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Justin Taylor Meet and Greet at Coastal Pizza

Justin Taylor Meet & Greet at Coastal PizzaNassau County, FL – Justin Taylor, candidate for Nassau County Commissioner, district 5, will host a campaign meet and greet at Coastal Pizza in Yulee.

The event takes place on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Coastal Pizza is located at 464099 SR-200, in Yulee, Florida.

Guests will enjoy free pizza!

This will be a great opportunity for Nassau County residents to learn more about Justin and ask questions or share concerns about the county.

For more information, visit www.VoteJustinTaylor.com.

Europe’s Refugee Dilemma

Merry Christmas Around the World?

Merry Christmas Around the World?

“People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions and that makes life complicated”, Helen Keller pointed out so poignantly.

I’m well aware that SearchAmelia is not really the platform anymore to discuss ‘worldly’ matters, but since we have departed our house for the preparation of a last farewell estate/moving sale and are now temporarily residing at the Inn for a couple of days before saying farewell, I felt that a personal take on the refugee crisis and the terrorism fall-out in Europe and the Middle East, could answer some of the questions my local friends, acquaintances and even family have been sending my way in recent months; especially the few that know of my brief encounters with the Middle Eastern problems some 45 years ago when I spent time researching the Palestinian problem in the Bekaa Valley’s ghettos in those days, resulting from a Palestinian revolt that was violently crushed in Jordan, sending tens of thousands of refugees to the valley.

My take on today’s problems maybe a little colored by those experiences, yet I still am of the opinion that the Daesh (acronym for “al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Iraq wa al-Sham.”)/Isil or Isis leadership should be eradicated now and without prejudice. Failure to do so by allied force, will only escalate their promise to make this a global threat.

If the following story is a bit long for you, you may want to play this Carlos Santana Live Concert in the background, knowing that it has always been my opinion that if you give a kid an instrument and teach him to play, he will very unlikely turn into a gun toting “Mexican criminal” Mr. Trump!

Why is Paris a Preferred Target?

First let me explain a few things about why Paris France is an often preferred target for Muslim terrorist. Today’s Parisians pay the price for atrocities committed by their leaders about 100 years ago (1918) when after World War I, the League of Nations (predecessor of today’s United Nations) gave France the Mandate over Greater Syria (including Lebanon). The first thing the French government did was extending the borders of the Mt. Lebanon province to include all of what is now Lebanon. This was done to enhance the political situation of the Maronite community who’s population would now exceed that of the Sunni Muslims in the new district. A very political move with harsh consequences, it would turn out.

The root of all evil to fester in the Middle East and parts of Africa comes from shifting tribal powers by arbitrarily drawing straight lined nation states with no consideration for who is being cut off from their historic roots. Colonial powers had a habit of doing just that.
If you are interested in a short data chronology of what happened in the Syria/Lebanon area between January 1, 1918 and now, go here.
The French today are paying the price for the political policy sins of their great grand fathers in the Middle East and their Grandfathers in Algeria and other parts of North Africa.

Where are Terrorists Grown?

The next thing to understand about extremism and violence is that the flame ignites usually in well educated and connected upper middle classes, where causes are formulated and over time taken down to the uneducated, disenfranchised and downtrodden of the world. Carlos “the Jackal” was the son of a lawyer, studied at the world renown London School of Economics and Lumumba University in Moscow, Rudi Dutschke who advocated “long march through the institutions of power” came from well established Berlin parents. The attempt on his life in 1968 in a way “created” Germany’s Rote Armee Fraktion, as founder Ulrike Meinhof, the daughter of two professors in Art History and languages, reacted to this attempt with the words: Protest is when I say this does not please me. Resistance is when I ensure what does not please me, will not happen anymore.

Andreas Baader was the son of a post doctorate historian archivist, his girlfriend and Red Army Fraction founder Gudrun Ennslin’s father was a pastor. Ernesto Che Guavara was an Irish/Basque descendant from a politically active rightwing family who became a doctor and revolutionary. Fidel Castro’s father was a first generation successful cane sugar farmer. Fidel’s catholic upbringing included numerous prestigious catholic schools in Cuba. In 1950 he graduated as doctor of law after which he co-founded a legal partnership that catered to poor Cubans. His beginnings were focused on improving the lives of the poor and the victims of corruption and abuse of power, soon after to be replaced by the awareness that absolute power corrupts as a minuscule part of what time perceives as evolution and natural progression.
There are numerous examples in old and recent history that tell the story of how social awareness is expressed. Revolution is just one way and it is always bloody and violent and creates refugee problems.

Attila the Hun and Gengis Khan are still vaguely known in Europe as two “conquerors” who pushed millions of refugees into Europe and actually changed the continent’s history entirely as one can witness even today, when the Germans are still called “Huns” by some.

Africa remembers Hannibal and Hatseputh and many others and if I were a native from the American continent I would mark Columbus Day as a dark day in my people’s history. By the way did you know that Columbus’ son was the first African Slave Trader?

More recently Napolean and Hitler‘s Wars of conquering moved millions from their native grounds and even today’s Israel is the result of a massive refugee exodus after World War II.

Perspective does not make the atrocities committed any less, but it makes the understanding a bit more palatable, without any form of justification.

Those who make it worse

In all ignorance currently sprouting from idiots that think they can bomb this problem away, I have news. You won’t. You couldn’t in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya. Refugees are a problem of humanity and yes these people are with their back against the wall knowing that if more radical elements hide in their ranks, they will not find welcome anywhere and millions will die – children first. But don’t think they would not give up these radicals if given the opportunity to speak up in protection. Do we trust our governments to vet refugees properly maybe the 64 thousand dollar question to deal with, given the abject mission failure of organizations like the TSA?

One thing is however for sure, a hardline approach will finish everything America ever stood for and building walls on the borders is ludicrous, because once you’re down with Mexico’s borders, you may as well start with the Canadian border, considering the election of Pierre Trudeau’s son into the prime minister’s office recently.

Don't let fanatics turn them into terrorists

Don’t let fanatics turn them into terrorists

The Refugee Culture in Europe

Following is what I get in translation from my brothers and friends in Europe, living in Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, Vienna, Copenhagen, Berlin, Rome, Beirut and Norway, who are all intimately familiar with and aware of the history of the middle east.

There’s a meme going around that the refugee crisis in Europe (the largest since World War II) is part of a secret plot to subvert the West.
Of course the locals in any country wouldn’t be happy about waves of foreigners pouring in. Especially if they’re poor, unskilled, and not likely to assimilate in the prevailing culture.
It leads to huge problems. Infrastructure gets strained. All at once more people are sucking at the teat of the welfare system. while the unwelcome newcomers compete for bottom-of-the-ladder jobs. Things easily turn nasty and then turn violent.
But the idea that the refugee crisis in Europe is part of a hidden agenda – rather than a predictable outcome – is at least a little strange. And it’s a notion that conveniently deflects blame away from the people and factors that deserve it.

