did you know that the Muppet Corporation has a position on gay marriage? Well, they do. But Miss Piggy and the Swedish Chef would be permitted to open a business in the First Ward of Chicago because their opinion on gay marriage happens to coincide with Alderman Moreno’s. It’s his ward, you just live in it. When it comes to lunch options, he’s the chicken supremo and don’t you forget it.”

In 2008 Florida passed a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman by a margin of 62% to 38%. Chick-fil-A has now gone beyond just a statement and has turned into a rallying point for both political parties. Will it make a difference in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Florida? Is “Eat Mor Chikin” now a Weldon campaign slogan?

Watch Out Florida Here Comes Our “Bubble Government”

Recently in a radio interview Robert Wiedemer co-author of America’s Bubble Economy and Aftershock and Edward J. Pinto, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute discussed the idea of the United States having a “bubble government”. Wiedemer stated that America has suffered through “a number of financial bubbles” and the “aftershock following each”. To date each of these bubbles, the most recent being the housing bubble, have burst and fallen onto two other looming bubbles. These two bubbles are the “dollar bubble” and the “debt bubble”.

These two bubbles are primed to burst and the pin is called inflation.

The Wall Street Journal headline for April 5, 2012 was “Markets Fear End of Stimulus” written by Jonathan Cheng and Charles Forelle. What is the great concern? According to Cheng and Forelle, “European Central Bank President Mario Draghi indicated he would be hesitant to undertake more monetary easing, citing concerns about inflation.” Monetary easing (a.k.a. government stimulus or quantitative easing) is governments printing money. Today American is awash in money due to our government printing it with no end in sight – the dollar bubble is upon us.

Congress has failed in their Constitutional duty to pass a budget in nearly four years. The U.S. government runs on continuing resolutions and Congress has raised the debt ceiling to an astounding $15+ trillion dollars. In 2011 Congress spent nearly 55% more than it collect in revenues. The debt ceiling will be breached yet again before the November 6, 2012 elections. This all has caused our government to borrow at an unprecedented rate of 40 cents of every dollar – the debt bubble.

What does that all have to do with Florida?

Florida is especially vulnerable to the aftershock of either a dollar or debt bubble burst. Florida’s barely recovering housing market and our large population of fixed income retirees are in the cross hairs should inflation increase even fractionally.

According to Edward J. Pinto, “One in four [Federal Housing Administration] FHA loans outstanding in Georgia and New Jersey are now thirty-days-plus delinquent, with eight additional states having delinquency rates above 20 percent. The national rate is 17.79 percent.” Florida has a delinquency rate of 23.07%. Pinto points out, “FHA is estimated to have a current net worth of -$16.923 billion, approximately $18 billion less than the ‘economic net worth’ set forth in FHA’s 2011 Actuarial Study.”

Pinto states, “The Government Mortgage Complex (GMC), consisting of FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Veterans Administration and Federal Department of Agriculture, is bankrupt. The Government Mortgage Complex guarantees about $6 trillion in in home mortgages, yet has zero capital backing it. Fannie and Freddie do owe the government nearly $200 billion and counting.”

When inflation kicks in, as it is in Europe, the bond markets will tank, as they have in Spain, and Florida will be facing a double dip recession because many retirees have invested in bonds.

President Obama, the Federal Reserve and Congress will do everything they can to not let this collapse happen before the November 2012 elections. However, they may not be able to stop it, as the markets are already reacting to failed attempts at austerity in the EU and the rising cost of debt.

These two bubbles are coming home to roost in America.

When they burst the burden will fall most heavily upon the American taxpayer a rapidly diminishing species. There is not the political will to address either bubble until they burst and a national crisis occurs. As the argument goes “never let a good crisis go to waste” but this time the austerity solutions will be Draconian.

A possible scenario is a replay of the October surprise of 2008 – a meltdown of the financial markets. Are we being set up for another TARP or Stimulus III? Time will tell.

