Thursday, December 18, 2014

GOP and Cuba: fighting yesterday's war … by gimleteye

With the November 2014 election in the balance, President Obama and Charlie Crist, then candidate for governor, sent up trial balloons on the issue of normalizing relations with Cuba. Crist, who had publicly stated his intention to visit Cuba, attended a Miami Beach fundraiser filled with Republican donors, ready to break ranks with the GOP on Cuba. (We blogged the event.)

But subsequent polling showed how volatile the issue remains, and the White House sat on its hands until the results were in.

Yesterday, the Cuba lobby lashed out at Obama and demonstrated the cards it would have played if the announcement had preceded the election: that Democrats "acquiesce", that the world is "less safe" as a result, that Obama is weak and that "rogue regimes can murder Americans, have US courts and juries duly convict those involved and see justice aborted by a stroke of the President's pen."

Our hearts go out to those who have suffered. There is no easing that pain. I know: my grandparents were murdered in the Holocaust.

There is no argument that holds up this remaining relic of the Cold War. President Obama pointed out yesterday that China and Vietnam have thrived and American companies have benefited from bilateral agreements even though they maintain their own forms of communism.

Yes, Cuba is only 90 miles away but the 2016 elections are even closer, and as a result of yesterday's decision, the GOP should be troubled by using Congress to continue to foment antagonism to Obama and Democrats, and by rigid positions that sound already like yesterday's war.

Let's Ask The Pope. By Geniusofdespair

All these good Catholics (Marco Rubio) have to reconcile their rhetoric with their religion.  Reporters should be asking Rubio again and again about this.  Maybe he hates Obama but the Pope??? What can Marco say about  the Pope who is actually leading the charge:

The Pope made a personal plea to President Barack Obama and Cuban leaders in a letter this summer, writing that the two nations should try to reset their relations after decades of friction.

"I want to thank His Holiness, Pope Francis, whose moral example shows us the importance of pursuing the world as it should be, rather than simply settling for the world as it is," Obama said Wednesday as he announced the U.S. policy shift on Cuba.

When Obama met the Pope at the Vatican in March, the discussion turned toward moving U.S.-Cuba relations into a new era. White House officials said the Pope specifically addressed the case of jailed American contractor Alan Gross, who was freed Wednesday as part of the new detente between the two countries. The Vatican also hosted talks between U.S. and Cuban delegations in October, where details of Gross' release and aspects of the new U.S. trade policy were hashed out.

Okay Marco Rubio, you think the Pope is wrong? Then slap him around. Let's see if that gets you elected anywhere. Stupid mainstream media, focus on this you idiots don't let Rubio and any other of the big mouth Obama bashers off the hook.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cuba releases Alan Gross from prison: US relations headed toward normalization … by gimleteye

According to news reports, Cuba has just released Alan Gross from prison in Havana. President Obama is due to address the nation on Cuba at noon.

It will be interesting to hear what the Cuba lobby has to say about this … right?

One observer noted, "Everything Obama could have done to win elections for Democrats in November, he's done after the election." It is an interesting point. Before the election, polling suggested that normalizing relations with Cuba would hurt Democrats' chances. On this blog, we argued to the contrary.

Whatever the calculus leading to today's decisions -- and notwithstanding the harsh pushback from longtime Senate leader Bob Menendez (D-NJ) -- it is indisputable that the relic of the Cold War had outlasted its purpose.

Congratulations to the Gross family on an historic day and thanks to President Obama.

What is this nonsense about Jeb Bush being "too moderate"? … by gimleteye

Inventing reality by way of rewriting history is a signpost of the extremist GOP. Exhibit One: Jeb Bush.

As governor, Jeb Bush was narrow-minded and to his opposition; mean spirited. Dan Gelber, senate minority leader for part of Jeb's eight years in the executive mansion, told the Wall Street Journal recently, "… on issues including guns, taxes, education and abortion, the former governor led from the right. “Anyone who woke up in Florida every morning knew that Jeb Bush was not a moderate,” he said. “You could check every single box." Gelber is 100 percent correct.

So why does the media persist in maintaining the public perception that Jeb Bush is a moderate Republican?

Bush's handlers have two problems gaining the White House. First, he has to survive the carnival show of a Republican primary if 2012 was any example. Then, he has to prevail in a general election with voters who, nationally, are far more moderate.