As I shared in the beginning of this story, the civil wars in the Middle East have over many decades produced millions of refugees. In 1970/71 Lebanon took in several hundred thousand refugees from neighboring Jordan. I saw their camps in the Bekaa Valley and I knew that history would keep on repeating itself.
The ongoing civil war in Syria has now turned the country into a refugee-maker and Syria’s neighbors have reached the physical limit on their ability to absorb refugees.

That’s one of the reasons so many are heading to the West.
Lebanon has received over 1 million Syrian refugees. That’s an enormous number for a country with a population of only 4 million – a 25% increase. Jordan and Turkey also have millions of Syrian refugees. They’re saturated.

The number of refugees heading to the West, by contrast, is “only” in the hundreds of thousands. So far.

But it’s not just Syria that’s sending refugees.
Many more come from Iraq and Afghanistan, two other countries shattered by bungled Western military interventions.
Then there are the refugees from Libya. A country the media and political establishment would rather forget because it represents another disastrous military decision.

Actually, it’s not just Libyan refugees. It’s refugees from all of Africa who are using Libya as a transit point to reach Europe.

Before his overthrow by NATO, Muammar Gaddafi had an agreement with Italy, which is directly to Libya’s north, across the Mediterranean Sea. Gaddafi agreed to prevent refugees heading for Europe from using Libya as a transit point. It was an arrangement that worked. So it’s no shocker that when NATO helped a coalition of ambitious rebels overthrow the Gaddafi regime, the refugee floodgates opened.

When there’s war, there are refugees. It’s a one plus one outcome.
It’s a bit like kicking a beehive and being surprised that angry bees fly out. Nobody should be surprised when that happens. And nobody should be surprised that people are fleeing war zones in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

If Western governments didn’t want a refugee crisis, they shouldn’t have been so eager to topple those governments and destabilize those countries without a solid plan and timeline. The refugees should camp out in the backyards of the individuals who run those governments.

Also:

we should not forget to mention the Saudis. They were very much involved in the Libyan war and Egypt’s volatility. They’ve also devoted themselves to ousting the Assad government in Syria, for geopolitical and sectarian reasons.
Then there’s the war in Yemen that the Saudis have sponsored. It’s another mess the media don’t discuss often. But it will likely produce even more refugees.

The Saudis make no secret about not welcoming refugees, even though the Kingdom is a primary instigator of the wars that are forcing people to flee their homelands. One reason is the Saudis don’t want more people leeching off their welfare system, especially amid budget crunches from lower oil prices.
This brings up another interesting point. For the first time in decades, observers are calling into question the viability of the Saudi currency peg of 3.75 riyals per US dollar.

The Saudi government spends a ton of money on welfare to keep its citizens sedated. But with lower oil prices cutting deep into government revenue, there’s less money to spend on welfare. Then there’s the cost of the wars in Yemen and Syria.

There’s a serious crunch in the Saudi budget. They’ve only been able to stay afloat by draining their foreign exchange reserves. That threatens their currency peg.

The next clue that there’s trouble is Saudi officials telling the media that the currency peg is fine and there’s nothing to worry about. An official government denial is almost always a sign of the opposite. It’s like the old saying: “believe nothing until it has been officially denied.” In my opinion there is another refugee stream in the making, probably more shifted towards the US, considering their longstanding ties and investments.

If you have nothing, a welfare state is paradise

It’s no coincidence that the refugees are flowing to the countries with the most generous welfare benefits, especially Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the Scandinavian nations.
If there weren’t so many freebies in these countries, there wouldn’t be so many refugees showing up to collect them. Humanitarian aid is one thing, but freebies that elevate them far beyond their lifestyles, is narcissism.
The whole refugee crisis was easily predictable. It was the foreseeable consequence of shortsighted interventions in the Middle East and the welfare-state policies of nearby Europe.

Instead of facing facts, blaming it all on a scheme to subvert the West conveniently deflects any responsibility from the authors of the mess.

If the individuals who run Western governments really wanted to solve the refugee problem, they would throttle way back on welfare-state policies and then stay out of the Middle East free-for-all. It’s really as simple as that. Of course Israel does not agree with me, as do fractions with financial interests.

I don’t count on the mainstream media to figure this out any time soon. They effectively operate as an organ of the State. I bet they’ll keep prescribing more of the same bad medicine that caused this crisis to begin with.
This will help to cover the tracks of the real perpetrators, and it will obscure other real problems. I expect the media to ramp up the “blame the foreigner” sentiment, as it helps the US and EU governments distract the anger of their citizens from failed policies, the sputtering economy and the shrinking of their civil liberties. From the politicians’ perspective, it’s a win-win. But it’s a lose-lose for citizens hoping for accountable government.
Bernie Sanders is starting to look a bit better to me. He’s old enough to give it one last shot to make a difference. Who knows.

Takers in a Suit

Washington

The takers have a close alliance

If it wasn’t already true before the 2008 crash of the markets and the ensuing big recession, it must be clear to about everyone by now, that the big money is on Wall Street and in Northern Virginia, more defined as the Nation’s Capital Washington DC and surrounding areas. That’s where the Takers wear suits except on casual Friday, when they pretend to be like the rest of us.

Since the riots in Baltimore last week I have been talking a bit about Givers and Takers in our current society, with Givers being those who produce value and Takers who consume value, without clearly defining the consequences. Sometimes the lines are blurred a bit because takers can be found in the entire fabric of our society. The wellfare recipient who milks the system for everything it has created to buy off guilt, is clearly a Taker, but in the total picture he’s just peanuts. As famed archaeologist Arthur Demarest explained in his book “Ancient Maya” the rise and fall of a rainforest civilization, we’re not the first society to be brought down by Takers. Takers caused the decline of the Mayan civilization too:

Society had evolved in too many elites, all demanding exotic bubbles; all needing quetzal feathers, jade, obsidian, fine chert,gold and animal furs. If we would study the Mesopotamians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, and so many other sub-cultural civilizations, we would find the same results time and again.

Nobility is parasitic, non-productive and expensive, siphoning away too much of society’s energy to satisfy its frivolous cravings.

Yes, it’s the elite Takers who are most expensive. The non producing welfare taker gets peanuts, albeit lots of them, if he works the system. But the elites get much more. And it’s the group in society’s middle, the group that produces, that gets lost in the shuffle, every time again.

For example, where did all those trillions in Fed “stimulus” go? Very little went to  producing contributors, the middle class.
No, that money helped prop up the prices of financial assets (directly in the bond market and indirectly in the stock market).
Shareholders made money. Executives got bonuses. Wall Street firms made out… well… like bandits.
It’s easy. The financial wizards arrange for a company to sell bonds – earning millions in fees for the service.
Then the company takes the money (borrowed at the lowest interest rates in history) and uses it to buy back its own stock (paid for at one of the most richly valued levels in history).
The price of the remaining shares goes up (because more earnings accrue to each remaining share) – triggering bonuses for all the insiders.
The trick is so sweet that corporate America is set to hit a new milestone this year – nearly $1 trillion in buybacks!
Everybody is happy… all the corporate nobility, that is.