Watchdog Wire Radio Guest Lineup: July 30-August 3, 2012

This week’s Watchdog Wire – Florida Radio Guest Lineup for the Dr. Rich Show on WWPR AM 1490 or listen live via the Internet at www.DrRichShow.com:

Monday, July 30 – Interview with Charter Review Board candidates Pay Wayman and Paul A. Cajka. There are five Sarasota charter review board seats open in 2012. The primary is being held on August 14th. Sarasota is one of 20 charter counties in Florida. We will learn why these candidates are so important to the future of our home rule style of government. Host: Dr. Rich Swier

Tuesday, July 31 – WHO IS HUMA? Tom Trento will clear up all the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s “body-girl,” Huma Abedin and whether or not she may be a threat to our national security. Host: Tom Trento

Wednesday, August 1 – A live interview with Ronna Romney. As her former brother-in-law, Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, is traveling on a national security visit to key allies like Israel we will learn more about the man and his family during this exclusive live interview with Ronna. Dr. Rich Swier

Thursday, August 2 – “FEARLESS,” The Unbelievable story of SEAL Team Six fallen warrior, Adam Brown. His life and times are an incredible journey of a true American hero. This show is a must listen and the book is a must read. Host: Tom Trento

Every Friday is FREE SPEECH FRIDAY!  – This is “You The People” Talk Radio. Giving local citizens concerned about local issues a voice to air their grievances and petition their elected representatives via the Dr. Rich Show is our mission each and every Friday. A citizen volunteer from Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota Counties will be talking about local issues of importance to you. What is happening at the local City/County Commission, School Board and events planned in each county will be presented to inform and educate our listeners. The last segment  on FSF is the “Voice of the Observer” with Rod Thomson, Editor-at-Large for the Observer Group Newspapers. Host: Dr. Rich Swier

Tune in every Saturday is “Righting the Right” with Glenn Pav – NEW! The Glenn Pav Show: Righting the Right on WTIS AM 1110 every Saturday from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. EST. Visit Glenn’s website by clicking here.

Please listen to the archives of our past shows by CLICKING HERE

Commerce is the Profession of Equals

I recently had lunch with a good friend who is a commercial real-estate broker. After exchanging pleasantries we entered into an extended discussion of the role of government in the control of what my friend describes as “dirt”. Real-estate is after all basically “dirt”.

He was concerned that one developer can devalue the dirt of another developer.

He used the example of a “dirt” owner constructing a five-story building near the waterfront, something we have a lot of in Florida. Along comes another developer and he or she builds in front of the first developer an eighteen-story building, thereby blocking the water view of the first developer. The land value of the first developer declines because of this. My friend found this outrageous and wanted government to step in to protect the first builder against the second.

I said, rather forcefully to my friend, that this is an example of the free market working. Dirt rises and falls in value due to many factors, including the one my friend described. My solution was the first builder should tear down his five-story building and build a new thirty-story building, thereby regaining his view of the water and increasing the value of his dirt. My friend would have none of it. He wanted government to step in and prevent the second builder from building. He favored central government planning over market forces to determine the value of water front “dirt”.

Here in lies the problem.

In his book The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do about It, Professor Aneglo M. Codevilla states, “[The bi-partisan Ruling Class] proceeds from the premise of human inequality and leads to even greater inequality . . .[O]ur Ruling Class is making itself the arbiter of wealth and poverty. While economic value of anything depends on sellers and buyers agreeing on the value as civil equals in the absence of force, modern government is about nothing if not about tampering with civil equality.”

What my friend embraces is government as the final arbiter of the price of “dirt”.

Once government controls the price of dirt, it controls everything. According to Professor Codevilla, “[M]odern government makes valuable some things that are not, and devalues others that are.”

“Whatever else government may be, it is inherently a factory of privilege and inequality. Thus, if you are not among the favored guests at the table where officials make detailed lists of who is to receive what at whose expense, you are on the menu,” notes Professor Codevilla. This is the definition of “crony capitalism”. The bi-partisan Ruling Class teaches that prosperity is to be bought with the coin of political support. John Kenneth Galbraith characterized America’s economy as “private wealth amidst public squalor.”

I believe in the Catholic principle of “subsidiarity”. In the secular world, the principle of subsidiarity means that local government should do only those things that individuals cannot do for themselves, state government should do only those things that local government cannot do, and the federal government should do only those things that the individual states cannot do.

The title of this column is a quote from The Spirit of the Laws by Charles de Montesquieu who also wrote, “Peace is a natural effect of trade.” Beware of government eating dirt!

Florida Makes High Gas Taxes Top 10 List

The American Petroleum Institute (API) collects motor fuel tax information for all 50 states and compiles a report and chart detailing changes and calculating a nationwide average. Florida is listed as number ten on the list of gasoline taxes at 53.4 cents per gallon (cpg). Florida ranks 16th for diesel motor fuel taxes at 54.9 cpg. To view the July 2012 API report click here.

