Leaders in Florida Should Seize Momentum to Reject Health Insurance Exchanges

Tallahassee, Florida— Today Americans for Prosperity (AFP) the nation’s largest and most effective advocate for economic freedom released the following statement calling on state leaders to reject the state-based health insurance exchanges.

“State leaders should join the growing chorus in sending a strong message to Washington that their states will not implement these flawed health insurance exchanges,” said Slade O’Brien, Florida State Director. “Exchanges will increase prices on consumers and increase taxes on hardworking families.”

Multiple governors have announced this week that they will not create an exchange. This list now includes Mike Pence (IN), John Kasich (OH), Robert Bentley (AL), Bobby Jindal (LA), Sam Brownback (KS), Rick Perry (TX), Nikki Haley (SC), Nathan Deal (GA), Robert McDonnell (VA) and Jay Nixon (MO). AFP applauds these steps.

“It is disconcerting to see Florida’s legislative leaders urging the Governor to create a state-based health insurance exchange. AFP strongly opposes any and all attempts to create an exchange and expand Florida’s Medicaid program” O’Brien continued.

The federal government is offering unlimited grants to states to create an exchange between now and the end of 2014. All exchanges must be self-funding starting in 2015. Each governor must notify the federal government by Friday, November 16, 2012, of his or her decision whether to create a state-based health insurance exchange, defer to the federal government or partner on a hybrid-exchange.

“Federal funds are flowing freely to buy state compliance, but state budgets will take the hit in two short years,” said Nicole Kaeding, AFP state policy manager. “Creating an exchange puts state taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars every year. States should reject these bloated bureaucracies.”

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. For more information, visit www.americansforprosperity.org

Florida’s Fiscal Cliff Hanger

Florida’s government run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has more than 1.4 million policyholders statewide. However, that number only reflects approximately 23 percent of Florida’s homeowners insurance market leaving 77 percent of Florida homeowners subsidizing Citizens policies.

According to Americans for Prosperity – Florida, “Nearly half (45 percent) of all Citizens policies in the State of Florida are held by residents living in just four counties – Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe Counties. Only two counties out of 67 have a majority of their homeowners insurance policies with Citizens (Miami-Dade and Hernando Counties), meaning private policyholders in Florida’s other 65 counties are subsidizing Citizens’ homeowners insurance for residents of these two counties.”

AFP – Florida notes that in Miami-Dade and Hernando counties, 100 percent of renters, businesses, automobile policyholders, churches, charities, local governments and school boards are subsidizing their counties’ Citizens’ policyholders.

How did government take control of Florida’s property insurance?

It all started in 1972 when the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association (FWUA) was created under Democrat Governor Reubin Askew to provide wind-only coverage in coastal regions. This was followed by the creation of the Florida Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association (FRPCJUA). FRPCJUA was created in December, 1992 under Democrat Governor Lawton Chiles because hundreds of thousands of Floridians were unable to find homeowners insurance following Hurricane Andrew.

Finally, under Republican Governor Jeb Bush FWUA and FRPCJUA were merged in 2002, creating Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. Citizens offers wind-only and all-perils property insurance coverage to Floridians without private insurance options.

According to a September 2012 white paper from the Insurance Information Institute:

Limited availability of insurance coverage for the most vulnerable property was a problem before 1992, yet became amplified in Andrew’s aftermath.

By the end of 1992, the FWUA had fewer than 62,000 policies and an exposure measured by total insured value of $7.4 billion.1 Five years later, with the formation of the Florida Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association (FRPCJUA), there were 417,342 policies in the FWUA, another 487,590 policies in the FRPCJUA with a combined exposure of more than $136 billion.2

As of June 2012, Citizens Property Insurance Corp., formed in 2002 through the merger of the FWUA and FRPCJUA, had more than 1.4 million policies in force with nearly $500 billion in exposure to risk.

Thomas C. Feeney, III, President & Chief Executive Officer, Associated Industries of Florida states, “It’s unfortunate that more than three quarters of Floridians, and all of Florida business owners, are burdened with the financial responsibility of subsidizing homeowners property insurance for some Floridians in addition to paying 100 percent of their own insurance premium. With estimates that suggest Citizens Property Insurance Corp. rates are roughly 33 percent below where they need to be in order to cover its risk and pay claims…”

“In addition to the unreasonable financial burden Citizens Property Insurance Corp. places on a majority of Floridians throughout the state, the structure of the state-run insurer has also allowed for subsidized, reckless development in the most hazardous and environmentally sensitive areas of Florida. It’s time to reform Citizens in order to protect Floridians from a financial perspective, while at the same time protecting Florida’s wildlife and coast,” says Manley Fuller, President, Florida Wildlife Federation.

The greatest threat to Florida, a.k.a. Citizens Insurance, is just one hurricane away from pushing all Floridians of a fiscal cliff.

RELATED COLUMN:

Florida property owners hit with massive tax increase.

Fired investigators uncovered evidence of misconduct at Citizens’ top levels

Florida Property Owners Hit With Massive Tax Increase

Florida property owners received their property insurance bills and found the line item “FL HURRICANE CAT FUND PREMIUM RECOUPMENT”.

When Watchdog Wire asked Citizen Insurance: Is this recoupment a tax increase on all homeowners? The reply was, “Yes, all Floridians assume the potential for assessments should Citizens run into a deficit situation.”

Unlike private carriers Citizens is not able to manage risk and reduce policy counts to manage such risk. As an insurer of last resort, created by Florida statute, Citizens must write most risks that apply for coverage.

This “recoupment” is a tax on every Florida property owner.