The poor working stiffs are worse off than ever. Because all this insider financial gaming reduces the long-term capital formation and serious investing that creates real jobs and real wealth.

But the plain people have no idea how the money system is rigged against them. And at least they have disability.

The elites always figure out ways to crony up and control government… and to turn themselves into Takers.

King Louis XVI of France probably was a decent fellow. But he was surrounded by Takers living off a boatload of privileges.

In fact almost the entire First and Second Estates – the clergy and the nobility – lived off of privileges, tariffs, taxes, grants, rents and other entitlements.

After they took their share, there was hardly enough national output left to support the working classes.

And you think America’s hedge fund managers have a nice tax deal with their “carried interest?” Nah…

France’s elite was practically exempt from taxes. Something we’re still working on in this country.

But with so many Takers, 18th-century France struggled to stay solvent. A couple of bad harvests… and people began to starve.

“We’re hungry. We want bread,” chanted the poor women in front of the Tuileries Palace in Paris.

Hearing the chants, if you believe the popular account, the king’s young wife, Marie Antoinette, could have have benefited from better PR people.

“They say they are hungry,” they would have told her, with the advice to say something about how she cared deeply about their hunger. How she felt their pain. And how she  was working day and night with the royal court to alleviate the food shortages in France. (Evita Peron did a much better job of that 150 years later!)
Instead, the sweet but dim Austrian dirndl blurted out what must have sounded like:

“They have no bread? Well, let them eat cake!”

True or not, the story got around. And somehow it sounded true enough. Soon the mob was appropriately roused and the revolution couldn’t be stopped.

Jamie Deonas Swearing-In Ceremony

Jamie Deonas Swearing-In CeremonyYulee, FL – Newly elected School Board Member for district 3, Jamie Deonas, will host a swearing-in ceremony on Monday, November 17th at 6:00pm on the steps of the Historic Courthouse in Fernandina. Judge Robert Foster will do the honors and refreshments will be served after the ceremony.

Deonas, who won his election unopposed in August, is a 19-year veteran of the Nassau County Fire Department and owns Best Friends Home Health & Companion Care, a licensed home health agency providing skilled nursing and in-home companion services.

Deonas ran on the platform of bringing a common sense business approach to the board.

For more information on Jamie Deonas, you can visit his website at www.VoteJamieDeonas.com.

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Lie to Me

 

Suppose they give an election and no one shows

Suppose they give an election and no one shows

As I’m watching yet another set of idiotic political messages on TV, dealing with Charlie Crist’s attacks on Rick Scott’s company illegally feeding from the public trough while Scott’s campaign centers around flipping Crist being responsible for 800,000 job losses during his tenure as Florida’s Governor, I wonder why people love to be lied at, better yet apparently demand it from their leaders.

We already knew about Scott’s shady past before he was elected last time and to make Charlie Crist – not the cleanest one himself either- responsible for 800,000 job losses in Florida, when the world dove into an economic tailspin after the 2008 crash on Wall Street, is ludicrous to anyone with a basic sense of economics. Yet, millions are being spent on these messages trying to sway the voters left or right.
And then my thoughts go to the local political arena and my recent encounter with one commissioner in the local halls of social exchange, the grocery aisles at Publix Supermarket and for a brief moment I actually felt sorry for a certain class of politicians in today’s world; those that chose this path in life out of the urge to create a better society.

The commissioner in question “applied” for his job several years ago with the very best of intentions, wanting to make life in this wannabe Mayberry-town better. But as we talked, I could see that he was worn out and slightly bewildered by the facts that his constituents not really want him to fix things.
I might normally have interpreted that as some kind of excuse, but he seemed especially open at that moment, so I asked him what he thought. He sighed and told me that he really wanted to put some progress and future into this town but when he thought he had an opportunity to actually deliver on most of the things he had campaigned for (reduced government, less meddling in people’s lives, plans for a solid economic future, stuff like that) he quickly learned that whenever the issue became a “tit for that” situation, requiring a small price to pay, nobody stood with him.

“And?” I asked.
He looked at me in a worn out way and said, “No one would pay even a small price or take some minimal action to get what they said they wanted.”
I could only nod as other people we both knew pushed by with their shopping carts. I felt a bit sorry for him and thought there is so much wisdom in song lyrics, softly singing inside my head Jonny Lang’s first hit:
‘Lie to me,
Lie to me and tell me everything is all right
Lie to me and tell me that you’ll stay here tonight
Tell me that you’ll never leave
Oh, and I’ll just try to make believe
Come on and lie to me’.

That brought me to another subject, but I was hesitant to bring it up. Politician or not, this man was feeling a lot of sadness and I didn’t want to pile on. But he always was a stand-up guy, and he got there himself, so I said: “You know what that means, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I do. It means that no matter what they say, they don’t really want change… they’re not willing to ‘suffer’ for it. All their slogans are just brave-sounding words. They need politicians, so that there’s always someone to blame.”

I agreed, even though it’s not often that I feel sorry for a politician, but on this occasion I had to. This man had started with good intentions. And regardless of how badly his electorate had let him down, what really pierced his heart was learning that his voters didn’t really want what they said they wanted. That made everything he was doing meaningless. It’s tough to watch that kind of realization spreading over the face of a guy passing the prime of his life.

Some politicians really do serve as “icons of blame” for a huge number of people. Regardless of which political party you love or hate, there’s always someone to blame for your troubles: The Blues are ruining the world, the Reds are ruining the world, The Tea Party is dangerous, the “establishment” is ruining the world, bureaucracy is ruining the world.

The truth of the matter is that the productive people of the world — those of us who create and supply products and services — have the ultimate say over what happens on this planet. If any serious number of us decided that we really didn’t like what politicians were doing, we could simply withdraw our support and the political systems would crash, rather quickly I would guess. But for what it’s worth, we live in a state of special interests and that’s why this mid-term election is the most expensive one in history: $4 billion dollars of empty promises and slogans!

Tuesday is another election day that no-one is really interested in even though slightly more than $4 billion dollars is spent on this mid-term, which probably get less than half of the registered voters enough energized to make it to the polling stations. And do we really think Crist or Scott are fundamentally different people. In spite of all the slogans and accusations, they are not.

And on the Federal level, to make sure that life stays in the balance of a happy status quo, Washington and the Feds predictably put out some upbeat statements about the economy and GDP last week, so we all( except for realistic economists) can sleep in financial peace, because our wise politicians and their appointees have saved the global economy and everything is fine now. Wall Street goes through the roof on credit and debt, gold is down and the banks still don’t loan, unless you bring a truck load of cash and your first-born with you. In the meantime health insurance premiums go up 10%, Florida Power is granted another 5% billing increase and we’re all scrambling to make ends meet. The price of oil is now down to a price level ($80 a barrel) at which our newly found shale oil operations cannot make profit anymore, so expect a reversal of that Christmas gift to be coming soon.
“Lie to me and tell me everything is all right.”
Yes, I pity the poor politician who seeks office, especially in a small town, to try and improve things, to come and find, that his reason for existence is anchored in a lie. People don’t want to change, they just want someone to blame. Keep that in mind when you’re voting today.

