Enterprise Florida: Economic Development or Corporate Welfare?

Today, Integrity Florida, an independent ethics watchdog group, in partnership with Americans for Prosperity – Florida, released a research report titled “Enterprise Florida: Economic Development or Corporate Welfare”.

According to co-authors Ben Wilcox and Dan Krassner, “The report illustrates Enterprise Florida’s apparent conflicts of interest, appearance of pay-to-play and its practice of picking of winners and losers in the marketplace.”

The report states:

“Floridians have entrusted Enterprise Florida, a public–private partnership focused on economic development, with significant public resources to deliver high quality job creation results, yet the organization has failed to accomplish its goals. Why has Enterprise Florida struggled as an economic development program? To better understand its operations, we take a close look at the incentive agreements executed by Enterprise Florida in the 2012 fiscal year. We selected 2012 because it presents the most recent data. It’s also a year that the Florida Secretary of Commerce has boasted of being an exemplar of success, referring to previous years’ efforts as “marginal at best.”

In addition to illustrating the failure to meet legislative expectations, this report documents Enterprise Florida’s apparent conflicts of interest, the appearance of a pay-to-play scheme for winning favorable treatment and its repeated practice of picking winners and losers in the marketplace through targeted business, favoritism, and selective incentive deals.” [My emphasis]

The report finds:

1. Enterprise Florida has failed to meet its job creation objective: In 1992, the Florida Legislature created Enterprise Florida with an initial objective of creating 200,000 high-wage jobs by 2005. After operating for twenty years and despite negotiating more than 1,600 transactions involving economic development incentive agreements worth more than $1.7 billion,iv Enterprise Florida reports that only 103,544 jobs have been delivered since 1995 – half of their original target and eight years beyond its original target date.

2. Enterprise Florida has failed to obtain its required level of private sector support: As a public-private partnership, Enterprise Florida is expected to obtain private sector support to help pay for its costs of operation. The Florida Legislature required Enterprise Florida to obtain 50% private sector contributions by Fiscal Year 2000-01. As of Fiscal Year 2010-11, more than 85% of Enterprise Florida’s funding comes from government and less than 15% comes from the private sector.

3. Enterprise Florida has the appearance of pay-to-play: Enterprise Florida, while subject to the dominion and control of the Florida Legislature,viii collects on average $50,000 each from corporate members for about half of the seats on the organization’s board of directors.ix Several Enterprise Florida board member companies received incentive agreements and vendor contracts following negotiations with Enterprise Florida staff during the 2012 fiscal year giving the appearance of pay-to-play.

4. Enterprise Florida has apparent conflicts of interest: The Enterprise Florida Board of Directors and the organization’s staff have a relationship that may be a conflict of interest. Enterprise Florida staff bonus pay of nearly $500,000 ($427,500 for staff, $70,000 for President/CEO) in 2012 was provided by Enterprise Florida board member companies that were also Enterprise Florida vendors and others that were recipients of incentive deals in the 2012 fiscal year.

5. Enterprise Florida is picking winners and losers: A number of executed agreements detailed in the 2012 Enterprise Florida Incentives Report demonstrate clear state government favoritism of some companies and industries. Enterprise Florida issues unnecessary benefits packages to entice businesses that should already be attracted Florida’s business friendly environment. These benefits are not necessarily enjoyed by competitors across an industry or all businesses moving to or expanding in Florida.

Click here to read the full report.

Media double standard fails women and democracy

By , President of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

This past election cycle, the mainstream media promoted the idea that the GOP engages in a “war on women.” Prominent women in the Democratic Party were able to take to the airways –often unchallenged – and spin the Republican positions on social issues as old-fashioned, sexist attitudes reminiscence of the 1950s. With the 2012 election a distant memory – the danger is real: sexploitation has reared its ugly head. The alleged culprit is a Democratic senator, and the legacy press couldn’t be more silent.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is embroiled in scandal. But if you read the New York Times or watch “NBC Nightly News,” you would never know it. Reports began surfacing last November from new media outlets – led by the Daily Caller – the New Jersey senator was allegedly engaging in sex with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, courtesy of the transportation and resort hospitality of a major campaign donor. The original Daily Caller investigation included an interview with two women from the Dominican Republic who told DC “they met Menendez around Easter at Casa de Campo, an expensive 7,000-acre resort in the Dominican Republic. They claimed Menendez agreed to pay them $500 for sex acts, but in the end they each received only $100.”

Given the fact that these young ladies are engaged in an activity regarded as the ultimate degradation of women – and a sitting U.S. senator has been accused of taking advantage of their circumstances – it’s safe to say the old guard press would have been all over this story if the perpetrator were a Republican – leaving no stone un-turned to find the “Dirty Laundry” – as Sen. Menendez gets whitewashed in the spin cycle.  Enter the new media outlets – turning the tide, agitating the establishment and hanging them out to dry.

The evidence against Menendez began mounting last week as it was revealed that another woman had come forward. The non-partisan government watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) received an email from another young girl from the Dominican Republic, claiming she had slept with the New Jersey Democrat. All the more troubling is that her alleged sexual encounters began when she was only sixteen years old.

Where is the outrage from women’s rights groups? Where are the demands for answers from the 16 female Democrats serving alongside Menendez in the Senate? Why do the mainstream media remain silent over the accusations?

