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What Is The Debt Ceiling and why should I worry?

[youtube]http://youtu.be/zVFFO64OAQ4[/youtube]

The following is from the Heritage Foundation:

new video by Bankrupting America uses humor to call attention to an issue that is anything but funny, and why it matters for every American household.

Recent Heritage research reveals how the rising national debt hurts American families, including:

  • Higher interest rates on mortgages, car loans, and other loans make it more costly for families and businesses to borrow money.
  • Higher debt and higher interest rates mean more tax dollars must be used to pay the government’s interest expense, leaving less money available for other priorities like national security and making it harder to keep future taxes from rising.
  • Less economic growth means fewer jobs, lower wages and salaries, and fewer opportunities for career advancement.

Over the next few weeks, Members of Congress will be deciding what their priorities for spending reduction will be in connection with any vote to increase the debt ceiling sometime this fall. The debt ceiling vote likely presents an opportunity for real spending restraint this year.

Anyone following the shocking IRS scandal has fresh and frightening evidence of the dangers of a massive, over-reaching, highly intrusive federal government. This is yet another reason to cut spending: Washington has a problem respecting fiscal sense and citizens’ freedoms.

The first step to solving it? Shrink the monster down to size with real spending cuts.

It’s a goal many claim to work toward, yet few seem committed to achieving. Choices presented by the debt limit debate can force both parties to trim down the federal budget—if they don’t get sidetracked.

HOLDING THE LINE: There are refreshing examples of principled leadership among members of Congress committed to getting spending under control. Currently, Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Mike Lee (R-UT) are working hard to prevent any backdoor effort to increase the debt limit without spending cuts.

Cruz_screenshotWhen it comes to holding the line on new spending, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and five other Senators recently announced their intention to object to consideration of legislation that spends new money unless it also trims the federal budget in other areas. Their goal is to “no longer spend money we do not have to pay for programs we do not need.”

The secret to controlling spending: To get spending under control, you have to know where the dollars are spent.

Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security make up 45 percent of our national budget, as this recent chart shows. Millions of at-risk citizens depend on these programs, and Congress has yet to take the steps needed to reform and preserve them so they benefit those most in need and are affordable for current and future taxpayers.

To fix entitlements and get spending under control, only certain policy changes will make a difference. Key examples of transformative reforms are outlined generally in the landmark Saving the American Dream plan, and more specifically in “Six Bipartisan Entitlement Reforms to Solve the Real Fiscal Crisis.”

While members of Congress may be tempted to fold on the challenge of getting spending under control, now is the time that they as the leaders they were elected to be and deal with balancing the national budget in 10 years.

Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day at Heritage Libertad.

Department of Homeland Security Targets Orlando and St. Louis TEA Party IRS protests

DHS vehicle is visible on the right side of this photo courtesy of BizPac Review.

Tom Tillison of BizPac Review reports:

The protest was held in Maitland, Florida, a short drive north of Orlando and not surprisingly, North Lake Tea Party, long the standard bearer of the Central Florida tea party movement, was on hand.

The tea party was acting on a call to action by Tea Party Patriots Inc., which bills itself as the nation’s largest tea party organization, in response to recent admissions by IRS officials that the agency had intentionally targeted tea party and conservative groups.

A scandal that continues to grow in scope with each passing day.

Under the watchful eye of Homeland Security — yes, they were present — protesters carried signs that read “We Do Not Consent to Tyranny,” “Abolish the IRS” and “Don’t Target me Bro!,” making it clear they do not condone the use of the IRS as a political weapon.

As one protester noted, it’s insulting that Homeland Security felt the need to be present as American citizens exercise their first amendment right, but decide to look away when suspected Islamic terrorist Tamerlan Tsarnaev travels back and forth to his home country.

Patti DiBella, who was at the Melbourne, FL  protest, in an email to WDW states, “I wanted to go & thank Homeland Security for being there ‘to protect US from TERRORISTS’!…that’s why they were there (with the K-9’s)…right? But it was raining like a monsoon & they never got out of their cars.”

The Department of Homeland Security did not show up at all Florida protests. The one in Sarasota, FL was held peacefully with no DHS presence.

Gateway Pundit reports, “Residents of St. Louis County, MO met in front of the IRS offices on May 21, 2013 to protest the IRS’ practice of targeting and harassing conservatives, patriots and Tea Party supporters. There were no city or county police there, ONLY DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY POLICE.”

Given that officers from the Department of Homeland Security were at TEA Party IRS protests in both St. Louis, MO, Melbourne and Orlando, FL but not in Sarasota, FL indicates targeting? It should be noted that the IRS offices are federal buildings and the DHS has a role in protecting federal buildings in the US.

If any other groups noticed the same presence of DHS officers at their protest or the lack thereof please contact WDW.

RELATED COLUMN:

Whoa!! ARMED DHS GUARDS Meet Tea Party Protesters Outside IRS Rally in St. Louis (Video)

IRS demanded names of conservative college interns from 2008 election cycle
TOP IRS OFFICIAL TO TAKE THE FIFTH…
Chain of Command Suggests Scandal Not Limited to ‘Low-Level Employees’…

Is Gov. Rick Scott abusing his executive powers?

Republicans have been quick to point out that President Obama’s recess appointments bypass the US Senate’s constitutional role of advice and consent. Courts have ruled against President Obama calling some appointments “unconstitutional“. But what happens when a Republican does the same thing?

Governor Rick Scott is coming under fire for recent “recess” appointments.

Scott recently made 42 appointments to boards and commissions throughout the state. Among them was Dr. John Armstrong, State Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health, who Scott reappointed for a term beginning May 16, 2013, and ending at the pleasure of the Governor. Health News Florida reports, “Dr. John Armstrong will continue to lead the Department of Health, thanks to a reappointment by Gov. Rick Scott. As the Associated Press reports, Florida Senators, particularly state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, wanted Armstrong out.”