According to Citizens Insurance, “Citizens may levy an Emergency Assessment when Citizens incurs a deficit in any year and that deficit exceeds the amount to be collected by the Regular Assessment.” See Florida Statue 627.351(6).

That means that assessable policyholders could be assessed a maximum of 30 percent of assessable premium if there is a deficit in each of the 3 Citizens accounts. The Emergency Assessment can be spread over multiple years as was done in 2012.

The total dollar amount for the Citizen “emergency assessment” is $887,502,331 to be collected over a 10 year period. The original assessment was 1.4% but reduced to 1% by the Citizens Board of Governors. The assessment was discussed and approved by the Citizens Board of Governors at a publicly noticed meeting. The assessment was also approved by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

Citizens is responsible for paying hurricane and other covered claims to its policyholders. If Citizens funds are depleted after a catastrophic event, resulting in a deficit, assessments are levied. This ability to levy assessments provides Citizens with resources to pay claims after an event.

Below is a summary of the assessments and the order in which they are levied:

Policyholder Surcharge

· Citizens policyholders are the first to be assessed if a deficit occurs.
· The policyholder surcharge is levied only on Citizens policyholders and is a one-time surcharge.
· This assessment can be up to 15 percent of premium for each of Citizens’ 3 accounts. The assessment is levied for any account that has a deficit. That means that Citizens policyholders could be assessed a maximum of 45 percent of the policyholder’s premium if there is a deficit in all 3 of Citizens accounts.
· If the Citizens Policyholder Surcharge does not cure a deficit, additional assessments will be levied based on the account type:

o Coastal Account – Regular Assessment
o Commercial Lines Account (CLA) or Personal Lines Account (PLA) – Emergency Assessment

Regular Assessment

· A broad base of licensed Florida property and casualty insurance companies, including property and automobile insurers are assessed if a deficit remains.
· Companies must remit their portion of the Regular Assessment to Citizens within 30 days of a levy. They may recoup the assessment amount by passing it on to their policyholders.
· Insureds who purchase coverage from surplus lines insurers are also subject to the regular assessment.
· If there is a deficit in the Coastal Account, an assessment of up to 2 percent of premium or 2 percent of the deficit in the Coastal Account can be levied against assessable insurers and their policyholders.
· This assessment is a one-time assessment.
· Citizens policyholders are not charged this assessment.
· If the Citizens Policyholder Surcharge and the Regular Assessment do not cure the deficit in the Coastal Account, an Emergency Assessment will be levied.

Emergency Assessment

· A broad range of property and casualty policyholders, including Citizens policyholders, are assessed directly by their insurance companies. Insurers collect from their policyholders and forward to Citizens.
· For each of the 3 Citizens accounts, this assessment may not be more than 10 percent of the policy premium or 10 percent of the remaining deficit, whichever is greater.

According to the September 2012 Citizens Property Insurance Corporation rate hearing, “Citizens lost nearly $1 billion on sinkhole losses occurring in 2007-2011 with a loss ratio for sinkhole business for 2011 of 877%. This created net loss for the PLA for year ended 12/31/11 and resulted in less financial resources to pay for future hurricanes.”

Florida property owners gird your loins – another emergency assessment is on its way and it looks like a huge Sinkhole!

RELATED COLUMNS:

Fired investigators uncovered evidence of misconduct at Citizens’ top levels

Florida Insurance regulators remove 210,000 policies from Citizens, the state’s largest insurer

Citizens’ Insurance Looking To “De-Populate” Roles

Florida Has 3,756 Federal Employees Who Make More Than Governor Scott

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK)

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) asked the Congressional Research Service (CRS) to determine how many in state federal employees are making more than their Governor. Florida came in fifth highest with 3, 756 employees. The top five states are: Colorado 10,875, Maryland 7,283, Arizona 4,426, Alabama 4,299, and Florida 3,756. Delaware had the fewest federal employees making more than their governor at 37 employees.

According to CRS calculations 77,057 federal employees earned more in total annual pay as of September 2009 than their respective state governors earned in 2009.

The top three groups of federal employees in Florida making more than Governor Scott are in the Medical, Hospital, Dental, and Public Health Group (1,830), Transportation Group (588) and Legal and Kindred Group (483).

Table 12. Florida: Federal Employees Compensated at a Rate Greater Than the Governor’s Salary, by Occupational Group  shows the following breakdown. NOTE: Florida Governor’s salary is $132,932.

Occupational Group Federal Employees in Occupational Group Making More Than the Governor:

  • Accounting and Budget Group – 64
  • Business and Industry Group – 46
  • Copyright, Patent, and Trademark Group – 2
  • Education Group – 7
  • Engineering and Architecture Group – 272
  • General Administrative, Clerical, and Office Services Group – 223
  • Human Resources Management Group – 7
  • Information Technology Group – 13
  • Information and Arts Group – 2
  • Inspection, Investigation, Enforcement, and Compliance Group – 84
  • Legal and Kindred Group – 483
  • Mathematics and Statistics Group – 10
  • Medical, Hospital, Dental, and Public Health Group – 1,830
  • Miscellaneous Occupations Group – 16
  • Natural Resources Management and Biological Sciences Group – 40
  • Physical Sciences Group – 57
  • Congressional Research Service – 11
  • Social Science, Psychology, and Welfare Group – 12
  • Transportation Group – 588

Total 3,756

Sources: Governor’s salary information for 2009 was taken from the Council of State Governments, “State Government Compensation by Branch”. The
distribution of positions by occupational group was calculated by CRS using the Office of Personnel Management’s Central Personnel Data File from September 2009.