In America one is presumed innocent until proven guilty. So when serious allegations surface, especially when they come from more than one source, the press has an obligation to investigate the matter. In a Sunday, January 27th interview on ABC’s “This Week,” not one question was asked of Menendez about the prostitutes’ allegations, despite the fact that two days earlier it had become public that the FBI was investigating the senator’s alleged misconduct. The sources are credible enough for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but apparently not for the old guard press.

Menendez’s reputed fondness for hookers is only part of the story not being covered. Last week the senator’s contributor involved in this scandal had his office raided by the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. Florida ophthalmologist   Salomon Melgen has been flying Menendez down to the Dominican Republic, providing the luxury accommodations and supposedly supplying the ladies of the night. The raid on Melgen’s office apparently jarred the memory of the New Jersey senator who ponied up nearly $59,000 to reimburse the Florida doctor for travel expenses incurred in 2009.

If the emails, FBI investigation and government raids aren’t enough red flags for the press, an investigation by the new media publication The Washington Free Beacon uncovered last November that Dr. Melgen owes over $11 million to the IRS. Melgen’s support for Menendez began during the 1990s when he was a congressman. Since Dr. Melgen’s troubles with the IRS began – his contributions to the New Jersey Democrat have dramatically increased.

Coincidence? Or a prominent political donor seeking favors? Unless the question is asked, we won’t know the answer.

Since the FBI investigation became public, a few local newspapers in New Jersey, New York and Miami have taken an interest. But a “Google search” of the scandal links only to new media outlets. The three broadcasts networks have wiped the scandal under the rug and the New York Times has apparently decided the story doesn’t fit their motto, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”

Safe to say that if Sen. Menendez had an “R” next to his name this story would lead network broadcasts and frequent the front-page of the “paper of record.” But when you are a Democrat the legacy media and women’s rights group tend to bury their head in the sand – justice and journalism doesn’t fit their agenda.

Jason Stverak is the President of Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity.

Florida Secretary of State releases voting recommendations, says nothing about voter fraud

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner released his recommendations on voting. What is most notable is that the word “fraud” appears only once on page seven of a twelve page report.

The Detzner report states, “Additionally, some Florida counties continue to operate without utilizing technological advances, such as electronic poll books, which can shorten the time it takes to do voter intake and minimize the possibility of dual voting fraud.” No other mention is made of the numerous allegations, lawsuits and documented examples of voter fraud during the 2012 election cycle.

Why does the report not deal in more detail with voter fraud and voting transparency?

Because the mandate for the report from Governor Scott was, “… making recommendations to increase the accessibility and efficiency in Florida Elections.” The mandate was not to insure all votes cast are counted once and only once.

The report states:

“Secretary Detzner and a team of Department of State employees from the department’s Office of the Secretary, Office of the General Counsel and the Division of Elections’ Bureau of Voter Registration Services and Bureau of Voting Systems Certification traveled throughout Florida to meet with county supervisors of elections and their staffs and receive their input on how to improve Florida’s election system. Secretary Detzner also sought out and received valuable input from other elected officials and knowledgeable Floridians and organizations such as the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections and the League of Women Voters. The Secretary also considered input from Florida voters, poll workers, Miami-Dade’s Election Task Force, the Miami-Dade Grand Jury report and Division of Elections’ staff.” [My emphasis]

Those consulted are those with a vested interest in, lobbyists for and those who control the voting system. The report states, “During Secretary Detzner’s fact-finding efforts, supervisors of elections and others agreed the 2012 General Election was a fair election as a whole.”

True The Vote has a different view of the St. Lucie County voting system . “This dramatic recount [in St. Lucie County] was an extraordinary example of how our elections can suffer systematic failure,” True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht said. “We run the risk seeing episodes like this becoming ordinary if citizens do not demand answers and hold election officials accountable. The American people own the voting system – we have the right to ask tough questions when we witness the failure of one of America’s core functions.

St. Lucie County is not mention in the Detzner report.

Patricia Mazzei in her Miami Herald column titled “Miami-Dade grand jury: Absentee voting fraud clouds confidence in tight election results” wrote, “To prove their point, grand jurors made an astounding revelation: A county software vendor discovered that a clandestine, untraceable computer program submitted more than 2,500 fraudulent, “phantom” requests for voters who had not applied for absentee ballots in the August primary.”

“With several narrow victories in races in the 2012 Primary and General Elections, the general sentiment that undetected fraud is occurring is a major problem for this Grand Jury and the citizens of this community,’’ the jurors wrote. “Can the public have confidence in the election results of those close races? We are not certain they can.” Read more here.

The Detzner report concludes that expanded early voting is the panacea. No where is voter fraud nor ways to prevent it addressed in any detail.

To read the full twelve page report click here.

Florida Pastor: Jesus wants you to sell your garments and buy an assault weapon

Reverend O’Neil Dozier

Reverend O’Neil Dozier is pastor at the World Christian Center in Pompano Beach, Florida. Reverend Dozier is the fourth of eleven children of sharecroppers Annie and the late Jessie Emmanuel Dozier who migrated to Pompano Beach from South Carolina in 1955. Reverend Dozier is a Vietnam veteran.

On Superbowl Sunday Reverend Dozier’s sermon was about gun rights. During the sermon Dozier quoted Luke 22:35 where “Jesus tells his disciples to sell their garments (cloaks) and buy a sword. One of my favorite scriptures and always my answer to those who forever quote where Jesus says, ‘Turn the other cheek’.”