For Jeb to win a general election, he has to be recast and judging by its recent performance -- marked mostly by laziness -- the media will help him.

To the Republican base who vote in the primary, Jeb will prove he is conservative enough. That's hardly a stretch if judged by his willingness as governor to draw and quarter his political opposition in order to achieve predetermined results. Expect a lot of "code" during this first phase of the Bush operation.

Unless the mainstream media casts a more critical eye on Jeb's true history -- instead of what's made up by consultants, advisors and loyalists -- in 2016 the Jeb Bush campaign will be framed around a "joyful" moderate Republican who never existed in his previous political life: reborn, rebranded and unrepentant.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Barf Bags Ready. By Geniusofdespair

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced today that he will "actively explore" the possibility of a presidential run in 2016. Like we all didn't know.

Jeb is more like Boss Tweed than LBJ

Please, county commission: Don't fund The Nail Clipper Building … read here a brief civic-design-pollution rant … by gimleteye

Update! Funding passed.  Commissioners Daniella Levine Cava, Rebeca Sosa and Xavier Suarez voted against it. Update!

The only redeeming quality of SPAMM -- that's the Sr. Perez Art Museum of Miami -- is its architecture. (By that standard, the Performing Arsht Center isn't even on the measuring stick.)

Driving to Miami Beach on the causeway one could view the Herzog de Meuron design from afar while sighing that it is impossible to reach by car. There's the problem with downtown Miami, and we saw it coming from a thousand yards away: transit is a nightmare.

A nightmare by design.

For as long as I've lived in Miami (early 1990s), the surrender of the public realm -- that is to say, Biscayne Bay -- has been the de facto standard for decisions by local elected officials. And while I'm on a tear, here: what do foreign investors (seeking EB5 visas or otherwise) care about the aesthetic of downtown Miami? They don't unless their condo views are being blocked! The only people who care are residents: we are taxpayers too!

Now the vista towards a building designed by one of the world's great modern architects is completely obscured. (I ask, as Miami New Times did just the other day, what private donors in their right mind will fund an art museum with someone else's name on it in a place no one can see?)

The monumental Frost Science Museum is tilting up against Herzog de Meuron, shoe-horned right next door. And I mean right next door.
Science Museum (in Construction) from Biscayne Blvd, blocking the SPAMM Art Museum.

On a large scale, it looks like a cavernous Spanish Mediterranean contemporary built on a zero lot line plot in South Miami right next door to a glass box. And then; look across the street where the PAC looms like a design for a stealth warship tossed into the wastebasket.

What do county and city commissioners see when they take the same Biscayne Boulevard exit as I do?

Don't they see what a disaster was created by votes they made to clog inadequate roadways with billions in construction and civic monuments that look, together, awful?

Across the nation, planners should be led on civic-design-pollution-tours: Miami would be number one.

Over the weekend we wept at the suggestion that the county commission would vote on the world's largest ferris wheel somewhere down there. It would go right with the world's largest American Flag, donated? by a Miami billionaire.

And today, the county commission gets to vote on the Nail Clipper Building and the request by its developer for public money.

Elected officials put little environmental groups with hands held out for a few thousand dollars for educational grants through the wringer of Kafka-esque audits while hundreds of millions are siphoned off, without bidding, at the airport or through grants to insiders.

Surely, dignity exists with respect to the public realm? Somewhere?

Commissioners should drop any and all schemes for more development in downtown Miami until the transit problems are fixed. Not one more dollar.

Waiving Competitive Bidding and Nepotism at Miami Dade County. By Geniusofdespair

142733 Resolution


This Resolution is on the Agenda today. I am wondering why the county has to waive competitive bidding AGAIN. Where is Bovo? This he is good at, trying to stop no bid contracts.

They also don't give people a chance to get work at the county, it is a hotbed of nepotism -- i.e. Dennis Moss's wife works for the county, as did Glazer Moon's brother, and Natacha Seijas's daughter. So many a few you know of. So many wives and husbands work at the county. The Miami Herald should do a story nepotism at the county and no bid contracts. We could save a ton of money.

Monday, December 15, 2014

As President, Jeb Bush would govern like LBJ? Not a chance … by gimleteye

Just in case you missed the news: Jeb! and advisors have been busy inoculating his pending candidacy for president against media scrutiny by releasing emails and documents related to his terms as governor.  I have used the exclamation point appendage to Jeb's name ever since his 1998 campaign came up with car bumper stickers with the logo. What you get with Jeb is more surprising than it seems. And not in a good way.