Read the report titled “Public Servants or Privileged Class: How State Government Employees Are Paid Better Than Their Private-Sector Counterparts“.

Watch this video from Citizens Against Government Waste:

Do we really need to hire more teachers and adminstrators?

The candidates for President have different strategies for dealing with education and visions of the role of  the federal government in public schools. President Obama has stated that he wants the federal government to hire more math and science teachers. Governor Romney says the decision on hiring teachers is best made at the state and local levels. Who is right? A new study sheds light on the hiring of teachers and administrators since 1992.

The findings show states have consistently hired more teachers and administrators, far outpacing the growth in student population.

According to Dr. Benjamin Scafidi’s November 2012 study The School Staffing Surge: Decades of Employment Growth in America’s Public Schools“Between 1950 and 2009, the number of K-12 public school students increased by 96 percent. During that same period, the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) school employees grew by 386 percent. Of those personnel, the number of teachers increased by 252 percent, while the ranks of administrators and other staff grew by 702 percent—more than 7 times the increase in students.”

America has more teachers than ever in the classroom and more administrators overseeing them.

Dr. Scafidi’s research found, “[I]f student growth had matched that of non-teaching personnel from 1992 to 2009 and if the teaching force had only grown 1.5 times faster than the pupil enrollment, American public schools would have an additional $37.2 billion to spend per year—the equivalent of an $11,700 a year increase in salary for every American public school teacher.”

According to the study from 1992 to 2009 Florida had an increase in student population of 33% with total school personnel increasing by 55%. From 1992 to 2009 teachers increased by 70% and administrators and other staff increased by 41%. 

In 2002, Floridians approved an amendment to the Florida Constitution that set limits on the number of students in core classes (Math, English, Science, etc.) in the state’s public schools. The class size amendment took effect in the 2010-2011 school year. It appears this amendment was ill advised as the number of teachers to pupils doubled despite the amendment.

The costs to meet Florida’s class size Constitutional mandates are negatively impacting overall education funding at the district level.

Dr. Scafidi states:

However, parents, other citizens, and policymakers may want to cast a wider net in looking for opportunities to improve the education offered to students. In contrast to the static student achievement in public schools (despite massive increases in taxpayer funding), school choice programs have a good track record. All forms of enhanced school choice tried in the U.S. have led to an improvement in academic outcomes—in just one case was there no effect—for those who remain in public schools. The most recent empirical study on that topic, by Figlio and Hart (2010),33 shows ‘evidence that public schools subject to more competitive pressure from private schools raised their test scores the most following the introduction of Florida’s program.’ They found that the greater the competition for Florida’s tax-credit scholarship program, the larger the benefits to Florida public school students. [Emphasis mine]

Florida has been a national leader in providing parents with school choice options.

According the the Department of Education website, “Florida’s A+ Education Plan was the impetus for policies and programs that thrust Florida into the spotlight as a national leader in providing parents and students with a wide array of school choice options directed to meet individual learning needs and styles.” Among these choices is charter schools.

According to the Florida DOE, “Charter schools are public schools of choice. They are very popular—and among the fastest growing school choice options in Florida. Charter schools are largely free to innovate, and often provide more effective programs and choice to diverse groups of students. Since 1996, the number of charter schools in Florida has grown to over 400 in 2010. Charter school student enrollment has grown well over 175,000 students.” For statistics on Florida charter schools click here.

Offering school choice options, particularly opening charter schools, remains in the hands of local school boards.

Sarasota County, Florida has been a leader in providing charter school options for public school students. The numbers of students enrolled in Sarasota County charter schools has gone from 1,807 in 2004-2005 to 5,728 in 2012-2013, an increase of 300%. At the same time the number of teachers, administrators and support personnel have all declined. Sarasota County is doing more with less, yet remains one of the top districts in Florida on FCAT scores.

The ratio of growth in teachers and administrators nation wide continues to outpace student growth. Florida is no exception but has experienced less of it compared to other states such as Hawaii and Ohio.  According to Table 2 – Comparing the Increase of Students to the Increase in Public School Employment, FY 1992 to FY 2009, Delaware, Florida and California are tied for third lowest with a ratio of growth of  1.5.

The demand by parents for charter schools is increasing. Does this study show that teacher quantity is not a factor but teacher quality is?

Half of Florida College Grads With Average Student Loan Debt of $23,054

According to Takepart.com, “Our student loan debt is $1 trillion and climbing. According to a new report, two-thirds of college seniors who graduated last year had student loan debt. The average was $26,600 per borrower. This is the highest average debt among students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in U.S. history.” In Florida 51% of college graduates had an average debt of $23, 054. For a list of Florida colleges and universities with tuition costs and average debt per student click here.

‘To make things even more difficult, unemployment for recent college grads was at 8.8 percent in 2011,” states Takepart.com.

Takepart.com issue a report, by the Project on Student Debt, showing which states have the largest student loan debt and highest college tuition, both public and private.

The Project on Student Debt report notes:

We estimate that two-thirds (66%) of college seniors who graduated in 2011 had student loan debt, with an average of $26,600 for those with loans.1 The five percent increase in average debt at the national level is similar to the average annual increase over the past few years. Also similar to previous years, about one-fifth of graduates’ debt is comprised of private loans.

State averages for debt at graduation from four-year colleges ranged widely in 2011, from $17,250 to $32,450. Graduates’ likelihood of having debt, and their average debt load, also varied widely by college.

High-debt states remain concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest, with low-debt states mainly in the West and South. Average debt continues to vary even more at the campus level than at the state level, from $3,000 to $55,250. Colleges with higher costs tend to have higher average debt, but there are many examples of high-cost colleges with low average debt, and vice versa.

