Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Closet" Democrats Everywhere

Oh, it's bad. It's a damn shame. It's like a sickness. A sickness of cowardice. A disease.

I had a bagel this morning with an old friend of mine who worked with me, years back, on a daily news-rag.

And she told me something that just about made me sick to my stomach. She said that during a Bill Nelson fundraiser held at a swanky country club in Indian River County, the media were kept out not by republican thugs adversarial to the press.

Oh no. No. It was the democrats themselves who fought to keep the press out, especially the photographers. Why? Because the social stigma, and the business repercussions of admitting affiliation with the democratic party! These were potentially too great to risk!

So be a dear and put your cameras down and not ask who's in here donating a measly $25 per plate in a milquetoast effort to - yeah yeah- "support" Bill Nelson.

"Good God! After all, so and so down the street might just discover we are (gasp!) associated with Bill Nelson! OMG and he's, like, one step away from Mao!"

"Heavens, and our business might dry up, to-boot!"

I have one question: what the hell is this, Northern Ireland? Are we living in Ulster? Are we living in the days of Sinn Fein? I mean, where is Gerry Adams when you need him? What's next? A wall? Murals? Hostages? Bombs? Barbed wired? Where the hell is this? Is this America?

Is it now illegal to be a democrat?

What is going on? And democrats? What a bunch of craven cowards! When was the last time you heard of a republican ashamed to admit he was a republican? What the hell is wrong with you people? Seriously. How do you expect your man to have a fighting chance to get re-elected if you're too damned chickenshit to claim him as your own?

Is this what it comes down to? Your "friends" might make your business dry up? Wait? In addition to not inviting you to their next party?

Do you have "friends" like this? If so what sort of a weak sap are you, if you have "friends" like this? If you stomach these sort of friends, what sort of a craven gutless social weakling are you? How do you gaze in the mirror? How do you meet your own eyes?

If these are your friends and you are still sucking up to a social set capable of this sort of behavior you have no soul; you have no core; you have no right, to call yourself a democrat. You, my friend, don't get it. And you likely never will. You are a limousine liberal. The worst kind, a cowardly one. You need to seek another political party that has no core, no spine, no soul, no objectives, no principles other than self interest. No social conscience.

Hey! They're called republicans. Look into it. Leave the good works to people who care.

And this sort of cowardice isn't isolated to Indian River County either. No. My local newspaper Florida Today just shoveled along the last serious investigative reporter they had - Jeff Schweers- to greener pastures elsewhere. Arizona I am hearing. Where the local Gannett paper there will likely keep him locked in a corporately sanitized muffled muted hamster cage, just the way they did here.

I have seen weekly newspapers offering more news content, more push back to tyranny, than our Gannett rag these days. I mean, it's bad. I swear to God. It's...I don't even like to admit I used to work there. Godawful. Shameful. Literally, like reading a baby-food package.

Cowardly retreat from corporate tyranny is not confined to newspapers, either.

I have actually heard that local teachers are too afraid of being labeled as "anti-christian" to offer support for our local candidate for the Florida house; too cowardly to help unseat a republican thug who thinks dwarf tossing is a remedy for our ailing economy. A thug who votes lock step with the ongoing efforts to (wait for it) dismantle public education. The same effort whose ugly natural conclusion is these same teachers reapplying for their old jobs, at half pay and no benefits from a big-box learning corporation.

Teachers won't step up to unseat our dwarf tossing republican who hates teachers; because they are too insipidly concerned for the social stigma, and reduced opportunity for advancement, should they be "outed" as a democrat.

Dig that.

Talk about being brainwashed to vote against your own interests; apparently, just like during the days of the inquisition, all you have to do to get the masses to kow-tow is tell them they are going to hell if they start to think, if they start to look out for themselves. If they dare to raise their heads up and look at what's really going on; sure, they're "hell-bound" See? They're "baby killers". They "don't support the troops". The "d" word.

And some of you democrats fall for this? How dare you call yourselves democrats. How dare you say you are "progressive" or you are "liberal?"

Until you show some spine, stand up and fight, you don't have the right to use these words in describing yourself.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tax Breaks for Big Corp at Work

Just before I got fired for doing my job as a newspaper reporter (and doing it well), I wrote this article:

I had no choice but to write it. Some things you can't ignore; not and call yourself a reporter. There I am sitting at a city council meeting, and in comes this distraught woman. She's been canned from DRS/Finmeccanica (weapon's maker) at the same moment the company is taking massive tax breaks and incentives to move their major operations from Palm Bay into the neighboring city of Melbourne.

