Florida Democrats file 50 anti-Second Amendment bills

Senator Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville)

Under a bill proposed by Senator Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville), a person could not purchase any firearm ammunition without presenting a certificate showing that the would be purchaser had completed an Anger Management Course — which must be renewed every ten years.  Representative Perry Thurston (D-Ft. Lauderdale and also the House Minority Leader) filed the companion bill in the state House.

This is one of nearly fifty gun control bills filed by Florida Legislators — all bills have been filed by Democrats.

The NRA in an email to members states, “These Democrats are working to ban your freedom, your rights and your ability to defend yourself and your family.”

FLORIDA SENATE BILLS:

SB-136  Self-defense (Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground)
SB-314 Repeal Privacy of Firearm Owners/Doctors
SB-344  Assault or Battery on a Utility Worker
SB-362  Use of Deadly Force (Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground)
SB-374  Authority for Gun Control by Local Governments
SB-622 Repeal of Castle Doctrine
SB-1000 Regulation of Firearms
SB-1018 To Allow Local Governments to Adopt Gun
SB-1208  Taxes on Guns & Ammunition
SB-1234 Special 4% Tax on Firearms And Ammunition
SB-1272 Prohibit Firearms Sales at Gun Shows
SB-1426 Trespassing on Railroad Property
SB-1488  Licensure to Carry a Concealed Weapon or Firearm
SB-1582 Assault Weapons/Culpable Negligence
SB-1640 Firearms “Universal Background Check Act”
SB-1670 Assault Weapons and Magazine Ban
SB 1678 Anger Management/Sale of Ammunition

Rep.Perry Thurston, D-Ft. Lauderdale

FLORIDA HOUSE BILLS

HB-97  Authority for Gun Control by local governments
HB-123 Use of Deadly Force (Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground)
HB-325 Sales Taxes on Guns & Ammunition/School Safety
HB-327 Creates Trust Fund for Guns & Ammunition Taxes
HB-331 Self-defense (Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground)
HB-501 Possession or Discharge of Firearm
HB 511 Assault or Battery on Utility Worker
HB-799 Use of Force in Self-Defense
HB-993 Authority for Gun Control by local governments
HB-1051 Prohibits Firearms Sales at Gun Shows
HB-1209  Special 4% Tax on Firearms And Ammunition
HB-4009 To Repeal of Castle Doctrine
HB-4017 To Repeal Privacy of Firearm Owners/Doctors
HB-1229  Anger Management Course Required to Buy
HB-1343 “Universal Background Check Act”

Phyllis Schlafly asks: What happened to the loyal opposition? (+ video)

Joe Miller from Restoring Liberty reports, “Conservative legend Phyllis Schlafly told the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday that the Republican establishment had given America a series of losers as presidential candidates over the last two decades–and the last time they picked a winner, George W. Bush, he was a bigger spender than the Democrats.

“Why is it that the establishment has given us this bunch of losers?” Schlafly said. “The establishment has given us a whole series of losers: Bob Dole and John McCain and Mitt Romney.

“And even when they picked a winner–George W. Bush–they picked somebody who spent more than the Democrats,” she said.

Watch the video of Phyllis Schlafly’s speech at CPAC 2013, which begins at the 2:30 mark:

Florida’s Javier Manjarres re-launches HISPOLITICA

Javier Manjarres, founder of The Shark Tank, is  inviting Floridians and every American to Hispolitica. Manjarres envisions Hispolitica as a “place where a legitimate conversation about Hispanics in America can happen…without the narrative filters imposed by mainstream or Hispanic media.”

Manjarres notes, “Given how badly both major political parties suck at Hispanic engagement, and the fact that immigration will not always be on the table, now is an opportune time to get the conversation going. Feel free to jump in.”

Full text of the video:

Hi, I’m Javier Manjarres.

I’m proud to announce the re-launch of Hispolitica.  Hispolitica brings a balanced journalistic approach to the issues and concerns of Hispanics in light of their increasing influence in the American political process. Hispolitica will provide  equal time and space to political personalities across the spectrum whose viewpoints are of interest to Hispanics across the country.

