Craft beer in Florida meets Karl Marx

I mean come on, this is Flori-duh! We can have a wink and a nod and drink our beer without regulation by legislators bought by Big Beer telling us they know what’s best. Competition is good. Craft beers are winning market share because their beer tastes better than the flavorless mass-produced garbage the big brewers produce. Apparently campaign cash is more important than consumer choice and free markets, and Sen. Kelli Stargel is more concerned with making Karl Marx proud.

By Chris Ingram

State Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) has lead the fight on behalf of “Big Beer” interests to force micro-brewers who produce tasty craft beers to use distributors to sell their products.

Big Beer’s biggest cheerleader has taken thousands of dollars from the Big Beer lobby. She is so overcome with hallucination from her Big Beer buddies’ money, she has proclaimed to be like a mother, saying, “I believe I know what’s best.”

Among other things, the keg monitoring queen apparently knows it is best to limit competition, deny consumers the freedom of choice, increase the cost of buying a beer, and add layers of bureaucracy to budding businesses and the entrepreneurs who start them.

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Photo: Florida’s keg beer monitoring queen is Sen. Kelli Stargel.

She is so caught up in the talking points of Big Beer, she has even defended the prohibition-era “three tier” system of beer distribution.

Under this neo-Marxian-like system (one that stresses the monopolistic rather than the competitive nature of capitalism), micro-brewers will be forced into a paper transaction with distributors in order for the micro-brewers to sell their craft beers at their own establishments. No beer will actually change possession between micro-brewers and distributors, but paperwork and money will exchange hands from the micro-brewers to the distributors – who will be acting as the middle-men in this non-transaction transaction; ultimately this will increase the cost to consumers.

Earlier this week Mama Stargel claimed Continue reading “Craft beer in Florida meets Karl Marx”

A Jake Fuller cartoon. Republicans to “Big Beer”: For all you do, this cash is for you!

The Republicans in the Florida Legislature are crawling with scum-bags like Don Gaetz who speaks out of both sides of his big fat mouth!

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GOP takes its cash and tramples on free-markets and consumer choice in favor of big business.

For voter suppression, take I-95 north

The reaction to last month’s Supreme Court ruling that rendered Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act unconstitutional was full of typical hyperbole about the impact the court’s decision will have on minority voting rights.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune, Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The reaction to last month’s Supreme Court ruling that rendered Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act unconstitutional was full of typical hyperbole about the impact the court’s decision will have on minority voting rights.

The overturned section related to the formula by which nine states and some jurisdictions in other states (including just six counties in Florida) are brought under Section 5, which requires them to get federal permission – “preclearance” – for even the most minor changes in voting procedures.

In his opinion, Chief Justice Roberts wrote Section 4 “[uses] obsolete statistics,” and that the coverage formula “violates the constitution.”

To wit, the Supreme Court did not overturn the act itself, just Section 4, and effectively Section 5. Congress is free to consider rewriting the law, though if it wants to ensure fair voting it should look elsewhere.

Such as the 15 states (mostly in the Northeast and in states that strongly tend to favor Democrats), that don’t permit any form of early voting or “no-excuse needed” vote by mail (previously referred to as “absentee” voting). Among those states are New York, Massachusetts, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Despite the fact that these Democratic Party-leaning states have more restrictive voting opportunities than Florida, our state and its Republican elected officials are frequently vilified by the media for so-called “voter suppression.”

While the state Legislature did tighten some of the rules regarding early voting in 2011, it reinstated most of them this year. But even under the pre-reinstated laws, Florida had far less-restrictive elections than in 15 states, as well as some others that permit early voting and/or no-excuse mail balloting but that are more restrictive than Florida’s.

Yet the liberal mainstream media rarely looks in its own backyard. It’s much easier to label Florida’s legislators and our governor as right-wing voter suppressors than it is to do a little research and then point out that Florida has some of the most progressive voting laws in the country – all of which were instituted by Republicans (not Democrats), and that New York (home of the liberal mainstream media) has among the most oppressive voting laws in the country.