The move, costing Melbourne city taxpayers $650,000 in tax incentives and road improvements, was touted as a way to bring in 10 high paying jobs into Brevard County, and retain 450 more.

But the woman, Heike Alpert, said she was only one of 17 employees being laid off in the move, that very day! Which by 8th grade math is -7 jobs.

How perverse are these people, by the way? Fire 17 employees the same week you're getting tax cheese for "bringing in jobs".

Let's see that means for every job lost, $92,857 was paid. Oh but $85,000 was paid to improve roads for the company. And since those improvements remain behind, let's deduct that as we need to be totally fair to everyone included and, yep, $565,000/-7 that makes, -$80,714

Yes, the city paid a corporation $80,714 per full time position nixed, and collateral damaged ten more newly minted "I lost my job" zombies sent to the unemployment lines.

The city said "here's money, so you can fire some workers! Have at it!"

No? That's not what they said? Not fair? It wasn't quite like that? City fathers thought they were doing the right thing? Yeah?

Yeah because the company essentially said, if you don't give us this money, 450 employees, who we are now holding hostage, can't remain in Brevard County any more, bitches! And we'll fire all their asses, or we'll send them to New Jersey! Because we are just that damned crazy!'

No? That's not how it works? I'm being harsh again, am I?

Wake up. That's how these deals work more often than you'd care to know and no one ever calls them on it! What ticked my memory on this beside the fact that my first article may have done the job in getting me fired?

Well, because the company in question just career-killed 70 of those 450 hostages; laying off as many workers yesterday.

And my local paper tried to bury the news on 4-B until I called them on it, on their facebook page. They grudgingly posted the item on their webpage, and I have shared it with you here: the entire story, that no one will ever tell you. Certainly not Florida Today.

That's okay, you can thank me by buying my book here.

Subtlety alert!(The web links are found in the different colored print)

Kids, this is how the "tax breaks" for the "job creators" shell game often works. One has to ask cui bono from these little deals? Because there's always a 'cui' and it never works out that that cui is a taxpayer. So why are public officials so damned lustful toward these deals? Gee, I wonder.

Interesting thing about DRS is they make targeting and acquisition for tanks, heads up displays and so on. You know, war stuff.

Here was an American company raised on the mother's milk of the American tax dollar. They develop this gear which our troops use.

Then in 2006, they sold the company all of it to Finmeccanica, an Italian weapon's manufacturer.

Great. There go your tax dollars and the know-how!

Not that we have a problem with the Italians -yet- but, who are they going to sell this gear to?

Talk about transfer of technology, there's every chance the gear, the know how, all of it will be trained right back on us as weaponry in the upcoming worldwide conflagration.

All of the people in this deal are the same sort of folks who would call you a Jesus-hating communist, an Obamalover, if you point any of this out.

There's no check no balance on whether those who qualify for corporate food stamps ever use their money to "create jobs" or even better society one iota. None.

Hell there are no assurances that your tax dollars aren't going to create weapons that might end up in the hands of someone who eventually kills you or one of your children.

Oh, but, Rick Scott wants to make sure you prove that you're out there making your cold calls every week to qualify for your measly $215 in unemployment. And as you slip into poverty, citizen, he wants to make sure that when you apply for food stamps you're not taking drugs.

You damned freeloader!

Monday, November 14, 2011

#RickScott should work for 1 day, as an unemployed person

He should get up at 7 a.m. to the pangs of hunger. Or maybe to the thumping of the landlord's fist on the door to his run-down apartment, or maybe the sounds of coughing at the shelter, or the maddening itch of a thousand mosquitoes in the woods.

(Let's not go that far. Say he still has his apartment that his wife banished him to for "losing" his job.)

He should walk over to the moldering couch with his breakfast, a cup of coffee from last night in his hand, turn on television if he still has one, and enjoy the local news - featuring Rick Scott pretending to work a job somewhere. A job the common unemployed man would scream, just scream bloody murder to get.

Let him repair to the shower. No soap? No problem, there's still some Dawn under the sink. Toothpaste? Baking soda. Necessity being the mother of invention.

Maybe Rick Scott could then check his messages, if he still has a cell phone. He can listen to his (former?) wife crying, howling for him to pay his child support; to come up with a solution to a cornucopia of problems facing the new nuclear family (mom and kids, dad parts unknown) the corporatocracy is creating throughout the American landscape.