The vast majority of politicians lie, steal, and cause lots of harm, but they persist because people want them to persist.

News-Leader’s Unhinged Editorial

News-Leader's Unhinged EditorialThe Fernandina Beach News-Leader is part of the privately owned Community Newspapers Incorporated chain of weeklies and it can print whatever it sees fit. But there is little virtue in having editorial and news pages that the paper’s masthead says are “…dedicated to the truth, integrity, quality and hard work” and whose aim is to expand the horizons of its readers if those pages contain sycophantic suck-up endorsements and blatantly false claims, and its news pages are edited to paint a picture preferred by a stridently prejudiced publisher and editor on personal vendettas, who knowing they can’t win intellectual arguments, seek to influence opinion by portraying those they oppose with an editing pen dripping with bias, animosity, innuendo and omission. Its editorial pages bear a greater similarity to a psychological disorder than they do to standard political discourse.

The Internet and the online upstart Fernandina Beach Observer newspaper have helped expose the paper’s demonization of those not in its favor, but it is still up to what’s left of the News-Leader’s readers and subscribers to sort the wheat from the chaff, but sometimes they need assistance.

For example, the paper has dutifully been running verbatim press releases on the bottom right front page submitted by candidates running for the Fernandina Beach City Commission. However, readers wouldn’t know if these releases have been edited if they haven’t seen the original press release as was the case with candidate Tim Poynter when the paper’s editor and/or publisher struck the following from Mr. Poynter’s submission: He was the only commissioner to oppose the proposed FY2012-13 city budget that called for both higher taxes (a 15 per cent increase, the highest in ten years) and higher franchise fees.

Maybe that sentence would make the paper’s endorsement by its publisher, Foy Maloy, of the two folks (Charlie Corbett and Sarah Pelican) who have actually increased taxes, but are running on a platform of lowering them, appear awkward and foolish. Maloy also credited Corbett and Pelican with accomplishments (library expansion and train depot restoration) that belong to the last commission which included Poynter and were paid for with funds from the Forward Fernandina project, a program that an obviously confused Maloy criticized with all the finesse of a guy leaping into the nosh pit just as the crowd parted.

But the heartiest yuks came this past this past Wednesday in an above-the-fold front page piece headlined “Restaurateur seeks commission ‘seat'” bylined by the paper’s editor, Michael Parnell, that was a detailed story about all the laws, permitting rules, and regulations that Tim Poynter meticulously followed while opening and expanding his downtown eateries.

Parnell, doing an exceptional imitation of a Mother frantically searching for a Playboy Magazine hidden under her son’s mattress, tried his best to portray Poynter as someone who took advantage of his commission seat to get around the various permitting and regulations, but came up empty handed.

His story asked: “Did the then city commissioner receive favorable treatment from the city in obtaining his permits?” The answer was a resounding “NO.” City Manager Joe Geritty said he didn’t. Parnell even stated that there is “No evidence that Poynter or his businesses acted illegally…” Oh, Parnell failed to mention that Poynter received almost a $10,000 refund on impact fees proving that he paid what was due, but apparently that didn’t fit into Parnell’s story line. He also failed to mention that Poynter laid out thousands of dollars to redo inside and outside doors and storage areas of his existing restaurant to comply with a city inspector on his first day on the job. Oh, by the way, Poynter’s businesses employ some 55 local people, more I’m betting than the News-Leader. So what was the point of the article Mr. Parnell?

Obviously the facts got in the way and Parnell, on a tight deadline, was left with a non-story to plug a gaping hole on the front page that certainly raises questions about the credibility — not of Poynter — but of the paper and Parnell’s “journalistic” credentials. In its rush to print what they hoped would be a scathing expose it ended up scrambling to publish a piece that is an embarrassment to the paper’s owners and its staff and leaves no doubt as to why it is losing subscribers and advertisers faster than passengers abandoning a cruise ship with an Ebola outbreak.

While the News-Leader buries, forgets, ignores or lies about gaffes, misstatements and blunders by the current Curly, Larry and Moe commission trio it enthusiastically and blindly endorses, it comically does pratfalls as it tries to conjure up images of those it opposes as frivolous ne’er-do-wells. News-Leader targets can take comfort in the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s comment: “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”

Personally I’m voting for Poynter, a former commissioner and owner of two downtown businesses, whose four kids grew up here and who has a vested interest in the community’s success and understands city government inside and out; and Robin Lentz, a bright and energetic young lady and county educator so dynamic she was named teacher of the year her rookie year and who has two young children she wants to grow up in a vibrant, healthy community that she can help shape.

The Corbett-Pelican duo scare me, because if re-elected they might violate their long-standing political credo of “Don’t just do something. Stand there” — thereby creating havoc within the city.

The saddest part is that ridiculous and insubstantial candidates can run for city office and, until recently, no one ever knew because the News-Leader didn’t report it, worse they endorsed them. That is all changing.

(Dave Scott writes a weekly blog www.davescottblog.com)

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A Little About Some of the Fernandina Candidates 2014

A Little About Some of the Fernandina Candidates 2014I was able to listen to some of the candidates for the 2014 City Commissioner election in November and thought I’d share my notes in hopes everyone will be a little more informed of the choices and get out and vote on November 4, 2014.

Running for City Commissioner, Group 2 are:
Incumbent Charlie Corbett (Monetary contributions = $5,425.00)
Tim Poynter (Monetary contributions = $4,115.00)
Roy G. Smith (Monetary contributions = $2,005.00)

Running for City Commissioner, Group 3 are:
Robin Lentz (Monetary contributions = $6,160.00)
Incumbent Sarah Pelican (Monetary contributions = $4,800.00)

The three I heard speak were Sarah Pelican, Tim Poynter and Roy G. Smith.

Sarah Pelican is the current incumbent for group 3. She spoke about items the commissioners have addressed while she has been on the board including the 4th of July fireworks, “Light Up Amelia” which also includes adding lights on 8th Street to help beautify the main corridor. The RR tracks were fixed at Front Street for only $22,000, which is much less than it could have been. She also mentioned the deck expansion at the Marina Welcome Center which is becoming a museum dedicated to our shrimping heritage.

Sarah said she ran for City Commissioner because she believed the position needed more fiscal management. She wanted to build up reserves to 25-33% of the annual budget. She added the reserves were being tapped into by the previous commission. Pelican is pround the commissioners spent funds on the Humane Society, the Library rennovation and the boardwalk at Main Beach. Currently, she thinks the bathrooms at MLK are in need of rennovations. Storm water problems also need to be addressed. She is also concerned about the shortfall in the city’s pension plans. There have been conversations to change the plan, but no public information is available at this time. The accountability will show up on the books for 2016 and won’t reflect well in the city’s ability to borrow money.