Reverend Dozier told his black congregation that “Jesus was no sissy-boy”. He explained that the sword was the assault weapon of that day, and that if Jesus were alive today, he would “tell us to buy an assault weapon and protect ourselves and our families”.

He told all the men, then all the women to arm themselves against this tyrannical government and other criminals who want to hurt us. He railed on the congregation for forty-five minutes and ripped the federal government to shreds according to those in attendance.

One congregant said, “I’ve never said, ‘Preach it!’ and ‘Amen’ so many times in one service. He was fabulous! I’m betting there was not another pastor across the nation today bold enough to preach a strong sermon such as this.”

“If every pastor would preach The TRUTH the way Reverend Dozier does we would most likely be home-free and sovereign in our nation — After all, IT IS WRITTEN.. as to how to address ALL issues. One needs only to preach it,” one congregant said after the sermon.

Florida Bill Introduced to protect gun owners – but will it?

Florida legislators Ahern, Artiles, Baxley, Beshears, Brodeur, Caldwell, Corcoran, Diaz, M., Fasano, Ford, Gaetz, Hudson, Ingram, Patronis, Pigman, Pilon, Raburn, Raschein, Roberson, K., Smith, Spano, Trujillo, Van Zant and Wood have co-sponsored HM 545 titled: Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

The bill “Urges Congress and the President to protect the constitutional right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Some Floridians are not sure this Memorial is strong enough to protect law abiding gun owners in Florida from the federal government.

What bothers many is the Obama administration is trying to disarm law abiding Americans while at the same time arming foreigners in Syria and other places to over throw tyrannical regimes. Whenever the government of the United States wants to depose tyrannical regimes they arm the citizens in order to change government.

There are over 1 million Floridians with concealed carry permits. While gun owners appreciate the introduction of the House Memorial 545, some wonder if it is enough to keep the federal government from inter-veining and taking away the rights of Floridians.

One issue concerns the oath of office taken by elected officials in Florida and the conflict it presents to law enforcement officers. There is also an issue of is the current Florida oath constitutional? and shouldn’t the oath be changed to reflect the wording in the Constitution?

Below are excerpts from the US and Florida Constitutions and US Code referencing loyalty oaths:

1. US Constitution Article VI, Clause 3 – The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

2. United States Code, Title 4, Section 101 & 102 – Every member of a State legislature, and every executive and judicial officer of a State, shall, before he proceeds to execute the duties of his office, take an oath in the following form, to wit: “I, A B, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States.” Such oath may be administered by any person who, by the law of the State, is authorized to administer the oath of office; and the person so administering such oath shall cause a record or certificate thereof to be made in the same manner, as by the law of the State, he is directed to record or certify the oath of office.

3. Florida Constitution, Article II, Section 5 (b) – Each state and county officer, before entering upon the duties of the office, shall give bond as required by law, and shall swear or affirm: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida; that I am duly qualified to hold office under the Constitution of the state; and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of (title of office) on which I am now about to enter. So help me God.”, and thereafter shall devote personal attention to the duties of the office, and continue in office until a successor qualifies.

4. US Constitution Article IV Section 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.

Pat Wayman from the Venice, FL 912 Group notes, “The Florida Constitution COMPLETELY VIOLATES the intent of the loyalty oath which the US Constitution requires and the US Law prescribes. It has the public officers swear to support the GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES as well as the Constitution.”

“The Government is the ‘network’ of public policy makers who flout the law and constitutions at will. The Government IS THE ENEMY of the Constitution because it is the very entity the Constitution seeks to CONTROL so government employees will not stray outside their box and make absurd, inane, and illegal rulings like the idiotically treasonous Leon County Judge Kevin Carroll did. Carroll has single-handedly created a judicial oligarchy by saying he does not care what the law says because HE supports the GOVERNMENT (not the constitutions),” notes Wayman.

Do you see the dilemma here?

A Florida public officer cannot rationally and realistically support both the federal government and the US Constitution. A public officer may wander afield from the ideals of good government, and so the Constitution restrains him, chains him down. This explains why the US Constitution and US law require an oath to support the US Constitution, and nothing else, not the government.

TRUE THE VOTE SUES ST. LUCIE COUNTY, FLORIDA

HOUSTON, TX. February 4, 2013 –True the Vote announced today that it filed a lawsuit against the St. Lucie County, Florida Supervisor of Elections, to enforce record inspection rights under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) and the Florida Constitution.

True the Vote demands that all records pertaining to the recent 18th Congressional District election and subsequent recounts between Rep. Allen West and Patrick Murphy be reviewed in order to perform a comprehensive third-party audit (True the Vote, Inc. v. Gertrude Walker in her official capacity as St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections, Civil Action (No 2:13cv14046.)).

Watch the video announcement:

True the Vote seeks to compel St. Lucie County election authorities to grant complete inspection rights to all election records pertaining to the 18th District race and voter registration records under federal and state law. In addition, True the Vote demands that the court order the Supervisor of Elections to preserve all records. If granted access, TTV will determine a precise vote count, document any illegal participation in the election and offer solutions to prevent similar failures in future recounts.

“This dramatic recount was an extraordinary example of how our elections can suffer systematic failure,” True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht said. “We run the risk seeing episodes like this becoming ordinary if citizens do not demand answers and hold election officials accountable. The American people own the voting system – we have the right to ask tough questions when we witness the failure of one of America’s core functions.