Project on Student Debt states, “Recent college graduates have entered an enormously difficult job market, which poses particular challenges for those who need to begin paying back student loans. The unemployment rate for young college graduates in 2011 remained high at 8.8 percent, a slight decrease from 2010, which saw the highest annual rate on record for this group (9.1%). In addition, many more young graduates were considered underemployed. Among those who wanted to be working full time, as many as 19.1 percent were either working part time or had given up looking for work.3 Further, 37.8 percent of working young graduates had jobs that did not require a college degree, depressing their wages.”

To view the average student loan debt by state click here.

 

Tampa man sentenced for exporting millions of dollars of computer equipment to Iran

TAMPA, Fla. – A Tampa man was sentenced Thursday, October 19, 2012 to four years in federal prison for conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Iranian Transaction Regulations. He was also ordered to serve one year of supervised release and forfeit $10 million, which was traceable to proceeds from the offense. This sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement.

Mohammad Reza “Ray” Hajian was born in Tehran, Iran. Reza Hajian is associated with several companies, including Nexiant LLC, P&P Computer, LLC. and Rh International LLC. Reza Hajian has 4 known relationships including Kostas Kerdemelidis, Leon Mavromatis and Nicholas Mavromatis and is located in Tampa, FL. Source: Florida Department of State last refreshed 5/20/2012 You may view Hajian’s connections in Florida by going here.

According to court documents, between 2003 and 2011, Mohammad Reza “Ray” Hajian, 57, of Tampa, conspired with others to unlawfully export sophisticated, enterprise-level computer and related equipment from the United States to Iran, in violation of the U.S. embargo. In an effort to conceal their activities, Hajian and his co-conspirators routed shipments of computers and related equipment, payments and travel between the United States and Iran through the United Arab Emirates. Hajian and his co-conspirators communicated with each other via email. They employed fake identities, fake end-users and coded language to mask the true nature of their activities. Hajian shipped approximately $14.85 million worth of computer and related equipment during the conspiracy.

According to Tampa Bay Online:

Hajian conspired to export the equipment without the required U.S. license from as early as 2003 through the autumn of 2011, prosecutors said.

During one shipment in 2009, Hajian emailed a co-conspirator a proposal to sell Hitachi Data Systems equipment for delivery to Iran through the United Arab Emirates, court documents said.

In May 2009, Hajian received wire transfers from an employee in the United Arab Emirates totaling $1 million, payment — at least in part — for the computer equipment.

Hajian then sent an email to an unnamed co-conspirator in Iran saying the sale was for $128,315.

In June 2009, Hajian made a shipment to the United Arab Emirates, “knowing that this shipment was destined for Iran and also caused the value of the shipment … to be significantly understated on export documentation,” court documents said.

“The magnitude and scope of the threats facing the United States has never been greater than today, and that’s why Homeland Security Investigations investigates individuals who try to export sensitive technologies to hostile nations,” said Sue McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI Tampa. “Homeland Security Investigations takes pride in protecting our country, and today’s sentencing is the latest example of our effective investigative efforts.”

“Today’s sentencing demonstrates the ongoing cooperation with our federal law enforcement partners to prevent U.S. technology from falling into the wrong hands. In this case, a key Iranian procurement network which could have been damaging to U.S. national security was shut down,” said Robert Luzzi, special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Commerce/Bureau of Industry and Security’s Office of Export Enforcement Miami Field Office. “Parties who conspire to export to embargoed destinations such as Iran will be pursued and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Hajian pleaded guilty July 11. Three of his companies, RH International LLC, Nexiant LLC, and P & P Computers LLC, also pleaded guilty that same day.

Democrat Denies Stating: Illegals “better employees than Americans” But The Record Shows He Did

Keith Fitzgerald, Democrat candidate for Congress in Florida’s District – 13, is quoted in a 1997 Sarasota Herald-Tribune column stating, “[I]llegals are are often good hires … they’re better employees than Americans.” This came up during a debate with Representative Vern Buchanan this week. Buchanan paraphrased what Fitzgerald said in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune column. It is interesting that Fitzgerald, who wrote a book on illegal immigration, would deny what he wrote and re-stated in the column (see the below video).

Gordon Russell, author of the column reports, “…Fitzgerald says, people wouldn’t cross the border illegally if they weren’t certain they’d find work here. They usually do, so they keep coming.” The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) reports that illegal aliens costs to the state of Florida in 2009 as $5,462,614,142.

The FAIR website states, “According to the Census Bureau the foreign-born population of Florida was about 3,658,043 persons in 2010. This estimate meant a foreign-born population share of 19.5 percent … Between 2000 and 2010 the Census Bureau estimate indicates an average annual rate of change in the foreign-born population of about 96,314 people, compared to the state’s annual average population change of about 275,018 people. That is a 35 percent share of the state’s population change (not including the children born in the United States to illegal aliens).”

This is of note to Floridians because President Obama chastised Governor Romney for his comments about illegals “self-deporting” during the past Presidential debate as the best way to solve the large illegal alien population.

FAIR notes the following positions of the candidates:

Some of President Obama’s stances included:

  • support for a broad amnesty, including the DREAM Act;
  • touting his backdoor amnesty initiatives such as deferred action for those meeting the criteria of the DREAM Act, and focusing enforcement only upon illegal aliens who have committed serious crimes;
  • opposition to Arizona’s SB 1070; and
  • touting his efforts to reduce the time in which immigration officers have to approve visa applications.