Tim Poynter was up next and he sat as a City Commissioner from 2009 to 2012. He reminded the audience that he was on the commission when three of the projects Ms. Pelican mentioned were originally started. Time suggested private funding for the fireworks and challenged businesses to raise money and a surplus was raised, proving businesses would step up and handle it and the fireworks could be removed from government funding.

The City needs so many projects, the larger ones should be spread out. He spoke about re-purposing the Forward Fernandina funds and said governments do not wait to have all of the money in hand before projects can happen. He feels lowering the .mil rate sets back the process.

Tim has two businesses in Fernandina. This is his home and he wants to finish projects started in his previous reign.

Tim supports the CRA. Those funds can not be accessed by the County or by the City’s general fund. He said there have been no new projects with the current commission. Money from the CRA can fund other “city financed” projects within the CRA, freeing those funds to be used elsewhere within the city.

He spoke of the new Standard Marine owner who wanted an easement for the sidewalkwent. He went to the commissioners and was told, “Why should I help a rich guy get richer?”

Poynter believes the airport should have a professional manager and work with the CRA. He is not in favor of 500K tons of coal and a big expansion for the port. He believes they lost a big customer and they should work to replace them. He said Fernandina would benefit from being a Port-of-Call, but not as a demarktation or terminal environment. He added the port is not in a great location to consider expanding.

Roy G. Smith was the third candidate to speak. He was not happy with the current commission and felt the only thing they have accomplished is now you can eat with your dog at restaurants within Fernandina Beach. Returning low interest funds was a mistake and the pension problem is on-going. He thinks the benefits and retirement plans can be adjusted for current and future employees.

Smith loves downtown and believes this is the best selling part of the city. Having spoken with business owners, he agrees the city is not business friendly. Viable businesses are needed to bring tourists dollars and “people” downtown, but without viable downtown businesses, there is nothing to draw people downtown. Roy also supports the CRA, but would like to expand it to include 8th Street, too.

Roy’s background is in infrastructure and he believes the Fletcher drainage problem is sad. He thinks some pipes and the sewer system needs to be realigned.

In closing, he assured the audience he will do something and can make the tough decisions that need to be done. The golf course and the marina have issues and Billy Casper does not need to be running the golf course. He feels the rates at the course should be raised. He stated the current commission won’t vote on anything. Adding, “You can’t run the city like it’s 1960; this is 2014.” He is retired and will be a full-time commissioner. Roy Smith is the one who caught the application for the coal permit and brought it to the commission’s attention.

Election day is November 4th, visit http://www.votenassau.com/ for more information.

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The Blacklist is More than a TV show

Access to the Inner Circle creates future oligarchs

Access to the Inner Circle secures the Oligarchy

Amidst news and rumors of TV show cancellations, (who in their right mind cancels a show like REVOLUTION?) it is rumored that Washington is putting a Blacklist together of Russian oligarchs that own shiny toys, with the intent to confiscate these toys in retaliation for alleged wronging in the Ukraine crisis.

Let’s back up for a second. First of all let’s define the proper description of the word OLIGARCH. An oligarch is someone who belongs to a small elite that wields true power through financial means and/or absolute political control. Obviously history has offered many reincarnations of oligarchy, but for the US government to start a witch hunt into the Russian oligarchy is as black as the kettle of irony.
Why? Well for starters because current conditions in the United States are very oligarchic in nature and what’s more, it’s quietly supported and endorsed.
So much actually that in spite of politically worrisome developments in Russia, the oligarchs of the world quietly join forces and merge interests. How else would you interpret the fact that Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter and a close friend of Secretary of State John Kerry’s stepson Christopher Heinz, Devon Archer have joined the board of the largest Ukrainian gas producer controlled by a former top security and energy official for deposed President Viktor Yanukovych.

Interestingly enough there is another American involvement in Burisma Holding, the Ukranian gas firm, where American Investment banker Alan Apter became Chairman of the Board last year, and the arm length relationship with Rosemont Capital, co-founded by Mr. Archer and Heinz college room mate and Ketchup heir Christopher Heinz. Both Rosemont and the White House claim ‘innocence’ of influence peddling and describe Biden Jr. and Archer’s activities as those of private citizens. Well that smoke screen is a bit flawed knowing that Burisma has now added deep U.S. political connections to its arsenal.

Most people have no idea what government is about. They think it is a benign institution, designed to make life better for everyone.

This myth helps keep the voters and the taxpayers in line. Some governments, desperate to get more “buy in” from the public, even insist eligible voters go to the polls – or face penalties.

In Argentina, for example, you can collect welfare benefits – but only if you can prove you voted. In other words, you have to stand on your hind legs before they throw you a bone.

Other countries, such as the US, merely excite the voters with dreams of avarice and threats of sanctions. One group votes because it hopes to score more of another group’s money. The other group votes to protect itself.

Among “get out the vote” campaigns, Denmark’s recent cartoon for the European parliamentary elections (by all accounts a snooze-fest) must set a new milestone in the history of democratic fraud and absurdity. The Financial Times reports:

The 90-second video features “Voteman,” a muscleman first seen in bed with five naked women who then proceeds to beat up young people to force them to vote. He then decapitates one man, interrupts a couple having sex to throw them out of a window, and uses a dolphin to help chuck people into voting booths. (The Danish parliament withdrew the video on Tuesday.)

Politicians want you to vote so they can claim to represent you. Then they do what they want.

Like any other organization, government promotes the goals of those who control it. In that sense, it is no different from the Boy Scouts, Rotary or the electric power company. Every business, club or charitable institution is meant to do something – and always and everywhere it does what the people running it want done.

But in an oligarchy the bird sings a different song altogether. It provides no real service… produces no real products… and exchanges no tit for tat. Instead, the oligarch feathers his own nest with forlorn hopes plucked from an ignorant and impotent public.

The voters believe they are in charge. They believe the government – as imperfect as it is – nevertheless reflects the desires of the public, as filtered through elections, lobbyists and back-room deals. It is not a perfect system, he says, but it’s the best we have to offer, while pulling out his wallet to pay more and more for perceived protection. It’s not as bad as in f.e. Belgium you can hear him say, where people pay 55% taxes, rather to defend themselves with clueless comparisons.

Thomas Jefferson, possibly an enlightened oligarch himself, understood oligarchy far better when he warned us that all governments work for their masters – the elite, the oligarchs. All oligarchies are essentially parasitic, larcenous… and often, murderous. Tell me again that the Biden and Kerry presence in corporate Ukraine is a purely private matter and I’ll reiterate in a convoluted, contortionist way that when Jefferson claimed that “The government that governs least, governs best,” he had no clue how today’s oligarchs control the world.

The Journey from Republic to Empire

Today this is archived under Inspirational?

Today this is archived under Inspirational?

A country’s journey from Republic to Empire is a natural progression. No country starts out as an empire. Countries start out as relatively modest undertakings. Whether a monarchy, a dictatorship or a republic, the initial scope is limited in means and territory, mostly controlled by leading citizens, either through their influence on the autocrat or alternatively by shaping public opinion. It’s always private interests that shape the initial formation, whether or not backed by a web of ulterior motivations of the clergy, the aristocracy, the bourgeoisie, the bankers, the armed forces and finally the tax farmers.

Interesting is that when studying empire building, it becomes rapidly clear that there is no distinct line between republic and empire, or for that matter any other form of government. It’s a bit like sailing from the Arctic to Antarctica. While sailing you do not cross any marked lines that prepare you for upcoming headwinds, yet many influences and circumstances become decidedly different over the course of the journey. Of course in hindsight there are always certain snapshots that clearly mark turning points, but in general the journey from Republic to Empire goes mostly unnoticed to the untrained eye.

Growing up as a ‘kid of the sixties’ I despised the big brother control that comes with the empire, and even though I’m still not a fan, studying history has convinced me that empire building is an inevitable human desire. It comes with the territory, the nature of the beast, to use another vulgar justification of  our motives and the ultimate regrets that go with it.

In the infamous Roman Empire, Julius Ceasar was cut down by the right wing guards, the conservatives, who saw him as a dictator building his empire. The old guard wanted the Republic back, but didn’t face the fact that Romanization of the surrounding countries had been going on for almost 5 centuries, long before Julius was born.
By the time he became the Emperor, Rome had troops spread far beyond the Homeland, mostly around the Mediterranean and northwest to the North Sea, not unlike the USA today.
Ceasar’s successor Octavian (Augustus adopted the title imperator, instead of emperor, as he had no wish to stir up resentment among the republican partisans and follow the route of his uncle. His motto was: “Let the Empire evolve but don’t mention it”.

His speech writers could have been straight from the School of White House Alumnis as his inauguration speech carefully played to the old sentiments: “And now I give back the Republic into your keeping. The Laws, the troops, the treasury, the provinces are all restored to you. May you guard them worthily.” Historic words, even though the old republic existed no longer, other than in their dreams. Rome was an empire. Just as the US today is an empire.

The Revolution into a Roman Empire took centuries to accomplish. In America it took only 58 years (1913 – 1971) and wondrously enough, was hardly noticed by the people, because the changes have been neatly manipulated to appear gradual and mostly agreeable.

Even though several presidential predecessors had almost nonchalantly retired the US Constitution in the early years of Empire Building, it was John F. Kennedy who lectured the American population in his inaugural speech to “ask not what the country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country,” acknowledging that the Republic was no more, as the Empire officially had stepped onto the world stage with a role that resides beyond the control of the citizens. With this speech the American public all at once found its government, which was constitutionally created to be ‘by, for and of the people’ way out in front of them. It was pretty much the defining moment when Americans became servants to its government and no longer its masters.

In the United States constitution it is expressly stated that the people are sovereign, not the government, but ever since those words were spoken and adopted by Americans as a shield of pride and patriotism, the Constitution became something not-quite-what-it was-meant-to-be.

The changes before and since have been gradual and generally agreeable. But we can not forget that the Constitution was written with the idea, that what people want in their private lives matters. That idea passed away when we moved inevitably and almost invisibly from a Republic to an Empire.
Empires are living things with a logic all their own. They are born from human desire, they will die from human over-reach. No one conquers without eventually being conquered. What goes up must come down and no bubble expands without eventually blowing up. History has seen the rise and fall of more than fifty empires concluding that there are no exceptions to that rule. As for timing: be aware that in most historic empires the years of rise match the years of fall surprisingly close.

Ronnie Stoots Writes New Song About America

Ronnie Stoots Writes New Song About AmericaRonnie Stoots is well known around Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach and Nassau County in NE Florida as a coach, and mentor.

Many in the area also know him as a professional musician and songwriter who has traveled with Grammy Award winning artists.

I know him a neighborly, friendly and a man of faith. Ronnie has written a new song, praying for the future of this country, our country.

Here is his video followed by the song’s lyrics:

“They say she is a Lady, but I’m thinkin now that lately she’s been treated wrong
Cause when she was young and tender we stood proudly to defend her, but since she is grown..
Some no longer stand beside her, and the light that used to guide her has grown dim
So dear God can you forgive us, and bring back America again.

I’ve been dreamin ’bout a home where mom’s & dad’s would get along
and everything was right
I’ve been wishin for a place, where every boy and girl feels safe to go to sleep at night
Where the war is finally over and we’re standing strong together hand in hand
Where there’s love in human heart, and harmony & peace throughout the land

God bring back America again
Remind her of the way it was, when we first began
Let the song of freedom ring in the heart of every man
And God bring back America again.”

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Nassau County Young Republicans July Meeting Information

Nassau County Young Republicans July Meeting InformationYulee, FL – The Nassau County Young Republicans will have their monthly meeting on Monday, July 8, 2013 at Murray’s Grille, located at 463852 State Road 200 in Yulee. The guest speaker for the monthly meeting will be Aaron Bell.

Aaron is the owner of Science First as well as the current Chair for the Nassau County Economic Development Board. Additionally he serves as a board member for the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce and Treasurer for the Nassau County Republican Executive Committee.

The social will be held at 6:00 p.m. and the business meeting will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Nassau County Young Republican meetings are open to any interested Republican. Family members and children are always welcome at the monthly meetings.

To RSVP your attendance or to receive further information regarding the Nassau County Young Republicans, please contact Justin Taylor at jmtaylor082@yahoo.com or (904) 226-6207.

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Moving Forward with Obamacare’s Proposed Rules

Moving Forward with Obamacare's Proposed RulesIn November, the Department of Health and Human Services Press Office released the following regarding how the Obama administration plans to move forward with some proposed rules in the health care law.

Here is that release:

Washington DC – Obama administration moves forward to implement health care law, ban discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions

The Obama administration moved forward today to implement provisions in the health care law that would make it illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. The provisions of the Affordable Care Act also would make it easier for consumers to compare health plans and employers to promote and encourage employee wellness.

“The Affordable Care Act is building a health insurance market that works for consumers,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Thanks to the health care law, no one will be discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition.”

“The Affordable Care Act recognizes that well-run, equitable workplace wellness programs allow workers to access services that can help them and their families lead healthier lives,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Employers, too, can benefit from reduced costs associated with a healthier workforce.”

The Obama administration issued:

    A proposed rule that, beginning in 2014, prohibits health insurance companies from discriminating against individuals because of a pre-existing or chronic condition. Under the rule, insurance companies would be allowed to vary premiums within limits, only based on age, tobacco use, family size, and geography. Health insurance companies would be prohibited from denying coverage to any American because of a pre-existing condition or from charging higher premiums to certain enrollees because of their current or past health problems, gender, occupation, and small employer size or industry. The rule would ensure that people for whom coverage would otherwise be unaffordable, and young adults, have access to a catastrophic coverage plan in the individual market. For more information regarding this rule, visit: www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2012/11/market-reforms11202012a.html.