Perhaps she waits for the sick child in need of antibiotics, outside the doctor's office without a stitch of insurance to pay for the visit, or the medication that will be prescribed. Maybe the lights have been turned off at home; she's in a panic at a bus station the children in tow having brought them to work with her, to the consternation of her employer. Maybe the sheriff's department is at the door on eviction day. Where will she go? No one has answers. He makes no sounds down the line. She hangs up after screaming at him for his uselessness.

Next, if he has the money for a bus, he can with thumping headache, make for his first destination a Solantic Walk In Care Center, there to take a drug test in order to continue to qualify for food stamps which will be sent back home.

Where next?

McDonald's of course, with a stack of resumes in hand, highlighting his skills; detailing his last job as a sales manager at a major food chain; or perhaps he was a junior insurance claims adjuster, or perhaps he was a nurse at the local public hospital. Maybe he was an ESOL teacher, or a social studies instructor and driver's ed teacher, all of course, none of these skills will translate to the position of fry cook at the local fast food schlep-stand and everyone in the equation knows it; especially the hiring manager.

And of course there is that college degree and that master's in education working against him now. He's "overqualified" not to mention too old. And he's been out of work for two years. So it's down to the strip mall, door to door.  No. No one wants him at Belk Lindsey. No one wants him at Kohls. No one wants him at Marshall's. No one wants him. No one.

What's next?

With resources dwindling, let Rick Scott then hitch back to his apartment feeling lightheaded and thoroughly demoralized. There, just in time to take nutrition in the last dregs of a liter bottle of Diet Coke, and a slice of cheese on some moldy bread.

So with one last comfort to him, let him turn on the television news again, to see a segment about his alternate universe self brag about tax breaks to so and so corporation, to see his alternate self pump a fist to mythical projected "jobs" as if they exist now; right goddamn now! When everyone knows the factory in question is yet to be created; the roads, the pipes, the other services the dregs of his own property taxes are paying for, won't be in place for more than a solid year.

By which time so and so corp. could just as easily bring talent in from out of state, or out of the country. Or they could claim their plans changed; exigencies of a down market course. You all understand the needs of "job creator" Corporation So and So come first these days in the new Florida. What are you some sort of socialist? Are you a commie? And who's to stop them from not hiring a single soul?

Certainly not Rick Scott in the governor's mansion, who by which time will have long ago filed those "new jobs" in the win column, and of course used them as a basis for more tax cuts, for more corporations, for more "job creation".

Let Rick Scott then lay his head on that dusty pillow with the knowledge that tomorrow, he will have to get up and do it again. And on that next day he knows he will hear the denigrating and snide remarks on every television he passes by - the cynical, blistering chides from a thousand experts from the GOP and the Tea Party - urging him to just get off his ass, and get a job.

And the biggest voice in that chorus of oblivious "let them eat cake" hatred, will be that of Rick Scott.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Miami New Times (Remote) Interview

Miami New Times Writer David Minsky asked me about my book, what's in it, why I was suspicious of the 38,000 ballots in Hillsborough.

Below are my responses to him from his ten questions (one's a repeat) which you can guess by reading them.

New Times went curiously silent when I detailed what I thought happened in Hillsborough. Minsky twice said the interview would run, but when presented with additional evidence regarding the flaws in our voting systems throughout the state (and what I have presented here is only the tip of the iceberg) the New Times went mum.

This happens a lot with big media. Telling people their vote may not be totally secure is something akin to asking Neo to take the 'red pill'.

It could be the larger story of the vulnerabilities in Florida's elections systems has either scared them from mentioning me. Or it may be something they wish to pursue themselves without involving me.

So be it. It's enough for me to know and you to know that if they pursue this story, I brought it to them after they approached me about my new book. In any event I spent time on my responses to them, and so I don't want that time to be wasted. I offer them here.

Dear Mr. Minsky;
Thanks so much for your interest.

1. Summary: We take the reader through his election and the first legislative year in office. We start with his budget statement at The Villages, flash back to our brief introduction to him on Rick Sanchez’s show (CNN), as head of Conservatives for Patients Rights. And from there we move forward until the end of October this year. All the while we dissect his major policies including healthcare, drug testing, education. We also discuss how he is working in lock step with the republican supermajority (Super pejorative). During this time we learn some distressing things about our elections in Florida and the 38,000 rescanned ballots in the middle of the night in Hillsborough County which, there is a very strong argument, carried the day for him to gain his office in the first place.

2. I decided to write a blog first. If there was a key event I’d say it came back in February he floated a trial balloon ( or trial turd, if you will) that he wanted to close as many as 52 “underperforming” state parks. That set me in motion. I had seen this sort of thing before in Brevard County. That just burned me up because I know it’s a scam. By March he had totally revealed himself as harmful to the state with his attacks on education. I am a former teacher, as well as a former journalist. I know how tough it is to teach. I know what these heroes go through day in day out. Aside from which I cannot enumerate all of the good things Brevard County public school teachers and administrators have done for my kids. I would take a bullet for some of them. I mean that. His attacks on teachers and public schools are inexcusable.

3. I have been published before going the traditional route. My book Where Hell Freezes Over can still be seen on Amazon. (Please excuse the long link here)
I knew how long the traditional route can take. I didn’t spend much, if any time, trying to get the major publishers interested. I thought this book must come out before the next legislative session so that the people of my state know the entire picture of what is happening to them. The traditional publishing route simply isn’t designed to be that reactive.

4. Rick Scott has created a cottage industry in the form of antipathy toward himself. There are many worthy groups out there, namely Pink-Slip Rick, Awake the State, Progress Florida, and the list goes on and on. There is a vast market that he has created. And of course, he did tell us “let’s get to work.” So I got to work, on him.
I knew getting it out prior to Christmas was key relative to the build up before the next session in the legislature. There is also a heavy political season brewing as you know. The Tampa Republican Nomination Convention is in August. You see Rick Scott rolling out “Ricky 2.0” his new, toned-down, kinder, gentler version of himself. He’s even trotting out the Bob Graham workaday routine. (Vomit.) I am not going to let the leopard change his spots and continue to run a con on the State of Florida. He is a shill for a very dangerous, fascist agenda. All you have to do is lay out the record, which I have done, spicing it with some humor and righteous rage, and you see that. A few days ago, it dawned on me the perfect time was approaching in the anniversary of his election.

5. The title morphed from Rick Scott for Dummies to Running it Like an Asshole, to Rick Scott: Hatchet Man, to Rick Scott: Criminal Intent, to Rick Scott: Enemy of the State.
You see they grew more serious. This, because his attacks on us grew worse. The latter title fit best because what he is doing is quite literally attacking Florida. He is an attacker, a hostile occupier, an enemy. As Alex Sink said during the campaign, he’s not a “businessman” he’s not a rugged individualist “boot-strapper” he’s a corporate raider. That type of person masks a lack of vision with the drama and furious He sells off assets in order that the stock holders receive a temporary bump in their share price. Then he bails. He’s on to the next thing. He loses interest. He often leaves the place significantly worse off than when he arrived. He uses a spread sheet to justify himself. The numbers thereon are often gibberish, lies, meaningless.
But, with Rick Scott it goes even further than that: he’s running this game on us ,too. He’s trying to turn Florida into a demonstration farm for the new corporatized, fascist America. We’re his guinea pigs. Each one of us is but an asset on a spread sheet. Our homes, our schools, the institutions that keep us safe, such as our prison system; he considers them his now, to do with as he will.

6. I started seriously working on it as a book in May but much of the material was available already from my blog www.rickscottwatch.blogspot.com. Getting involved with Facebook, “Rick Scott Watch” (with the eyeball) I was tapped into a source and became a source of information concerning his administration. I was encouraged by the size of the “outrage” market.

7. I haven’t sought offers in the traditional route. And it’s been out less than 48 hours, so not yet.
8. That it’s funny as well as serious. If you want to commiserate with a fellow Floridian as equally pissed off as you are, buy this book. I want them to know that everything I say is backed up by copious notes at the end. (Kindle doesn’t allow footnotes to appear on the pages so these are at the back just before the end notes.) I invite them to explore the end notes thoroughly, use every link. Our election system is compromised but only by continuing to vote en masse can we show it for the ponzied and hacked scheme that it has become here in Florida. I demonstrate that. I want an investigation into 38,000 “rescanned” ballots on election night in Hillsborough County. There has never been an official inquiry into that. There remains no answer from officialdom. I find this unacceptable and, one could argue, indicative of a fraudulent election that gave us Rick Scott.

9. See answer #2.

10. I started out this life as a democrat, flirted with republicanism following 9-11, found out I was lied to, and returned to my roots with a vengeance.

11. Quoting from a letter I sent to him asking for comment, here is the last paragraph.
“All opinions, slang profane or otherwise, are honestly expressed.
I mean no harm to your person, your family. I only ask you remove yourself from public office and return to private business with all success and blessings following you. Failing that I will make every effort to remove you from your post by all means legal and non-violent, through whatever voice I can express myself.
I remain at your service for whatever response you’d care to give. Failing a response I simply must publish the work in time for broadest possible circulation.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Voting System Major Flaws Before #RickScott eElection

Recent documents have surfaced indicating that the Florida Department of State was warned about massive vulnerabilities in our elections systems prior to Rick Scott's election, and did nothing about it.

Florida's Secretary of State is the chief elections officer. But the office is partisan appointed.

Newly elected Gov. Charlie Crist  appointed then Paco County Supervisor of elections Kurt Browning to the postion in 2007. Browning held that position until April 2010, then retired abrubtly, three weeks after Rick Scott announced his candidacy.

Browning, who was also the head of the ES and S (election machine vendor) elections supervisors users group, was re-hired as a double-dipper in January of this year.

But in July 2010, with Dawn Roberts serving as interim secretary of state, an outfit called Florida Voters Foundation sent her a memo highlighting problems with the voting systems statewide.

Paragraph one gets right to it:

"We are writing to express concern over threats to Florida elections including voting systemsdefects, cyber security administrative procedures and inadequate county funding. All pose serious threats to Florida elections including the August 24 primary in 49 days and the general election in November."

Page three, paragraph four, indicates that a software patch for chips in the tabulating machines by Dominion which had acquired some of their hardware from ESand S, and software from Premier, was not given to Dominion in time to prevent those chips from failing.

As we know, a failure in vote counting memory cards downloading was blamed in the 38,000 rescanned ballot fiasco in Hillsborough County.  Hillsborough uses Dominion voting systems.

Earlier in the report the group points out flaws in the optical scanning machines by Premier, which were also bought by Dominion voting systems.

Thus, 32 counties out of 67 have reportedly aquired bad code, AND potentially bad hardware which were used in the 2010 election of Rick Scott, and will be used again in the 2012 elections.

The group also noted lax cyber security as far as the submission of electronic ballots in that the official in charge of voter system certification David Drury, told all 67 county supervisors of elections, that "encryption would be optional" in the submission of those ballots.

Additionally, the same screen "freezing issue" that surfaced in the undervote issue of 2006 in Sarasota County which resulted in the erroneous "election" of Congressman Vern Buchanan, was also still evident in ES and S machines in 16 counties.

All of this, leading up to the 2010 election of Rick Scott.

The likelyhood that Kurt Browning didn't know about all these flaws prior to his strategic retirement is highly doubtful.

David Drury who was on hand with Kurt Browning during the recount of 2006 in Sarasota County involving the defective ES and S machines, was employed throughout Browning's retirement/six-month vacation.

Of course none of this conclusively prooves that anyone, knowing of these vulnerabilities, conspired to use said knowledge to ensure that the candidate of his choice, won the election.

No. There is no proof here. Only a trail of Machiavellian coincidences, circumstantial evidence and motive.

Strangely Florida Voters Foundation, charitable 501(c) ceased updating their website after their July 7, 2010 report. The phone number to their Miami address directs one straight to an automated message system that makes no mention of their organization.

However, their sourcing material listed in their report includes the State Constitution, Florida Department of State records, records from the United State's anti-trust lawsuit against ES and S, and a product advisory from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. All credible.

Read all about the Hillsborough election flaws leading to the election of Rick Scott in Rick Scott:Enemy of the State.

Available for download at Amazon.com Kindle Store

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Book About Rick Scott

Well someone went and did it. We're not saying who, but, here it is. And here's the link if you want a copy!!!!

Back in February "Rick Scott Watch" began the quest of documenting the horror: the election of and the continued assault on the masses by, Rick Scott.

Soon it became obvious that a combination of blogspot, facebook and twitter were needed in order to get the message out that we were under attack in Florida.

The blog posts began to take on the form of chapters within three months of beginning the combined effort known as "Rick Scott Watch. It wasn't until we delved into his election, though, the seriousness of what was happening in Florida really began to dawn on the author of this work.

These days the idea of waiting for a major publisher to make an offer on a work that needs to get out NOW is distasteful as it is comical. The traditional publishing industry isn't designed to be reactive in its current state. There was no other choice.

A few weeks ago, NYT produced an article on Amazon/Kindle's new format, Kindle Direct. It turned out to be a perfect match for us. The book arrives a year to the hour since his election. Recall, he wasn't officially the winner until the early hours of Nov. 3 because of a very suspicious SNAFU in the Hillsborough County elections office.

Read all about it on your Kindle or Apple analog device. Enjoy!