Gov. Romney’s stances included:

  • opposition to a broad amnesty while supporting a military-only DREAM Act;
  • supporting E-Verify and other programs to promote attrition through enforcement;
  • opposing driver’s licenses for illegal aliens; and
  • supporting the stapling of green cards to the diplomas of foreign graduates of U.S. universities.

FAIR also notes, “Criminal aliens — non-citizens who commit crimes — are a growing threat to public safety and national security, as well as a drain on our scarce criminal justice resources. In 1980, our federal and state prisons housed fewer than 9,000 criminal aliens. Today, about 55,000 criminal aliens account for more than one-fourth of prisoners in Federal Bureau of Prisons facilities, and there are about 297,000 criminal aliens incarcerated in state and local prisons. That number represents about 16.4 percent of the state and local prison population compared to the 12.9 percent of the total population comprised of foreign-born residents.” Florida has the 8th highest illegal alien prison population.

Illegal aliens cost Floridians dearly to incarcerate, medicate and educate. With so many Americans out of work, is it not time to give the jobs to our legal workers? Today, few would agree that Americans would not fill the positions held by illegals.

VIDEO: Buchanan – Fitzgerald debate:

Family of Fallen Navy SEAL: Obama’s handling of Afghan War “Criminal”

Aaron Vaughn, Navy SEAL Team 6

Florida residents Billy and Karen Vaughn’s son Special Operations Chief Aaron Vaughn was one of the 22 Navy SEALs killed in the Chinook attack in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011. The Vaughn’s are raising questions about how the Obama administration has pushed the limits of Special Operations Forces as part of its war Afghanistan policy and how constrictive “rules of engagement” (ROI) intended to win the “hearts and minds” of the Afghan people are killing our special operators.

The Vaughn’s believe the ROI directly contributed to the death of their son Aaron and 38 others aboard the helicopter when it was shot down.

According to Breitbart’s Patrick Poole, “On August 6, 2011, while on their way to assist an ongoing mission in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, the CH-47D Chinook helicopter that they were riding in was shot down by an RPG fired by a Taliban fire team approaching their landing zone in Tangi Valley. All 38 American and Afghan service members who were aboard perished, including 17 Navy SEALS, 5 Navy Special Operations support personnel, 3 Air Force Special Tactics Airmen and the five-man Chinook crew, marking the largest loss of life in America’s 11 years of military operations in Afghanistan. Twenty of the twenty-two SEALs and SEAL support were from SEAL Team VI (DEVGRU).”

Poole lays out the Vaughn’s three major complaints about the failed Extortion 17 mission:

First: “One of the main concerns for the Vaughns is the operational tempo for special operations forces in Afghanistan. The CENTCOM report itself notes that in August 2009 the number of monthly objectives was 54. But in August 2011 – the month that the helicopter, ‘Extortion 17,’ was shot down – that number had grown to 334 objectives, more than a 600 percent increase in just two years.”

Second: “Another complaint heard by the Vaughns throughout the special operations community is that because so many special operations forces are in the field, they must rely on conventional forces and conventional equipment, rather than the specialized equipment typically used by special forces.”

Third: “Amazingly, because of the rules of engagement and the inability to determine whether there were any friendlies in the area, the Taliban team that shot Extortion 17 down was allowed to escape. The only fire from the escort craft noted in the CENTCOM report occurred several minutes after the crash to suppress any enemy attempting to approach the crash area.”

Poole quotes Karen Vaughn, mother of Aaron, stating, “When the families from the crash were meeting with the Army’s Investigation Team and Naval Officers, a father asked why they didn’t use a drone strike to take out the Taliban. A 3-star Admiral responded, ‘We are trying to win their hearts and minds’.”

Read the full column by clicking here.

The third and final Presidential Debate, with the topic foreign policy, will take place on Monday, October, 22nd. Will President Obama’s rules of engagement in Afghanistan come up in a question? Should Governor Romney make it an issue? Watchdog Wire will be doing pre and post-debate coverage of this important foreign policy/national security debate.

Video of Billy and Karen Vaughn discussing the circumstances surrounding their son’s death:

Rep. Rooney (FL-16) Goes After Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Two Members of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressmen Tom Rooney (R-FL) and Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-CA), sent a letter to General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff questioning why Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Matthew Dooley was given a negative Officer Evaluation Report (OER) on the grounds his instruction of a course on Radical Islam was offensive to Muslims and Islam.

Their letter dated October 10, 2012 states in part:

“It appears that LTC Dooley led this course well within the scope of NDU’s professorial guidelines, as NDU’s own Faculty Handbook states: “Academic Freedom at National Defense University is defined as freedom to pursue and express ideas, opinions, and issues germane to the University’s stated mission, free of limitations, restraints, or coercion by the University or external environment.”

It is our understanding that LTC Dooley did not violate any established University practices, policies or DoD regulations to merit a negative OER.”

The Congressmen’s letter concerns actions taken by General Dempsey earlier in the year when he publicly excoriated Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley at a May 10, 2012 news conference claiming the course LTC Dooley was teaching at the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) was offensive to Muslims. General Dempsey caused LTC Dooley to be fired as an instructor, ordered his course, Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism, to be discontinued and that all material considered offensive to Islam be scrubbed from military professional education within JFSC and elsewhere within his command. General Dempsey further ordered that LTC Dooley be given a negative Officer Evaluation Report—the death knell for a military career.

Click here to read entire letter.