Governor Scott can reappoint one time. If the Senate does not confirm them at the next session, they must vacate their positions.

Two other appointments have also drawn the ire of the Florida Senate. Katie Sanders from the Tampa Bay Times wrote, “Senators approved a slew of Gov. Rick Scott appointees on Thursday [May 2, 2013] and are slated to do more today. However, a few notable names will not make the cut. Unconfirmed appointments include state Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong, Florida A&M trustee (and former Pinellas County school board member) Glenn Gilzean, and the entire Florida Polytechnic University Board of Trustees.”

Armstrong fell out of favor with senators when he failed to show up for a confirmation hearing, Latvala said. ‘There were some issues with some members of the Legislature and the way he interacted with them. It’s a little behavior management’,” Sanders reports.

Is there a double standard when it comes to recess appointments?

Center for Immigration Studies calls Rubio’s amnesty ad “deceptive” (Video)

Jon Feere, the Legal Policy Analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies, reviews an ad released by the “Gang of Eight” featuring Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). The ad is playing nationwide, including in Florida.

Feere states, “The minute-long advertisement calls the proposal ‘conservative immigration reform’ and attempts to make amnesty appealing to Republican voters. Partisan politics aside, the amnesty ad is misleading on a number of counts…”

The ad was produced by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg who created FWD.us, an advocacy group aimed at promoting amnesty. One of the group’s offshoots is “Americans for a Conservative Direction“, which is cited at the end of the ad.

Americans for a Conservative Direction’s board members include: Haley Barbour: former Governor Haley Barbour served as the 62nd governor of Mississippi from 2004 to 2012 and served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee in the mid ’90s; Sally Bradshaw: former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s Chief of Staff from 1999-2001, and served as a Co-Chair of the Republican National Committee’s Growth and Opportunity Project; Joel Kaplan: currently Vice President of US Public Policy at Facebook, Joel also served as Deputy Chief of Staff to former President George W. Bush; Dan Senor: former chief advisor to Representative Paul Ryan on the Romney-Ryan 2012 campaign; Rob Jesmer: former Executive Director at the National Republican Senatorial Committee from 2008 – 2012.

Below is the ad:

Here is Feere’s analysis of the ad phrase by phrase:

RUBIO: “Anyone who thinks what we have now in immigration is not a problem is fooling themselves. What we have in place today is de facto amnesty.”

Very few Americans believe that we don’t have a serious problem with illegal immigration. It is true that this country is experiencing a de facto amnesty for illegal aliens, and it is largely the result of the Obama administration refusing to enforce immigration laws on the books. The problem is that Rubio wants to turn this “de facto” amnesty into a formal amnesty, and grant millions of law-breakers work permits, driver’s licenses, Social Security accounts, travel documents, and an unknown number of additional state-level benefits. Rubio is trying to help President Obama fulfill his campaign goal of keeping all illegal aliens in the country and giving them benefits reserved for legal residents. If Rubio was actually troubled by the de facto amnesty being advanced by the Obama administration, Rubio would side with the ICE officials who are suing the Obama administration over the president’s effort to prevent them from doing their jobs. Top-ranking ICE official Chris Crane explained the lawsuit to Fox News, here. Mr. Crane’s recent congressional testimony, available here, raises many troubling issues. ICE’s additional concern is that the amnesty bill would make permanent their inability to enforce the law by giving DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano “virtually unlimited discretion” to waive all enforcement of immigration law. If an amnesty is passed, the Obama administration will likely continue to undermine any immigration enforcement provisions in the bill.

ANNOUNCER: “Conservative leaders have a plan, the toughest immigration enforcement measures in the history of the United States.”

The so-called “Gang of Eight” senators who wrote the bill aren’t all “conservative leaders”, unless you consider Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) to fit that description. True, the gang also includes Republican senators, but it is up for debate whether one considers Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to be conservative on immigration. Their immigration report card grades, from the pro-enforcement group NumbersUSA, are troubling: Graham has a “C”, McCain a “D”, and a Flake “C”. This is in contrast to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who has an “A+” from NumbersUSA.

The voiceover in the ad also cites a newspaper article for the “toughest enforcement measures in the history of the United States” language. This commercial carefully avoided some of the language in the article’s full sentence, particularly the part noting that this bill would allow previously deported illegal aliens to return to the country. The article’s full sentence reads:

The controversial proposal would grant most of the 11 million people here illegally a path to citizenship and give thousands of deported individuals a chance to return, but would also adopt some of the toughest immigration enforcement measures in the history of the United States.

No immigration bill in the history of the United States has ever permitted previously deported illegal aliens to return to the United States to receive citizenship, so it is difficult to see how this news organization concluded that the bill is the “toughest” our country has ever seen. Of course, the article is really claiming that the bill would “adopt some” tough enforcement measures, not that the bill itself is tough.

On closer inspection, many of these measures (noted below) are not as tough as they seem to be.

RUBIO: “They have to pass the background check, they have to be able to pay a registration fee, they have to pay a fine.”

Within six months of the bill’s passage, illegal immigrants would become immediately eligible for legal status, and many of the hoops that illegal immigrants would have to jump through to get such status do not amount to much. It is likely that any illegal immigrants who simply claim to be eligible will be able to avoid deportation, even if they’re already in detention. This is exactly what is already happening under President Obama’s deferred action program. ICE agents are being instructed to release any illegal aliens who claim to be eligible, even if they haven’t filled out an application form. The same situation will unfold under the large-scale amnesty bill. ICE will be virtually handcuffed and will not be able to carry out most enforcement.