For example, the Obama Network (aka MSNBC), noted in a propaganda report that the effort to overturn provisions of the Voting Rights Act Continue reading “For voter suppression, take I-95 north”

Reflections by Florida’s senior Republican statesman

The “other side,” as Martinez refers to the Democrats, is very adept at playing politics with important issues. He points to the sequester as a prime example. Initiated by Democrats, they then turned around and pointed the finger at the Republican-controlled House of Representatives as being the villains for the forced spending cuts — which Martinez accurately points out are just cuts in the rate of growth, not really cuts in total spending, which continues to increase.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

After serving as mayor of Tampa for six years, Bob Martinez resigned to run for governor in 1986. The former Democrat became Florida’s first Republican governor in 16 years but lost his re-election bid four years later following the state’s controversial attempt at implementing a tax on services — a measure the Legislature passed but quickly repealed.

He later served for nearly two years as the nation’s “Drug Czar” under President George H.W. Bush. Since then, Martinez, who has always maintained residency in Tampa, has kept an active but mostly behind the scenes profile in Florida political circles.

I recently sat down with the former governor in the offices of the law firm where he works as a lobbyist to talk about his life in politics, his legacy and issues facing the Republican Party and the country.

We start out talking about the national political environment and the major issues facing our country — most notably the national debt and government spending.

“Since the federal government doesn’t have to balance the budget, they have the ability to just kick the can. Every time they kick the can, after a while voters stop listening,” he says.

Economic and budgetary issues are hard to explain, and are far removed from people’s lives — or so they think, Martinez says. Explaining them is “… complicated because there is no sound-bite answer.”

The “other side,” as Martinez refers to the Democrats, is very Continue reading “Reflections by Florida’s senior Republican statesman”

Going back to work, one regulation at a time

This ill-conceived attempt to help curve Florida’s dismal employment numbers wrongly assumes several things and ignores other more important considerations. In essence, this bill is a politician’s attempt to heal a heart attack victim by placing a Band-Aid on another patient’s broken toe. One can only assume this is being done because said politician has no idea how to heal the heart attack victim.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published Wednesday, January 31, 2013

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.” — Ernest Benn, British author

Apparently having given up completely on the idea of individual freedom, free markets and fewer government regulations, the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature is considering a bill (SB 100) sponsored by Rep. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, that would prohibit employers from considering a prospective employee’s credit report as a part of the hiring process.

This ill-conceived attempt to help curve Florida’s dismal employment numbers wrongly assumes several things and ignores other more important considerations. In essence, this bill is a politician’s attempt to heal a heart attack victim by placing a Band-Aid on another patient’s broken toe. One can only assume this is being done because said politician has no idea how to heal the heart attack victim.

In this case, the heart attack represents Continue reading “Going back to work, one regulation at a time”

A paradoxical view on term limits

The consequence of the amendment has created multiple obvious problems, including a lack of institutional knowledge and effective leadership. Tallahassee insiders say the last legislative session was one of the worst in the state’s history — due in large part to a leadership vacuum.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published March 30, 2012

There is an old saying: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

In 1992, 77 percent of Florida voters approved an amendment to the state’s constitution to limit the terms of Florida legislators to eight years.

The consequence of the amendment has created multiple obvious problems, including a lack of institutional knowledge and effective leadership. Tallahassee insiders say the last legislative session was one of the worst in the state’s history — due in large part to a leadership vacuum.

In 2000, the year Florida’s term limits law took effect, 220 years of legislative experience was forced out of the chambers of the state House and Senate.

Since then, power in the capitol has been transferred from Continue reading “A paradoxical view on term limits”

Don’t send party faithful out to pasture for primary date

The RNC has the right to do whatever it wants regarding the management of its convention, which will be in Tampa in August. This includes everything from the seating of delegates, to assigning hotel rooms for state delegations, to designating seating for delegates on the convention floor, to how many stupid hats, pins and buttons a delegate should be required to wear before plopping themselves in front of a TV camera to make total fools of themselves on national television.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published January 17, 2012

Ask any Republican — from the rank-and-file grassroots to party leadership — what their No. 1 goal for 2012 is and the answer is always, “Send Obama an eviction notice.”

Yet somehow the Republican National Committee, most of its members and its national chairman, Reince Priebus, are hellbent on airing the party’s dirty laundry by taking Florida to the woodshed for violating the RNC’s “rules” about election dates.

I have what I think is a great idea to solve this “problem.” But first, it’s important to understand the facts. They are: Continue reading “Don’t send party faithful out to pasture for primary date”