Annual Fundraising Appeal

Here’s an important message to CounterPunch readers from
BARBARA EHRENREICH…

BarbaraE

Here at CounterPunch we love Barbara Ehrenreich for many reasons: her courage, her intelligence and her untarnished optimism. Ehrenreich knows what’s important in life; she knows how hard most Americans have to work just to get by, and she knows what it’s going to take to forge radical change in this country. We’re proud to fight along side her in this long struggle.  We hope you agree with Barbara that CounterPunch plays a unique role on the Left. Our future is in your hands. Please donate.

Day10

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
button-store2_19

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

The Mad, Mad World of Rick Scott

Florida, the Cruelest State

by LAURA FINLEY

In case you’ve been in a cave or on Mars, here’s the update: In response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin, The Daily Show host John Oliver dubbed Florida “the worst state,” citing the state’s broken laws. As a Floridian for eight years, I say Oliver couldn’t be more right. Much attention has been paid to the state’s asinine Stand Your Ground law, which Oliver described as cut and pasted from 1880s Tombstone. That is just the start of it, however.  Below is a small snippet of some of the backwards laws or policies that have been passed, largely under uber-Conservative Governor Rick Scott.

Almost immediately upon taking office, Governor Scott passed a law requiring recipients of welfare benefits to pass a drug test.  A federal court overturned the law, noting that the state had not proven that those receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) were any more likely to use drugs than the general population. In fact, before the courts shut down this large-scale gathering of Floridian’s urine, only 108 people had negative tests. This was only 2.6% of the persons who were tested. The state had to pay more than $100,000 to persons who passed the pee tests. Clearly the program was not cost-effective.

Equally problematic is the fact that the law targeted the poor, not the many corporations like Wal-Mart or Kel Tec CNC, which manufactures the gun used to kill Trayvon Martin. Kel Tec CNC receives millions in tax incentives to locate in the state.  This corporate welfare is widespread in Florida, a state that in 2012 had to cut $1.8 million for school safety initiatives and $5.7 million for mental health programs, a state that has the highest long-term unemployment and foreclosure rates in the nation.

Another Rick Scott loser is the law that has come to be known as “Docs v. Glocks.” This gem prohibits doctors from asking their patients about guns in their homes. While clearly it is essential that gun owners store their weapons safely, the NRA-backed legislation would make asking this standard risk-assessment question a misdemeanor, subject to a $10,000 fine and even potentially the loss of medical licensure. A U.S. District Court ruled that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on doctor’s right to free speech.

In both cases, Governor Scott vowed to fight the court decisions, at taxpayer expense, of course. By August 2012, the governor reportedly had spent more than $880,000 to fight for Docs v. Glocks. He reportedly spent more than $190,000 to fight for the drug testing program. In December 2012, the Miami New Times reported that Scott had spent more than $1 million on lawsuits related to his controversial laws.

And, while Governor Scott was a Tea Party darling for his repeated pronouncements about “limited government,” it is clear that these two laws are anything but that. Instead, Scott seems to feel that it is all fine and dandy if the government gets into our bodily fluids or our medical consultations.

The list of Governor Scott-isms could go on and on. Suffice it to say that John Oliver has it right: “Just because you’re shaped like some combination of a gun and a dick doesn’t mean you have to act that way.” Indeed.

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology and is syndicated by PeaceVoice.