    A proposed rule outlining policies and standards for coverage of essential health benefits, while giving states more flexibility to implement the Affordable Care Act. Essential health benefits are a core set of benefits that would give consumers a consistent way to compare health plans in the individual and small group markets. A companion letter on the flexibility in implementing the essential health benefits in Medicaid was also sent to states. For more information regarding this rule, visit www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2012/11/ehb11202012a.html.

    A proposed rule implementing and expanding employment-based wellness programs to promote health and help control health care spending, while ensuring that individuals are protected from unfair underwriting practices that could otherwise reduce benefits based on health status. For more information regarding this rule, visit: www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2012/11/wellness11202012a.html.

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Between Democracy and the Electoral College

When are we abolishing the electoral college crap

Isn't it time to abolish the electoral college?

It should be abundantly clear to everyone by now that we do not vote for the Presidency. We merely express an opinion on who actually should elect the President and Vice President.

The commercials on TV are back to showing cars, Christmas sales and Erectile Dysfunction. Ohio went quietly back to where it belongs, in the background and Polling Pundits are trying to sleep off nightmares about how wrong it once again was to mix up real mathematics with perceived ideology and an over the top doses of hope. Many of them have now disappeared into detox. The first shake ups in the new Obama 2.0 cabinet are hinted at as the Nation moves into the Holiday Season.

And then there were the long overseas telephone conversations I once again was forced to have with foreigners and media on the other side of my phone line about the electoral vote curiosity that really elects the president. It’s actually ironic how little we realize that the electoral college structure essentially over rules the popular vote anywhere in the world, but many have no clue how and why.

Here in the States I hear that many are distressed about this and even though most Americans claim to have learned about the Electoral College in school, they all, at least the ones in my extended circle are upset, no they are actually pissed with this aberration of democracy that many do not quite get.

So here once again for all you ignorami (p.s. this is not a bad or insulting word, it just means you don’t exactly know the details behind a topic) a refresher course in Constitutional Affairs.

The Electoral College is a process, not a place.

The founding fathers established it in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens. The emphasis here should be on QUALIFIED and COMPROMISE.

The compromise in the early days of the American experiment called democracy 225 years ago, was not one of race or gender as neither women nor blacks were qualified to vote. No, this compromise had everything to do with a ruling class not trusting the guy in the street to understand what was good for him, hence he needed to be removed a full step from directly electing the executive power of the President. The problem how to sell this decision to a young and emerging nation just coming out of a Revolutionary War of Independence was a masterpiece of manipulative propaganda, Nazi Germany’s Joseph Goebbels would have envied.

Part of the constitutional discussions was to come to an agreement on how to elect presidents of the federation and even though a majority of the delegates’ preference was to have the popular vote decide elections, the idea of an electoral college was adopted first and possibly foremost, because information and communication was dreadfully slow in those days. In addition the small states endorsed the electoral college idea because they saw it as a protection against the over ruling power of the larger states. And so a historic feudal system was continued even in America’s democratic experiment, in which each state, based on the most recent census, is given one electoral vote for each of its congressional districts and one additional electoral vote for each of the two senators every state has. For example: New York, with 29 congressional districts, plus two, has 31 electoral votes, California has 55.  With the 435 House seats and 100 Senate seats,plus the three that the District of Columbia gets, there are 538 electoral votes. A majority of 270 or more electoral votes is needed for a victory.

Back to 1787 and the Constitution

The early Federation of the USAIt was a long hot summer in Philadelphia in the year 1787 and times where lightyears different from election year 2012. The new republic counted only 13 states, only half way reaching to the Mississippi River and roughly 4 million people who were almost entirely concentrated on the Eastern Atlantic Seaboard. After The Declaration of Independence was signed, the young country was hesitating between adopting old country systems or writing a new constitution. They decided to go the route of change and write a new constitution tailor made to their specific circumstances. Since they however only knew the systems of their respective roots, involving royalty and parliaments, a lot of the traditional systems were incorporated in their democratic experiment led by the constitution. One of them was giving the ultimate voting power to the “enlightened”; usually the rich, educated and powerfully connected; the Electoral College.  You may say the 1%, because democracy was a good thing on paper, but in practice it should not be given to the people. Thomas Jefferson, a very prominent player in those days, marked that “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” This statement possibly is the cornerstone for the continuation of the Electoral College as the ultimate decision maker for the presidency. A quick mathematical analysis of last Tuesday’s election proves that if only 55.7% of eligible voters came out to cast their vote, mob rule is a fact and democracy essentially becomes a farce.

Here are the naked numbers:
– 2012 US Population: 310 million
– 2012 Eligible Voter Part of the Population: 219 million or 70.65%
– 2012 Voter Turn Out:  122 million or 55.7% of eligible voters OR 39.4% of the entire population.
– 2012 Democrats Share of the Popular Vote: 61.2 million or 19.75% of the entire population,  vs Republicans 58.2 million or 18.8% of the total population.

And this is only one part of the picture why we should realize that we really don’t live in a democracy. The other part is called Electoral College. The essence is here that you may think you vote for a presidential candidate, but in reality you vote for your delegate, who in turn elects the president. The way it works now is that the popular vote elects all representatives per state. All elected representatives in each state meet on the Monday after the second Wednesday in December to cast their electoral vote on separate ballots for the President and Vice President. Now get this. Technically an elector can vote against party lines, but if this happens he or she’d better be prepared for harsh consequences in terms of party censure and possibly criminal charges.

Compare the popular vote to 332 Electoral Votes for Obama versus 206 Electoral Votes for Romney and then wonder why in 2012 more than 97 million eligible voters decided to stay home. This system of electing the Presidential ticket is so out of touch with the new norm and the tremendous communicative technology that is at our fingertips these days, that one wonders which invisible powers insist on not rocking the boat with introducing an amendment to the constitution that replaces the electoral college with the popular vote, or at least introduce a pro rat system for all states.

Most states, with the exception of Maine and Nebraska, have a “winner-take-all” system that awards all electors to the winning presidential candidate. Ergo, technically your vote does count, but politically it does not. Your vote is a declaration of your opinion. Nothing more or less. Mathematically it is meaningless but thats not really the point.

Point is that Obamacare is now the Law of the Land, (says majority leader Boehner) and that means that 20% (possibly less even) of the population has decided for the rest of a Nation of 310 million.

Good Morning America how are you?

Outcome of the Electoral College Elections 2012

26 for Obama, 24 for Romney, wonder what the Romney States are going to do now?

Don’t forget that founding father Thomas Jefferson also said: “The Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

PS in 1969 there was a strong movement to abolish the Electoral College in favor of the Popular Vote to be the determining factor in the presidential elections. With judiciary approval, Nixon’s endorsement and house and senate majority it almost made it, but some deviously clever maneuvering by the smaller states and especially southern states, afraid that this would weaken their disproportionate power structure, delayed and filibustered the Bayh–Celler Amendment proposal into oblivion. Maybe it’s time to revisit this amendment?!