On the weekend, Politico ran a trenchant piece about Jeb's financial affairs, "JEB BUSH, ‘private equity mogul’: chairs offshore private-equity fund w/ Chinese investors". From Jeb's point of view: these stories are about letting the media feast itself into a coma on his past before the campaign swings into gear.

What's been bugging me more -- more than the "life of a private equity mogul"where there is no evidence of qualifications beyond cronyism -- is Jeb's pronouncement that he would "govern like LBJ as President".
Now I came of age politically speaking in the Johnson presidency, so I know something about LBJ. Plus, like Jeb!, I've read the books. (Robert Caro's magnificent biographies of Johnson set the standard by any measure.)

The only character trait common to Lyndon Johnson and Jeb Bush is the inclination to amass private wealth based on connections. But "governing"? Stop the presses.

Jeb Bush won exactly two elections for public office. Lyndon Johnson's entire life was spent scraping; from local county elections (he stole his first), through the state house in Texas, to Congress where his gargantuan skill at compromise and bargaining was sharpened to a razor edge at the seat of masters. Jeb?

Jeb, who won the race for Florida governor in 1998 after losing unexpectedly four years earlier, governed by fiat. Jeb governed with a dull hammer.

His relations with the minority party were notoriously poor. Compromise? Bargaining? Admiring the "sausage making" process of legislation? Find one example in the Jeb Bush record.

To imagine Jeb reading Caro, putting the book on his bedside table and ruminating about a presidential style of governance modeled after LBJ is plain ludicrous.

Based on his record, the notion of Jeb aspiring to Johnson's mastery from the White House, no less, is deeply narcissistic.

Jeb! does have ideas of his own. Most of them come out of conservative think tanks like the Heartland Institute that advance -- first and foremost --  deep corporate agendas from whence cometh their help. Of Jeb Bush as governor, one very close observer quipped: the breadth of his "policy monkishness" is "a mile wide and an inch deep."

There is no comparison with the achievement of Lyndon Johnson, who grabbed institutionalized racism in America and drowned it in the bathtub. (LBJ's greatest failure was maintaining the pretext of the Domino Theory to continue the war in Vietnam.) The only comparison to Jeb that sticks is deploying political advantage for personal gain. That's how Johnson, a poor kid from west Texas, became a multimillionaire. He had a lifelong antagonism with the Kennedys, and they, with him, because he thought they were born on third base but behaved like they had hit a triple.

There is one Jeb Bush achievement though, where Lyndon Johnson would have been impressed had he been alive at the time: the stealing of Florida in the 2000 presidential election that propelled George W. Bush to the White House. That political accomplishment would have brought a blush to Lyndon Johnson's cheeks.

The bottom line: as governor of Florida Jeb Bush was famous for "my way or the highway" style of governance. No dissent and no ray of sunshine emanated from Jeb's executive office. To the contrary. If Jeb runs for president, and markets his candidacy as someone who has mastered the craft and tactics of political compromise like LBJ, get ready for push back.

Jeb Bush: I Would Govern Like LBJ as President
Breitbart ^ | Tony Lee
Posted on February 16, 2013 10:09:33 AM EST by JohnPDuncan

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said he would strive to be like Lyndon Johnson, the Democrat famous for expanding the U.S. welfare state through the "Great Society," if he were elected president.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Don't give any money to the Nailclipper. By Geniusofdespair

Bruce Matheson
 The people voted to give no public money to the nail clipper building when they approved the city referendum. Even Mayor Regalado is against it now because the county is giving it public money, that comes from city residents. All you Stupid County Commissioners, vote against giving them money. It is an eyesore in my opinion.

In a separate discussion (putting the cart before the horse, they vote for the partial funding of the Nail Clipper on the 16th) about how the thing will be built Lee Hefty and Daniella Levine Cava had an exchange about building it from land or barge. She was concerned with the impact on the Bay. I think she trusts to be told the truth. I can tell when county staff is bending the truth to me. They have a tell. They get uncomfortable and squirm a bit. The trouble is I have to be in front of them.  Who cares if they build it from land or water, it shouldn't be built Period. Lee Hefty is afraid of Osterholt and will say just about anything. He looks like he will pee in his pants when Osterholt is around.  DERM has been co-opted. They are all telling you what the Mayor wants you to hear, not the truth, a version of the truth. Daniella stop trusting staff's convoluted explanations meant to confuse you, the whole bunch are afraid of the Mayor. Maybe Daniella Levine Cava is too ethical for office. Of course the building of it will impact the Bay. I don't care about assurances from Lee Hefty. They will just say oops. What can you do after the fact? One only has to remember the 1994 Dutra dredging fiasco (illegal) when 3.5 acres of sea grass was decimated while dredging of the turning basin for the port was being conducted.