The Hispanic electorate continues to grow, and most political observers believe that this coveted vote is in a state of flux and very much in play for Republicans and Democrats moving forward. Although the immigration reform issue is at the forefront of today’s political debate, trends show that Hispanics assign greater importance to a number of issues other than immigration

Before we can more effectively engage the Hispanic community, we must  understand that first and foremost, Hispanics are primarily concerned with their own economic prosperity and prospects for advancement in our society based on their own efforts, merits and accomplishments.

Unfortunately, both of the major political parties have major short comings as they approach the Hispanic voting bloc. Their actions- or in some instances their inaction- shows that they are both incapable of messaging and winning the trust of the Hispanic community.

On the one hand, we have a political party that refuses to make the distinction between legal and illegal immigration, and actively seeks to bribe hispanics with the prize of U.S. citizenship. On the other hand, we have a party that has proven itself of having ineffective messaging and lacks in its efforts to reach out to immigrants.

The diversity of the Hispanic community goes well beyond the stereotypical depiction in the media, specifically by Spanish-language TV networks that cater to a subset of the Hispanic demographic while passing themselves off as representatives of ‘all’ Hispanics. These networks have refused to criticize race-baiting special-interest groups whose agenda is divisive and does not serve the best interests of Hispanics at large.

Earlier generations of Hispanic immigrants were very socially and fiscally conservative in their beliefs, regardless of their political affiliation. Hispanics have always been a people of faith, and have articulated a strong belief in God. Their strong family values are directly correlated to their unwavering dedication to their religious faith.

Hispolitica seeks to provide an alternative viewpoint to those expressed in the mainstream and Hispanic media. We’re looking forward to having this conversation, and thank you for joining us.

Que dios los bendiga

Rubio opposes Stop-Gap government funding bill — unless it defunds Obamacare

Rubio: “Senator Cruz from Texas is offering this amendment to defund ObamaCare. If that gets onto the bill, in essence if they get a continuing resolution and we vote on that and we can pass it onto a bill, I will vote for a continuing resolution, even if it’s temporary, because it does something permanent and that is defund this health care bill, this ObamaCare bill that is going to be an absolute disaster for the American economy.”

Excerpts of Interview with Hugh Hewitt – Full interview available here.

Senator Marco Rubio: “Well first of all, I don’t think anyone is in favor of shutting down the government, but I think that is where we are headed ultimately here, unfortunately, if we don’t fix our debt problem. And I’m talking about down the road long term – long term meaning five, six, three years. We don’t know when a debt crisis will happen. So look, about a year and a half ago, I voted for the first continuing resolution and then I announced, ‘This is the last continuing resolution, the last stop-gap measure that I am going to vote for. I will only vote, from here on, on something serious.’ And so far we haven’t seen that. All we see is this ‘kicking the can down the road’, these manufactured crises. As if the people back home don’t have enough to worry about with all the problems we have today, now Washington every month seems to be creating a new crisis for them to worry about and for the media to freak out about. But here is what I’ve said about this continuing resolution, you know Senator Cruz from Texas is offering this amendment to defund ObamaCare. If that gets onto the bill, in essence if they get a continuing resolution and we vote on that and we can pass it onto a bill, I will vote for a continuing resolution, even if it’s temporary, because it does something permanent and that is de-fund this health care bill, this ObamaCare bill that is going to be an absolute disaster for the American economy. You are already starting to feel the outer edges of that. In all these debates that we have been having, we have lost sight of how truly bad the health care law is.  I understand the Supreme Court ruled the way they did. It doesn’t make a good public policy, and you’re already starting to hear about it. I am already running into businesses that are planning next year on not hiring next year or laying some people off so they don’t have to meet these mandates. Others are going to push their employees off of their private plans that they offer and onto these exchanges, driving up the cost for the public. So, this is going to be an implementation disaster. It’s going to hurt our economy severely, and we aren’t spending enough time talking about that.”

***

Rubio: “Right, I don’t know if that alone will be enough, but I would certainly support that amendment. I would certainly support that measure because it’s going to hurt patients. What’s going to happen now is that it’s going to become less of an incentive to get into that business and the accessibility of these innovations is going to become less. This is one of the arguments that people were using, and that I echoed. I wasn’t in the Senate when ObamaCare came up, but we don’t just want affordable health insurance market place – that is very important – we want the highest quality healthcare. We want the latest, greatest innovations. That is what Americans have come to expect. You start taxing innovation, people are going to stop innovating here in this country.”

***

Rubio: “I think it’s coming next week. That is what Senator Reid has announced. That is one of the reasons he wanted to have the Brennan vote this week is because he wants to get on it next week. So, I think you can anticipate this argument next week, and I think it is the perfect opportunity for us to have a debate once again on ObamaCare. I don’t think there has been enough attention paid to it.  It has been a while. We have moved on to these other issues, but there is right now out there probably nothing more damaging to our economy in the short term than this implementation of ObamaCare.”

VIDEO: Voter suppression in the City of Sarasota, Florida

Out-of-cycle elections suppress the vote. That is the message of the below video.

The City of Sarasota, Florida will be holding an out of cycle City Commission election on March 12, 2013. One of those running for office is attorney Susan Chapman. She is in favor of off cycle elections and in the below video states that she does not care if people vote.

Sarasota City and County off cycle elections have historically suppressed the vote.

The City of Sarasota, the Sarasota County Commission and the Sarasota County School Board have used off cycle elections to their advantage and not the advantage of voters. These off cycle elections are both costly and historically have lower voter turn out than during on cycle elections in November.

It is not voter ID laws that suppress the vote, those laws make sure only eligible voters vote.

Watch this video on government sanctioned off cycle elections:

On February 27, 2013 True the Vote (TTV), the leading national, nonpartisan voters’ rights and election integrity organization, issued a report detailing the true impacts of voter suppression in 2012 in a report titled, “The 2012 Voter Suppression Myth.”

Catherine Engelbrecht, president of True the Vote, expressed deep skepticism about alleged reports of widespread voter suppression in the 2012 elections following TTV’s investigation of six key states’ county clerks and board of elections reports. Read more.

Perhaps True the Vote should look at voter suppression caused by off cycle elections?

Ann Coulter: “Your little friend Marco Rubio better be paying attention”

National and international attention is now focusing on Marco Rubio. Elected as a TEA Party favorite to the US Senate from Florida many are now questioning his bona fides as a conservative.

BizPac Review reports:

“After calling the liberal media “hothouse flowers” because of their reaction to one of their own,  Bob Woodward’s war with the White House, Coulter ripped into Marco Rubio, reminding him of the perceived flaws in his immigration plan.

“Your little friend Marco Rubio better be paying attention here because his plan of legalization first and then we are going to trust the Obama administration,” is a problem,  Coulter said after expressing shock at the recent release of criminal illegals by Obama and the administration. Coulter was particularly disgusted by the potential future crimes that could occur because of Obama’s political move and suggested conservatives track the released criminals.

The Shark Tank’s Javier Manjarres in a column titled, “Who Will Lead The GOP, Cruz or Rubio?” reports, “Some conservatives and tea party-types within the Republican party are painting Cruz as the ‘anti-Rubio,’ as some feel that Rubio is trying position himself as more of a ‘maverick’ on certain issues like immigration reform and has been seen cozying up to moderate-establishment Republicans such as Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain in advance of a potential 2016 presidential run.”

Manjarres asks  “Rubio’s tip-toeing around certain issues and recent political posturing with Republican moderates and Democrats have left many wondering if he will remain on the proverbial ‘straight and narrow’ and continue to espouse conservative principles- will it be Cruz or Rubio who takes the conservative mantle and runs with it to the head of the party?”

Senator Rubio is coming to Sarasota, FL on March 15, 2013 for a fundraising dinner Benefiting Reclaim America PAC and The Leadership PAC with local supporters. According to sources he will be presenting his “vision for a  new Republican Party”.

As Slade O’Brien, Executive Director of Americans for Prosperity in Florida, has stated, “Compromise is the art of losing slowly”. Will Senator Rubio compromise to become “electable” or stand by his conservative bona fides?

Stay tuned!

Marco Rubio’s 2011 comments on a TEA Party Caucus courtesy of The Shark Tank YouTube Video Channel:

Palm Beach GOP Chair: Don’t talk about Allen West

Jack Furnari in his BizPac Review column “GOP boss: Don’t talk about Allen West voter fraud or other ‘oddball issues’” reports, “[Palm Beach County Republican Party Chair Ira] Sabin told me he doesn’t want his board members to publicly discuss ‘voter fraud, birtherism, the St. Lucie County voter fraud suit’ or any other ‘oddball issues’ he deems off message.”

Furnari notes this can lead to conflict as his vice-Chair is part of the St. Lucie County law suit. Furnari notes, “[Vice-Chairman Michael] Barnett is one of the lawyers litigating the True the Vote lawsuit against St. Lucie County Elections Supervisor Gertrude Walker over the irregularities in Allen West’s loss to Patrick Murphy, and that’s one of the banned topics.

True the Vote is a non-partisan grassroots organization that focuses on election fraud. Lou Ann Anderson from Watchdog Wire – Texas reported, “Former Florida Congressman Allen West narrowly lost his November re-election bid and St. Lucie County was a standout locale in terms of alleged voting irregularities.  To protect future election integrity, Houston-based True The Vote is suing the St. Lucie supervisor of elections. In a recent video announcement, True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht emphasized the importance of learning the truth.  “The sanctity of our elections is too important to let this slide,” she said.

Watch True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht’s video announcement of the lawsuit:

Anderson reports Engelbrecht additionally noted, “We the people have a right and a responsibility to demand answers when our election process fails.  And that’s what we’re doing.  Demanding answers.”

In Italy a new party is born: What does that mean for the United States?

“The Five Star Movement “tsunami” an electoral triumph” by George Lombardi (posted with the author’s permission):

ROME — The results of Italy’s historical elections confirm the desire of a great many Italians who expressed their desire for change.

Almost one third of the vote went to new actors of the complex Italian political system.

Two great surprises characterize this election: first, the “tsunami” of the comic-turned-political agitator Beppe Grillo [pictured above] won a substantial 25% in both houses of the legislature; the second is the rebirth of former premier Silvio Berlusconi (PDL), coming back from 12.8% a few months ago to almost 25% (almost 30% if you add the coalition party Lega Nord), almost gaining the upper hand in the powerful Senate.

The leftist coalition (PD) won by less than 1% in both chambers, but they expected a greater result, while Mario Monti, the former PM and so-called technocrat, received only 9% , enough to be a decisive factor in the search for a historical compromise.

Obviously Italy is heading toward a total gridlock. Everyone agrees that new elections may come as soon as one or two years from now.

What are the practical results of the vote?

As far as Italy’s relation with the European Union almost two thirds of the voters want a more independent stand when facing the EU and Germany, Grillo is strongly anti-Europe, just like the Lega Nord, and Berlusconi has openly criticized Germany’s dictates and forced economic austerity measures. Most Italians moderates, young and old, favor Italy’s presence in the EU community, but they dislike the oppressive German and French power in all aspects of legislation and economic policies. There is no doubt that a new era has dawn in Italy.

Investors are analyzing the outcome of the Italian election. The people’s choices may trigger a sell-off in stocks and bonds and renew concerns about the euro if the three main parties cannot bring a stable government.

The rise of anti-establishment comedian Beppe Grillo’s 5-Star Movement and the impressive comeback of center-right leader Silvio Berlusconi have cast doubt over the leftist coalition (led by Mr. Bersani) ability to govern even if he forms a coalition with the centrist party of outgoing technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti.

But next question for the market will be how viable the winning coalition will be and whether it is able to continue with much-needed reforms, first of all the way parties are allowed to participate in the general elections.

Grillo has indicated a will to change the outdated and often confusing election laws. And while both left and conservatives have often agreed on changing the electoral system, they could never find a compromise.

The second most important reform is the one related to taxation and finance. Italy needs a great input of fresh capital, but the austerity measures mandated by Germany limits greatly the options of past and future Governments.

The yield gap between 10-year Italian and German bonds stood at around 288 basis points on Friday, nearly half levels seen in late 2011, when Monti was called in to bring Italy back from the brink of a possible default that would have sunk the EU. But Italian borrowing costs are still far too high, Italian bankers and businesses say.

It is true that Italy needs political stability and a more business-friendly economy, but it also true that a large spread is unsustainable. It must go down or it will creates serious problems for the Italian economy. Analysts are forecasting Italy’s economy to shrink by 1 percent in 2013, worst than previously expected and a painful reminder of the challenges awaiting Monti’s successor.

Expect a new general election within 12 to 18 months should the new government turn out to be a very weak one. But the current result demonstrate the Italians’ unwillingness to endure more tough reforms.

The decisions Italy’s government makes over the next several months promise to have a deep impact on whether Europe can decisively stem its financial crisis. As the Eurozone’s second-largest economy, its problems can rattle market confidence in the whole bloc and analysts have worried it could fall back into old habits.

The only hope is that Italian politicians, many now in their early 30’s, will find a common ground, focusing on programs and on goals, forgetting ideological differences, and by example lead a group of European nations like Spain, Greece, Portugal and others out of the economic and political crisis and in a new, more egalitarian relationship within the European Community.

Bondi versus Scott on expanding Medicaid in Florida

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune editorial board is all in support of Governor Rick Scott’s decision to expand Medicaid in Florida. In an opinion column titled “Medicaid numbers add up: Legislature should join Scott in recognizing the benefits of expansion” the editorial board states, “Federal aid hard to pass up.”

That statement sums  up the issue. The question is does Florida want more citizens on federal aid? What benefit is that to Florida taxpayers?

The opinion column states, “The Legislature — which convenes its annual session March 5 — will ultimately decide whether to expand eligibility for the program to cover all Floridians under age 65 who earn up to 138 percent of the poverty rate. That’s $29,700 for a family of four; currently, coverage in Florida is limited to 100 percent of the poverty level, a shockingly low income of $22,350 for a family of four.”

What the Sarasota Herald-Tribune fails to say is why salaries in Florida are so low. The reason is because Florida jobs are low paying.

According to the South Florida Business Journal, “The average annual salary for Floridians ranks No. 32 nationwide, according to a new On Numbers analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Floridians have an average annual salary of $40,750, or an hourly wage of $19.59, as of May 2011. A rather low ranking considering the Sunshine State ranks fourth for the highest number of employees at about 7.2 million.”

The Sunshine Review reports, “According to 2008 Census data, the state of Florida and local governments in the state employed a total of 1,049,028 people. Of those employees, 832,252 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $3,302,955,436 per month and 216,776 were part-time employees paid $213,151,877 per month. More than 51% of those employees, or 539,321 employees, were in education or higher education.”

The average annual net pay of government employees in Florida is just over $47,624.

Working for government, at the expense of Florida taxpayers, and expanding Medicaid benefits, thereby expanding number of government employees, is considered by many a mistake.

Among those coming out in opposition include Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. According to BizPac Review, “Bondi said she ‘firmly disagrees’ with Scott’s decision to expand Medicaid coverage under the Obamacare legislation, but the final outcome will go before the Florida Legislature and she feels they will make the right call. “This could really devastate our state,” said Bondi. “And cost a tremendous amount of money.”

The numbers do not add up. As the Sarasota Herald-Tribune notes, “During the first three years of the expansion, the federal government would pay 100 percent of the state’s cost of broadening coverage.”

According to the federal Affordable Care Act, the federal contribution would be about 90 percent after those three years. The Agency for Health Care Administration found that Florida would save $3.9 million in the next fiscal year by rejecting Medicaid expansion — but it would pass up $2.1 billion in federal funding. While the state’s share would increase over time, by the 2020-2021 budget year Florida’s cost would be $487 million, compared with a federal contribution of $4.2 billion.”

So, Florida loses money as time drags on, assuming of course that Congress keeps its word and funds Medicaid according to the law.

AFP Releases 112th Congress Scorecard, Rubio Maintains A+

AFP ranks Members of Congress on their votes of defending economic freedom

Tallahassee, Florida – Americans for Prosperity-Florida, the state’s premier free market grassroots organization committed to smaller government and economic freedom, today released its scorecard for the 112th Congress.  AFP also launched an interactive online version of its congressional key vote scorecard, which includes AFP key votes from the past three congresses and will be the scorecard’s online home moving forward.  AFP ranks members of Congress on their votes for economic freedom.  A copy of scores is below.

“In order to hold their elected officials accountable, Florida constituents need to know how their Representative or Senator voted,” said AFP-FL State Director Slade O’Brien. “The AFP Scorecard is the best way for our activists to keep a close eye on Washington, and confront them when they don’t vote responsibly.  We are pleased to announce Senator Rubio is the only US Senator to receive a lifetime rating of A+.”

The 112th Congress Scorecard includes critical votes on such issues as the repeal of President Obama’s new health care law, preempting EPA’s purported authority to regulate greenhouse gases, Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget, ending ethanol subsidies, several Congressional Review Act resolutions to overturn new regulations, and the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bills.

AFP’s new scorecard website is online at: http://www.americansforprosperity.org/scorecard.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and scope of government is the best way to safeguard individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. AFP educates and engages citizens in support of restraining state and federal government growth and returning government to its constitutional limits. AFP has more than 2,000,000 members, including members in all 50 states, and 34 state chapters and affiliates. More than 90,000 Americans in all 50 states have made a financial investment in AFP or AFP Foundation. For more information, visit www.americansforprosperity.org.

Rubio and Bibi have the last laugh about Waterbottlegate

The above photo is courtesy of Jack Tinker who posted it on Twitter. US Senator Marco Rubio and Israel’s Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu share a toast and a laugh about Waterbottlegate.

Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) political action committee, Reclaim America, has capitalized on the publicity following the Florida senator’s water break during his response to the State of the Union. The PAC on Wednesday, February 13th, started selling “Rubio” water bottles. “Send the liberal detractors a message that not only does Marco Rubio inspire you…he hydrates you too,” the PAC said on a web page where the bottles are for sale. Here is a photo of the water bottle, via Marco Rubio’s Twitter feed:

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE:

SENATOR RUBIO MEETS WITH ISRAELI PRESIDENT PERES AND PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committee, met with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem this evening.  Among the topics discussed were the changing political landscape changes in the Middle East, Israel’s relations with its neighbors, peace negotiations with the Palestinians, the Iranian nuclear threat, and further strengthening the U.S.-Israeli strategic relationship.

“There is no more important relationship for the United States, perhaps in the world but certainly in the region, than Israel,” said Rubio. “It’s one that has bipartisan support and I’m proud to say that Republicans and Democrats are united on that. We remain deeply committed, above all else, to Israel’s security. Like every nation, like every sovereign people, the people of Israel have the right to be safe.

“The ties between the United States and Israel are unbreakable,” he added. “Israel represents everything the United States stands for, a vibrant democracy.  I greatly appreciate the hospitality of the Israeli people and for the opportunity to meet with President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu.”

The following photos are all attributable to Rubio’s Senate office. Pictures from Rubio’s trip are available in high-resolution on our website, here:

Killing charitable deductions slowly – the sunset of PEP and Pease

Roberta Flack’s 1973 hit tune “Killing Me Softly with His Song” comes to mind when writing about how the tax codes have dramatically changed effective January 1, 2013. Two of the major changes are charitable deductions under the Personal Exemption Phase-out (PEP) and the Pease deduction cap under 26 US Code § 68.

According to the Indiana University Foundation:

As of January 1, 2013, itemized deductions will be limited in several ways:

The Pease limitations will reduce the amount of certain itemized deductions high-income taxpayers can claim: either 3% of the taxpayer’s income over the modified adjusted gross income limit, or up to 80% of certain deductions (whichever amount is less).

The taxpayer threshold for claiming medical expenses as an itemized deduction will be increased from 7.5% of AGI to 10% (though individuals age 65 and older will continue to use the 7.5% threshold from 2013 to 2016).

As was the case in 2012, the option to deduct state and local sales taxes rather than income taxes will not be available.

Kelsey Snell from Politico wrote in December, 2012, “Tax rate increases aren’t the only way in which Democrats are aiming to collect more tax dollars from the rich — they’re also looking to resurrect a dormant pair of oddly named laws that targeted the wealthy for decades.”

Snell states:

Known as PEP and Pease, they’re a little bit like the original “Buffett rule.”

The Personal Exemption Phase-out, or PEP, and the “Pease” deduction cap — named for the late Rep. Don Pease (D-Ohio) — were introduced in the 1990s to try to help balance the budget by getting the rich to chip in more. PEP reduced the value of exemptions for high-income earners by as much as 2 percent for every $2,500 earned over a set amount. Pease limited itemized deductions for the wealthy.

Read more.

According to Barbara E. Little, an associate with New Jersey based Schnader Attorneys at Law in their Tax and Wealth Management Department and the Trust and Estates, Nonprofit and Higher Education Practice Groups.:

On January 2, 2013, President Obama signed into law the “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012” (ATRA). In this Alert, we explore the good news and the bad news that charitably minded individuals received with the passage of ATRA.

Bad News

Let’s start by getting the bad news out of the way. ATRA revived the itemized deduction limitations, also known as the “Pease Amendment” (named after Congressman Donald Pease, the amendment’s proposer in the 1990s). Under Pease, total itemized deductions are reduced by 3 percent not to exceed 80 percent, of the amount the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income exceeds the threshold amount – $250,000 for single filers, $275,000 for heads of household and $300,000 for married filing jointly (indexed for inflation). Charitable deductions are included in the limitation equation.

Depending on the taxpayer’s income level and other deductions, this limitation could adversely affect charitable contributions. For example, consider a married couple with $60,000 of itemized deductions ($25,000 mortgage interest, $10,000 state taxes and $25,000 charitable deduction) and an adjusted gross income of $450,000. The couple’s adjusted gross income exceeds the threshold by $150,000. The couple must reduce their total itemized deductions by 3 percent of $150,000 or $4,500.

The other bad news is that two charitable deductions were not extended: 1) contributions of book inventories to public schools; and 2) corporate contributions of computer inventory.

Good News

One piece of good news is that under ATRA, once again, individuals 70½ years of age or older may make tax-free IRA distributions to charitable organizations. The maximum distribution amount is $100,000 per individual, per tax year.

Speaking with a Florida donor to local charitable organizations he bemoans the fact that under ATRA his personal exemptions are eaten up by other, primarily tax deductions, thus limiting his charitable giving. He is concerned that ATRA is written so that non-profit organizations, many of which are faith based, will be irreparably harmed. With the passage of ATRA the new charity will be government and its ability to redistribute tax revenues to those non-profits it see as fit for public donations.

The new normal is “government charity” at every level.

Listen to Roberta Flack singing Killing Me Softly:

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/4mpqXu0z3wU”]

UN maps show, “more guns, less crime” is true internationally as well as domestically

Awr Hawkins discovered some maps created by the United Nations in 2007. The world maps depict levels of gun ownership and homicides. As Hawkins points out, “”[T]hese maps show, ‘more guns, less crime’ is true internationally as well as domestically.”

Hawkins states, “Since 1998, John Lott’s seminal work More Guns, Less Crime has been used to show that areas with the highest gun ownership in America experience the least crime on a per capita basis.” The United Nations appears to confirm Lott’s finding on a global scale. As has been stated time and again, the efforts to restrict law abiding citizens from owning firearms is all about control, not guns.

Crime and guns are inextricably linked. If you want to reduce crime, buy a gun.

Here are the maps presented by Hawkins:

Panhandling is the new normal in the City of Sarasota, Florida

Christian Ziegler wrote in an email, “It’s a true shame to see the City of Sarasota, at the expense of our tourism, local economy & city’s image, bow down to the ACLU in order to avoid a possible lawsuit.”

“As a person who works in and frequents downtown Sarasota on a daily basis, I have personally witnessed the spike in vagrant activity since the City Commission began taking away the tools that the local police use to fight the issue. I believe this is an issue the City Commission and local police should stand tough & work together to fight, not give-in, even if the city is being threatened by a lawsuit from the ACLU!” states Ziegler.

Ziegler has received hundreds of responses to his email, most supportive. The following are from City of Sarasota residents:

Mr. Ziegler,

I have more than just a single reason to move away from our beautiful Sarasota, and if I were younger I would stay and fight the ACLU, and get the bums out of our library. I was so turned off by the street people being allowed to wander around inside the library last summer that I began plans to move that same day. Sarasota is a beautiful city, but it needs some tough new leadership, and right now the wishy washy look the other way is not helping anybody. A shame for such an otherwise beautiful city to be headed to hell in a hand basket. I had planned to be here until I die, but now will die in Colorado instead. I am moving there into a home I just bought. 

Respectfully,

Dear Christian,

I own a small business and work downtown too. I avoid certain streets because I know they are hangout spots for vagrants. I used to walk to the post office to drop off any mailings, I don’t anymore.

I am very disappointed in our city’s commission poor decision, inability to stand up for our citizens over a counter culture that brings our city down, and they have made a mockery of our police department. I’ve watched these vagrants approach diners and ask for food or money at Cie La Vie. Okay so they have rights and freedom of speech. What about OUR rights as business owners, citizens and visitors?

There are numerous programs already in place in Sarasota where they can get assistance. These people that hangout in the parks all day do not want help. They are fine with the station they have assumed and this is their lifestyle. They know that they can now keep doing what they are doing and not get hassled. And now more will come.

I know where my vote is going March 12th and it will not be a liberal.

Thank you,

Lee Williams from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports, “The City of Sarasota and the American Civil Liberties Union have signed a consent decree that stops police from “interfering with the exercise of First Amendment rights” when dealing with the homeless. The decree, a 60-day injunction, prohibits police from interfering with panhandlers — someone standing on a sidewalk soliciting assistance — unless they impede traffic, pedestrians or create an unsafe situation.”

Panhandlers are becoming more viable and aggressive within the City of Sarasota. Citizens have complained and yet the current City Commissioners have decided that panhandling is a free speech right.

Williams reports, “The consent decree follows the arrest of Jon Hill, a homeless man who was arrested of panhandling on U.S. 301. Hill was injured during his arrest, which he and his attorneys claim was the result of officers slamming his face into a squad car. The arresting officers say he intentionally threw himself forward during a struggle, striking his head on their squad car window.”

Hill spent five days in jail, until the ACLU got him released by filing an emergency petition — a writ of habeas corpus.

This may become a wedge issue in the March 12,  2013 Sarasota City Commission election.

Watch this “Voting for Dummies” video done by Politically Personal:

VIDEO: THE QUAD the conservative news show for high school and college students launched

Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA

Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, who is only 18 years old is the new leader of the conservative youth movement. He is challenging the Liberal and Progressive hold on our youth. His charisma, his intelligence, and his amazing understanding as to how to reach the youth of the country with the conservative message is something to behold.

Turning Point USA is a student run 501 C4 Non-Profit educational group, dedicated towards educating the youth about the realities of generational theft, and educating students across the country about fiscal responsibility living within ones means, and government transparency.

An email announcing the launch of THE QUAD Kirk states, “This is a weekly program that I feel will become very popular on YouTube.”

Watch the inaugural episode of THE QUAD:

Read Kirk’s column titled “How College is Harming American Entrepreneurship: A 19 Year Old’s View of Today’s “Bumper Bowling Generation“.