Nassau Supervisor of Elections Wants You to Vote

Nassau Supervisor of Elections Wants You to VoteNassau County Supervisor of Elections wants you to register and vote in the November 6, 2012 general election, including the City of Fernandina Beach and the Town of Hilliard municipal elections.

NEW VOTER REGISTRATIONS* MUST BE SUBMITTED BY OCTOBER 9, 2012
*For additional information regarding certain uniformed service members and their dependents, please contact our office.

BRING THE FAMILY AND VISIT US DURING EXTENDED HOURS!
In a cooperative effort, the Nassau County Public Libraries will be open extended hours along with the Elections office for voter registration, election information, freebies for the kids (while they last) and books, books, books!

Yulee Elections Office
Monday, October 1st thru Friday, October 5th, from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Yulee Elections Office and all Nassau County Public Libraries
Saturday, October 6th 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 7th 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Monday, October 8th 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 9th 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

LIBRARY LOCATIONS:

Bryceville Branch Library
7280 Motes Road
Bryceville, FL 32009

Callahan Branch Library
450077 SR 200, Suite 15
Callahan, FL 32011

Fernandina Branch Library
25 North 4th Street
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

Hilliard Branch Library
15821 CR 108
Hilliard, FL 32046

Yulee Branch Library
Florida State College
76346 William Burgess Blvd.
Yulee, FL 32097

Fernandina Beach Elections Office will be open regular hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Printable Florida Voter Registration Application and additional registration agency location information is available on www.votenassau.com or contact the Elections Office.

Vicki P. Cannon, Supervisor of Elections
416 Centre Street
Fernandina Beach, Florida 32034

96135 Nassau Place, Suite 3
Yulee, Florida 32097

Phone: 904-491-7500
Fax: 904-432-1400
Toll Free: 866-260-4301
TDD: 904-491-7510
www.votenassau.com
www.facebook.com/votenassaufl
www.twitter.com/votenassau

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Some Lessons from the Great Population Migration

Tax the Rich until there are Rich No More

The UK is trying to introduce an ’emergency tax’ on the wealthy, because the government is running out of money and forecasts a class war, while  an Australian female billionaire who likes to say it as it is, stated this week “There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire. If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself – spend less time drinking, or smoking and socializing and more time working.Australia is in uproar over this! She also said that when governments target the rich, they really hurt the middle and lower classes.

In the UK, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal-Democrat Party, has proposed a one-time emergency tax on wealth (rather than the incomes) of high-net-worth Britons. The details aren’t clear, but Clegg says the country is facing an economic war caused by a prolonged recession, and needs to tax the rich in order to avoid social unrest.(???)

Governments across the globe are firing up an interestingly dangerous chapter of pushing the rich to pay more taxes. The rich in turn, knowing that this push is powered by the move towards all encompassing government control of our lives, are threatening to leave their native countries or for now -as already is happening in large numbers- re-invest their wealth elsewhere.

The lessons of the Great Migration

There is historic precedence for the potentially unfolding scenario of our future. The aftermath of the Western Roman Empire marked the beginning of the Middle Ages in what now is Western Europe. Chased by Atilla and his advancing Huns and greatly attracted by the wealth of the dying Western Roman Empire, huge tribal migrations took place around what was then known as the center of the World, the Mediterranean.

Europe as it migrated between the Roman Empire and the Renaissance

Centuries of political overreaching had weakened the Empire to the point were previous allies turned their back on Rome’s demands and when the Huns pushed the Visi-Goths west, they in turn pushed the Germanic tribes into the remnants of the Roman Empire. Wealth moved first, followed by settlers and finally workers.

Today’s Migrations

Don’t be surprised to learn that recent history actually paints an interesting picture of what we may expect in the near future in terms of people migrations.

Chinese millionaires, oh yes there are about a million of them (!), are increasingly looking to leave that country for reasons of upward mobility and growing political oppression. Chinese millionaires learned from Russian millionaires in the 1990s that the risk of staying is equal to the risk of not only losing their wealth, but they could quite likely end up in prison as enemies of the state.

So this year alone already 3,000 Chinese millionaires have opted to apply for US Millionaire Investor Visas, in order to flee their homeland. In a world of crappy and incomplete comparisons, they still see the US and even more so Canada as better alternatives to safeguard their wealth. US millionaires however, afraid of overwhelming government control here and a certain hyper-inflation in our future, are looking at Africa and South America.

As a result Africa’s overall economic output is growing rapidly these days, but that’s another story for another day. I have a good friend in Uruguay who is a human resources director for a global yachting company and she reports a remarkable increase in North Americans settling in that South American country. Patagonia in Southern Chile as well as many of the remote wine areas in Argentina are attracting large numbers of wealthy Americans to build a pied-à-terre. Friends in South Africa report substantial American investments in the slipstream of Walmart establishing itself strongly there a couple of years ago. Apple Computers, one of the most admired corporations in the world, has put huge cash reserves out of reach of Washington’s greedy fingers, mainly in Southeast Asia.

Before everyone jumps on the government sponsored global push to demand that the rich pay more taxes, it may be wise to read and draw conclusions from a story my dear New Orleans friend Brian put on his Facebook page last year.

The ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER

This one is a little different …with Two Different Versions …and Two Different Morals
OLD VERSION
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.
The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
MORAL OF THE OLD STORY: Be responsible for yourself!
NEW VERSION

The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all spring and summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.

CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so? Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green…’ ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing, “We shall overcome.” Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright and all of Chicagoland stage a riot for the grasshopper’s sake.

President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper’s plight. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid exclaim in an interview on MSNBC that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government GreenCzar and given to the grasshopper.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn’t maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again. The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and peaceful, neighborhood.

After a while this expands to the whole field, etc and everything collapses bringing the rest of the free world down with it.

Me again. I consider myself a fair and mostly compassionate human being, the extend of which I do not feel I have to justify to anyone. Maybe this short Disney video can do that for me.

But imagine my irritation when a line in my utility bills urges me to donate an amount to compensate for the less fortunate in our society. Every time I read it, it makes me realize that we have given up on the free market notion that only production creates an economy and more production creates a better economy and that everyone’s involvement and contributions are needed to make that economic model of free enterprise work. Like the Queen Ant in the video says: “Only those who work can stay”.

Yes, there are no doubt less fortunate, less talented and less capable people, who for one reason or another are allowed disqualification from participation in the socio-economic process. Under the same qualifier, a genius like Stephen Hawking would be disqualified to contribute, while in reality he contributes to our civilization’s progress in a magnitude that renders me unqualified. Like the queen ant says: ” Only those who work can stay,” as she orders the Grasshopper to play his violin so he can stay.

Maybe when the other 997,000 Chinese millionaires and their families have (temporarily) re-located to North America, will we realize what made us great, and how easily and quickly we threw it out of the window in exchange for the promise that government (any government) would take care of all our needs and wants from the cradle to the grave.