And in this topsy-turvy County world, since when does Barbara Jordan care about coral? She asked how building from barges would impact coral. What is that woman up to?

BTW, Bruno is a dim bulb, don't anyone follow him on this issue.

I guess we will end up contributing public money for an eyesore in the park, the nail clipper no one will go to. Has anyone been to Bayside lately? A ghost of what it was. This won't fix it. Major surgery is needed in the junk store area. The other side is doing okay.

And all of you County Commission nitwits: Stop saying the $75 Million is not from THIS pot of money, it is from THAT pot of money, so it doesn't count. IT IS ALL THE SAME MONEY --- YOU GUYS AT THE COUNTY DIVIDED IT UP (SO IT LOOKS MORE PALATABLE) into bonds and incentives and other stupid crap with official sounding names. UNLESS IT IS A FEDERAL GRANT or someone donated it, it is all the same money: OURS. We didn't borrow that $75 Million bond money yet so we don't have to pay for it. So let's not borrow any of this money -- unless Apple wants to put their headquarters here. I would pay them to move.

All of you new condo owners across Biscayne Blvd., The Downtown Neighborhood Alliance, you have to come together and get a grip on the County Commission. You all are big taxpayers and this is your hood. Do something. Sue, like Bruce Matheson because the people were lied to in the City of Miami voter referendum and we don't like being lied to when we vote on something.  Thank you Bruce Matheson for being our Park savior, the Dan Paul of the 21st century.  Matheson is suing against the plans to put Libraries in Parks and FIU in the park.  The people weren't informed they were lifting the Dan Paul amendment, they were given misleading language just like this nail clipper language.  You Commissioners should all be outraged. Am I?  You bet I am.

Proposed Nail Clipper Building is Center. Other stupid ideas for the waterfront surround it.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Blogger Al Crespo is Stinkin' Mad at a Miami Herald Reporter. By Geniusofdespair

The Miami Herald's Reporter David Smiley keeps taking stories he initiated and does not give Crespo credit.

The same has happened here at Eye on Miami.  I include Miami Herald links why can't they include ours? They are misers with credit to us, the blogger journalists. Al, this has happened to us so many times over the years, I am numb to it.  So many people steal our material it is a sad state of affairs.

Let's build Miami's skyline to reflect whatever anyone wants, with one condition! … by gimleteye

There is a new (another) proposal for a ferris wheel on the Miami skyline at Biscayne Bay. Added to the Berkowitz Nail Clipper Building, already approved by the city and county? Why not! Here is a manifesto for Miami: let anyone build whatever they want. Anywhere.

This would be my symbol of the new manifesto: a giant trash bag with an animatronic hand sticking out and a finger that waves to the heavens. This image to me is as viable as the Nail Clipper Building or the Ferris Wheel because it is representative, it is massive, it makes a statement.

Seriously, I have one caveat or I withdraw my request.

The one condition would be attached to every scheme for public money that comes down Interstate 95. Require the developer to hold in escrow the full cash value of decommissioning their project and returning the land below to its natural state.

Hear me out. If you have enough votes to approve an idiotic project, fine enough. But then, when your project fails -- and let's identify "failure" as requiring any further infusion of public tax money -- or has to be decommissioned, then it is YOUR responsibility to make the taxpayer whole. You want ANOTHER ten dollars for your PAMM or Arsht? Then forfeit all the money in escrow.

Why? Because the real priority is the PUBLIC priority for quality of life. Once your build your dream with the backing of elected officials, then there is no "free get-out-of-jail" card when you want MORE of our money.

Let me put it another way: if you are so confident of your development's success, Mr. Ferris Wheel Man or Mr. Nail Clipper Developer, then YOU put in escrow the full cost of taking it down and replanting sod and/or palm trees.

Why is it so hard to convince our city and county commissioners that turning the waterfront into private development schemes to attract tourists is the worst idea Miami ever had? Or, why should it be THEIR free-for-all? Why not MINE?