The nationwide average tax on gasoline of 48.9 is down .6 cpg from the April 2012 API study. The federal tax on gasoline is 18.4 cpg. The average state gasoline excise tax is 21.0, up .1 cpg from April 2012. Other taxes (such as applicable sales taxes, gross receipts taxes, oil inspection fees, county and local taxes, underground storage tank fees and other miscellaneous environmental fees) were 9.5 cpg, down .7 cpg from April. Adding these taxes and fees to the state excise taxes results in a volume-weighted average state and local tax of 31.1 cpg.

The difference is Florida has higher “other taxes” on gasoline and diesel motor fuels.

According to its website API, “Supports the implementation of sensible taxing policy that considers broad based approaches over industry specific proposals, supports efficient approaches to tax collection and weighs the impact of taxes on the ability of U.S. based business to compete in the world market place. ” Specific tax proposals to provide cheap and reliable power and meet the energy needs of the United States are provided here. The API makes specific recommendations on the: Repeal Sec. 199 for Oil and Natural Gas Companies; Repeal Expensing of Intangible Drilling Costs; International Reform/Dual Capacity; Increase Geological and Geophysical Amortization Period; Raising the Oil Spill Tax; Reinstate Superfund Taxes; and Repeal EOR Credit and Marginal Well Credit. To read the detailed recommendations on these taxes click here.

The API website states, “It will take all forms of energy to promote our economy. That’s why API and our members support the development of renewable and alternative sources of energy. However, we it must be done as part of a comprehensive energy policy that encourages the development of all forms of domestic energy.”

The below map depicts January 2012 gasoline tax rates by state and was prepared by API:

Sarasota County’s Buses to Nowhere

The Sarasota Board of County Commission believes it is their role to provide public transportation. Automobiles, and the emissions they cause, are the culprits. Cars must be replaced by other means of transportation such as: light rail, high speed rail and now special bus routes. As one commissioner put it “we are subsidizing cars”. So the County Commission wants to continue to subsidize the Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) buses at a loss of $10 million annually and create a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system as well. BRT and SCAT make the County Commissioners believe they are doing a public service by providing ever more costly public transportation with few riders.

Sarasota County government runs two bus services and both are monopolies. SCAT is run by the County and the other run by Sarasota County School Board. Both are paid for by county property taxpayers. These two mass transit systems are costly and inefficient in their own way. Neither would last long if privately owned. To make them profitable or at least pay for them the actual cost to ride would have to be passed on to the riders.

According to Charles Schelle from Sarasota Patch, “The latest Bus Rapid Transit route will apparently head for a detour. The $100 million transit plan to provide Sarasota with a speedy bus option with limited stops and traffic interruptions had a route set to go from Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and south all the way to the Westfield Southgate Mall with several stops in between, with the northern route following an unused Seminole Gulf Railway along Lemon Avenue.”

$100 million for a 20 mile bus route works out to be $5,000,000 a mile. But that is not the full cost.

Schelle reports, “The County has to find ways to fund the $25 million difference, possibly with a transit tax, and the annual operating budget.” These public transit systems always start out underfunded, end up underutilized and the operating costs escalate beyond the initial projections. In other words they are economic failures from the start.

“The commissions focused in on the county Director of Planning and Development Services Rob Lewis’ comments that the Bus Rapid Transit is more about the economic spurs and opportunities areas around the stations can provide and getting people from low income areas to work than being about moving people for sake of reducing congestion. Lewis said staff has not advocated for an altered route,” writes Schelle. There is no explanation on how this bus line helps economic development. Most people do not work at either the Sarasota/Bradenton airport or Westfield Southgate Mall.

County Commissioner Joe Barbetta stated, “I think that we have to look at the BRT as part of a multifaceted plan. SCAT has to be successful or else the BRT doesn’t work. I think a downtown circulator is inevitable for the city or the plan doesn’t work. And the grant funding has to be pursued or else the plan doesn’t work.”

So how do you make SCAT successful? You give away free rides. According to Schelle, “Thursday [April 19, 2012] is Try Transit Day where riders on regular fixed-route SCAT or commuter Express buses will have free fares. On all other days, the standard fare for a single-ride is $1.25 for the regular fixed-route service and $2.50 for the Express service.” These fairs do not come close to covering the cost of SCAT and cannot cover the operational costs of BRT.

SCAT does not break even and therefor is not successful. SCAT will never be successful. The buses run empty, it loses money as far as the eye can see and its purpose is to transport poor people. Success is based on providing a service to people who want it, not creating a service with no real market. SCAT and BRT are buses to nowhere. That is what government does when it spends other people’s money to build failures.

MAJOR CHRISTIAN GROUP ENDORSES WELDON FOR U.S. SENATE

The United Christians of Florida’s Political Action Committee is urging, “all principled patriots to support Dr. Dave Weldon, trusted physician and conservative former U.S. Congressman in the race for U.S. Senate in Florida.”

“In Dr. Dave Weldon, we have a proven and experienced Congressional Representative who understands how to lead America toward economic stability and prosperous times for generations to come,” said Mike Nelis, United Christians of Florida, Executive Director.

Looking at the Republican Primary candidates, Nelis feels that “. . . merely sending a ‘fiscal conservative’ to forge long-term solutions in Washington is not the sole answer to our dilemma,” added Nelis. “Dr. Dave Weldon has the deeply rooted Christian spiritual conviction to add proper balance to fiscal policy and bring lasting improvement to our economic crisis. His personal convictions would stand in unity with our nation’s founders who in times of frustration and confusion turned to fasting and prayer for solutions – and they got the answers they sought!”

The group is specifically concerned about one of Weldon’s opponents. “Floridians have been fooled by slick campaigns before that have done a disservice to the nation by sending the deceptive liberal-progressive Bill Nelson as our representative to the U.S. Senate. Now, Florida Republican power brokers with the assistance of the media seem to be anointing Fort Myers Congressman Connie Mack, IV who claims the dedication to sound fiscal policy but demonstrates spiritual immaturity regarding social concerns and therefore, is unable to lead us toward God’s blessing and true national prosperity, ” Nelis stated.

The Christian PAC has been making recommendations to voter since 1986. In fact, they were “. . . the very first, of any organization, in February 1988, to endorse Connie Mack, III (the father of Connie Mack IV) for his first U.S. Senate race and continued to support him through his successful time in public service,” said Nelis. “It is with deep regret that an endorsement of (the son) Connie Mack, IV is not possible at this time due to his misunderstanding regarding issues of human life and his shallow respect for the sanctity of marriage and the critical importance of full-time fatherhood.”

The group stated it is proud of their excellent record of early support for winners, Rick Scott for Governor in 2010, for example. And they feel they have this race called accurately too.

“In many ways, this Weldon campaign reminds me of Rick Scott’s race. The political establishment has picked their candidate (Connie Mack), but conservative Christian activists and TEA party members are gathering in growing enthusiasm for Dave Weldon,” added Nelis, “and he only lacks the high dollar special interests that support Nelson and Mack! I happen to believe in political volunteers and the kind of activism that counteracts the multi-millions spent on mail, television and radio ads and sends the right people into public service. I will still always contend that is what actually made the difference for Rick Scott, regardless of what he spent.”

Pinellas County Commissioners defy voter-approved term limits

Of the 20 charter counties in Florida, voters in 11 have overwhelmingly approved term limits for their county commissions. Ten of them recognize and respect the law.

The exception is Pinellas County.

In 1996, 73 percent of voters in Pinellas approved a countywide referendum that limited their county commissioners and county constitutional officers to eight years in office. Since then, a split Florida Supreme Court in Cook (2002) decided that counties don’t have the right to impose term limits on constitutional officers. But the Pinellas County commission decided the Cook decision applied to them as well even though the Supreme Court never ruled on commissioner limits in Cook or any other decision.

Until this year. In May, the Supreme Court not only clearly affirmed the constitutionality of county commissioner term limits, but also overturned its previous ruling in Cook regarding constitutional officers.

There is no longer any question whatever about the legality of county term limits in the state of Florida. Sarasota County – the only other county that was defying their voter-approved term limits law – accepted the Supreme Court decision and is now enforcing their popular 8-year term limits.

And yet, the Pinellas county commissioners continue to claim the law does not apply to them. The commissioners do not believe this is true. They simply want to keep their well-paid positions of power and are willing to brazenly defy the law – overwhelmingly approved by the people — in order to keep them.

In Pinellas County, 8-year term limits are currently in the charter. It was never amended to remove them. There is no court ruling that nullified the county commission term limits. On the contrary, there is now a Florida Supreme Court ruling explicitly affirming them.

It is not as if the voters are calling for their repeal. In 2009, a Quinnipiac poll showed that 79 percent of voters in the greater Bay area believe that their politicians should be term limited. Furthermore, the polling suggested that 78 percent prefer that the proper term limit is eight years and opposed longer limits.

Pinellas County commissioners should act honorably and obey the law. The four who have exceeded their legal term limit should resign before being forced to do so by the courts.