To acquire the primary legal status offered under this bill, illegal immigrants would have to undergo a simple background check. But the bill would still grant legal status to illegal immigrants with a significant amount of criminality on their rap sheet. For example, crimes like ID theft and vandalism are not considered serious enough to deny a person status, despite the fact that such crimes create real victims. Specifically, two misdemeanors will not result in legal status being denied and under the bill multiple misdemeanors could be counted as “one” misdemeanor, provided they occur on the same day. Additionally, any problematic history an illegal immigrant has in his home country is unlikely to be uncovered; in a sense, our public safety would depend on the bookkeeping of police departments in the alien’s homeland, and there are many things that Americans consider criminal that are not criminal overseas.

Finally, the government’s capacity to conduct background checks on millions of illegal immigrants is questionable. ICE Union head Chris Crane explained in a video interview with the Daily Caller that there is “no such thing as a background check on a foreign national.” The 1986 amnesty also had background checks, but hundreds of thousands of fraudulent applicants were rubber-stamped. The amnesty granted legal status to someone who used his new status to freely travel to the Middle East to pick up terrorist training and helped lead the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Had we enforced our immigration laws, he would have been removed from the country and the attack might never have occurred.

The recent Boston Marathon bombing should also illustrate the government’s inability to carefully vet backgrounds. The FBI interviewed at least one of the terrorists, his family members, and his neighbors, in addition to analyzing his Internet usage. They apparently found nothing that would have raised a red flag. Despite the fact that DHS estimates there are many problematic foreign-born people living in the United States, the millions of illegal aliens applying for the amnesty will not have nearly as vigorous of a background check as the Boston bombers had, suggesting that some bad people will receive legal status through the bill. As written, the bill would allow known gang members to become U.S. citizens if they simply “renounce” their gang affiliation.

Rubio also claims that illegal aliens applying for the amnesty would have to pay a fee, but there are waivers and no specificity. The bill simply notes that illegal aliens aged 16 and older who want legal status will have to pay a fee “in an amount determined by [DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano]”. While it is unclear how much the fee would be, the bill says it should be enough to cover processing the applications. (See here for David North’s estimate of the size of the fee needed to process applicants properly.) But in the next section, the bill gives Napolitano the power to limit the fee and to exempt “classes of individuals” altogether. With such broad authority granted by Congress, it is unclear whether this fee would apply to most amnesty applicants.

It should also be noted that USCIS already offers waivers for those who cannot afford certain fees — in fact, the Obama administration created a form for such waivers in 2010 — and similar waivers may apply to any future amnesty. To obtain a fee waiver for some existing immigration benefits, an applicant simply must show that they are currently using a welfare program. Currently, 71 percent of illegal alien households with children make use of at least one form of welfare.

Rubio also claims that amnesty applicants would have to pay a fine. A fine is different from a fee and, by definition, a fine is meant to be a punishment for breaking a law. The bill puts the fine at $500 for the initial legal status — not much of a punishment considering the laws that have been broken. This initial status turns the illegal aliens into legal residents and grants them work permits, driver’s licenses, Social Security accounts, and many other benefits. Applicants would have to pay another $500 over the next six years. If a person wants to upgrade from this provisional status to full green card status (and eventual U.S. citizenship), they would have to pay another $1,000 many years down the road. But there are many exceptions. For example, people of any age who claim to have entered before age 16 and have a high school degree or GED would not have to pay either of the $500 fines, nor would they have to pay the $1,000 fine for green card status. Also, all people under 21 years of age, regardless of when they entered and whether they have a high school degree, would be exempted from both of the $500 fines.

Furthermore, it is likely that some pro-amnesty groups will assist applicants in paying the fines — some of which will be using taxpayer-provided funds to do so. The bill would actually grant groups like La Raza $150 million of taxpayer dollars to help illegal aliens apply for the amnesty, and the bill grants them a lot of discretion to decide how to spend the money. In reality, the fine may not be much of a punishment at all — particularly if American taxpayers are the ones footing the bill.

Absent from Rubio’s list is the requirement that illegal aliens pay back taxes. The reason he is no longer citing it is because that provision never made it into the bill. For months Rubio and other amnesty advocates sold the bill on the notion of requiring illegal aliens to pay back taxes for the years they have worked off the books. But it was simply part of an attempt to mislead the public into thinking this bill is tougher than it really is. Only “assessed” taxes have to be paid, and if the IRS doesn’t audit illegal immigrants working off the books — which is won’t — then there will be no “assessed” taxes to pay.

ANNOUNCER: “Border security on steroids. Tough border triggers have no giveaways for law breakers.”

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano Napolitano simply has to submit a plan for border security and a fencing plan within six months of the passage of this bill. As soon as she submits the plans, illegal aliens become eligible for work permits, Social Security accounts, driver’s licenses, travel documents, and countless state-level benefits. Past amnesties show that these benefits are mostly what illegal aliens are looking for; green card status and U.S. citizenship are not priorities for most illegal immigrants. No border security has to be in place for these benefits to be handed out. A proposed amendment to the bill that would have made border security come before these benefits are handed out was rejected by the Senate. Sen. Jeff Flake and Sen. Lindsey Graham, two of the alleged “conservative leaders” who helped authored this bill, voted against the amendment along with all of the Democrats.

The “triggers” — border security, an entirely new electronic verification system (to replace E-Verify), and an operational exit-tracking system — are required to be in effect before illegal immigrants can upgrade to a green card. But even this isn’t exactly true.

The bill does provide a significant amount of funding for border security, but it remains unclear how that money would be spent and whether the border would ever actually be secured. The bill requires an “effectiveness rate” of 90 percent and defines such a rate as “the percentage calculated by dividing the number of apprehensions and turn-backs in the sector during a fiscal year by the total number of illegal entries in the sector during such fiscal year.” This equation requires some estimate of the number of missed illegal entries, but the metrics of border security have been up for debate for many years and it’s unclear how such an estimate would be reached. Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council asks, “How are they going to measure effectiveness?” He fears the bills language “will put pressure on Border Patrol management to fudge the number in order to fit political purposes.”

Rubio has said that if effective control of these sections of the border is not met within five years, “it goes to a border commission made up of people that live and have to deal with the border and they will take care of that problem.” But in the bill, the “Southern Border Security Commission” would be made up of six Washington-appointed members (two by the president and four by congressional leaders), plus one from each southern border state (appointed by the governor), and it could do nothing but issue recommendations. But it gets worse. The bill also says that if “litigation or a force majeure” prevents the border from being secured then Secretary Napolitano has the authority to go ahead and issue illegal aliens U.S. citizenship anyhow.

One member of the Gang of Eight has asserted that citizenship for illegal immigrants will not be conditioned on actually having a secure border. Sen. Charles Schumer (R-N.Y.) explained, “We are not using border security as a block to a path to citizenship. This [the trigger] will not be a barrier to giving citizenship to the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in our country.”

In other words, there really aren’t any border security triggers at all.

RUBIO: “No federal benefits, no food stamps, no welfare, no Obamacare, they have to prove that they’re gainfully employed.”

Rubio is simply wrong with these assertions. Illegal immigrants are already receiving federal benefits and this bill would do nothing to stop that. This bill would actually extend greater amounts of benefits to illegal immigrants by giving them legal status.

We estimate that 71 percent of illegal immigrant-headed households with children use at least one welfare program. Illegal immigrants generally receive benefits on behalf of their U.S.-born children, but they, not the children, are collecting the benefits, which support the entire family. Illegal immigrant households with children primarily use food assistance and Medicaid, making almost no use of cash or housing assistance. In contrast, legal immigrant households tend to have relatively high use rates for every type of welfare program. It is undeniable that if the amnesty bill becomes law, the legalized illegal immigrants will have greater access to the welfare state.

As for Obamacare, illegal immigrants who get green card status will have access to Obamacare, causing the aggregate annual deficit to soar to around $106 billion, finds the Heritage Foundation. Heritage also concludes that the amnesty applicants who receive green card status would also receive full eligibility for more than 80 means-tested welfare programs.

As to the “gainfully employed” requirement, Rubio is not being completely honest. The most important exemption comes toward the end of the bill, but it’s worth noting at the outset: All education and job requirements in the bill are waived if the immigrant is unable to work or go to school “due to circumstances outside the control of the alien”. The bill provides no explanation of what this might include, and one must ask whether high unemployment rates would count as something outside the control of the amnesty applicants.

Acquiring provisional status does not require evidence of employment. Renewing the status after six years does trigger an employment section of the bill. The section requires that the legalized immigrant fulfill one of two options. In the first option, the alien must prove that he “was regularly employed throughout the period of admission as a registered provisional immigrant, allowing for brief periods lasting not more than 60 days” and “not likely to become a public charge”. But this means that the immigrant could be unemployed for a two-month period and still meet this requirement. Plus, the wording is such that it leaves some interpretation to the courts. What if the immigrant has two “brief periods” of unemployment “lasting not more than 60 days”? By some interpretations, the immigrant would still be able to meet this requirement. Can an immigrant have five such brief periods? Ten? If the bill were written to limit unemployment to 60 days, then it would read “allowing for brief periods of unemployment totaling not more than 60 days”. It is a simple wording change, but it leads to a significantly different outcome.

As an alternative, the alien can “demonstrate average income or resources that are not less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level” for the period he lived here as an alien legalized under the bill. If the alien is the only person in his household, this requirement means that he would have to be making at least $11,490 a year.

But standards are low here. Amnesty applicants can submit a number of different documents to prove they worked. This includes any paperwork from a day laborer hiring center or even sworn affidavits from an alien’s family member who is willing to claim that the alien was working.

On top of all this, the work requirements do not have to be met if an amnesty applicant is going to school. The bill defines the education requirement quite broadly.

Furthermore, the employment and educational requirements do not apply to anyone under age 21 at the time of applying for the amnesty’s provisional legal status, nor do they apply to people over age 60. Also exempted is anyone who is a “primary caretaker of a child or another person who requires supervision or is unable to care for himself or herself.”

ANNOUNCER: “Bold, very conservative, a tough line on immigration.”

Considering all the exemptions and waivers already laid out above, it is difficult to conclude that this bill is bold with a “tough line” on immigration. The phrasing in this portion of the Rubio commercial is taken from quotes from pro-amnesty columnists in the media. The word “bold” was used by a Washington Post blogger who supports amnesty. The phrase “very conservative” is from the same writer; the full sentence is more illuminating:

In essence, if you accept that you have to start somewhere and we have no capability to uproot 11 million people, this is a very conservative-friendly plan.

So the writer called the bill “very conservative-friendly” and the ad shortened it to “very conservative.” One could certainly argue that these have different meanings. But the premise of the full quote is also worthy of debate. Does the United States have no capability to send 11 million people back home? Amnesty advocates constantly argue that the only alternative to mass amnesty is mass deportations. But in reality, both are unworkable. The only solution to the illegal immigration problem is the “attrition through enforcement” policy where we consistently enforce our immigration laws for a period of years and encourage illegal immigrants to go home in greater numbers than they already are. The Post blogger does not entertain this option and presents only a choice between amnesty and mass deportations, one embraced by Rubio.

The phrase “tough line on immigration” was taken from a pro-amnesty columnist from CNN. The same columnistcalled Arizona a “rogue state at war” for passing laws attempting to curb illegal immigration. That the pro-amnesty columnist opposed Jan Brewer’s efforts but embraces Rubio should raise flags about Rubio’s commitment to immigration enforcement.

RUBIO: “It puts in place the toughest enforcement measures in the history of the United States, potentially in the world and it once and for all deals with the issue of those that are here illegally but does so in a way that’s fair and compassionate but does not encourage people to come illegally in the future and isn’t unfair to the people that have done it the right way.”

Rubio claims that this comprehensive amnesty will fix the illegal immigration problem “once and for all”. But the American people have been told this before. The 1986 comprehensive amnesty, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was sold to the public as a one-time plan that would not have to be repeated because the bill contained sanctions against employers for hiring illegal immigrants, and other enforcement provisions. But after IRCA legalized about three million illegal aliens, the enforcement provisions never materialized. Today, about 7.5 million illegal aliens are holding jobs and their employers are not being held accountable. Why would anyone believe that the enforcement provisions in yet another amnesty would ever be enforced? In fact, only a few years after IRCA passed, the National Council of La Raza issued a report calling for the end to workplace enforcement. Interestingly, the author of that report was Cecilia Munoz, who today is President Obama’s chief immigration advisor. Odds are high that she will be working to undermine the enforcement in Rubio’s bill the moment it becomes law. Just last week President Obama told a roomful of amnesty advocate groups that if the bill becomes law, he will “revisit” the enforcement provisions. In other words, Obama has pledged to administratively narrow the scope of enforcement as soon as 11 million illegal immigrants and their family members acquire legal status through the bill. This is why enforcement must come before any type of legal status. Rubio’s bill is backwards, and it’s clear he hasn’t learned from the mistakes of IRCA.

Rubio also claims that the bill “does not encourage people to come illegally” but he apparently hasn’t been listening to border officials in the field who have come to Washington to testify before Congress. Rubio didn’t see thisWashington Times article:

“We have seen an increase in attempted entries,” Border Patrol Chief Michael J. Fisher told a Senate committee.

He said part of the reason for an increase is that Congress is talking about legalizing illegal immigrants, which is luring more foreigners to try to be in the U.S. when amnesty takes effect.

This should not come as a surprise. Amnesties always encourage illegal immigration because they send the message that illegal entry is a feasible path to legal U.S. residence.

Rubio also claims that amnesty is not unfair to those who are attempting to come to the United States the legal way. The reality is that illegal aliens get to stay in the country the moment they apply for amnesty. If they pass the simple background check, they receive legal status and nearly all the benefits of citizenship, including a work permit, a Social Security account, travel documents, a driver’s license, and many additional state-level benefits. While green card status may be delayed for a period of years, it is undeniable that amnesty applicants are in a much better position compared to those overseas who have applied to come to the United States legally. The amnesty applicant is only in the “back of the line” in the sense that the green card — and eventual U.S. citizenship — would allegedly be delayed until after all existing green card applications are processed. But the fact is, the genuine back of the line is in the illegal alien’s home country.

ANNOUNCER: “Stand with Marco Rubio to end de facto amnesty, support Conservative Immigration Reform.”

Again, Rubio wants to turn the de facto amnesty we’re currently experiencing as a result of non-enforcement of immigration laws into a de jure amnesty for millions of people who do not belong here. Rubio asks you to “stand” with him, but Rubio himself is standing with Obama, Napolitano, La Raza, the ACLU, and many other amnesty supporters who cannot be described as “conservative” in any sense of the word.

Florida Rep. Buchanan: “Heads Need to Roll” at the IRS

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, and the only member of the Florida delegation on the House Ways and Means Committee, today called on acting-IRS commissioner Steven Miller to immediately fire Lois Lerner, the senior IRS official who oversaw the intentional targeting of individuals because of their politics and criticism of the government.

“Heads need to roll today,” said Buchanan, Florida’s only member of the Ways & Means Committee which oversees the IRS. “Ms. Lois Lerner knew about this gross abuse of power as early as 2011 but continues to plead ignorance to this day. We don’t want apologies we want answers and accountability — and we can start by firing the person responsible for this gross abuse of power.”

On Friday, Lerner told reporters that she first learned of the IRS targeting of political groups from media reports. However, a draft report by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration confirms that Ms. Lerner was made aware that such political targeting had occurred on June 29, 2011. Ms. Lerner also tried to pin the blame on low-level workers. The Inspector General’s report confirms that senior IRS officials in Washington were made aware of the misconduct as early as August 2011.

“Our founding fathers would be rolling in their graves if they knew their government was targeting individuals based on their political beliefs and criticism of the government,” said Buchanan. “The American people need to know they can be critical of their government without fear of retribution.”

Buchanan issued a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Monday demanding a full accounting from top to bottom of those responsible for the IRS’s gross abuse of power and what action is being taken to restore the public trust. The Ways & Means Committee will hold its first hearing on Friday to further investigate the matter.

Congressman Buchanan sent the letter below to Treasury Secretary Lew:

May 13, 2013

The Honorable Jacob Lew
Secretary of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Secretary Lew,

I share the outrage of millions of Americans at confirmed reports that the Internal Revenue Service has gone out of its way to intentionally target individuals and organizations whose politics are at odds with the Administration. The American people demand and deserve a full-accounting from top to bottom of those responsible for this gross abuse of power and what action is being taken to restore the public trust.

On March 22, 2012, as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee which oversees the IRS, we heard then-Commissioner Douglas Shulman clearly state that the IRS did not engage in the practices of which it is now accused saying “there is absolutely no targeting.” Yet, less than a year earlier, Commissioner Shulman’s own deputy, Lois Lerner, was made aware that such malpractice had indeed occurred. It became evident that groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names were extremely vulnerable to auditing harassment. Even nonprofit organizations that sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution were unfairly singled out for scrutiny.

The nation’s trust in government was betrayed by this unconscionable behavior.

On behalf of my constituents, your immediate response is not only warranted but essential to clearing up a matter that would have our founding fathers rolling in their graves.

Sincerely,

Vern Buchanan
Member of Congress

Rubio introduces legislation to limit powers of IRS

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today filed an amendment to the Water Resources Development Act to prevent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from abusing its powers to violate first amendment rights. Rubio will introduce identical legislation, the Taxpayer Nondiscrimination & Protection Act of 2013, in the Senate tomorrow. The legislation, introduced today in the House by Congressman Mike Turner (R-OH), provides for mandatory termination and criminal liability for Internal Revenue Service employees who willfully violate the constitutional rights of a taxpayer. The need for the legislation is demonstrated by current reports of the IRS deliberately targeting conservative organizations, and it expressly states that political speech and political expression are protected rights.

The legislation reads in part, “Whoever being an employee of the Internal Revenue Service, engages, during the performance of that employee’s official duties, in an act or omission described in section 1203(b) of the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 shall be fined under this 8 title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.’’

“A government organization like the IRS discriminating against political organizations is an outrageous abuse of power, and the American people have every right to demand answers and accountability,” said Rubio. “Those responsible individuals should face all appropriate punishment available under current law, and all organizations and individuals who engage in political speech and expression should be protected against this kind of discriminatory behavior in the future. I commend Congressman Turner for championing this legislation in the House and hope our colleagues will join us in providing protections to deter this kind of governmental abuse from happening again.”

Earlier, Rubio sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to demand the resignation of the current IRS Commissioner. “The American people deserve answers about how such seemingly unconstitutional and potentially criminal behavior could occur, and who else was aware of it throughout the Administration,” Rubio wrote. “If investigations reveal that bureaucrats or political appointees engaged in unconstitutional or criminal targeting of conservative taxpayers, they must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

To view the legislation, click here.

Below is the full text of the letter:

May 13, 2013

The Honorable Jack Lew 
Secretary 
U.S. Department of the Treasury 
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 
Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Secretary Lew:

Recent revelations about the Internal Revenue Service’s selective and deliberate targeting of conservative organizations are outrageous and seriously concerning. This years-long abuse of government power is an assault on the free speech rights of all Americans. This direct assault on our Constitution further justifies the American people’s distrust in government and its ability to properly implement our laws.

The American people deserve answers about how such seemingly unconstitutional and potentially criminal behavior could occur, and who else was aware of it throughout the Administration. It is imperative that you, your predecessor, and other past and present high-ranking officials at the Department of Treasury and IRS immediately testify before Congress.

The public expects your complete cooperation with both congressional investigations and potential criminal inquiries. If investigations reveal that bureaucrats or political appointees engaged in unconstitutional or criminal targeting of conservative taxpayers, they must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. At a bare minimum, those involved with this deeply offensive use of government power have committed a violation of the public trust that has already had a profoundly chilling effect on free speech. Such behavior cannot be excused with a simple apology.

Furthermore, it is clear the IRS cannot operate with even a shred of the American people’s confidence under the current leadership. Therefore, I strongly urge that you and President Obama demand the IRS Commissioner’s resignation, effectively immediately. No government agency that has behaved in such a manner can possibly instill any faith and respect from the American public.

Sincerely,

Marco Rubio

Rubio: IRS head must resign

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today urged Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (pictured above) to demand the resignation of the current Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner, in light of reports about the agency’s deliberate targeting of conservative organizations.

“[I]t is clear the IRS cannot operate with even a shred of the American people’s confidence under the current leadership,” said Rubio in a letter to Lew. “I strongly urge that you and President Obama demand the IRS Commissioner’s resignation, effectively immediately. No government agency that has behaved in such a manner can possibly instill any faith and respect from the American public.”

Rubio also called on Lew to ensure the Treasury Department’s full cooperation with all investigations regarding this scandal now known as “IRSgate”.

“The American people deserve answers about how such seemingly unconstitutional and potentially criminal behavior could occur, and who else was aware of it throughout the Administration,” Rubio wrote. “If investigations reveal that bureaucrats or political appointees engaged in unconstitutional or criminal targeting of conservative taxpayers, they must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Below is the full text of the letter:

May 13, 2013
The Honorable Jack Lew
Secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Secretary Lew:

Recent revelations about the Internal Revenue Service’s selective and deliberate targeting of conservative organizations are outrageous and seriously concerning. This years-long abuse of government power is an assault on the free speech rights of all Americans. This direct assault on our Constitution further justifies the American people’s distrust in government and its ability to properly implement our laws.

The American people deserve answers about how such seemingly unconstitutional and potentially criminal behavior could occur, and who else was aware of it throughout the Administration. It is imperative that you, your predecessor, and other past and present high-ranking officials at the Department of Treasury and IRS immediately testify before Congress.

The public expects your complete cooperation with both congressional investigations and potential criminal inquiries. If investigations reveal that bureaucrats or political appointees engaged in unconstitutional or criminal targeting of conservative taxpayers, they must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. At a bare minimum, those involved with this deeply offensive use of government power have committed a violation of the public trust that has already had a profoundly chilling effect on free speech. Such behavior cannot be excused with a simple apology.

Furthermore, it is clear the IRS cannot operate with even a shred of the American people’s confidence under the current leadership. Therefore, I strongly urge that you and President Obama demand the IRS Commissioner’s resignation, effectively immediately. No government agency that has behaved in such a manner can possibly instill any faith and respect from the American public.

Sincerely,

Marco Rubio

Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It

Ryan T. Anderson from The Heritage Foundation has released a comprehensive report on marriage. Here is the abstract:

Marriage is based on the truth that men and women are complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the reality that children need a mother and a father.

Redefining marriage does not simply expand the existing understanding of marriage; it rejects these truths.

Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. By encouraging the norms of marriage—monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence—the state strengthens civil society and reduces its own role.

The future of this country depends on the future of marriage.

The future of marriage depends on citizens understanding what it is and why it matters and demanding that government policies support, not undermine, true marriage.

The report addresses three important questions: At the heart of the current debates about same-sex marriage are three crucial questions: What is marriage, why does marriage matter for public policy, and what would be the consequences of redefining marriage to exclude sexual complementary?

To read the full report click here.

RELATED COLUMN: The Well of Lonliness by Mary Kay Ruppel

Rubio: We don’t need a new idea. There is an idea. The idea is called America, and it still works. (+ video)

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) visited Sarasota, FL on March 15, 2013. He was greeted by over 50 donors at a private event hosted by Jesse Biter, a local entrepreneur. During his remarks at the Sarasota event Senator Rubio restated his belief that “We don’t need a new idea. There is an idea. That idea is called America, and it still works.” This was what he said at CPAC 2013.

Watch Senator Rubio’s CPAC 2013 remarks:

Senator Rubio was introduced at the Sarasota event by Representative Vern Buchanan (FL-13). Rep. Buchanan noted that he has traveled across the globe looking at what other countries are doing to promote economic growth. Rep. Buchanan noted that China is doing better at growing its economy than the United States, noting that China is on track to create 20 million jobs annually.

Senator Rubio during his remarks spoke about the $1 trillion in outstanding student loans, half of which will be in default. He said that this student loan burden impacts the middle class and our youth most of all. He also raised the specter of a rising China and its impact on the global economy. Rubio warned of not having enough workers skilled to fill 3 million of today’s jobs. He touched on the national debt, Congressional spending and an intransigent White House.

Those in attendance at the Sarasota event and those at CPAC 2013 were impressed by Senator Rubio’s “the American idea” comments. However, Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, New Jersey does not agree with Senator Rubio’s outlook.

Rabbi Pruzansky states in an email, “The simplest reason why Romney lost was because it is impossible to compete against free stuff.”

Rabbi Pruzansky notes, “Every businessman knows this; that is why the “loss leader” or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool. Obama’s America is one in which free stuff is given away: the adults among the 47,000,000 on food stamps clearly recognized for whom they should vote, and so they did, by the tens of millions; those who – courtesy of Obama – receive two full years of unemployment benefits (which, of course, both disincentivizes looking for work and also motivates people to work off the books while collecting their windfall) surely know for whom to vote. The lure of free stuff is irresistible.”

“During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai Stevenson: ‘Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!’ Stevenson called back: ‘That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority!’ Truer words were never spoken,” states Rabbi Pruzansky.

Will there ever be a majority of thinking persons?

Rabbi Pruzansky does not think so. He closed his email with, “If this election proves one thing, it is that the Old America is gone. And, sad for the world, it is not coming back.”

Florida Task Force: All persons have a fundamental right to stand their ground

Tallahassee, FL – Today the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, delivered their final report to the Office of the Florida Senate President, Office of the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and the Executive Office of the Governor.

The Task Force concluded that Florida Statute 776 is a good law and should not be overturned. On page five of their final report the Task Force’s top recommendations states:

The Task Force concurs with the core belief that all persons, regardless of citizenship status, have a right to feel safe and secure in our state. To that end, all persons who are conducting themselves in a lawful manner have a fundamental right to stand their ground and defend themselves from attack with proportionate force in every place they have a lawful right to be.

Governor Rick Scott said, “I want to commend the 19 members of the Citizen Safety Task Force and Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll for their thorough and thoughtful consideration of Florida Statute 776. This diverse Task Force listened to the people of Florida and provided a platform for different viewpoints to be shared on the important issue of citizen safety. I met with Trayvon Martin’s parents and our hearts go out to the entire family for their loss, especially as we approach the anniversary of his death. We look forward to reviewing this final report as we approach the beginning of the legislative session.”

The final Citizen Safety Task Force report, video links to all of the task force meetings, correspondence and public input considered is located on the Task Force website.

Link to Task Force website and final report: http://www.flgov.com/citizensafety/.

The Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, led by Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, held public meetings in seven cities across Florida and listened to subject matter experts and citizens. They concluded that Floridians have the right to defend themselves and the right to stand their ground when attacked. They concur that Floridians have the right to arm and protect themselves and their families from violence.

Democrats Against Sustainable Development and Smart Growth

If you go to your city, county, school board or state official website you will see words like “sustainable development” and “smart growth”. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) uses these words on its website. The FDEP website states, “The goal of the Sustainable Initiatives programs is to promote sustainability in Florida businesses, schools and homes. Sustainability is meeting the needs of the present population without compromising the ability of future populations to meet its needs.”

Another example is the University of Florida sustainability website. The about page reads, “Simply defined, sustainability is meeting contemporary needs without compromising the ability of future generations to satisfy their needs. More comprehensively, it means looking at the issues and problems facing our world with a new perspective – one that focuses on three interdependent areas of concern: ecological preservation, economic viability, and social justice.” Note the words “social justice”.

Florida even has a Sustainability Institute, whose mission is to address, “Direct threats, such as sea level rise and extreme weather events, and indirect risks linked to our region’s status as a global destination and trade center, place Florida on the front lines of the fight against global warming. ”

So why are Democrats, especially progressive ones from California, against sustainable development and smart growth? Answer: It is all about taking away property rights.

The leader of these progressive Democrats is Rosa Koire, ASA, who is a forensic commercial real estate appraiser specializing in eminent domain valuation.  Her twenty-eight year career as an expert witness on land use has culminated in exposing the impacts of Sustainable Development on private property rights and individual liberty.

Koire is on the Board of Directors and Executive Director of The Post Sustainability Institute. The Post Sustainability Institute was established to study the impacts that “Sustainable Development” and “Communitarianism” have on liberty.  The intent is to track the progression of the sustainability movement and to forecast the most likely outcomes if it proceeds unchecked.

Koire became involved in 2005 when she was elected to a citizens’ oversight committee in Santa Rosa, Northern California, to review a proposed 1,300 acre redevelopment project in which 10,000 people live and work. Her research into the documents justifying the plans led her, with her partner Kay Tokerud, to challenge the fraudulent basis for the huge Gateways Redevelopment Project. The City, in an attempt to block Koire from exposing the project, removed the neighborhood in which Koire and Tokerud’s properties were located from the redevelopment area.

Koire and Tokerud fought on, however, not wanting to abandon the thousands of business and property owners still in the area. They formed a business and property owners association and a non-profit organization (Concerned Citizens of Santa Rosa Against Redevelopment Law Abuse) and were able to raise nearly $500,000 in donations and pro bono legal work to sue the City of Santa Rosa to stop the project. The court case, Tokerud v. City of Santa Rosa, lost in Superior Court but the court ruled that they could continue, and they appealed to the San Francisco First District Court of Appeals where they lost again in 2009. The three years of litigation fighting eminent domain and the redevelopment project succeeded in delaying the project while the economy collapsed–the City has failed to implement its plans, but still has the power of eminent domain over the 1,100 acre area until 2018.

Koire is the author of the book “Behind The Green Mask“. In the book Koire states:

No matter where you live, I’ll bet that there have been hundreds of condos built or planned in the center of your town recently. Over the last ten years there has been a “planning revolution: across the US. It was the implementation of Growing Smart.

Your commercial, industrial and multi-residential land was rezones to “mixed use”. Nearly everything that got approvals for development was designed the same way: ground floor retail with two or three stories of residential above. Mixed use.

Very hard to finance for construction, and very hard to manage since it has to have a high density of people in order to justify the retail. A lot of it empty and most of the ground floor retail is empty too. High Bankruptcy rate. Two areas like this in Jacksonville Florida – off Gate and Southside where Three Forks Restaurant is? And at Town Center mall. [My emphasis]

Florida has been run by Republicans for over a decade. It was during that decade that “sustainable development” became the cause of the party and those elected at every level. All in the name of the taking of property to insure social justice for future generations.

Stealth gay marriage bill introduced by Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-FL 31)

Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-FL 31)

The Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC) in an email to supporters states, “Deceptively named by its Democrat sponsor [Senator] Eleanor Sobel the ‘Families First’ bill, it at first glance appears to be creating a mere domestic partnership like the others in Florida that would usually include hospital visitation and burial rights. But then after getting deeper into the fine print of the monster 30 page bill, it is discovered that it is brazenly proposing an exact mirror of the every aspect of both Federal and Florida marriage laws allowing for gays and lesbians to enter an arrangement that is both ‘treated as marriage’ and which is not just the ‘substantial equivalent’ of marriage but audaciously attempt’s to be an exact equal to marriage.”

Senator Sobel has a long history with the GLBT community in Florida. The Sun-Herald reported in 2008, “Broward County Commissioner Ken Keechl, the first openly-gay member of the Commission, today endorsed Democratic State Senate candidate Eleanor Sobel for the open seat in District 31. Sobel, a member of the Broward School Board, has long been an ally of the GLBT community.”

“I’m excited to accept Commissioner Keechl’s endorsement,” Sobel said. “I have a long history of working with Broward’s gay and lesbian community, and Ken’s support underscores that.” Sobel and Keechl are pictured above (photo courtesy of the Sun-Herald).

Pages 19-21 of the bill SB-196 reads “Any privilege, right, or benefit granted…by marriage… is granted on equivalent terms… to an individual who is or was in a domestic partnership…”

“Therefore SB-196 is not a domestic partnership but an attempt to create a full blown civil union – or an alternative gay marriage. This bill is in direct violation of the Article I, Section 27, the Florida Marriage Protection Act, which was enacted by 62% of Floridians as Amendment 2 on the ballot in 2008 and is therefore blatantly unconstitutional on its face,” notes the FFPC.

The full text of the bill may be read here. There are currently no co-sponsors of the Senate bill.

Representative Mark S. Pafford (D-FL 86)

The companion bill in the Florida House is HB 259. HB 259 was introduced by Representative Mark S. Pafford (D-FL 86) and is co-sponsored by state Representatives Berman (D- FL 90) , Clarke-Reed (D- FL 92),  Cruz (D-FL 62), Danish (D-Fl 63), Edwards (D-FL 98), Fullwood (D-FL 13), Jones (D-FL 14), McGhee (D-FL 117), Moskowitz (D-FL 97), Rader (D-FL 81), Rangel (D-FL 43), Rouson (D-FL 70), Saunders (D-FL 49), Slosberg (D-FL 91), Stark (D-FL 104) and Stewart (D-FL 47).

Efforts are underway to create domestic partnership registries across the state of Florida. Wikipedia lists the following Florida cities with domestic partnership registries:

  • Broward County (Fort Lauderdale): Residents of the county or at least one partner employed by the county. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Clearwater: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Gainesville: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Key West: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Kissimmee: Employees of the city. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • Leon County: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Miami Beach: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • Miami-Dade County: Residents of the county or at least one partner employed by the county. Both opposite- and same-sex couples. The cities of Miami and South Miami also grant additional benefits to domestic partners registered in Miami-Dade County.
  • Monroe County: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples. County employment benefits only.
  • Orange County: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Orlando: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • Palm Beach County: Residents of the county or at least one partner employed by the county. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • Pinellas County: Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Sarasota: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples. City employment benefits only.
  • City of St. Cloud: Employees of the city. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of St. Petersburg: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Tampa: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Tavares: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • Volusia County: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of West Palm Beach: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.

NOTE: Senator Sobel and all of the Florida House sponsors of HB 259 represent one of these communities.

SB 196, if passed, will then allow those listed on domestic partnership registries to be considered as legally “married” in Florida. The bill would have taken effect on July 1, 2013. However, HB 259 died in Civil Justice Subcommittee.

Enterprise Florida: Economic Development or Corporate Welfare?

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

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

The report states:

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

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

The report finds:

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read the full report.

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

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

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

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

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

The report states:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read the full twelve page report click here.

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