Rep. Rooney was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008. Prior to that time, he served four years in the United States Army Staff Judge Advocate (SJA). During his years in SJA he served as Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney at Fort Hood, TX prosecuting all civilian crimes on post. In 2002, Tom was selected to teach Constitutional and Criminal Law at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Prior to his election as a congressman from California, Duncan Hunter Jr. served as an officer in the Marine Corps. He served three combat tours overseas: two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

The Congressmen’s letter asks “[W]hy the DoD was compelled to further discipline LTC Dooley by jeopardizing his reputation and his future in the service.”

LTC Matt Dooley

LTC Matt Dooley attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated and received his commission as a Second Lieutenant, Armor Branch in May 1994. His assignments included deployment to Bosnia, Kuwait, and Iraq for a total of six operational and combat tours over the course of his career. He served as a Tank Platoon Leader, Tank Company Commander, Headquarters Company Commander, Aide-de-Camp (to three General Officers), and Instructor at the Joint Combined Warfare School. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College as well as the Joint Forces Staff College.

The Thomas More Law Center, a national nonprofit public interest law firm, based in Ann, Arbor, Michigan, represents LTC Dooley.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center observed, “The purpose of the Army is to fight and win wars. So what happened to LTC Dooley is more than a personal miscarriage of justice. When instructors are prohibited from teaching military officers about the true threat posed by Islamic Radicalism, it is a threat to our national security. Our warfighting potential is thus being crippled by the political correctness and appeasement of radical Muslims currently in vogue at the upper echelons of the Pentagon.”

A review of LTC Dooley’s OERs going back several years, including his OER as an instructor with JFSC, paint a picture of an outstanding officer with unlimited potential:

“LTC Matt Dooley’s performance is outstanding and he is clearly the best of our new instructors assigned to the JFSC faculty over the last six months. . . . A must select for battalion command. . . . LTC Dooley possesses unlimited potential to serve in positions of much higher authority.”

“MAJ Dooley is unquestionably among the most dedicated and hard working officers I have ever known.… Unsurpassed potential for future promotion and service.”

“Our soldiers deserve his leadership.”

“This officer possesses unlimited potential for future assignments. He must be promoted ahead of his peers and selected for Battalion/Squadron Command at first opportunity.”

“Superb performance.”

“Matt is a consummate professional with unlimited potential;”

LTC Dooley’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Star, Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal with Two Stars, both the Global War on Terrorism Service and Expeditionary Medals, the Armed Forces Service Medal, the NATO Medal, the Parachutist Badge, the Air-Assault Badge, and two Army Superior Unit Awards.

The DOD Ignores The Root Cause of Green on Blue Attacks

Paul Sperry in his New York Post column, “Blaming our troops – ‘Friendly’ fire attacks have killed dozens of our heroes. The Pentagon’s response? Ordering sensitivity training about Islam“, reports, “Afghan security forces, our supposed allies, are slaughtering American troops. Thirty-three soldiers have been killed by “green on blue” attacks this year alone. The situation is so bad that the training of Afghan forces has been temporarily suspended. How has the Pentagon responded? By blaming our troops.”

Sperry states, “Top officials believe culturally offensive behavior is the motivation behind the killings, so it’s stepped up Islamic sensitivity training for our troops. If you don’t want to be shot in the back by your Afghan training partners, the Pentagon advises, don’t offend their religious sensibilities.”

Sperry reports one intelligence official as saying, “They’re killing us because we’re ‘infidels’ occupying Islamic lands. It’s what the Koran and every imam over there is telling them, and no amount of cultural sensitivity is going to stop that or change the fact that we’re ‘infidels.’”

Allen Kornman in his column “The Myth of Islamic Democratic Reforms” writes, “Understanding the Islamic Threat Doctrine is essential in predicting events as they unfold on the ground and anticipating what to expect will happen in the future. Fortunately for the American people, our Islamist adversaries are more than happy to tell us exactly what their doctrine and objectives are.”

Chief CBS Foreign Affairs correspondent Laura Logan on the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan:

Established by Al-Qaeda terrorist Sheikh Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi  the “Emir of Al Qaeda in the Country of Two Rivers”, Kornman reports the Islamic Threat Doctrine is:

“We fight in the way of Allah, until the law of Allah is implemented, and the first step is to expel the enemy, then establish the Islamic state, then we set forth to conquer the lands of Muslims to return them back to us, then after that, we fight the kuffar (disbelievers) until they accept one of the three.

“I have been sent with the sword, between the hands of the hour; this is our political agenda.”

“It is necessary to accept the fact that it is an obligation for every Muslim to rush to help each other and it is also very necessary to agree that the houses of Muslims are just one house. The enemies (the disbelieving nations) have imposed boundaries and divided the lands of Muslims to tiny nations however we do not believe in them and the boundaries of Sax Bacon do not restrict us. We, the Muslims are one nation and the lands of Islam are one land, we fight for the sake of ‘there is no god but Allah’.”

Sensitivity training does not address this threat doctrine. If anything it helps its implementation by holding our soldiers back from taking those actions necessary to defend themselves and their fellow soldiers from the enemy.

Shariah Islamists are our sworn enemy according to the seminal report Shariah: The Threat to America.

The Center for Security Policy has produced a series on the threat. Part 1: The Threat Doctrine of Shariah & the Muslim Brotherhood explains why sensitivity training is not the answer to the green on blue attacks we are seeing in Afghanistan and the murders of our Ambassador to Libya on September 11, 2012:

Blaming our soldiers for doing what they are trained to do, protect themselves, their fellow soldiers and America, is a failed policy. It leads to situations where the killer is defended by their victims until the time America is expelled, an Islamic state is establish and our enemies set forth to conquer the lands of Muslims to return them back to them, then after that, we fight the kuffar (disbelievers) until they accept one of the three.

Andrew Klavan in his video “How to Behave During an Islamic Massacre” puts what General Dempsey is doing into the proper perspective:

The Obama Administration believes that we must abandon our founding principles because defending ideals like individual liberty and freedom of expression can be offensive to Islamists and dangerous to ourselves. As Benjamin Franklin stated to the Pennsylvania Assembly, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

By giving up the safety of our soldiers eventually all of us will have neither liberty or safety. Our soldiers are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine of Afghanistan.

RELATED COLUMNS:

VIDEO EXPOSE: THE PROJECT – HOW OUR GOVERNMENT PROTECTS OUR ENEMIES

OBAMA’S RING: ‘THERE IS NO GOD BUT ALLAH’

Florida Public School Teacher Exposed by Students

Parents are becoming more aware of the quality of the teaching their children receive in Florida’s public schools. Additionally, there are a number of websites that allow students to candidly rate their teachers. Among them is RateMyTeachers.com.

Pine View School in Sarasota County, Florida is unique and its students are considered gifted. Principal Steve Largo writes on the school official website, “The only public school of its kind in the State of Florida and one of only several throughout the country, Pine View takes its ‘tradition of excellence’ very seriously.” [My emphasis]

One of the faculty members at Pine View is science teacher David Yotsuda.

Yotsuda holds a Bachelors Degree in English as a Second Language (ESOL) and English from Hawaii Pacific University, yet he is teaching advanced placement science courses. President Obama stated during the first Presidential Debate that he wanted to add 100,000 science and math teachers. Perhaps the Sarasota County School Board should first determine if they have teachers with science and math degrees teaching science and math, starting with Pine View?

Students continue to question what is happening in Yotsuda’s science classroom.

“Yotsuda recently showed Al Gore’s film ‘Inconvenient Truth’ with the purpose of analyzing ‘how politics impacts science’,” according to Principal Largo. The film was part of an advanced placement environmental studies course taught by Yotsuda. Several parents questioned why a film that has been proven in court to be misleading and is based upon a theory of global warming that has been discredited is still being shown in public schools.

Parents point to what former students have said about Yotsuda and his penchant to wander off topic in the classroom.

In 2009 one student wrote on Yotsuda’s RateMyTeachers.com page, “I was looking forward to actually learning something in his class, but was in for great disappointment. Horrible teacher in my opinion. Does everything but teach. He skips important chapters that are crucial for our advance into the next years. Instead of teaching he shows us movies that are irrelevant to want we have been learning. His subject isn’t even SCIENCE, he used to be a language arts teacher. He doesn’t know the answers to simple science questions and must check the book for the answer.” [My emphasis]

Several former Yotsuda student’s comments include:

“Spends too much time on tangents  Some examples: Disney, Hawaii, male roommate, Disney, Tickle me Elmo Extreme, Season Passes to Disney, Volunteering at Disney, Marathon, Solar cars, Disney, Hawaii …

“Obsessed with Disney, his male roommate TOMMY, who likes to play with solar cars and Advil  and Hawaii. FYI guys, my roommate just broke the solar car while playing with it at the Hawaii version of Disney …

“Obsessed with Disney. He has a male ROOMMATE who he is willing to call his ROOMMATE instead of his housemate. Also rants about how overpriced Tickle me Elmo extreme costs.”

Other students posted positive comments such as, “Mr. Y was a pretty cool guy, but he gets off topic very easily, and every assignment was so simple. I had a 98 all year. Don’t talk in class or he’ll say you have diarrhea of the mouth … Pretty awesome teacher, if you pay attention he actually covers a lot in class, even if it is indirectly … Two years purposefully. I’ll always remember him, he’s excellent and our study guide once for a final, WAS the final. It was amazing. Oh, and be prepared for stories and a lot of “FYI GUYS~!”

Yotsuda leads the Pine View sustainability program. He is listed as the faculty point of contact for the Pine View Welcome to Sustainability@ PV! website which states, “We, at Pine View School, believe that educational growth and the well-being of society are inextricably tied to the health of the environment. Accordingly, we embrace our responsibility for environmental stewardship and are committed to integrating leading environmental practices and sustainability principles into our learning, teaching strategies and extra- curricular activities.” Yotsuda was behind the Sustainability@PV logo contest.

For a high caliber school such as Pine View it is both fitting and proper for students and parents to judge the quality of faculty members. It appears Yotsuda has no degree in science but is teaching it at Pine View. His students may be the best judge of his classroom performance.

Currently there is no Department of Education procedure for students to candidly rate their teachers and have those ratings posted online. Perhaps it is time to create such a website?

NOTE: The featured photo used is courtesy of Justin Lebar.

VIDEO: Democrat Candidate Patrick Murphy Calls TEA Party “Extremist”

Democrat Congressional Candidate Patrick Murphy runs away from a reporter asking him to clarify his statement that the “Tea Party are Extremists” made during a debate with his opponent, incumbent Rep. Allen West (R). Murphy is Rep. West’s opponent for Florida’s new Congressional District 18 seat.

On Thursday October 4, 2012 during a debate with Rep. West, Murphy made the statement, “I used to be a Republican but because the TEA Party people are extremists, I decided to become a Democrat!”

J. Mark Campbell, investigative reporter for The United West, repeatedly asked Murphy to explain his statement about the TEA Party after the debate. Campbell approached Murphy and then, it was OFF TO THE RACES…as he literally, RAN-A-WAY!

Following the debate Rep. West stood outside in the parking lot answering press questions for 30 minutes. Murphy was no where to be found.

Is Planned Parenthood Worth Borrowing Money From China to Pay For It?

