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Florida Governor Scott King's plan to disenfranchise minorities voters

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Rick Scott


Florida -- it's the state that seems to set the benchmark for political and social dysfunction in the nation.

From hanging chads to voter roll grabs to face eating drug addicts, working for the Florida Tourist Board must be the loneliest job in America.

It's governor is Rick Scott, a Tea Party Republican who sank more than $73 million of his own money into his election. Not surprisingly it was the most expensive gubernatorial campaign in Florida's history.

If you're willing to invest that kind of money into your own campaign shouldn't voters be a little suspicious of you?

Not in Florida. Republicans hold a two-thirds majority in the Florida Senate and in the Florida House of Representatives. The Republican National Convention will be held in Tampa, Florida.

Florida apparently loves super rich Republicans. Sadly, the romance is one way.  Well, if you're not fabulously wealthy, that is.

In April, in the middle of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Scott used a veto to cut funding to the state’s rape crisis centers. The state legislature had approved $1.5 million so that the centers could continue to serve the approximately 700,000 women in Florida who’ve been victims of rape.

But Scott decided that the .002 percent slated for the crisis centers was too much. He vetoed the funds, alongside $141 million in other cuts including a psychiatric medicine program for the poor, the Family Care Center of Broward County, Girls Incorporated of Sarasota County, and a state settlement for child welfare case managers who were owed overtime.

In other words, he cut funding to rape victims, the poor, the mentally ill, and children and professionals who care for children; he vetoed the kind of programs that prevent America from becoming a Third World country that leaves its weakest members to languish.

As this election and the last decade have made clear, it's never a terrific idea to entrust your government to billionaires.

But Scott is only getting started. Next on his scorched earth agenda is Florida's voting rolls.

On Monday Scott's administration's defied a federal warning against purging suspected non-citizens from state voting rolls. Scott has denied that the effort is meant to target minorities who will likely vote Democratic, but well he would, wouldn't he?

The Miami Herald cited the statistics behind critics' concerns: "About 58% of those flagged as potential non-citizens are Hispanics, Florida’s largest ethnic immigrant population. Hispanics make up 13% of the overall 11.3 million active registered voters."

That sounds a lot like racial profiling to me. But Scott avows it isn't. On Monday he told reporters the timing had nothing to do with the campaign season.

"We need to have fair elections. When you go out to vote, you want to make sure that the other individuals that are voting have a right to vote. That’s what I care about. If you’re a candidate, you want to make sure that the people that vote in your election are people who have a right to vote. So my focus is in making sure that our state has fair elections," he told the Orlando Sentinel.

Trust the billionaire in the Brooks Brothers suit. I don't.

This is a candidate who will take away your vote to protect it. That way he can scrub the votes of minorities who don't see things his way. But what's a little disenfranchisement if the right candidate wins?

This week I read with interest that Mitt Romney is building another new mansion in California.  He's hired his own lobbyist to push his plans through the approval process because frankly he can. At his proposed California beach mansion, each of the cars will have their own separate elevator. This is the man the GOP believes feels your pain.

If you believe that it's all an innocent coincidence that the majority of those targeted by Scott for voter purges are black and Hispanic, then perhaps you should have your own right to vote purged.

Vote purge campaigns led by Republicans have focused on the key battleground states of Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado and New Mexico. Numbers count in close elections.

The intense focus by America's super rich on ensuring that their candidate win at all costs is telling us a story in itself.

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