“The clock is ticking on the opportunity for a comprehensive, outside audit of this recount,” Engelbrecht continued. “Each passing day heightens the risk of critical documents being disposed of. If you thought voter fraud could erode America’s confidence in elections, unchecked incompetence in the vote tabulation process will destroy all faith remaining in our systems.”

“Gone are the days when Motor Voter is a law used only by a couple of special interest groups. The law requires physical inspections, I hope we reach a quick agreement,” attorney J. Christian Adams of the Election Law Center said.

On November 6, St. Lucie County election administrators admitted that ballot tabulation machines suffered a malfunction, preventing early vote totals from being properly counted. County workers were forced to hand-feed ballots into tabulation machines as a result.

On November 8, West demanded a full recount of early votes and copies of poll sign-in records to compare voter participation against ballots cast. West’s requests were denied and ignored, respectively.

On November 9, West demanded that a Florida state court impound all ballots and voting machines, but made no claims of the sort True the Vote makes today in federal court. West’s requests in state court were denied.

On November 10, St. Lucie County “unofficially certified” the vote count for CD-18 and publicly acknowledged “uncertainty” over the early vote totals. St. Lucie County called an emergency meeting to “recount all ballots cast during early voting.” The county later reversed itself, only performing a partial retabulation. After the partial retabulation, the lead for Patrick Murphy decreased.

On November 13, Defendant Gertrude Walker held a press conference admitting that her staff acted with “haste” and that “mistakes were made” throughout the tabulation and partial recount process. Florida Division of Elections auditors were dispatched to investigate how 799 votes disappeared or changed hands during the partial recount.

On November 16, Defendant Walker claimed to find 306 early votes in a box at her office that had not been counted. The St. Lucie County Canvassing Board ordered a recount of all early votes, with a deadline set for noon on November 18.

On November 17, the full recount operation was relocated to a privately-owned property. County workers were evicted from the premises late at night, suspending the recount until the next morning.

On November 18, County workers failed to meet the deadline, instead certifying the original November 10 tabulation, which officials claimed “uncertainty” over the accuracy of the results.

True the Vote later demanded to review poll books, “voter credit” lists, felon files and others to perform a comprehensive audit of the CD-18 tabulations. Inspection rights were not granted and so this lawsuit was made necessary.

“My clients are demanding that Walker immediately allow an in person public inspection of all records relating to the election in Florida’s 18th Congressional District between Allen West and Patrick Murphy,” local counsel Michael A. Barnett said.

True the Vote filed its complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida – Fort Pierce Division.

Click here to read True the Vote’s filing.

True The Vote (TTV) a nonpartisan, nonprofit grassroots organization focused on preserving election integrity is operated by citizens for citizens, to inspire and equip volunteers for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit www.truethevote.org.

True The Vote NOW (TTVN) is a public policy organization dedicated to reforming our voting systems at state and federal levels. True the Vote NOWpromotes solutions that increase citizen engagement and restore faith in our elections. For more information, please visit www.truethevotenow.org.

Voto Honesto (TTV) es una organización sin fines de lucro, no partidaria, enfocada en preservar la integridad en las elecciones y operada por ciudadanos para ciudadanos, ara inspirar y equipar a voluntarios para envolverse en cada una de las etapas del proceso electoral. TTT capacita a organizaciones e individuos a través de la nación para activamente proteger los derechos de los votantes legítimos, sin importar a que partido político perteneces. Para más información, por favor visite www.truethevote.org.

The Conservative Answer to Facebook Attacked by Hackers

Watchdog Wire – Florida received the below information about the launch of  the TEA Party Community website. The website has grown exponentially since it launch on Saturday, February 2nd. As of the posting of this column it has 90,593 members. It is gaining nearly 5,000 new members daily.

Tea Party Community – ATTACKED JUST BEFORE OUR LIVE BROADCAST!

Posted on February 3, 2013.

Earlier this morning (February 2, 2013), Ken Crow (TPC-Co-founder), appeared on the Fox and Friends show announcing the launch of our new website — the FB alternative for conservatives.

As anticipated, the our community experienced a large influx of new members and site traffic. Along with all the new members came hundreds of trolls who sought to disrupt our new rapidly growing community.

Our great team of moderators had their hands full handling over 2,000 reports in just a few short hours. With this much media exposure, we’re bound to be a target of our detractors.”

Tim Selaty Jr. (Co-Founder of TPC) stated:

Just 35 minutes before the scheduled live broadcast of our national launch, the Tea Party Community website experienced a large DOS (Denial of Service) attack. “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial-of-service_attack

According to our logs, the attacks came from all around the country including Pakistan, Afghanistan, France, Germany, Russia, and even from the United States. The attack was from a “BotNet”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botnet

We ask all of our dedicated Patriots members to hang in there and not lose heart as The Tea Party Community isn’t going away. We’re here to stay.”

Here is the message sent to us from our server provider about the attack:

“Dear Tim:

We have discovered that one of your IP is under DOS attack

Server:

Total Attack Packets Per Second (PPS): 450,000

Your IP is currently the target of a large Denial of Service attack, which leaves us no option but to null route your IP address. The incoming DoS attack was negatively affecting our other customers and our network stability. We have mitigated this attack with a null route (all traffic destined to this IP is dropped), and will be leaving it in place for the next 24 hours. If you would like to remove the null route sooner, simply respond to this ticket and we will remove it and check to see if the attack has subsided. Please note that if the null route is removed early and the attack returns, then another null route will need to be placed.