Send a condom to a Republican delegate!

Planned Parenthood “Send a condom to a Republican delegate!” Campaign

During the first Presidential Debate Governor Mitt Romney was asked: What things would you cut from spending? Romney replied, “Well, first of all, I will eliminate all programs by this test — if they don’t pass it: Is the program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?”

Is federal funding for Planned Parenthood worth “borrowing money from China to pay for it?” Keith Fitzgerald thinks so.

Democrat Congressional Candidate Keith Fitzgerald appears in a series of videos taken at an event featuring abortion activist Sandra Fluke. Fitzgerald is fixated on issues that are not of great interest to most Floridians. Polls show that the national debt, jobs and the economy are top of mind with Americans. Fitzgerald at the event made some interesting comments about helping the middle class.

Fitzgerald stated that eliminating federal funding for Planned Parenthood takes away a woman’s ability to “achieve and stay in the middle class”.

“If a young woman has access to reproductive rights and information about how to exercise those rights she can make choices about when to have a child.  She can make the choice to start her family when she has a partner in place, if that is her choice, when she has finished her education, when she has a life plan and a direction – a career and every study will show you that if a woman makes a choice on those grounds her economic prospects are great,” says Fitzgerald

Recent studies have shown that achieving and staying in the middle class is best determined by marital status, not reproductive choice.

The Heritage Foundation found that, “Despite the massive impact of marriage in reducing poverty, government does little or nothing to discourage births outside marriage – and nothing to encourage healthy marriages. Many common misconceptions persist. This isn’t about teen pregnancy: Most non-marital births occur to women in their early 20s. Girls younger than 18 account for only about eight of every 100 births outside marriage. Also, lack of access to birth control isn’t a significant factor.” [My emphasis]

“Planned Parenthood is a private organization that receives a little bit of — in the grand scheme of things – public funding,” says Fitzgerald.

“So, you are leveraging public dollars to let a private organization provide that (reproductive) information and those services.  You take that away and what do you do?  You take away the ability of a young person to make the choices that will allow them to get into the middle class or stay there. So we are taking people in the middle class and throwing them out, but not just them, but their children too. So Planned Parenthood is an issue about middle class as much as it is about women’s rights,” Fitzgerald stated.

However, the Heritage Foundation recommends that, “Government ought to connect low-income couples with community resources to help them learn, or relearn, skills needed to build and sustain healthy marriages – before they bring children into the world. It’s also imperative to reform the welfare system to encourage rather than penalize marriage.”

Fitzgerald said women’s issues, which he defined as Planned Parenthood and reproductive choices, are the primary reason he is running for Congress.

VIDEOS OF FITZGERALD EVENT:

RELATED COLUMN:

Fitzgerald Communications Director Fired after calling Republican “pre-orgasmic”

Exposed: Dual Registration Voter Fraud in Florida, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island

True The Vote (TTV), the nonpartisan election integrity organization, announced new research findings of voter fraud in Ohio, Florida, New York and Rhode Island. The Offices of Florida, Ohio and Rhode Island Secretaries of State, the New York State Board of Elections and the U.S. Department of Justice were formally notified of ballots cast simultaneously in both states for federal elections.

“Our initial belief that we had uncovered only the tip of the iceberg continues to be reinforced,” True The Vote President, Catherine Engelbrecht said. “Pew Research’s finding that 2.75 million Americans are registered to vote in more than one state continues to ring true. Unfortunately, we keep seeing more people possibly voting illegally. It’s important for voters to remember that no candidate or cause is worth a felony conviction. While some will no doubt commit the same fraud this year, we can find them in a matter of months. True The Vote calls on Florida, New York, Rhode Island, Ohio and federal officials to investigate and confirm our latest research.”

Ohio & Florida

Similar to last week’s findings of voters committing interstate absentee ballot fraud, True The Vote cross-referenced entire voter registration lists between Ohio and Florida and alerted appropriate authorities to voters with matching full names, birth dates, addresses and voting histories demonstrating ballots cast in multiple states in a single federal election.

True The Vote found more than 19,000 Ohio voters claiming Florida mailing addresses, according to state records. More than 6,390 people hold registrations in both states. True The Vote identified 534 individuals allegedly casting ballots in both Ohio and Florida. Today 34 cases were turned over to federal and state authorities.

“To his credit, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has indicated he is taking steps to address the situation with respect to voter roll maintenance,” Engelbrecht said. “However, these findings are particularly troubling given Ohio’s wholesale approach to dispensing absentee ballots for all this year. This combination of poor voter roll maintenance, emerging evidence of interstate fraud and Ohio’s new policy of absentee voting for all could create a perfect storm. The last thing we want is a repeat of the 2000 Election – this time by mail.”

New York & Florida

True The Vote offers new findings of absentee voter fraud between New York and Florida. Citing a new sample of less than one (1) percent of upstate New York voters, TTV found 48,630 voters claiming Florida mailing addresses. Of that sample, more than 19,000 are registered to vote in both states. Today federal and state officials were alerted to 32 new cases of interstate fraud between the Empire and Sunshine States.

Rhode Island & Florida

True The Vote also reports instances of voter fraud between Rhode Island and Florida. After the comprehensive cross-reference process, TTV found 53 Rhode Island voters claimed Florida addresses. More than 15 are currently registered in both states, with two (2) having voted.

Federal and state laws were potentially violated as a result of these activities. Ohio, New York, Rhode Island and Florida each require voters to cast ballots corresponding with their permanent residential addresses. Federal law, specifically 42 U.S.C. § 1973i(e) clearly states that voters cannot cast more than one ballot in the same election.