Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Everglades Coalition rejects District plans for massive $1.5 billion lemon reservoir ... by gimleteye

OK. Here's a novel story. Gov. Rick Scott believes he can polish his "environmental" credentials for an undeclared Senate run through a piece of legislation committing the state to build the biggest free-standing, man-made reservoir in US history. The legislation passed last year, but it contained a number of poison pills for the environment. The bill to create a massive new reservoir, costing at least $1.5 billion, had the stamp of approval of Big Sugar, the regulated industry that dominates water management infrastructure of Florida.

Big Sugar is powerful because subsidies in the US Farm Bill rain profits on a few billionaire farming families. In turn, those families -- the Fanjuls' Florida Crystals and US Sugar, descendants of Charles Stuart Mott-- sprinkle campaign contributions and dark money over candidates and incumbents for public office who make it their point to stand close-by while studiously avoiding laws and regulations meant to protect the environment and the public interest.

You remember the public interest?

We used to call it health, welfare, and public safety but now it is whatever regulated industries can squeeze from their hirelings in public office. Turns out: they can squeeze quite a lot.

In 2017 Senate President Joe Negron did his level best to fix the multi-billion dollar damage being done to his constituents downstream of toxic Lake Okeechobee discharges during flood events. SB10 was signed into law by Gov. Scott, after creative theatrics by Big Sugar. The new law is meant to protect the Everglades and help renourish Florida Bay. Surprise: the law strongly weighs in favor of industry.

Negron's constituents were coated with toxic, guacamole thick algae during the historic rains of 2015/2016 winter; the indirect consequence of a water management system that does not have enough storage and polishing marshes for Big Sugar's pollution because Big Sugar won't share any more of the burden for protecting downstream resources that it is required to do, by law. And since Big Sugar controls the legislature, its lobbyists write the law and dictate the terms of what it is required it to do.

So we are at this awkward point that was entirely predictable a year ago, when the best Senator Negron could do came up short by a mile because Big Sugar controls the water management district, and the water management got to offer back to the legislature this year its version of what Big Sugar will agree to, next. Doesn't matter that the public's money is being used to deform the public interest.

Gov. Scott could help fix the problem by directing the water management district to terminate leases to Big Sugar on state lands and point the way to increased cleansing and water treatment marshes. He could go even a step further by supporting new legislation to take away the poison pills in last year's legislation; namely, the prohibition against eminent domain, the provision requiring the District to only reach out to willing sellers, and an unnecessary carrot that didn't belong in the legislation but directly benefits Florida Crystals: a provision pointing Florida in the direction of allowing Big Ag to sell rainwater to municipal or industrial users that need it.

Meanwhile Florida Bay -- the irreplaceable shallow water wilderness and foundation of the Keys economy -- is in the midst of a horrible algae bloom; still starved for clean fresh water at the right time of year. The Miccosuckee Tribe and Everglades continue to bear the costs to tribal lands from upstream water mismanagement.

Will Gov. Scott step away from his record of coddling Big Sugar through his appointments to the water management district governing board? The only cause for concern: if voters catch wind of the fraud.

EVCO EAA Reservoir Letter January 2018 by Alan Farago on Scribd

Braynon and Flores love fest hurt the party. By Geniusofdespair

So many of you are arguing “It  was an affair of consenting adults.” That is not all it was. Don’t believe me? You surely didn’t in my post last week. Maybe this will convince you.

Try the Tampa Bay Times: 

Why the Anitere Flores and Oscar Braynon affair matters to Florida voters

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Save the Country! Will you March this Weekend? By Geniusofdespair

 Gonna lay the devil down, gonna lay that devil down.
I got fury in my soul, fury's gonna take me to the glory goal...Laura Nyro

Save the Country  1969 --- why are we saving the country from "Make America Great" 45 years after this song was sung? Because we have to. 

Don your pink hat and get inspired. Men just get out there: January 21, 2018
Time: 11-4pm
Where: Mana Wynwood, 318 NW 23RD

In 2017 we marched! In 2018 we ACT!


Monday, January 15, 2018

The Martin Luther King Parade 2018 In Miami. By Geniusofdespair

I expected some disrespect for Trump at the the Parade but there really wasn't any. A few vague references but that was it. There was a Dump Trump sign held by 3 white guys.

We have always been lucky to have a great Public Defender. Carlos J. Martinez I have the greatest respect for.

Majorettes in Staging Area

This was one of those vague references to Trump: A time to pray.

Not so vague....

Staging area, getting ready to march.

Miami City Mayor Francis Suarez was there saying hello to constituents.

A Group of Haitian Americans Joined the parade

Congressional Candidate David Richardson showed up to Celebrate MLK.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

What is your best move for national politics. By Geniusofdespair

You have power here in South Florida. As long as parties are voting in blocks — you MUST get more Democrats in Congress. We have two opportunities in Districts 26 and 27 in this year’s election. This is huge voters!

You must choose a candidate you like from each district and send your favorite MONEY even if it it is just ten dollars. Money talks.

We must remove Carlos Curbello from District 26. He is trying hard to lean left so you will be dumb enough to vote for him. The stupid unions are so far staying with him so it is up to you to make a change. I am supporting Debbie Mucarsel Powell. Remember Carlos Curbello voted with Republicans to overturn Obamacare. You must not let him get re-elected. Give money, volunteer to help in this district. It is a Democratic district with a Republican in it. How insane is that? It only helps Donald Trump remain in power.

Get friends on Facebook from red states to help our candidates that have a chance.

Axioms AM: Situational awareness, or, Floridians do your job and vote!

Trump's day of reckoning ... The one thing that could dramatically diminish President Trump’s chances of avoiding impeachment and chalking up legislative wins is Democrats winning the House. 
  • And, thanks to series of recent developments, Trump knows this no longer just seems plausible, but probable. 
  • Hill sources tell us that a House Democratic takeover is now likely.
  • One strategist close to Republican leaders believes that a loss of the House is "baked in," and said top Republicans don't see a way to avoid it. 
  • It would take a flip of 24 seats for Dems to take over. The average loss for the president's party in his first midterm is about 32 seats, and we're hearing forecasts of 40+ losses.
You can’t predict outcomes this far out, but these hard facts scare the hell out of Republicans: 
  • Eight House GOP chairs have retired: You don’t climb to the top of power in Congress and leave unless you feel confident your reign will soon end. (Another factor: Chairmanships are term-limited from a Gingrich-era reform.)
  • Record retirements for GOP: Already, 29 GOP seats are open, a pace far exceeding the past two elections that saw power change hands. 
  • Democrats outperformed their norms in turnout, and in total votes, in all seven 2017 elections. This is a clear indicator of energy. 
  • Record number of Democratic women voting and considering running for office. This, more than anything, is a reaction to Trump and the #MeToo movement. 
  • In polls, voters prefer Democrats for Congress by a 10-point margin. There is no way to spin this: +10 is terrible in a 50/50 nation.
Be smart: Republicans typically hold a built-in advantage in House elections in modern politics. The reason: a combo of congressional districts designed for a GOP edge + the fact that old, white voters outperform in off-year elections because they actually vote. But Democratic momentum looks like it could drench the map. 
The takeaway: With a Democratic House, Trump faces not only a high risk of impeachment proceedings, but hostile chairs with subpoena power who can tie up the administration with hearings and document requests.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Atonement ... by gimleteye

A young Cuban driving Uber gave me a lift this morning. He's been in Miami for a year and was happy to practice his English. He lives in Hialeah, drives at night and works days in a warehouse. He works two jobs so his wife can attend college, where she will graduate with a business degree. What will she do? He has no idea, but he is sacrificing everything for her and their young son. He's in his mid-30s. No family in Miami. Just wife and child. He had been a marine engineer and eventually captain of big ships. He sailed the world and saved. A year ago, he purchased their way to Mexico. The cost, $5000 for each. Once there, they bought bus tickets and made their way to the border. Then they crossed by foot. It was dangerous, he said, because his wife and child are blond. Not dark complexion like him. They were vulnerable to robbery because of the color of their skin and hair. Here, he tried to get a job that utilized his skill and expertise, but he is not legal and besides, he said the US Coast Guard doesn't recognize qualifications from Cuba. He would have to start from the ground. So he is working in a Hialeah warehouse. And driving Uber. It had been a very slow night, he said. I tipped him $100. I tipped him $100 because I believed his story. That he was honest. And trying. And I could. I tipped him because my father and mother had been immigrants. My father came by ship through New York harbor and the Statue of Liberty. I tipped him $100 because the president of the United States Donald Trump made me ashamed yesterday, calling countries who suffer one form of disaster -- corruption, dictatorship -- "shitholes". What is the difference between Haiti and Cuba or the broken place my father fled? I suppose there are differences, but one way they are the same: their people look to the United States as a beacon of democracy and freedom. I really am not sure what Donald Trump thinks he is doing in the White House. He is leading from a place of base instincts, fear and vilification. Sitting there with crossed arms and all hunched up, he is a nightmare. He never believed he would win the White House. It was all a scheme to cash in from the division and distraction he stirred. If he lost he would have won, but he won and we all lost. Both political parties have their weaknesses, but Trump is a fatal weakness to the Republican Party. So I gave $100 to the Cuban kid trying to make it, because he needs encouragement. Just like Republican voters need encouragement to vote Democrat in November. Think of it as atonement.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Which Shithole Country Are You From?

For the answer, ask your GOP Congressional delegation.

I Don't Blame Nitwit Trump, I Blame the Cowards in the Republican Party That Won't Leash Him. By Geniusofdespair

All the coward Republicans in the room when Trump made his statement yesterday came out with their penises tucked between their legs and apparently left their balls in the room.

You guys all suck and the worst: Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart. Yes, he lost his balls long ago I know, and he is so dumb it is a crime. He is just a lump of mud with a face and a vote.

Well the White Supremacists are as happy as clams and we now know for sure that our President is indeed a racist preferring Norwegians as our immigrants.
Hitler combined two currents into the racial narrative of Nazism: that Germans were the descendants of the original, blond and blue-eyed Aryan race, superior to every other race, and were duty-bound to strive for racial purity...
Even though Republicans in the room are jumping through hoops not to go on the record except to say code messages that don't make a lick of sense (Lindsay Graham), the Alt-Right Racists have plenty to say and they are direct:
Thursday, 11 January 2018

A shallow wave of mock outrage spread across the world today, followed by almost universal unspoken agreement, after President Trump accurately referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and some African countries as "shithole countries."

The comments came in a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators at the White House, during a discussion of America's ridiculous visa lottery system that allows random people from dysfunctional, low-IQ, and badly toilet trained countries to come to America on green cards.

The White House issued a statement that did not deny the remarks. In the past Trump has made equally disparaging remarks of Haiti. In 2007, he famously said Haitian immigrants "all have AIDS," which is not strictly true.

Trump's latest comments are not exactly accurate either, as "shithole countries" implies that the countries in question are actually using improvised latrines to dispose of their faecal waste.

From evidence on the ground, there is no reason to believe this is actually happening in Haiti, where cholera is a pandemic and shit and other rotting garbage are everywhere (https://alt-right-news)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

What Senate President Joe Negron Should Do About The Lemon Reservoir Plan ... by gimleteye

It will cost $2 billion. It won't clean water for the Everglades and it won't protect the upstream estuaries. All the plan for a massive new reservoir will do is cement the prerogatives of the state's powerful cartel, Big Sugar.

The reservoir plan was the most important piece of work that emerged from the Florida legislature last year; an initiative at the insistence of then in-coming Senate president Joe Negron because the previous year, toxic puke from Lake Okeechobee had coated his constituents in a bath of guacamole thick algae. The lake (thank you, climate change) had risen alarmingly high in dry season. Something had to be done. Now that details are emerging, the accolades are dying too.

I don't want to get into the weeds on what the legislature passed and Gov. Scott signed into law. Basically, they agreed to create the largest man-made structure in Florida: a mini-Lake Okeechobee south of the 500,000 acres where sugarcane is grown. They want to do it on public land to clean up private industry's pollution because -- well -- that's how we roll in Florida.

What I want to focus on is Rod Tirrell.
Activist Rod Tirrell in an undated photo. (Courtesy, Matt Schwartz)
Rod was an Everglades warrior. He passed away this week, far too young, leaving behind school-age twins in Broward County. In the late 1990's Rod -- a volunteer board member of the Broward Sierra Club Group -- was part of a team of Club activist leaders struggling to come to terms with the Clinton administration and Lawton Chiles plan to save the Everglades. It was called the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and became law of the land in 2000.

Rod argued strongly that Sierra Club should NOT support the plan because it failed to include a way to store and treat enough of Big Sugar's pollution to solve the problem of dirty water contaminating the Everglades and Florida Bay. That's the same problem we face today.

Back in the mid-1990's, most mainstream environmental groups, led by Audubon, said: this is the best we are going to get. Senator Bob Graham and Floridian, then EPA administrator Carol Browner said, this is the best you are going to get. The debate raged within Sierra Club ranks for years. Sierra Club was persuaded by its allies; "Let's take this now and live to fight another day."

Rod wasn't involved with Sierra Club when last year environmentalists said the same thing in support of what emerged from the sausage grinder in Tallahassee. He never lost his love for the Everglades but drifted away from Sierra Club after its decision to support CERP in 2000.

Today, the same environmental groups are in a crisis over the Negron plan which started with best intentions and turned into a lemon.

This week, the water management district -- whose board is appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, now the undeclared Republican candidate for US Senate -- released a glossy, PR heavy "plan" in Tallahassee. It is basically for a man-made reservoir as much as 19 feet deep. Its walls will have to be thirty to forty feet high to prevent over-topping in case of hurricanes.

Although district scientists pledge it will work, remember Rod Tirrell: two decades after governmental agencies all agreed that 10 parts per billion phosphorous pollution must be achieved for the Everglades to survive, it still hasn't happened. As the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians pointed out in an acidic letter to the governor and legislature yesterday, the only way you can claim things are going great with water quality in Florida is to make up the numbers.

So here is what the governor and legislature need to understand: you can waste a year doing more "planning" how to fit 10 gallons of sludge into a one gallon bucket or you can go back and fix last year's bill.

A fix would require Senate president Joe Negron to do heavier lifting than any Florida leader has ever done in opposition to the sugar cartel.

The fix would require stripping from the current law, the provisions that prohibit eminent domain (yes, the same eminent domain that President Trump will need to use to build that wall), that prohibit the state from negotiating with unwilling sellers, and the provision for the C51 reservoir that awarded one billionaire family, the Fanjuls, a path to use their land to sell dirty rainwater/ flood runoff to Floridians for water supply. These three poison pills found their way into last year's law because Big Sugar squeezed the legislature. Scott and the cabinet agreed to be squeezed. And Democrats in the state senate helped because they too love to be squeezed by Big Sugar.

We've already heard Big Sugar's answer to its critics, "Take your seat at the back of the bus. Be grateful you have anything at all." Like Rod Tirrell, many who love Florida's water, Florida's quality of life, and depend on a healthy, vibrant tourism industry have been at this a long time. It costs nothing to tell the truth about a piece of legislation. Rod Tirrell wouldn't have it any other way, and that is why he was a real Everglades warrior.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Why Senators Oscar Braynon and Anitere Flores Cannot be Forgiven for Fornicating. By Geniusofdespair

Anitere Flores Wears The Scarlet Letter! Oscar Braynon didn't just Screw her, he screwed two other  loyal Democrats.

There was an election.

Anitere Flores was in a vulnerable seat redrawn as Democrat in 2015. It is rumored that Oscar Braynon bent over backwards to help her. Most dedicated Dems told me that he ran the party as far as Democratic State Senate seats since he is the Senate Minority Leader. He raised the money and decided where the money would be spent according to insiders, and Debbie Muscarsel-Powell was in the Dog House running against Anitere Flores. When Andrew Korge was running against Anitere Flores he wouldn't help him m either.

It was very odd that he gave Debbie Mucarsel-Powell so little Democratic support when she was running against Right leaning Republican Anitere Flores who made a giant leap to the left to retain her seat. That is when I first heard the rumors of the affair between Oscar Braynon and Anitere Flores. But I really didn't believe it. Now they have admitted the affair publicly thanks to a recent video taken through a hotel peephole.

A Republican just told me: "Anitere Flores, who claims to be religious, broke one of the Ten Commandments. To make matters worse, she made decisions based on what gave her pleasure, instead of what was best for her constituents and her family. Hopefully God forgives her. Lord knows her husband won’t." Yes I think this quote is pretty funny but that is how a lot of Republican's think.

Very active and perceptive  Democratic leader, former House member  and former Mayor of Pinecrest Cindy Lerner said that "His role as the Democratic Leader has not only been compromised it has been thwarted."  She added, "They both should step down. They not only cheated on their spouses they cheated on all of us."

I couldn't care less that they had an affair. Except that I do know Oscar has a lovely wife and beautiful children and a great Dad who once worked for County Chair Barbara Carey-Schuler. He must be furious right now with Oscar, Jr.

Anyway, I think Oscar should step down from ANY LEADERSHIP ROLE in the Democratic party for this giant breach of trust in this particular election. Anitere Flores, I believe, wouldn't have won if Debbie wasn't left out in the cold. And it would have left Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in a stronger position to run against Curbello now.