We are attempting to gather additional details regarding this DOS attack and if successful, we will send a follow up summary report. We apologize for any inconveniences, but we must protect the integrity of our network for all our clients. Please update this ticket if you have any questions.

Thank you and kind regards,

PEER 1 Hosting/Serverbeach Network Operations Center (NOC)”

 – TPC Staff

Why Education Emancipation is the Moral Imperative of our Time

The reform of public education has been an elusive goal. All seem to agree that public school reform is much needed. International rankings and national tests show American public school students falling behind their peers. Many scholars have studied public schools and their failures, governments have written thousands of studies addressing this issue. So what must happen to truly change public schools for the better?

A natural disaster like hurricane Katrina!

Walter Isaacson, a former managing editor of TIME, president of the Aspen Institute and chairman of the board of Teach for America, in his 2007 column “The Greatest Education Lab” wrote:

“Paul Vallas, the man who took over the troubled school systems of Chicago and then Philadelphia and upended them, stood before a crowd of New Orleans parents in a French Quarter courtyard earlier this summer and offered a promise. ‘This will be the greatest opportunity for educational entrepreneurs, charter schools, competition and parental choice in America,” he said. Call it the silver lining: Hurricane Katrina washed away what was one of the nation’s worst school systems and opened the path for energetic reformers who want to make New Orleans a laboratory of new ideas for urban schools‘.” [My emphasis]

What did New Orleans do to reform its broken public education system? It chartered every school in the district. Hurricane Karina emancipated the parents and students from the old public school structure and allowed them to achieve control of what was once a government monopoly.

C. Bradley Thompson in his article “The New Abolitionism: Why Education Emancipation is the Moral Imperative of our Time” wrote:

“I begin with my conclusion: The ‘public’ school system is the most immoral and corrupt institution in the United States of America today, and it should be abolished. It should be abolished for the same reason that chattel slavery was ended in the 19th century: Although different in purpose and in magnitude of harm to its victims, public education, like slavery, is a form of involuntary servitude. The primary difference is that public schools force children to serve the interests of the state rather than those of an individual master.” [My emphasis]

A radical conclusion notes Thompson. But is it?

Thompson wrote, “Twenty-first century Abolitionists are confronted, however, by a paradoxical fact: Most Americans recognize that something is deeply wrong with the country’s elementary and secondary schools, yet they support them like no other institution. Mention the possibility of abolishing the public schools, and most people look at you as though you are crazy. And, of course, no politician would ever dare cut spending to our schools and to the ‘kids’.”

Thompson states unequivocally, “The solution is not further reforms. The solution is abolition.” Read more here.

The Emancipation Proclamation was signed 150 years ago. Perhaps it is time for an Education Emancipation Proclamation?

Florida Sheriffs Association Says ‘NO’ to Obama Gun Control

Former Sheriff Richard Mack of CSPOA states, “Sheriffs have risen up all over our great nation to stand up against the unconstitutional gun control measures being taken.” Among those signing the pledge is the Florida Sheriffs Association (to read the pledge click here).

“Sheriffs and associations who have made public statements committing to protect their citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights from Obama’s gun control efforts will be added. Some of these sheriffs are members of the CSPOA, but inclusion in this list does not necessarily mean they are a member,” states Mack

The following is a list of sheriffs and state sheriff’s associations who have vowed to uphold and defend the Constitution against President Obama’s gun control measures.

List of State Sheriff’s Associations:

1. Utah Sheriffs Association
2. Florida Sheriffs Association
3. Georgia Sheriffs Association
4. Colorado Sheriffs Association
5. New Mexico Sheriffs Association

Among those 256 County Sheriffs who have signed the pledge as of February 2, 2013 are the following from Florida:

Sheriff Bill Snyder, Martin County

Sheriff Frank McKeithen, Bay County

Sheriff Mike Scott, Lee County

Sheriff Rick Beseler, Clay County

Sheriff Michael Adkinson, Walton County

Sheriff Grady Judd, Polk County

Watch this CSPOA video:

Catholic Bishops file amicus brief in support of Defense of Marriage Act

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on January 29, 2013 filed amicus briefs in the United States Supreme Court in support of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8, both of which confirm the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

DOMA was passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1996 and defines marriage for federal and inter-state recognition purposes. Proposition 8 is a state constitutional amendment approved by the citizens of California in 2008. Both laws are challenged because they define marriage exclusively as the union of one man and one woman.

Urging the Court to uphold DOMA the USCCB brief in United States v. Windsor says that “there is no fundamental right to marry a person of the same sex.” The brief also states that “as defined by courts ‘sexual orientation’ is not a classification that should trigger heightened scrutiny,” such as race or ethnicity would.

It added that “civil recognition of same-sex relationships is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition—quite the opposite is true. Nor can the treatment of such relationships as marriages be said to be implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, such that neither liberty nor justice would exist if they were sacrificed.”

USCCB argued that previous Supreme Court decisions “describing marriage as a fundamental right plainly contemplate the union of one man and one woman.”

The USCCB also cautioned that a decision invalidating DOMA “would have adverse consequences in other areas of law.”

In a separate brief filed in Hollingsworth v Perry urging the Court to uphold Proposition 8, the USCCB states that there are many reasons why the state may reasonably support and encourage marriage, understood as the union of one man and one woman, as distinguished from other relationships. Government support for marriage, so understood, is “recognizing the unique capacity of opposite-sex couples to procreate” and “the unique value to children of being raised by their mother and father together.”

The USCCB brief states that “[T]he People of California could reasonably conclude that a home with a mother and a father is the optimal environment for raising children, an ideal that Proposition 8 encourages and promotes. Given both the unique capacity for reproduction and unique value of homes with a mother and father, it is reasonable for a State to treat the union of one man and one woman as having a public value that is absent from other intimate interpersonal relationships.”

The USCCB brief adds that “While this Court has held that laws forbidding private, consensual, homosexual conduct between adults lack a rational basis, it does not follow that the government has a constitutional duty to encourage or endorse such conduct. Thus, governments may legitimately decide to further the interests of opposite-sex unions only. Similarly, minimum standards of rationality under the Constitution do not require adopting the lower court’s incoherent definition of ‘marriage’ as merely a ‘committed lifelong relationship,’ which is wildly over-inclusive, empties the term of its meaning, and leads to absurd results.”

“Marriage, understood as the union of one man and one woman, is not an historical relic, but a vital and foundational institution of civil society today,” the USCCB brief states. “The government interests in continuing to encourage and support it are not merely legitimate, but compelling. No other institution joins together persons with the natural ability to have children, to assure that those children are properly cared for. No other institution ensures that children will at least have the opportunity of being raised by their mother and father together. Societal ills that flow from the dissolution of marriage and family would not be addressed—indeed, they would only be aggravated—were the government to fail to reinforce the union of one man and one woman with the unique encouragement and support it deserves.”

The USCCB brief also notes that “Proposition 8 is not rendered invalid because some of its supporters were informed by religious or moral considerations. Many, if not most, of the significant social and political movements in our Nation’s history were based on precisely such considerations.Moreover, the argument to redefine marriage to include the union of persons of the same sex is similarly based on a combination of religious and moral considerations (albeit ones that are, in our view, flawed).As is well established in this Court’s precedent, the coincidence of law and morality, or law and religious teaching, does not detract from the rationality of a law.”

USCCB notes that a judicial decision invalidating Proposition 8’s definition of marriage would have adverse consequences in other areas of law.

“[R]edefining marriage—particularly as a matter of constitutional law, rather than legislative process—not only threatens principles of federalism and separation of powers, but would have a widespread adverse impact on other constitutional rights, such as the freedoms of religion, conscience, speech, and association.Affirmance of the judgment below would create an engine of conflict in this area, embroiling this Court and lower courts in a series of otherwise avoidable disputes—pitting constitutional right squarely against constitutional right—for years to come.

The President, the Senate and Media are in Denial

What we are experiencing is an unprecedented phenomenon in America. Almost 89 million people have left the labor force.

The Bureau of  Labor Statistics released jobs numbers for January Friday showing that non-farm payroll employment increased by 157,000 and the unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent. Lost in these headline numbers was another rise in the number of people not in the labor force. This number now stands at a staggering 89 million, up from 80.5 million when President Obama took office. This means that there are currently 8.5 million more Americans not in the labor force than just four years ago.

Forget all the other numbers. This continued explosion of people not in the labor force should be tremendously concerning as it represents an obstacle for the government to ever balance the budget without drastically raising taxes on those still working.

Instead of prioritizing a solution to  our economic problem,  the President and Senate dwell on political issues  such as ‘immigration’, and ‘Gun Control’ which may be important but doesn’t represent an existential threat to America.

America’s unsustainable spending and deficit is continuing unaddressed and unabated by the President, the Senate and the media. The lack of discourse is surreal. The President is in a state of denial when he says “We have no spending problem”. If this was true how does he explain almost $17 trillion dollars in debt which is estimated to exceed $20 trillion dollars in the next four years? The House and Senate just approved a continuance of the ‘Debt Ceiling’ until mid may 2013. In that short time our debt will increase by almost another half trillion dollars.

Instead of finding a solution to bring American’s back into the work force, the President’s solution is to expand welfare and dependency. No one is asking who will pay for all of this with less workers in America each year.

Kids Need Both Mom and Dad, Says Gay Man

The benefits of intact biological families were emphasized on a “Building a Marriage Culture” panel at the National Review Institute’s 2013 Summit, “The Future of Conservatism.” One of the panelists, Doug Mainwaring, spoke of his personal experience as a gay man who came to realize that his own children need both a mother and a father.

“For a long time I thought, if I could just find the right partner, we could raise my kids together, but it became increasingly apparent to me, even if I found somebody else exactly like me, who loved my kids as much as I do, there would still be a gaping hole in their lives because they need a mom,” Mainwaring, co-founder of National Capital Tea Party Patriots, said.

Mainwaring is now living with his ex-wife so they can co-parent their two teenaged sons.

“I don’t want to see children being engineered for same-sex couples where there is either a mom missing or a dad missing,” Mainwaring explained. “Somebody needs to stand up for the rights and needs of children in an age when the selfishness of adults seems to be trumping those rights.”

Read the rest at The Christian Post

Marco Rubio Leads Iowa Presidential Poll

According to the Conservative Intelligence Briefing website:

On the Republican side, Senator Marco Rubio is out front at 27% with Congressman Paul Ryan in second place at 18%.  After that, former Senator Rick Santorum (14%), Senator Rand Paul (13%) and Governor Chris Christie (12%) are in a tight race for third place.

Among Republicans who have previously attended a caucus, Rubio leads Ryan 29%-21%.  However, among Republicans who plan to attend their first caucus in 2016, Ryan’s support drops to 7%.  Paul (22%) and Santorum (19%) fill the void.

Among voters who consider themselves “Very Conservative”, Rubio leads with 32% followed by Ryan at 18%, Santorum at 15%, and Paul at 14%.  Among the “Somewhat Conservative”, Rubio’s lead over Ryan shrinks to 3% (25%-22%).

The gender splits are revealing.  Paul scores 17% among Men but his support drops to 8% among Women.  Ryan seems a similar drop among Women (14%) compared to Men (22%).  Conversely, Santorum (15% with Women, 12% with Men) and Christie (13% with Women, 11% with Men) do slightly better with Women.

Read more.

“COMPREHENSIVE” IMMIGRATION REFORM MUST EVALUATE ALL ASPECTS OF IMMIGRATION!

The following letter was received from a Florida citizen. It was so well done that the WDW – Florida Editorial Board decided to post it for comments.

Senate President Reid

Senate Minority leader McConnell

Senator Leahy Chairman of the Committee On The Judiciary

Senator Grassley Ranking Member of the Committee On The Judiciary

Senator Schumer Chairman of the Immigration, Refugees and Border Security Committee

Senator Cornyn Ranking Member of The Immigration, Refugees and Border Security Committee

Speaker of The House Representative Boehner

Representative Goodlatte Chairman of the Committee On Judiciary

Representative Conyers Ranking Member of the Committee On Judiciary

Representative Gowdy Chairman of The Subcommittee On immigration and Border Security

RE: IMMIGRATION

Honorable Senators and Representatives:

I developed a more than casual interest in Congressional action and Executive Branch inaction regarding immigration and enforcement since Representative Simpson proclaimed on the Floor in the House this would be the one and only amnesty ever in the history of the Republic so Congress approved it and President Reagan signed it.

There were three promises made by Congress in exchange for passing mass amnesty in 1986:

The government would make a concerted effort to control the borders. Today 70 miles north of the border there are signs warning travelers to be on the lookout for illegal aliens. The Border Patrol estimates they interdict 61% of border violators which may be an optimistic estimate. When there was a major hiring of new recruits years ago to build up the border patrol they stopped giving lie detector tests because so many applicants failed the test. Please tell me how we can successfully protect South Korea’s border for over 50 years but can’t defend our own?

An effective employer verification program would ensure that only legal workers were hired. Finally, in 2008 President Bush issued an Executive Order for Federal Contractors only to use mandatory E-Verify, twenty two years after Congress promised to cover all businesses in the United States. During the Obama administration states reeling from the onslaught of illegal aliens such as Arizona have been sued by the Federal Government, aided by the countries who supply the bulk of illegal aliens, while simply trying to enforce Federal Immigration Law.

One-time amnesty would be granted for people illegally in the United States. It is obvious Congress can’t be trusted since they didn’t keep the first promise made in 1986, twenty seven years ago and instead issued 6 additional amnesties for another three million not counting President Obama’s directive granting amnesty by fiat for who knows how many illegal aliens between the ages of 16 and 30 without so much as a peep from Congress whose authority has been usurped by the president.

Amnesty proponents like Senator Rubio who ran for the Senate opposing amnesty, cites three million receiving amnesty in 1986 from the Simspon Mazzoli legislation and then fast forwards to 2013 saying we now have 11 million who need amnesty while some estimates are as high as 20 million being here illegally.

I don’t know if it is a deliberate deception or lack of knowledge of the history on the proponents of yet another mass amnesty or part of an attempt to rewrite the recent immigration history but it strikes me as odd they would ignore the other six mass amnesties and amnesty adjustments from 1986 through 2000 of time giving a grand total of 6 million granted mass amnesty when the promise initially was for only 3 million forever. This deception has been told so many times most people don’t know Congress has indulged in insanity by doing the same thing over and over again each time expecting a different result. The proposed legislation by the so-called group of eight senators if enacted would simply be the eighth failure resulting in a call for an additional amnesty in another couple of years.

Which brings me to the point of asking if you really want what is in the best National Interests of the Citizens Of the United States of America you swore to protect or what is in the best interests of the lobbyists trying to turn the Country into a marketplace allowing free entry and exit to all?

If you want what is in the best interests of the citizens then I strongly suggest a Commission similar to the one Barbara Jordan headed in the 1990s to cover all aspects of immigration be formed and an exhaustive in depth and non-partisan report be made. Following the report ensure the recommendations are included and enforced.

I suggest a commission be put in charge because it is obvious the proponents cannot get beyond politics and ethnicity. Read what is contemplated being proposed and if you show it to Alan Simpson he would probably have the same comment he did about the 2007 bill because the two are similar which was “Then there will be more amnesties and more chaos.”

The current proposed legislation is neither “Comprehensive or Reform.” It is simply a repeat of the insanity exercised since 1986 costing taxpayers trillions of dollars which demands a commission be appointed to bring sanity to situation.

Here are questions not addressed at all in the current immigration discussions but should be included as topics for a complete and Comprehensive evaluation by a commission:

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF IMMIGRATION? Throughout history immigration has primarily served the purpose of settling virgin lands and that reason was eliminated generations ago. Even President Kennedy in 1962 asking for immigration reform legislation said “We have no lands to settle”. Immigration allowed in then was roughly the equivalent of people leaving the country which was less than 250K a year. The large majority of today’s immigrants settle in the balkanized barrios of cities around the country. Allowing in workers with skills needed in the National Interest has long been replaced with a source of cheap imported labor even including maids and lawn mower operators. We are the third most populated country in the world and on our current course of mass immigration we will have an estimated population of 800,000,000 million by the turn of the century. If you have children and grandchildren is that the kind of overpopulated country you want to leave to them?

WHAT IS THE OPTIMUM POPULATION THE UNITED STATES CAN COMFORTABLY SUPPORT? Isn’t it time to take into consideration the environment that sustains the population and how it is affected by rampant population growth? I assume no one wants us to be as populated as China or India which is the path we are on if we don’t change our current mass immigration policies.

SHOULD WE HAVE MASS IMMIGRATION? Congressional and media pundits scratch their heads and pontificate as to why we can’t lower our poverty rates while ignoring the the 125,000 new immigrants entering the country every month the majority of whom are unskilled, uneducated and non-English speaking. 68% of legal immigrant Mexican families with American children are either in or near poverty. Twenty years after immigrating to the USA over 50% of Mexicans are still on welfare. Roughly 18% of all Mexicans legal or illegal now reside in the US. 67% of EL Salvadoran families are in or near poverty and constitute 20% of all EL Salvadorans. When the worst recession since the Great Depression hit 5 years ago causing massive unemployment in the double digits around the country not one person in Congress even mentioned the common sense idea of a pause in the incoming immigrants joining the workforce every month. 7,500,000 legal immigrants have entered the country from 2008 till now with the large majority entering the workforce.

SHOULD THE IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION ACT BE CHANGED? Currently it is estimated 200,000 births a year are primarily to illegal aliens who then establish an anchor to the government welfare teat. It is a magnet that even attracts wealthy pregnant women from around the world to come via “birth tourism” junkets so their child is born here, given a SS card and passport to then go back to wherever they came from. In the future the child will return an American citizen knowing nothing about the country and in fact may be coming to cause harm.

SHOULD THE PENALTY FOR ENTERING THE COUNTRY ILLEGALLY OR OVERSTAYING A VISA BE CHANGED? The scary thought of a misdemeanor for entering illegally deters no one. Overstaying a visa results in being barred from the country for a period of time. Perhaps the promise of a felony charge would be a much greater deterrent.

SHOULD THE CUBAN ADJUSTMENT ACT BE REPEALED? Currently 18% of all Cubans are residing in the United States and are the preferred immigrant, legal or illegal over all other immigrants dating back to the Cuban Missile Crisis days. Come illegally and put one foot on dry land and you get instant legal status and a green card in 12 months. Cuba is now allowing Cuban citizens to travel overseas which could result in another Mariel type influx of Cubans if they want to take advantage of the existing Act.

DO WE NEED A DIVERSITY VISA PROGRAM? The program brings in 55,000 legal immigrants from around the world annually to increase our diversity. Would someone please tell me what country in the world has a more diverse population mix than ours?

DO WE NEED A TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS PROGRAM? The only thing temporary about this program is the name. In 2001 over 200,000 EL Salvadorans were brought into the country to be selected as our guests following an earthquake and they have not been returned receiving another eighteen extension recently signed by President Obama.

REVIEW THE CORRUPT UN RUN REFUGEE PROGRAM Today the UN basically decides who the 85,000 refugees to be selected will be in a program reportedly rampant with corruption and payoffs. Those imported cost the Federal Government approximately $20,000 each for shipping and handling then dumped in communities with no advance notice to the residents.

REVIEW THE WORK VISA PROGRAM There are firms that coach employers on how to avoid hiring American workers and then work various strategies to avoid paying certain taxes. Milton Friedman correctly identified the work visa program as simply corporate welfare.

None of these ten items I listed were even mentioned by the gang of eight senators or the President which means what they are considering is neither “Comprehensive or Reform.”

Show you put the National Interests of the Citizens of the United States of America ahead of partisan politics and call for a Commission. We’ll be watching to see what you decide.

George Fuller
Sarasota, Florida

SENATOR RUBIO TO OPPOSE HAGEL’S CONFIRMATION FOR SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement announcing his intention to vote against the confirmation of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense:

“After carefully reviewing Senator Hagel’s record on a number of issues, I cannot support his confirmation as our nation’s next Secretary of Defense. I oppose his confirmation because of his views on U.S. policy toward Cuba, his past opposition to tough Iran sanctions, his questionable comments in the past about U.S. support for Israel, his support for direct, bilateral negotiations with North Korea and, most importantly, my belief that he will usher in a new era of austere defense budgets that will severely impede U.S. national security by hampering readiness and radically limiting the global force projection of our military.

“Senator Hagel served his country during the Vietnam War with great distinction and has an admirable record of public service. I also appreciate him taking the time to visit with me this week. Unfortunately, his policy views are too far apart from what I believe to be the way forward for preserving America’s proper role in the world as a force for security and peace. Now more than ever, I firmly believe the U.S. needs a robust military capability that includes a renewed commitment to our shipbuilding program, a reliable nuclear deterrent to defend against rogue nations and a nimble counterterrorism force able to confront the asymmetric warfare of the 21st century.”

Senator Rubio Discusses Hagel Nomination & Middle Class Opportunity on FOX News: