Tensions Abroad

WDW received the column below which was written by Matthys van Raalten, a Dutch citizen. It is reprinted with his permission. It is important to understand what is happening in the EU as member nations like Holland are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine for “multiculturalism”.

Tension Abroad by Matthys van Raalten:

The best way to understand what is going on in Europe, is to look at small details. The overall picture can be confusing. An outsider can be deceived easily by the intelligent political moves of its leaders. Just one example: PM Cameron of the UK says he wants a referendum about the European Union. Could this not be just a smart move, in order to stop the rising star of Nigel Farrage?

The real issues in Europe center around two themes: the development of a political union, by critics dubbed “EUSSR” and multiculturalism. Was all the work to liberate Europe just wasted, when the Europeans choose for a big bureaucratic semi-socialist state, ruled from Brussels and Strassbourg? What about the safety and the freedoms? Are the Europeans really going to sell that all by letting millions more Islamic immigrants come over?

Let’s have a look at some relatively small matters, in my home country; the Netherlands.

Last week, I wanted to buy a book with a work of Vondel, the country’s greatest poet. Joost van den Vondel lived from 1587 until 1679. This was an important period in Dutch history, as the country liberated itself from Spain in an eighty-year lasting war. Vondel is to the Dutch, what Shakespeare is to the English-language world, or Goethe to the German speaking world. He is our Ovid, and he also translated beautifully the works of Ovid into Dutch. He also composed plays about, among others, stories from the Bible. He was a devout Christian, without doubt one of our patriarchs. I could only find a single soft-cover book with a work by him in the city center of Amsterdam, in its most famous bookshop. Therefore, I turned to a large second-hand bookshop. They had a couple of writings by his hand, one about Joseph in Dothan for 1 Euro 50 only. Though I could have been happy that I had such a cheap buy, I was sad instead. Is this the fate of my heritage? Aren’t the Dutch people interested in their own cultural heritage any longer? I have been informed by the way, that there is very little in print of Vondel these days, so also in the future we shouldn’t expect the bookshops of Amsterdam to fill their shelves with his jewels.

Now let’s take a look at the Christian parties in Holland. Wilders says he wants to defend the Judeo-Christian foundation of our country. But what are the Christians themselves doing with their foundations? The Dutch political parties CDA (medium-large) and ChristianUnion (medium size) are hardly making a fist against the Left, who have already made abortion and gay marriage the new foundations of the new Dutch culture. Only the very small SGP party seems to be wanting to get back to our real roots, but they can’t make a fist, too small in size.

Status of Educational Choice Programs in Florida “Unclear”

The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice has release the 2013 edition of “The ABCs of School Choice“. The report shows the strength and weaknesses of school choice in Florida.

According to the Foundation website , “Florida has two private school choice programs (special-needs vouchers, limited tax-credit scholarships). The state also has a charter school law and enables public virtual schooling. Limited open enrollment exists, both for intradistrict and interdistrict public school choice. ”

The Foundation notes:

The status of school choice in Florida is unclear. Unfortunately, in an unprecedented decision, the Florida Supreme Court struck down the state’s groundbreaking Opportunity Scholarships voucher program for children in chronically failing public schools. The court declared that the program violated the state Constitution’s education article, specifically the requirement to provide a “uniform” public education. Contrary to state supreme courts in Wisconsin and Ohio, the Florida court decided that the Legislature may not provide educational options beyond those in the public schools. Still, the court limited its decision to Opportunity Scholarships only, leaving untouched Florida’s other school choice programs.

Earlier in the same case, a Florida appellate court struck down Opportunity Scholarships under the state’s Blaine Amendment. That ruling ran counter to years of Florida Supreme Court rulings on the Blaine Amendment permitting “incidental” benefits to religious organizations as the by-product of programs designed to advance the general welfare. The Florida Supreme Court did not review that issue, and the validity of the appellate court’s holding is unclear under Florida law.” [My emphasis]

A constitutional amendment was on the November 2012 ballot to eliminate the Blaine Amendment but it failed to garner the votes to pass. Unions and even some TEA Party activists were against the amendment.

Florida’s two educational choice success stories are:

Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Enacted 2001 • Launched 2001

Florida provides a tax credit on corporate income taxes and insurance premium taxes for donations to Scholarship Funding Organizations (SFOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships for low-income students and foster care children and… Read More

John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program

Enacted as a Pilot Program 1999 • Expanded 2000

Florida’s John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program allows public school students with disabilities or 504 plans to receive vouchers to attend private schools or another public school. Read More

Despite the uncertainties surrounding vouchers, tax credit programs are completely consistent with the Florida constitution, even as interpreted by Holmes, because they involve private rather than public funds. –Quote from the Institute for Justice (April 2007)

A Florida Citizens Letter To Senator Marco Rubio on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

The following is a letter WDW recieved from a Florida resident. The letter was sent to Senator Marco Rubio:

VIA: senator@Rubio.senate.gov

RE: “Comprehensive” Immigration Reform (Read Amnesty)

Senator Rubio:

Let me say as a Florida resident I vividly remember you blocking 6 immigration bills when you were Speaker of the Florida House in 2008 stating “The House was too busy” to deal with state immigration laws.

I remember you campaigning to be senator opposing amnesty (though you supported the Florida Dream Act early in your state legislative career) as you followed in the footsteps of previous Cuban Senator Martinez who campaigned opposing amnesty and three years later in 2007 led the charge for it. It seems you couldn’t wait three years to change positions back to what you supported during your early state tenure.

That said, let me respond to what I have read regarding your proposed legislation and zero in on Comprehensive which to me means dealing with all related topics to amnesty.

It is a well known fact constantly blared by open border types Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of the population and that is correct having researched all the latest numbers. Their chant is you better deal with the criminal illegal aliens if you want our support. Look at the immigration numbers and they are correct. The tail is now wagging the dog and how did it happen? It happened through the Family Reunification immigration program you heartily support with no limits basically emptying peasant villages in Mexico and Central America and moving them into balkanized barrios around the country. It has also happened through the failure of the U.S. Government Executive Branch performing its duties in protecting our borders and regulating visa holders with no outcry from Congress.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE PURPOSE OF IMMIGRATION?

In 1962 then President Kennedy called for a reform of the immigration system. He did not call for an increase in immigration quotas stating we need not increase the level of immigrants allowed because “we have no lands left to settle.” Following his death the Democrat controlled Congress concocted the Family Reunification visa program introducing mass immigration favoring Hispanic countries and why is a good question? Prior to 1965 the large majority of under 250K allowed in the country annually were educated, had a skill and spoke English. Following 1965 legislation the overwhelming majority imported have been a perfect democrat candidate being unskilled, uneducated and non English speaking. When politicians and talk show hosts scratch their heads about the level of poverty in the country and how to lower it they aren’t looking at the primary cause being the importation of an endless stream of poverty. Statistics show 68% of legal MX immigrants with children are in or near poverty. The study by CIS also shows over 50% of Mexican immigrants are still on welfare 20 years after arriving in the country. Other Hispanic immigrants have similar statistics.

You have recently stated you are a BIG BELIEVER in family based immigration. Please explain why since it has shown to simply be the conduit for exporting poverty from banana republics to here?

We never had a mass amnesty in this country until President Reagan in an unwise move granted the first ever amnesty in 1986. From then until 2000 there were 6 more for a grand total of 6 million amnesties granted in 14 years. In 2012 President Obama directed an amnesty by fiat without Constitutional authority affecting more than a million criminal illegal aliens and nary a peep was heard from Congress. Representative Steve King promised on 8/17/2012 to challenge Obama’s amnesty by fiat and in my inquiry a week ago to his office he was still gathering facts. WOW!

As a result of the 7 previous amnesties we now have, based on government numbers I find highly suspect, 12 million waiting in line for amnesty. If that is the number you want to use then promise to cap it at that number.

Attempting the same thing over and over again is a form of insanity. Actually, I believe the Congress is quite content with the millions of unskilled joining the work force ranks keeping wages low for their large corporate donors like Walmart and at the same time providing them ever new customers. As far as illegal immigration goes it satisfies the needs of criminal illegal alien employers wanting cheap labor in a modern day version of slavery.

If Congressional members really cared about American workers do you think they would have allowed 125K new immigrants a month to continue to be imported to worsen the employment picture for 23 million Americans suffering through the worst recession since the great depression? I never heard a word from one Congressman or woman to at least suggest a pause of the onslaught of the endless stream of immigrants month after month. Not one word was ever even uttered and that silence is a damn loud message to American workers and all citizens.

Senator Rubio, these are tasks that need to be accomplished long before the amnesty discussion even begins for criminal illegal aliens. You said in an interview you wanted to solve their problem. Sir, who cares about solving their problem since they brought it upon themselves. The most important thing is how it will affect the citizens of this country. They are the ones who self inflicted their pain and it could end quickly by returning to their home country instead of demanding a path to citizenship.

End the nonsensical family reunification visa program that has simply uprooted tens of millions of peasants who couldn’t even spell the United States of America in English before arriving and come simply to start sucking on the government teat that is nearly dry.

Secure the borders. President Obama and Sec. Napolitano say the border has never been more secure. I suppose then the signs posted 70 miles north of the border warning travelers to beware of illegal aliens were previously 100 miles north of the border. The Border Patrol recently issued a statement they only intercept 61% of illegals attempting to enter the country and who knows how little as a percentage of the drugs entering illegally.

Senator, when you talk about securing the border I hope you mean the same way we protect the Korean border at the 39th parallel. We have been there for 60 years and rarely if ever is the border breached by anyone. If that is the case then great. However, what you promise has to be executed by the Executive Branch and President Obama has no appetite for securing the border. In fact, neither has Congress since it was promised over 25 years ago. We protect a foreign countries borders half way around but not our own and the citizens deserve to know the reason why.

Get the Visit USA program to work so visa over stayers can be located and deported. Over 40%, or perhaps more of the criminal illegal alien population has supposedly come legally and just melted into a city to live and work. With over 100 Million visitors to the United States annually the 40% number of total criminal illegal aliens appears awfully low.

Make it a felony to enter the country illegally or overstay a visa. This is a common sense measure since we currently treat the crime like jaywalking. Get permission to house the lawbreakers in Guantanamo to end their appetite for breaking our laws.

Make E-Verify mandatory for all employers and direct the SS administration to check the user is who they say they are. You achieve that by having the SS office issue a new tamper proof card with picture to all prospective employment seekers to eliminate document fraud (HR98). Regarding Mandatory E-Verify in a poll conducted by Pulse Opinion Research 89% of Whites, 81% of Blacks and 76% of Hispanics and Asian-Americans were in favor of it.

Pass and enforce Childbirth legislation that would remove a magnet to come here now granting citizenship to babies born in the USA to foreign parents by amending the Immigration and Naturalization Act (HR140) requiring at least one parent be a citizen ending the anchor baby link to the welfare system. Over 200K births like this are performed annually with taxpayers footing the majority of the bill. There is a cottage industry for birth tourism for wealthy foreign women making a mockery of our citizenship requirements. Coincidentally you would not have been a citizen either if the law is changed since when you were born your parents were not citizens of the United States but still of Cuba.

Repeal the antiquated Cuban Adjustment Act which is a knee jerk cold war relic reaction meant to damage Castro’s Cuba after the Bay of Pigs fiasco and grants any Cuban who arrives in the USA anywhere preferred treatment and a path to citizenship. This is especially important since Cuba is now granting travel Visas to their citizens. The last thing we need is an aerial version of the Mariel boat lift that forever changed Miami into what is now the fifth most impoverished City in the USA and where English is the second language.

End the corrupt Diversity Visa lottery Program that brings in people to the USA from supposedly countries that need greater representation under the guise of diversity. Senator Rubio, name a more diverse country than the United States of America; You can’t.

End the Temporary Protected Status program that is permanently temporary. Case in point are the over 200K EL Salvadorans brought here after an earthquake in their country and undoubtedly sucking on the welfare teat since. They are only here temporarily 10 years later wink wink.

Dramatically reduce the corrupt refugee program and remove the UN’s participation in determining who comes and make the US groups profiting from the refugee business get the approval from the locales where they want to dump the refugees before doing so. I understand every refugee entering costs the U.S. government $20K for shipping and handling.

End the work visa program which Milton Friedman correctly identified as corporate welfare. Work visas that allow maids and lawn mower operators into the country as specialty occupations illustrates the lengths companies will go to avoid paying U.S. workers and the fica. If the US is not graduating candidates to fill America’s needs whose fault is it since we are the third most populated country in the world and had, I emphasize had, a great education system when I attended and undoubtedly has been ruined since by the teacher unions and Federal interference.

Commission a study to determine the impact of the 12 million criminal illegal aliens will have on our welfare system, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, environment and the impact on American workers.

Commission a independent study to determine the optimum population the United States can comfortably sustain. When talking about immigration I have never heard a politician mention what our optimum population should be regarding Natural Resources and avoiding similar terrible human conditions suffered today in India, Bangladesh and China. Publish all the findings.

Senator Rubio, do those tasks necessary to get a clear picture of what you propose to do and its impact on American Society so the facts speak for themselves as to whether it is in the national Interest of the citizens of the United States of America to support or reject amnesty for the criminal illegal aliens.

I am also sending along a speech given by Democrat Ex. Governor Richard D. Lamb several years ago titled “I Have a Plan to destroy America and many parts of it are underway.” Read it and see if you can relate it to what is happening in the country today from a speech written 10 years ago.

George Fuller

Sarasota, Florida

Governor Scott comes under fire for his $2,500 teacher pay giveaway

Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida will have a budget surplus in 2013-2014 of $437 million. That is good news. Republicans got to this point of a surplus after years of budget deficits by cutting the size of government programs. The Republican party stands for less government, lower taxes and less spending.

So what does Scott want to do with that money?

He wants to give teachers an across the board pay increase of $2,500, which will spend the entire surplus and more. This idea is drawing boos from teachers unions. It is also drawing fire from other public service employees such as fire fighters, EMS personnel and law enforcement officers. Why teachers and not them? Some are even saying that Scott is buying votes, much like President Obama and members of Congress who increase benefits for government employees and those who take for a living via welfare programs.

Here is something that Scott may not have considered: Why not give the money back to the taxpayers?

It is the taxpayer who carries the burden of the salaries and benefits of public employees. Any salary increase to any public employee is a further long term burden on the Florida Retirement System. The Tampa Bay Times reports, “In a major victory for the state, the Florida Supreme Court ruled 4-3 against state workers and allowed the state to retain the 3 percent levy on worker salaries to offset the state’s investment into the Florida Retirement System.”  Download Retirement ruling.

Union leaders do not like it when their members have to contribute to their own retirement programs like public sector employees do. So this move by Scott appears to be pandering to one group of union employees. Scott may be giving up hard fought ground based upon the recent Florida Supreme Court decision.

Who holds the bag for any government employee pay increase? Answer: Florida’s taxpayers.

We will see what the Florida legislature does with the budget surplus. Any bets that they will find a way to spend it? Are Republicans morphing into Progressives? What the legislature does with this surplus will be a key indicator of where they stand on taxes and spending.

Florida Family Policy Council Publishes List of Bad Bills

The Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC) won a major victory in Jacksonville last year when a sexual orientation and gender identity ordinance was soundly defeated. The FFPC is now focusing on bills being introduced by the Florida legislature during the 2013 session. According to the FFPC website, “The Florida Family Policy Council is committed to strengthening marriage and family structures, protecting innocent human life and defending our religious liberties. One of the ways we influence culture in these areas is by engaging our elected officials in Tallahassee.”

The FFPC website lists the following bills as “bad”:

HB 139 by Rep. Pafford SB 166 by Sen. Sobel

This bill would authorize domestic partnerships in Florida. For more information on these bills, click here for the House version and here for the Senate version.

HB 247 by Rep. Randolph SB 340 by Sen. Rich

These bills would add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the list of protected classes in Florida’s Civil Rights Act. It would prohibit employers with more than 15 employees from discriminating in their hiring practices against persons based on their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.  For more information on these bills, click here for the House version and here for the Senate version.

HJR 353 by Rep. Clemens SJR 1028 by Sen. Bullard

These bills would allow the medicinal use of cannabis in Florida. For more information on this bill, click here.

HB 487 by Rep. Fresen SB 710 by Sen. Bogdanoff

These bills would authorize “destination casinos” with full scale gambling in Florida. For more information on these bills, click here for the House version and here for the Senate version.

HB 563 by Rep. Gonzalez SB 1016 by Sen. Garcia

These bills create a new pari-mutuel in Florida called the Breeders Cup Permanent Meet. For more information on these bills, click here.

The FFPC Legislative Agenda page states:

We are looking to build on the successes of last session on protecting life in Florida. This year, we are promoting legislation that will prohibit abortions during the third trimester or after a baby is viable unless the abortion is required to save the life of the mother or to prevent severe and irreversible impairment of the mother. It would also grant the same rights to an infant born alive during an attempted abortion that any natural born infant would have and requires physicians to do all in his power to preserve the life and health of that baby.

We are also supporting legislation that would empower school board[s] to authorize student led prayers at non-compulsory assemblies.

We will be opposing legislation that would allow full-scale destination casinos in Florida. The casino industry has invested millions into this effort to dramatically expand the scope of gambling that is available in our state. The Florida Family Policy Council continues to stand against the expansion of gambling in Florida.

We also will be working against legislation that would create domestic partnerships in Florida.

To see the entire FFPC legislative list of good and bad bills click here.

West Point Study: The Founding Fathers are the “Violent Far-Right”

Dr. Arie Perliger from the Combating Terrorism Center located at West Point, NY issued a report titled, Challengers From The Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right. The report states, “There are three major ideological movements within the American violent far right: a racist/white supremacy movement, an anti-federalist movement and a fundamentalist movement.”

What are the roots of the American anti-Federalist movement?

Anti-Federalism refers to a movement that opposed the creation of a stronger U.S. federal government and which later opposed the ratification of the Constitution of 1787. The previous constitution, called the Articles of Confederation, gave state governments more authority. Led by Patrick Henry of Virginia, Anti-Federalists worried, among other things, that the position of president, then a novelty, might evolve into a monarchy. A book titled The Anti-Federalist Papers is a detailed explanation of American Anti-Federalist thought.

Anti-Federalist No. 1 titled “General Introduction: A Dangerous Plan of Benefit Only to The ‘Aristocratick Combination’.” was printed in the The Boston Gazette and Country Journal on November 26, 1787 and warned, “Their [Federalist] menacing cry is for a RIGID government, it matters little to them of what kind, provided it answers THAT description.”

Noted anti-Federalists included: Patrick HenrySamuel AdamsGeorge MasonRichard Henry LeeRobert YatesJames MonroeMercy Otis WarrenGeorge ClintonMelancton SmithArthur FennerJames Winthrop and Luther Martin.

Thomas Jefferson expressed several anti-federalist thoughts throughout his life, but his involvement in the discussion was limited, since he was stationed as Ambassador to France while the debate over federalism was going on in America in the Federalist papers and Anti-Federalist Papers.

Perliger states:

‘”Anti-federalist and anti-government sentiments were present in American society before the 1990s in diverse movements and ideological associations promoting anti-taxation, gun rights, survivalist practices, and libertarian ideas.”

The Executive Summary notes, “It is important to note that this study concentrates on those individuals and groups who have actually perpetuated violence and is not a comprehensive analysis of the political causes with which some far-right extremists identify. While the ability to hold and appropriately articulate diverse political views is an American strength, extremists committing acts of violence in the name of those causes undermine the freedoms that they purport to espouse.”

How does Perliger portray the modern day anti-Federalists?

Perliger states, “Violence derived from the modern anti-federalist movement appeared in full force only in the early to mid-1990s and is interested in undermining the influence, legitimacy and effective sovereignty of the federal government and its proxy organizations. The anti-federalist rationale is multifaceted, and includes the beliefs that the American political system and its proxies were hijacked by external forces interested in promoting a “New World Order” (NWO) in which the United States will be absorbed into the United Nations or another version of global government. They also espouse strong convictions regarding the federal government, believing it to be corrupt and tyrannical, with a natural tendency to intrude on individuals’ civil and constitutional rights. Finally, they support civil activism, individual freedoms, and self government. Extremists in the anti-federalist movement direct most their violence against the federal government and its proxies in law enforcement.”

What evidence  of violence perpetrated by the anti-Federalist movement does Perliger document?

Perliger reports (pages 136-137):

 “Our dataset documented 87 cases of violent attacks that were initiated by militias or other anti-federal associations between 1990 and 2011. As expected, almost half of the attacks were perpetrated during the movement’s popular period, the second half of the 1990s (48.2%). Since then we have witnessed limited violent activities by the militias, except for a sharp rise during 2010 of 13 attacks. Nonetheless, in 2011 the number returns to the level observed in previous years (between 1–4 attacks per year; 2 attacks in 2011). Thus, while there may be a rise in the number of active militia groups, except for 2010 we still do not see this systematically manifested in the level of violence. As for the geographical dispersion of the attacks, California again is highly prominent (18.4%) alongside Texas (10.3%). The rest of the attacks are distributed more or less equally among 28 other states. The areas that are excluded are parts of the northeast: no attacks were reported in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, and there was only one attack each in Massachusetts and New Hampshire; the northern Midwest: there were no attacks in Illinois, Iowa, North and South Dakota; and some Southern states: Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri. Thus, it is difficult to find a geographic rationale for the violence.”

How many casualties have been caused by the anti-Federalist movement?

Perliger reports, “[T]he average number of fatalities and injuries is 14.04 injured and 3.97 fatalities; when omitting the attack in Oklahoma [by Timothy McVeigh], the average goes down considerably [to] 0.77 [injured] and 0.55 [fatalities] respectively.” (page 138)

Do eighty-seven cases of violent attacks over a 21 year period constitute a violent movement or isolated criminal acts? Perliger does not address this question.

Perliger concludes, “[I]t should be noted that historically some of the anti-federalist groups have absorbed racist and Christian Identity sentiments; nonetheless, the glue binding their membership and driving their activism has been and remains hostility, fear and the need to challenge or restrict the sovereignty of the federal government.”

Do those who identify as Christians belong in the same category as skinheads and Neo-Nazis? Perliger believes so when he states, “Among these are militias, Christian Identity groups, Skinheads and neo-Nazis.”

This study is flawed when it only defines anti-Federalist groups as “violent far-right”. Are Federalist groups not violent?

Any group that seeks to impose its will on all of the people either by edict or violence is by definition “Federalism”. Federalism in the United States is the evolving relationship between U.S. state governments and the federal government of the United States. Since the founding of the country, and particularly with the end of the American Civil War, power shifted away from the states and towards the national government.

Is this what the people fear most – the expansion of federalism? Is this fear real and worthy of concern?

Watch this video of interviews done in New York City asking “Do you fear tyranny in America?” Note at the end the responses of young Americans. Are they recruits for the “violent far-right”?

Florida Invests in the Currencies of Islamist Nations – But that is the Good News

The state of Florida has invested in the currencies of foreign nations. Florida’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) reports that as of June 30, 2011 the state held over $183 million of foreign currencies (see page 66).

The CAFR states that the State Board of Administration, “[H]as developed a total fund investment plan for the investment of assets in the Florida Retirement System (FRS) Pension Trust Fund and the Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund (LCEF) that sets ranges on investments by asset class. In the FRS Pension Trust Fund, no current investment policy exists that limits investments in foreign equity securities that are not denominated in U.S. dollars.” [My emphasis]

The top three foreign currencies held are: the Japanese Yen – $38.473 million, Taiwan New Dollar – $26.495 million and the Euro $20.552 million. However, the report shows investments in the currencies of members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Listed OIC member nation currencies held include: Egyptian pound $619,000, Indonesian rupiah $748,000, Malaysian ringgit $2,130,000, Moroccan dirham $320,000 and the Turkish new lira $2,514,000. The total held is $6,331,000.

Florida also holds $572, 000 in Israeli shekels. The combined OIC currency holdings are eleven times greater than those of Israeli currency holdings.

According to the 2011 State of Florida CAFR:

“At June 30, 2011, the state’s investments in governmental and business-type activities and fiduciary funds totaled $194.4 billion, consisting of pooled investments with the State Treasury in the amount of $15.9 billion and other investments in the amount of $178.5 billion. The State Treasury also had holdings at June 30, 2011, of $3.4 billion for discretely presented component units in total. These investments are not reported as part of the primary government and may be different from the amounts reported by some component units due to different reporting periods. Other investments for discretely presented component units totaled $20.5 billion.” [My emphasis]

NOTE:  “Discretely presented component units”, include: Certificates of deposit,Commercial paper,Repurchase agreements,Money market funds, U.S. guaranteed obligations, Federal agencies, Domestic bonds & notes, International bonds & notes, Domestic stocks, International stocks, Real estate investments, Mutual funds, and Investment agreements.

All of these investments are taxpayer money. You are in effect a share holder in Corporation Florida with a valuation in excess of $412 billion.

Think of the power the state can wield over the private sector with this kind of investment portfolio. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Every city, county and school board in Florida have similar investments. This report is the best kept secret of every level of government. Why? Because these governments are awash in investment dividends and interest payments, all courtesy of the taxpayer. Rather than return the profits to taxpayers, governments at every level use it for their own purposes while crying poor to the public.

According to Gerald R. Klatt, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF (Ret.) and former Auditor/Commander, Air Force Audit Agency and a Federal Accountant, in 2003, “The State of Florida at the State-level has approximately $48.79 billion of the taxpayer’s money it is not using, i. e. surpluses equal to $2,843 for every man, woman and child in Florida or $11,374 for a family of 4. This does not include all the additional surpluses that exist in the school districts, cities, or counties in Florida.”

There are approximately 83,000 governments and government-like entities in the U.S. You can start at the State, county, township, and/or city level. From there you will have to do some digging and ask questions. Here is a step-by-step approach that you may use to attempt to locate and obtain Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) for your city, county and State.

1. Start with the following government website: Type in the name of the school district, city, county and/or State in a search engine.

Locate the official website of the government.

2. Now this is where the search begins.

a. If the government web site has a Search function, then type in “Comprehensive Annual Financial Report” and search the site for this document. If found then you can download the CAFR onto your hard drive and review it at your leisure, print out certain pages and have available for future use in the event you are not now ready to review the CAFR.

b. If the above search is either not available or does not take you to the governments CAFR, then

1) For a State-level CAFR look in the Statewide Offices and/or Executive Branch categories shown above. Look for a financial department such as Treasurer, Finance, Finance and Accounting, etc. Usually the CAFR is found in a reporting section. Sometimes the department will have its own Search function. If so, then again type in “Comprehensive Annual Financial Report”.

2) If you are looking for a city or county CAFR, then go to the list of departments and look for a financial department such as Treasurer, Finance, Finance and Accounting, etc. You are interested in the reports section. Sometimes the department will have its own Search function. If so, then again type in “Comprehensive Annual Financial Report”.

c. If the above are unproductive, then consider sending an email/letter to one of the financial departments/agencies of the government you are interested in and ask them:

1) Whether their CAFR is on-line. if so at what address can it be accessed.

2) If the CAFR is not on line, then ask how you can obtain a copy.

3) Here is an email/letter that you may use to ask about the governments CAFR. You can highlight this email with your mouse or keyboard, copy it to the clipboard, and then paste it to a New Message in your email program or to your word processing program.

“SUBJECT: [Name of government] Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR)

I request a copy of [government name] FY 2002 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The copy requested is a copy of the original report prepared in compliance with the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No. 34 – ‘Basic Financial Statements.’ and audited by either an AICPA firm or internal auditors. If you submit your CAFR to the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) , then the copy I request is the CAFR report of that submission, which should be the same as the GASB prepared CAFR previously described.”

In case you do not have a financial document called the CAFR, the document I request is an annual financial statement that:

Presents a comprehensive picture of a government’s financial condition by combining the annual financial reports of all government agencies and universities.

Provides information on all government funds including those held outside the government treasury.

Presents information on the accrual basis recognizing amounts owed by the government but not paid at the end of the fiscal year, as well as amounts due to the government but not received by the end of the fiscal year.

Contains information on real property and other fixed assets, long-term obligations or investments held outside the government treasury; and

Includes statistical and some economic data.

If the document is currently on your web site, please provide the address so I can access and download the document.

If the document is not on your web site, please advise how I can obtain a copy.

Your assistance regarding my request will be appreciated.

Respectfully,

[Name]
[Address]
City, State, ZIP]
[Telephone]
[Email address]”

 

Are We Witnessing The Global Failure of the Ethical Life?

C. S. Lewis once remarked, “No one knows how bad he is until he has truly tried to be good.”

According to William Lane Craig, author of Reasonable Faith, “The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard made the same point. Kierkegaard thought of life as lived on three levels:

  1. The most basic level is the aesthetic stage, in which life is lived selfishly for the pleasure it affords. Life so lived ultimately issues in boredom and ennui.
  2. The next higher plane is the ethical stage, in which one lives according to strict moral standards. But this life results ultimately in despair because one cannot live up to the standard of the moral good.
  3. Only on the highest plane, the religious stage, is authentic existence truly to be found. Kierkegaard rightly saw that it is the failure of the ethical life that propels one to the religious plane.”

Does government without God lead to despair? Are people becoming desperate?

There are signs that individuals are acting out across America and around the world. The headlines are filled with efforts by politicians trying to impose strict ethical standards on people who live their lives based upon selfish pleasures. Is government hindering, and in some cases blocking, citizens from moving beyond the aesthetic and ethical stages to the religious plane?

After debating the existence of God with Louise Anthony, Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Craig wrote, “Anthony confessed that one of the drawbacks of the atheism she had come to embrace is that under atheism there is no redemption. Think of that! One’s sin and guilt are truly indelible. Nothing can undo what has been done and restore your innocence. But the Christian message is a message of redemption.”

Are there some in our government who believe that those who cling to their religion as somehow less worthy?

Craig writes, “Today so many people think of right and wrong, not as matters of fact, but as matters of taste.”

Craig quotes American Philosopher Richard Taylor, author of Ethics, Faith, and Reason , who wrote, The idea of . . . moral obligation is clear enough, provided that reference to some lawmaker higher . . . than those of the state is understood. In other words, our moral obligations can . . . be understood as those that are imposed by God. . . . But what if this higher-than-human lawgiver is no longer taken into account? Does the concept of a moral obligation . . . still make sense?

Taylor goes on to say:

The modern age, more or less repudiating the idea of a divine lawgiver, has nevertheless tried to retain the ideas of moral right and wrong, without noticing that in casting God aside they have also abolished the meaningfulness of right and wrong as well.

Read more.

This is the basis of the great debate taking place in America, Europe, the Middle East and across the globe. Are we seeing the failure of the ethical life? What is the next stage: the aesthetic or religious? Do we evolve or devolve?

FairTax Proponents Seeking Support from Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan (CD-16)

In an email to supporters Mark Gupton, Managing Director for Florida FairTax Educational Assn., Inc., states, “In conjunction with the National FairTax Strategic Planning Committee, Americans for Fair Taxation and the FairTax Strategic Advisory Team, FFTEA will support their action by devoting a considerable amount of time, effort and resources towards a District Targeting Plan for Florida Congressional District 16.”

Rep. Vern Buchanan represents FL CD-16.

Rep. Buchanan is the only Florida member of Congress to serve on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax policy, international trade, health care and Social Security. Florida FairTax wants Rep. Buchanan to become a co-sponsor of HR 25 – Fair Tax Act of 2009.

It is generally believed that a tax reform plan will advance out of the House Ways & Means Committee during 2013.

“Tax related issues will be in two stages: 1. Dealing with the so called fiscal cliff and debt limit problems sometime in early 2013. 2. Followed by moving a tax reform plan from the W & M Committee to the entire House of Representatives for an eventual floor vote. We have received indications through various channels that FairTax will be on the agenda as one of the choices for the W & M Committee to hear. Chairman Camp is committed, more so than any previous Chairman, to having FairTax receive a vote. This is a major step forward and one for which we have the best chance of advancing FairTax,” notes Gupton.

Florida delegation members co-sponsoring HR 25 are:  Jeff Miller (R – 01), Ander Crenshaw (R – 04), John L. Mica (R – 07), Bill Posey (R – 08), Richard Nugent (R-11), Gus M. Bilirakis (R – 12) and Dennis Ross (R – 15). Florida makes up 13% of the co-sponsors.

Mr. Jim Hoey has agreed to accept a leadership role in FL-16 by becoming the Florida FairTax Congressional District Director. In addition, Florida FairTax has established a home page just for FL CD-16 which may be viewed by clicking here.

RUBIO: THE REAL FISCAL CLIFF IS OUR UNSUSTAINABLE LEVEL OF DEBT

Excerpts from Senator Marco Rubio on The Sean Hannity Show January 2, 2013

RUBIO: This was not a fiscal cliff. The real fiscal cliff is the fact that the middle class is not growing, the economy is not growing and our country continues to owe more money than our economy produces every single year. I mean our debt’s $16 trillion, our economy does – produces less than that every single year. So think about it, our debt is now larger than our economy. And the fundamental issue before us is how can we get the middle class growing again, how can we get the economy growing again, and how can we bring the debt under control which is one of the reasons why the economy and jobs aren’t growing. And this bill [has] nothing to do with that. Now look, I appreciate the hard work that went into it and that the folks that worked on it were trying to make the best of a tough situation where taxes were going to go up automatically anyway but I just continue to get frustrated that we’re always being given false choices to vote on here. And- and I just, you know I – we’re going to be right back at this in two months when the debt limit issue comes up.

HANNITY: Well, you know I used the analogy earlier today: this is the equivalent of putting a Band-Aid on a gun wound and the Band-Aid was infected. You know, it just seems that bad to me. Is there any cutting in this at all, because if you read the CBO numbers, and I know some conservatives don’t agree with them, that this fiscal cliff deal is going to add $4 trillion to the deficit compared to current law? Now I know they include tax cuts as lowering income to the government, but is that about right?

RUBIO: Well it is, and obviously, and now we get real technical on it, it depends on which baseline you’re using to compare it from. Were you assuming the tax cuts were going to go away? Were you assuming they were going to stay in place? Are you assuming the sequester is going to go in in two months? So there’s a lot of assumptions still … Here’s a better way to understand it, you know, our economy today is headed toward an unsustainable level of debt, I mean at 22 – 23 trillion before the end of the next four years. And what’s driving that – the single greatest thing that’s driving that, it’s not foreign aid and discretionary spending, it’s the entitlement programs, in particular medicare, which is going bankrupt and needs to be saved. And the longer we wait to deal with that the harder it’s going to be to fix this and more disruptive it’s going to be to fix it.

The Human-care Complex: How It All Began

Today, January 1, 2013 Obamacare taxes hit all Americans.

This is the second in a series by Watchdog Wire to explain how we came to implement this, the most sweeping of all legislation in the history of America. To read the first column please click here.

The question to be answered is: Who and what got us to this point?

Jeanne M. Lambrew, Tom Daschle and Scott S. Greenberger in their book “Critical” published in 2006 stated, “UNTIL THE BEGINNING of the twentieth century, medical care in the United States was inexpensive because it was largely ineffective.” The authors provide no evidence for this statement but it is this progressive ideal that becomes the foundation for the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act (HR 3590) passed by the 111th Congress commonly known as Obamacare.

Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger wrote in “Critical”, “When Progressive Era [1890-1920] reformers turned their attention to workers’ health, they decided to put compulsory health insurance on the national agenda for the first time. In 1914, the American Association for Labor Legislation began drafting legislation to provide workers with free medical care, paid sick leave, and a modest death benefit. By 1917, the AALL bill had been introduced in fourteen state legislatures. The fate of the legislation foreshadowed the health insurance debates that occurred throughout the twentieth century.”

The American Association for Labor Legislation was formed to promote uniformity of labor legislation and to encourage the study of labor conditions with a view toward promoting desirable legislation. The Association was founded as a branch of the International Association for Labor Legislation. Preliminary discussions about forming the group occurred during 1905 and culminated in the first meeting of the Association held on February 15, 1906, in New York City.

“Physicians, fearing that any third-party payer, especially the government, would regulate doctors’ fees vigorously opposed it. They were allied with the insurance companies, which worried that government health insurance would undermine the private life insurance market. In a 1918 referendum, the measure was soundly defeated,” wrote Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger.

While the arguments against government health insurance remain the same the progressive movement did not let it die.

In 1918 some unions supported the bill, but others joined with employers to fight it. Samuel Gompers, President of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), denounced the proposal as “a menace to the rights, welfare, and liberty of American workers.” According to Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger “[O]pponents of national health insurance would raise the specter of ‘socialized medicine’ to great effect.”

What happened next set the stage for the creation of the Human-care Complex.

Because people had so little money, hospital occupancy rates plummeted. In search of a steady source of revenue, hospitals began offering “prepayment” plans to certain groups, such as hospital employees, teachers, and firefighters. For a monthly fee, members were guaranteed free hospital care if they ever needed it. So began the road to human-care insurance based upon expanding access based on illness rather than health.

Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger wrote, “The hospital prepayment plans endured, evolving into the Blue Cross system and becoming the model for group health insurance as we know it today. One crucial feature of the plans was that they were employment-based—that is, they were offered to groups of workers large enough to spread out the cost of caring for the sick or injured. Still spooked by the prospect of government-sponsored health insurance, many employers accepted the Blue Cross system as a more palatable alternative.”

But just like all private sector solutions created through necessity, the government took an interest and become more directly involved in human-care via the tax codes.

“Our employment-based system solidified during World War II, when the federal government [tax] exempted ‘fringe benefits’ such as health insurance from wage and price,” noted Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger.

And so it grew. To attract workers, who were scarce because so many men were in the military during WW II, some employers offered them generous health coverage. The government’s decision to exempt health benefits from personal income taxes accelerated the trend. Unions bolstered the nascent insurance system by cutting their own deals with hospitals and later with the Blue Cross.

The next column will look into the expansion of the government/human-care industrial complex from 1945 to today.

Indian River Pulls out of Florida Seven/50 Project

Following a lengthy session of public comment and discussion, the Indian River County Commission in Vero Beach, FL voted 4-1 in favor of removing the county from the Seven/50 project which is a seven county, fifty year sustainability initiative. Commissioners Solari, Davis, Flescher and Zorc voted to remove the county from the project.

The vote was a direct result of the work of the Indian River TEA Party and concerned citizens educating friends, family members and neighbors on the dangers of regionalization and sustainability initiatives especially in regard to the infringement on the property rights of individuals.

According to Danita Killcullen, “The task force meeting I attended was frightening, with Kristin Jacobs as Chair with the Republican Mayor of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, who I’ve known for several years, seated at her right.  At the end of the meeting I asked Mayor Rosanne Minnet if she agrees with all we saw and heard today and her answer was, ‘Oh, yes… It’s happening right now!’ They are very far ahead of us and we have much ground to make-up.”

The Indian River TEA Party in an email states, “It is our hope that this one vote will be a shot heard nationwide as similar initiatives are either in place or are planned for communities in every state. Much work lies ahead in balancing the need to maintain our natural resources while upholding the individual liberties we hold dear. To that end, please consider becoming a more active part of your local government as we believe our elected officials truly desire increased public involvement. ”

“The vote today affects the unincorporated areas of Indian River County only and not the City of Vero Beach, Sebastian or other townships. These communities will remain a part of the Seven/50 project unless residents speak out and ask their leaders to follow the lead of Indian River County,” notes the Indian River TEA Party board of directors.

To learn more about the history and intent of “sustainable development” click here.

Senators Nelson and Rubio Vote Against 4th Amendment Protection of Electronic Communications

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During the evening of December 27, 2012, the U.S. Senate voted on amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012, H.R.5949, including one introduced by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee (R-Utah). The amendment, known as the Fourth Amendment Protection Act extends Fourth Amendment guarantees to electronic communications and requires specific warrants granted through FISA courts in order to obtain this information.

Prior to the vote, Sen. Paul spoke on the floor, urging his colleagues to support his amendment. The amendment failed, 79-12.

Who Voted For and Against our Fourth Amendment Rights – Here is the link to the Senate roll call vote; below is the list grouped by vote position:

YEAs —12
Baucus (D-MT)
Begich (D-AK)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Heller (R-NV)
Lee (R-UT)
Merkley (D-OR)
Paul (R-KY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-NM)
Webb (D-VA)
Wyden (D-OR)
NAYs —79
Akaka (D-HI)
Alexander (R-TN)
Ayotte (R-NH)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bennet (D-CO)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Brown (R-MA)
Burr (R-NC)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coats (R-IN)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Coons (D-DE)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
Durbin (D-IL)
Enzi (R-WY)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hagan (D-NC)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Johnson (D-SD)
Johnson (R-WI)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Kohl (D-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lugar (R-IN)
Manchin (D-WV)
McCain (R-AZ)
McCaskill (D-MO)
McConnell (R-KY)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Moran (R-KS)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Portman (R-OH)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Rubio (R-FL)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Shelby (R-AL)
Snowe (R-ME)
Thune (R-SD)
Toomey (R-PA)
Udall (D-CO)
Vitter (R-LA)
Warner (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wicker (R-MS)
Not Voting – 9
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
DeMint (R-SC)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Kirk (R-IL)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Sanders (I-VT)

Grassroots movement to arm teachers gains momentum

Long before Wayne LaPierre held his press conference the internet was alive with practical solutions on how to prevent another Newtown, CT like attack on schools. Most comments coalesced around arming school based administrators and teachers. One idea is to provide concealed carry training to school based administrators and on a voluntary basis to teachers. The school district would cover the costs of the training, license and purchase of an approved weapon.

Virginia is considering legislation requiring teachers be armed.

Several photographs and photo-shopped signs were circulated graphically demonstrating the popularity of this solution. Two stand out and were the most often received by WDW. Below is a widely distributed photo allegedly depicting an Israeli teacher and her class of elementary school students:

armed teacher in israel

This photo-shopped sign with the caption “Which sign is most likely to deter a school shooting?” is widely circulating on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites:

 GunFreeZoneSign

Comments on these images may be best represented by a common sense approach to the issue. The argument goes something like this – if there is something valuable that society wants to protect and defend then society must have armed guards in place. Examples of protected areas include: government offices at every level, sensitive installations such as military bases or nuclear power plants, airports, banks, prisons and national parks.

Many are asking why we are not similarly protecting our most precious natural resources – our children?

USA Today reports, “About 70% of public schools don’t have [a] police officer and almost 60% don’t have any security staff. Those with police tend to be big and urban schools, according to a USA TODAY data analysis.” Clearly at some point schools decide to have an armed guard present. The only restriction is cost weighted against the potential threat.

Political opponents focus on taking away guns, not on protecting the children as is done for most politicians. History and statistics work against opponents to arming those most responsible for the protection of our children – school based administrators and teachers.

PLEASE TAKE OUR ONLINE SURVEY ON THE QUESTION OF ARMING SCHOOL STAFF:

RELATED COLUMNS:

New Jersey Town Plans to Place Armed Guards in Schools

White House Petition to Deport British Citizen Piers Morgan for attacking 2nd Amendment goes over 25,000

School that President Obama’s daughters attend has 11 armed guards

VIDEO: Rep. Buchanan wants to send lump of coal to Egypt’s Morsi

Representative Vern Buchanan (FL-13) does not believe the American taxpayers should send their hard earned money in the form of 20 F-16 fighter jets to Egypt. According to an email Rep. Buchanan states, ” I’ve introduced legislation, H.R. 6646, to immediately suspend U.S. aid to Egypt.  We can no longer afford to buy friends across the world that don’t have our best interests in mind.  It’s time to put America first.”

Buchanan notes, “In the spirit of the holiday season, even Santa Claus would have trouble sending a stocking full of American F-16 fighter jets to an Egyptian regime that supports Hamas and is looking more and more like a dictatorship than a trustworthy democracy.  And yet, unbelievably, that is exactly what the United States government is doing.”

David French from National Review Online reports, “In an era of ballooning budget deficits, looming cuts to our own military, and tax increases for millions of Americans, it’s heartening to know that the American taxpayer still has the financial wherewithal (or good credit with China) to provide — free of charge — brand-new F-16 fighters to the Muslim Brotherhood-led Egyptian government just as its hold on power looks increasingly shaky. These new weapons will start to arrive roughly a month after the vote on Egypt’s proposed Brotherhood-supported constitution.”

Please watch this 90 second video that French and his colleagues at ACLJ created: