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

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

So what does Scott want to do with that money?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perliger states:

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

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

How does Perliger portray the modern day anti-Federalists?

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

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

Perliger reports (pages 136-137):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are We Witnessing The Global Failure of the Ethical Life?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taylor goes on to say:

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

Read more.

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

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

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

Rep. Vern Buchanan represents FL CD-16.

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

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

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

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

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

Grassroots movement to arm teachers gains momentum

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

Virginia is considering legislation requiring teachers be armed.

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

armed teacher in israel

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

 GunFreeZoneSign

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

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

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

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

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

RELATED COLUMNS:

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

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

Allen West Concedes

Allen West released the following statement this morning:

For two weeks since Election Day, we have been working to ensure every vote is counted accurately and fairly. We have made progress towards that goal, thanks to the dedication of our supporters and their unrelenting efforts to protect the integrity of the democratic process. While many questions remain unanswered, today I am announcing that I will take no further action to contest the outcome of this election.

While there are certainly still inaccuracies in the results and the actions of the St. Lucie County and Palm Beach County Supervisors of Elections rightly raise questions in my mind and for many voters, after much analysis and yesterday’s recount in St. Lucie County, our legal team does not believe there are enough over-counted, under-counted or fraudulent votes to change the outcome of the election.

While a contest of the election results might have changed the vote totals, we do not have evidence that the outcome would change. Given the extremely high evidentiary hurdles involved in a successful challenge, I will not ask my generous supporters to help fund a drawn-out, expensive legal effort with little chance of success. Therefore, we will not contest the certification or challenge the seating of Congressman-Elect Murphy.

Serving the people in the House of Representatives has been among the highest honors of my life, but this seat does not belong to me, or for that matter, to any individual. It belongs to the people. I want to congratulate my opponent, Patrick Murphy, as the new Congressman from 18th Congressional District. I pray he will serve his constituents with honor and integrity, and put the interests of our nation before his own.

I must thank my wife Angela, and my daughters Aubrey and Austen for their support, patience, understanding and most of all, love. These are three of the toughest women I know. They have sent me off to defend our nation overseas at war and to Capitol Hill to serve our nation in the House of Representatives. They have all handled the challenges of these last few months, and the last many years, with amazing grace. I know they will be my side for whatever is our next chapter.

I must also thank my congressional and campaign staff for their service, and most importantly, I must thank you and our other tremendous supporters who provided their time and money to power our campaign. I am humbled by the dedication and perseverance of our supporters, and their commitment to a free and prosperous America. I cannot thank them enough for all they have done for our campaign, but most importantly, what they have done, and will continue to do for our country. None of us should let the outcome discourage us. We should only redouble our resolve.

Above all, I want to thank God for his blessings, and for blessing me with the opportunity to serve.

Only God knows what is in store for each of us. I have dedicated my life to serving this nation, and the results of this election will not change my purpose. Just as I did in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan, just as I did on Capitol Hill, I will continue to fight for our Republic.

Our nation will not overcome our challenges overnight ,and the road ahead for each one of us will not be easy. But this nation would never have become that shining beacon of light if our founders had chosen the easy path 236 years ago. We all must proudly continue their legacy.

God bless you and God bless these United States of America.

Steadfast and Loyal,

Allen B. West

SILENT CONQUEST: The End of Freedom of Expression in the West

New York: On September 25, 2012, President Obama astonished many Americans by declaring, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” This is a sentiment espoused by radical Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Taliban and al Qaeda. Worse yet, his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, revealed the lengths to which the Obama administration is prepared to go to enforce this view when she told the family of a former SEAL killed last month in Benghazi that the producer of a video she falsely claimed precipitated that attack would be “arrested and prosecuted.” He was subsequently taken into custody and remains in jail.

Now, the powerful documentary SILENT CONQUEST explains why these affronts to the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech are not isolated incidents. Rather, they are part of an ominous pattern of Team Obama’s submission to the stealthy Islamist effort to enforce in this country the supremacist doctrine known as shariah and its prohibition of any expression that “offends” Islam or its god, prophet or followers.

View the trailer:

The film features interviews with U.S. and foreign legislators, journalists, national security and other experts and Muslim, former Muslim and non-Muslim activists including:

  • Best-selling author Mark Steyn
  • Rep. Allen West, Member of Congress
  • Geert Wilders, Member of the Dutch Parliament
  • Baroness Caroline Cox, Member of the British House of Lords
  • ACT! for America founder Brigitte Gabriel
  • Scholar and author Daniel Pipes
  • American Islamic Leadership Council founder Zuhdi Jasser
  • Former Muslim and author Nonie Darwish
  • Former Defense Department official Frank Gaffney
  • Lord Malcolm Pearson, Member of the British House of Lords
  • Naser Kader, Member of the Danish Parliament
  • Author and financial terrorism expert Rachel Ehrenfeld
  • Author Pastor Mark Durie, as well as others.

SILENT CONQUEST offers a frightening insight into the extent to which Europe, Canada and the United Nations have already succumbed to the restrictions of shariah blasphemy laws. Its stark warning about the Obama administration’s substantial efforts to accommodate them here, as well, is a wake-up call for every American.

The documentary was produced by Sanctum Enterprises, LLC.

For a limited time, SILENT CONQUEST can be viewed for free online at silentconquest.com.

Florida Election Night 2012 – What you should look for

Posted on November 5, 2012 by Jamie Miller from Battleground Group:

Some people have asked me “what should I look for in Florida election night?” Here are my thoughts – I’ve grouped the Florida counties below in three categories – Strong Obama, Strong Romney and true swing counties. Every campaign has a path to victory mostly in these counties. These counties will indicate early if Florida is trending toward a 5-point win for Romney like 2004 for Bush or a 2.8 % win for Obama like 2008.

It does not appear that there is major intensity for Obama like 2008, but Romney is not an incumbent President like Bush in 2004.

Strong Obama counties –

Miami/Dade, Palm Beach, Broward, Volusia and Alachua (Obama is going to win more counties than this, but these five are the counties where they can build bigger “swing” and will be a likely indicator of what Romney has to overcome to carry Florida. If Romney only loses these counties by less than 400,000 votes, he should have a very good night, but if Obama is able to push his margins in these five counties up to 500,000, he could be on a path to a victorious night.

Miami-Dade – In 2000 and 2004, Bush mitigated his losses here by less than 50,000 votes. In 2008, Obama won by nearly 140,000 votes. One would think Obama needs a margin of at least 100,000 if he is going to carry the state.

Palm Beach – The margins in 2000/2004 was 115,000 votes but in 2008 Democrats carried the county by an additional 20,000 votes for a 135,000 margin.

Broward – This is the big prize for democrats. Again 2000 and 2004 had almost identical margins of victory for Democrats with wins of 209,000 votes before Obama won the county by 254,000 in 2008. If Obama approaches a win margin of 250,000 it could be a long night for Romney.

Alachua – Home of the University Florida and the Florida Gators. This is a strong county for democrats that historically favors them by 14,000, but in 2008 Obama carried the county by an additional 13,000 for a 27,000 vote win.

Volusia – This is the home of Daytona Beach. This county often votes Republican in gubernatorial elections but normally supports the democrat in Presidential years. This county is an outlier in the fact that it is one of the few democrat-leaning counties where Bush lost the county in ‘04 by just 3,500 votes. GW and McCain lost this county in ’00 and ’08 by similar 14,000 votes. If Romney loses Volusia by less than 10,000 votes, it could be a good night for him. More than 10,000 would show stronger than expected support for the President.

Strong Romney counties –

Southwest Florida counties (Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee and Collier); Brevard County on the Spacecoast; Northeast Florida’s Duval; three counties in central Florida Marion, Polk, and Sumter; and Northwest Florida’s GOP strongholds of Okaloosa and Escambia.

Many of these counties mimicked each other in 2000 and 2008. So it could be these counties are a greater indicator of Romney’s strength and determine if the “GOP motivation” advantage is real. Obama did well in and really mitigated his losses in these counties in 2008.

Duval is the home of the city of Jacksonville and normally goes big for Republicans. George W. won here by 44k votes in 2000 and more than 60k votes in 2004. Obama didn’t win here but he lost by just 7,900 votes. Duval is historically one of the first large counties to announce vote tallies and should be a good indicator of whether Romney will do well in Florida. It is one area of the state that Romney did not do as well in the primary, however.

Brevard is one of Florida’s hardest hit counties by the great recession. It is one of the counties that Republicans can run up a large margin in just one area. GW won by 18k and 43k in ’00 and ’04. McCain split the difference and won by nearly 30k votes. So, it is more of an indicator of how well Romney is doing and not necessarily how bad Obama may be doing in the state. Romney needs to win here by 40-50k votes.

Southwest Florida – These five counties provided G. W Bush with margins of about 90,000 votes in 2000 and 136,000 votes in 2004. Romney really needs to be above a 100k vote margin in these five counties if he’s going to win the state. Obama lost this area of the state by just 74k votes.

Polk, Marion and Sumter counties are indicative of where rural counties are going to go. Polk is the one “non-swing, GOP, I-4 corridor” county. Republicans won here by 15k votes in 2000 and 2008. In 2004, Bush was able to push his margin here to nearly 38k. A 15k-vote win here for Romney probably shows a very close race like 2000 or a GOP loss like 2008. Marion County is a GOP county but is an indicator of how well a Republican is going to do in the state. GW won this county by just 10k in 2000 and 24k in 2004. McCain did well in this county in 2008, however winning by nearly 19k votes. So Marion is more an indicator of how seniors are voting and not necessarily an indicator of an Obama loss. Sumter is a former rural county that now is home to The Villages retirement community. GOP wins have grown every election cycle and I don’t think that will change. GW won here in 2000 by 2,400 and in 2004 he won by 8,200. Like Marion, Sumter County performed well for McCain. He won here by 13,200 votes. Anything less than that would spell real trouble for Romney.

Northwest Florida – The polls stay open here in the Central Time Zone until 8 p.m. (EST) and two of the larger counties where a Republican can build margins are Escambia and Okaloosa. If Okaloosa trends toward a 50,000+ win like Bush in ’04 and Escambia trends toward Bush’s 45,000 vote victory in ’04, it would be good news for Romney. The total of the 10 counties in the Central Time Zone needs to approach 180,000 margin for a big victory on election night.

That brings us to the major swing counties in the state. I include Orange (Orlando) and St. Lucie in this group even though Obama is going to win both of these counties. The others to watch in this category are Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco.

Orange County is the first county in the history of the state to switch from Democrat to Republican and now back to Democrats. GW lost here by 5k vote in ’00 and just 800 in ’04. But, Obama won huge here in 2008, by more than 85,000 votes. Obama likely wins big here again, but if it is “only” by 50k, it could be an indicator that Obama didn’t motivate his voters like he did in 2008. It is possible for Obama to win here by 100k votes and lose Florida, but it would surely be an indicator of a much closer race than most final polls indicate.

Hillsborough – Florida’s latest bell-weather county. This county, the home of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, voted in favor of Bush in ’00 and ’04 by 11k and 31k respectively. But, this county swung to Obama by more than 36,000 votes in ’08. No one is going to win by just the margin in this county, but it would likely be an indicator of how well each campaign’s television ads were received during the campaign.

Pinellas County is home to some of the nicest beaches in the state, but is also a “lean-Democrat” County. Bush won Pinellas in ’04 by just 226 votes. If Romney wins here, it is an indicator that he won Florida big. An Obama win here of 25,000 votes, might be an indicator of a long night for both campaigns.

Pasco County north of Tampa is also a county that democrats can win, but can provide large margins for Republicans. GW lost this county in ’00 by about 1,000 votes but won here four years later by more than 18k votes. This county is an indicator of where “swing” voters are going with their votes. These are also economic voters and Obama lost here in ’08 by about 8,000 votes.

That brings us to St. Lucie County which is nestled between Democrat strongholds in SE FL and the GOP stronghold on the Space Coast. Prior to 2000, St. Lucie was Florida’s bell-weather county, but it has trended toward democrats in the past three elections. GW lost here twice both times by less than 7,000 votes. Obama beat McCain here by almost twice that margin, nearly 15,000 votes. If Obama approaches that type of margin, he may be in the midst of an upset in the state.

So, who wins Florida?

We will know in just a few hours, but in short, it’s the candidate who motivates his base, mitigates his losses in his weaker areas of the state, and who is able to keep from being blown out in the I-4 corridor. My prediction? I think Romney wins Florida big, by 5-6 points. If it turns out to be a bigger margin than that, we could have an upset in the U.S. Senate race, but I think Romney would have to win really big in Florida, by 8 points, to provide coattails for Congressman Mack.

Jamie Miller from Battleground Group

ABOUT JAMIE MILLER

Jamie Miller is a political consultant specializing in political campaign management, strategic planning, public relations, grassroots motivation, and crisis communications. He has been involved with running and managing political campaigns since 1994. Learn more at Battleground Group.

BREAKING FROM FOX NEWS: Smoking Gun Benghazi Cable

Catherine Herridge on Greta van Susteren 10/31/12 discussing classified diplomatic cable (dated 8/16/12, almost a month before Benghazi attack) obtained by Fox News.

“I really believe, having read it, that it is the smoking gun warning here… I can’t think of anything that would be more specific than if these groups had emailed the state department and said, ‘here’s the time, here’s the place, and here’s the method of the attack’… If you couple this with the statements that a videotape was somehow responsible, what you see is that is completely undercut… What I see is a growing body of evidence that the state department has culpability for the death of the Ambassador and those other three Americans.”

James Carafano at The Heritage Foundation asks five fundamental and serious questions about the Benghazi cable that was ignored by the Obama Administration. The cable concluded that the consulate could not withstand a “coordinated attack.” Further, the cable identified terrorist groups that were operating in the area. The existence of this document raises some serious questions:

1. Why was the cable kept secret for so long?
2. How could anyone rule out a terrorist attack?
3. Why didn’t the Administration provide any interim findings of their investigation into the Benghazi attack?
4. Why wasn’t a coordinated rapid response force ready to go?
5. How long do we have to wait to get answers to obvious questions?

RELATED COLUMN:

Benghazi blunder: Obama unworthy commander-in-chief

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

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

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

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

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

FAIR notes the following positions of the candidates:

Some of President Obama’s stances included:

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

Gov. Romney’s stances included:

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

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

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

VIDEO: Buchanan – Fitzgerald debate:

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

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

Their letter dated October 10, 2012 states in part:

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

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

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

Click here to read entire letter.

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

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

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

LTC Matt Dooley

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Our soldiers deserve his leadership.”

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

“Superb performance.”

“Matt is a consummate professional with unlimited potential;”

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

Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rallies Come to Florida

On Saturday, October 20, 2012 concerned citizens across Florida will voice public opposition to the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services Mandate. These rallies are taking place the weekend before the final Presidential Debate, being held at Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida.

The HHS Mandate forces all employers—including Catholic schools and hospitals—to provide surgical sterilizations, abortion-inducing drugs, and free contraceptives through their health plans, regardless of religious or moral convictions. Refusal to obey ‘central planner’ mandates millions in IRS penalties forcing closings.

The St Petersburg Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally will begin at 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM joining over 150 other cities and towns (10 in Florida) from Maine to Hawaii that are participating in this national event. A complete list of rally sites and other details is building at StandUpForReligiousFreedom.com.

“The St Petersburg Oct 20 Voter Stand Up Rally builds on the tremendous momentum created by the two Stand Up Rallies held on March 23, and June 8 totaling 130,000 citizens of all faiths attending local rallies in 150 cities. With the November elections in sight, the Oct 20 Voter Stand Up Rally is expected to draw even larger crowds,” says Dr. David McKalip.

The “St Petersburg Voter Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally” has been organized by Michael F Brennan, and the ad hoc Coalition Committee. Guest speakers include those candidates for office who are appalled at the ‘central planning’ characteristics of the Health and Human Services plans intending to decimate religious freedom with million dollar penalties that could lead to government takeover of charities and hospitals.

What: Voter Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally
When: Saturday, Oct 20, 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM.
Where: Near 4th St North and 62nd Ave North, St Petersburg http://founderscorner.us
Who: Local citizens opposed to Obamacare’s HHS Mandate

Guest Speakers include State Senator Jeff Brandes and State Representative Larry Ahern. The date for the Voter Stand Up Rally was chosen to highlight the opportunity presented by the Nov 6th election.

“Obamacare has been ruled constitutional. We must ensure that religious freedom will be protected in subsequent health care legislation” explained Michael F Brennan. “We must inform the voter that faith-based institutions and private businesses should not be violated or penalized for religious convictions that are protected by Law and are embedded in the First Amendment to the Constitution.”

Brennan emphasized that the Voter Stand Up Rally has nothing to do with access to contraception. “There is no ‘war on contraception’ in our country. Contraception is already widely, cheaply available. What’s really under attack today is religious freedom. ‘Central Planning’ manipulations are at the heart of these Health and Human Services planners. Takeover of charities by Washington D.C. in order to weaken opposition to future directives is endemic in their modus operandi. Just connect the dots.”

The Oct 20 Voter Stand Up Rally will inform St Petersburg: “We’re standing up for the First Amendment and demanding that all our health care laws respect religious freedom. The Supreme Court will not address the HHS mandate of Obamacare till late 2013.” Brennan explained.

For more information please contact: Michael F Brennan, (727) 518-5171, michaelfbrennan@gmail.com.

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

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

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

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

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

FL Democrats – Vote Against Combat Disabled Veterans

The Democrat Party of Sarasota, Florida has issued its sample ballots for the November 6, 2012 election. On the sample ballot is a recommendation to Vote No on the Florida Veterans Property Tax, Constitutional Amendment 2.

Florida Veterans Property Tax, Amendment 2 will appear on the November 6, 2012 state ballot in Florida as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The proposed measure would allow for property tax discounts for disabled veterans. This bill explicitly extends the the rights to ad valorem tax discounts, made available in 2010 to all veterans who were residents of Florida prior to their service, to all combat-disabled veterans currently living in Florida whether they were residents prior to their service or not. The proposed measure requires 60 percent voter approval for adoption.

Lee F. Kichen, Sarasota County, Florida resident and Chairman of the Legislative Committee of Florida’s Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) decried any recommendation to vote ‘No’ on Amendment 2. “We are absolutely astounded that there are political activists that are telling Florida voters that veterans with combat related disabilities don’t deserve a benefit earned in the crucible of battle. The precious right to vote has been guaranteed for over two hundred years by the countless sacrifices of American men and women who served in combat,” states Kichen

“A vote Yes on Amendment 2 is a vote for all of Florida”, says Kichen.

Amendment 2 changes a previously approved Constitutional amendment passed by Florida voters. According to local veterans it “rights a wrong by amending the language to include all combat disabled veterans living in Florida”. The amendment, if passed, becomes effective on January 1, 2013. The reduction in ad valorem taxes would not be realized by disabled veterans until tax year 2013–2014. Florida already provides a discounted ad valorem tax payment for combat-related disability, but it is currently limited to those individuals who were Florida residents when entering U.S. military service.

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, Florida is home to 1.68 million veterans, of which 240,102 are receiving disability compensation. Florida has the highest percentage of population who are veterans of any state.

The League of Women Voters also opposes Amendment 2. To see their voting guide click here.

Courtesy of New York Times Company

Deirdre Macnab, state president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, writes, “Being invited to write a column to oppose tax breaks for disabled veterans, low-income seniors and spouses of veterans and first responders (our EMTs, firefighters, etc.) killed in the line of duty is like being asked to throw torpedoes at the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. But do it I will. That’s because this November, Florida voters will see 11 of the most confusing, complex and sometimes misleading state ballot amendments ever proposed, and voters will need to decide: Do I want this in our state constitution?”

Kitchen notes, “The League of Women voters stated the 11 amendments before the voters are ‘…confusing, complex and sometimes misleading…”. Amendment 2 is clearly and unambiguously the most simple. It allows all combat related disabled veterans, homesteaded in Florida and over the age of 65 to earn a benefit that has been already on the books for men and women who entered the military from Florida.'”

Macnab states, “The League’s concern is twofold: First, is the state constitution the appropriate place for tax breaks … for anyone? …Second, should Florida have a level playing field for taxes?”

“Florida is a better place because so many of these aging heroes who chose to retire here. The League and other activist groups are wrongly focused on decreased property tax revenues. They ignore the fact that the 1.6 million veterans living in Florida generate $9.1 billion in direct revenue from the federal government in the form of disability and survivor benefits, VA Health Care, VA construction projects and annual operating expenses. Veterans pay sales, school and property taxes. The League and other opponents fail to understand that a vote against Amendment 2 is more than a vote against combat disabled veterans,” states Kichen.

The League estimates property tax revenues would be reduced by $15 million over the first 3 years if Amendment 2 is passed. Each disabled veteran would see an average decrease in their property taxes of approximately $6,200 over three years.

EDITORS NOTE:

Democrats are also told to vote NO on:

Amendment 8, which repeals ban of public dollars for religious funding (the Freedom of Religion Amendment).

Amendment 9, which authorizes the legislature to totally or partially exempt surviving spouses of military veterans or first responders who died in the line of duty from paying property taxes.

Amendment 11, which authorizes counties and municipalities to offer additional tax exemptions on homes of low-income seniors.

The Decline and Fall of Registered Democrats

According to the Florida Division of Elections there has been a steady decline in the number of registered Democrats since 2008, while during the same period Republicans have gained 66,434 voters. Since 2009 the number of voters registering as Republican has been gradually increasing. The greatest increase in registered voters was in the “Other” category. There has been an overall increase in the number of registered voters in Florida.

YEAR                REPUBLICAN         DEMOCRAT       OTHER            TOTAL
2008                  4,106,743                  4,800,890             2,504,290         11,411,923
August, 2012    4,173,177                  4,627,929             2,782,261         11,583,367

Difference        +66,434                     -172,961               +277,971           +171,444

President Obama won Florida in 2008 by a margin of 204,577 votes. The Democrat Party of Florida has since 2008 seen a decrease in the number of registered Democrats of 172,961.

The combination of increased numbers of registered Republicans and the decrease in registered Democrats exceeds President Obama’s margin of victory by 34,818 or a margin of .003 registered voters. Can you say close election in Florida?

Additionally, the margin between registered Republicans and Democrats has narrowed since 2008. In 2008 the difference between the two parties was 694,147. As of August 2012 that has been reduced to 454,725. While there remains more registered Democrats than Republicans in Florida the gap has closed since President Obama was elected.

Both political parties will be wooing the “Other” voters in 2012. That appears to be where all the data mining will occur. If you are an “Other” voter expect to receive more direct mail pieces, more robo-calls and more pressure to vote on November 6, 2012.

The cut off date to register to vote in the November 2012 general election is Monday, October 8, 2012.