Saturday, October 29, 2016

Coral Gables Early Voting October 28th. By Geniusofdespair

I remember the lines during early voting in previous elections. I would offer people bottled water on line. They were waiting an hour or two. Now I am observing no lines, actually drips and drabs of people. Maybe because they doubled the amount of sites. Maybe because fewer people are voting early. I chalk it up to the bizarre rain-a-phobia almost all Floridians suffer from: "Look  Sarah, a cloud." "Oh, Jose, don't go out it might rain." "RAIN!!! OMG NO!"

This rain is so good for the Zika virus to spread. That is better reason NOT to go out.

Anyway here are some photos taken yesterday at 4pm or thereabouts (AND REMEMBER TO VOTE NO ON AMENDMENT 1):

Entrance to voting area Coral Gables Library on Segovia.

Yes there was one.

Mo Abety running for School Board.  I voted for Mo. It was nice to meet him in person.

Maria Rojas, the Mayors sister-in-law, running for School Board against Mo.

Miguel De La Portilla running for State Senate against my choice: JOSE JAVIER RODRIGUEZ

How Big Sugar dominates Florida: a case study ... by gimleteye

Crystal Mills Lucas, candidate for Florida state representative District 83

In Florida this election cycle, Big Sugar is playing hard in a state representative election, District 83 north of Palm Beach, that says everything about “rigged systems” and “political cronyism”. Surprised?

Crystal Mills Lucas, a first time Democratic candidate for the Florida state legislature, is running against Gayle Harrell, a Republican in Martin County — the formerly sleepy county that includes Stuart and Port St. Lucie. Lucas has been endorsed by the local newspaper, the Treasure Coast Palm.

The incoming president of the Florida Senate, Joe Negron, is from the area. His support of Harrell would be partisan and politically correct, but it is more than that. To see what a challenger like Lucas faces in a lock-down, rigged system; consider the following.

Lucas is a former school teacher and avid outdoors woman. With her husband and daughter, they grew to love the Atlantic coast beaches and the St. Lucie River devastated, in the winter of 2016, by highly polluted and toxic water spewing from Lake Okeechobee. For the first half of 2016, a river of toxic slime covered the shorefront of downstream communities like Lucas’, Harrell’s, and Negron’s. Homeowners and visitors were appalled by a thick, guacamole-like blanket of algae that was toxic to touch and to breathe.

The pollution tsunami also impacted Florida’s west coast, through the Caloosahatchee River. There, a similar dogfight is playing out between a challenger, John Scott, motivated to run by the terrible pollution and an incumbent Matt Cadlwell, whose campaign account is filled with polluter money.

The 2016 pollution was so bad, so awful, so damaging to local, small tourism-dependent businesses that a civic movement rose up — mainly on social media — in response. I wrote, at the time, about the emergence of groups like as "Florida’s Arab Spring".

That means, in terms that campaign consultants understand, the interest of potentially millions of urban voters was suddenly opposed to a few Big Sugar oligarchs and rural communities where jobs depend on sugarcane production.

The fortunes of the oligarchs depend on polluting practices that shift the majority of cleanup costs to taxpayers and push the practice and implementation of Florida's water management policies and infrastructure into the wilderness.

Then in the winter of 2016 -- a year ago -- the rains began to fall in dry season, forcing water managers to open the floodgates of hell. The South Florida Water Management District and US Army Corps of Engineers supervised the disposal of billions of gallons of toxic water into waterways and along coast real estate owned mostly by taxpayers who vote Republican. But not exclusively Republican.

Water pollution is an equal opportunity offender, and soon social media lit up, a phenomenon that Big Sugar attributed at first to its long-time adversaries: nonprofit environmental groups. Only this time, the opposition to Big Sugar was fueled by broad based, civic revulsion.

Against this backdrop, Crystal Mills Lucas decided to run for public office. She had a little money, a supportive family, great enthusiasm and a willingness to put her time and energy on the line for democracy.

She did so in a Florida county that is statistically insignificant in state-wide elections, but very important in terms of geography and Big Sugar. The western reaches of Martin County border hundreds of thousands of acres in sugarcane production. Big Sugar has a deep interest in converting its lands to suburbs, to inland shipping ports, and industrial uses like rock mines as soon as its economically feasible. Obtaining zoning variances and building approvals depends on local regulations and state laws.

Through privileges and subsidies implicit in the federal Farm Bill, a handful of farmers like the Fanjuls’ Florida Crystals empire and the descendents of Charles Stuart Mott through U.S. Sugar Corporation are extraordinarily wealthy. Big Sugar sprinkles political money like candy drops on legislators; a practice called by GOP taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, “cronyism in its undiluted, inexcusable majesty”.

Big Sugar's tactics have evolved along with campaign finance law. In 2012 — the election cycle after Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court blew the doors off corporate restrictions on campaign contributions — Big Sugar decided to play hardball in local county elections. In the final weeks of the campaign, U.S. Sugar Corporation spent nearly $1 million in “dark” money to defeat Ray Judah, a long-time Lee County commissioner and Republican, who had been the most eloquent advocate for converting lands in sugarcane to water storage and treatment to stop his west Florida coast constituents from being bombed by pollution during wet, rainy years.

In the August 2016 primary election in Martin County, Big Sugar invested in political action committees to eliminate another challenger who supported land acquisition in the Evreglades Agricultural Area, the former mayor of Sewell's Point Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch.

Big Sugar is behind the scenes working to stop Crystal Mills Lucas’ challenge of Gayle Harrell for state representative. According to recent filings, Lucas has raised about $71,000 compared to Harrell’s $200,000.

The money is relatively small potatoes, except it is not. Political committees lined up behind Harrell are investing a multiple of what she has directly raised for her campaign. According to Lucas, every day at least one attack mailer against her is arriving in voters’ mailboxes. The mailers are supported by attack ads on local TV. They are all negative, and all are funded by anonymous political action committees with anodyne, misleading names.

One mailer charges Crystal Mills Lucas is a polluter herself; that her home septic system discharges into the ground. This ties to one of Big Sugar’s tactics: to shift blame for pollution of Florida’s estuaries and rivers to homeowners whose septic systems discharge into the aquifer.

This story is now gaining traction on the front page of the local newspaper, Gannet-owned Treasure Coast Palm: in fact Lucas’ sewer is on a city line.

Another mailer insinuates Lucas is a terrorist.

Harrell’s campaign report shows a $10,000 contribution from the Republican Party of Florida — a drop in the bucket — and another $1000 contribution from the Treasure Coast Alliance, a political action committee controlled by Senate president Negron. These small contributions from connected entities have a point: to plant the flag, in effect, on the durable partnership between the Florida GOP and Big Sugar.

There has been no similar flag-planting by the Democrats on Lucas’ campaign. The careful cultivation of Democrats by Big Sugar — spreading crumbs through Democratic consultants like Balsera Communications in Miami and African American communities — keep it that way.

Lucas, like many other Democratic candidates at the local level, are going it alone because the Florida Democratic Party is a David compared to the GOP Goliath, organized around big business and trade associations like the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Florida; groups that are, first and foremost, vehicles for GOP political campaigns. Here is a glimpse how it works.

According to her October campaign finance statement, more than 2/3rds of Gayle Harrell’s expenditures in this election cycle have gone to one political consultant, McLaughlin & Associates, based in Blauvelt, NY.

According to its website, "McLaughlin & Associates is a national survey research and strategic services company whose personnel have played a key role in assisting successful organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Latin America. We specialize in public opinion research, media planning and buying services, and strategic consulting services.” The website doesn’t say it is a GOP operation; the resumes of its key staffers do. Its media director Marianne Campbell lists among past clients Florida Sugar Farmers and Florida’s Working Families.

According to state election data, Florida’s Working Families is now inactive, but ten years ago the political action committee was a vehicle of Big Sugar during a pitched battle to stop citizen activists from passing a constitutional amendment called Florida Hometown Democracy.

Florida Hometown Democracy was a constitutional amendment whose language was approved by the Florida Supreme Court in June 2006. Its organizer was Leslie Blackner, a Palm Beach mother, attorney and activist who invested $1 million of her own family assets in the effort.

If enough signatures could be collected and verified, and if approved by 60% of Florida voters, the measure would have given citizens a strong voice in land use decisions in their communities. According to its website at the time, "Rising taxes, falling home values, gridlocked roads, dwindling water supplies and Florida’s disappearing beauty are just some of the devastating consequences of Florida politicians’ habit of rubberstamping speculative plan changes. Hometown Democracy Amendment 4 changes all that by giving voters veto power over these changes to your community’s master plan for growth."

To Big Sugar, the goal of the citizens’ initiative was a threat by proxy; as fiercely opposed in 2006, as Big Sugar is now fighting the emergence of first time candidate Crystal Mills Lucas in 2016.

In August 2006, Big Sugar deposited $3 million in the campaign account of Florida’s Working Families, and in the following months, the PAC paid McLaughlin and Associates -- the same firm being used by Gayle Harrell -- at least $1.4 million.

Big Sugar’s lobbyists and consultants promoted a faux, competitive constitutional amendment — just like Florida’s utilities are doing in this election cycle with Amendment 1. Big Sugar, just like Florida's utilities did this year, paid off signature collectors and confused voters. FHD supporters failed to gather enough signatures to quality for the 2008 ballot, causing a two year delay.

In October 2009, Florida’s Working Families received another $100,000 from US Sugar Corporation. In late October 2010, it paid $75,000 to Political, Ink., a Republican campaign/media firm based in Alexandria, VA whose principals have extensive resumes on behalf of top GOP legislators and funders like the Koch Brothers.

By 2010, an army of political action committees, including those representing Florida homebuilders and realtors were arrayed against Florida Hometown Democracy. Blackner estimated her opponents spent more than $15 million to defeat the measure. After the harsh loss — more than 70 percent of Florida voters in 2010 voted against the measure — she said: "Unfortunately, it is very difficult to have a rational discussion of a solution to Florida’s horrible growth management problem in 30-second television ads that cost millions of dollars to air. Voters were subjected to the full financial power of those special interests that are committed to maintaining a death grip on their ability to control the status quo of sprawl and overbuilding in our state."

Subsequent to the 2010 initiative, an election cycle that carried Rick Scott to the Governor’s Mansion, growth management — that had been under relentless pressure for a decade -- was decapitated. What is left of the agency that once attempted to govern growth in Florida now works out of a broom closet in the state capitol.

Big Sugar’s top shareholders judged the uprising in 2016, Florida’s Arab Spring, as the same threat as Florida Hometown Democracy; citizens meddling in its control of state and federal policies to protect the industry’s right to extract the last, red cent from sugarlands it owns; lands that could be used to protect the Everglades and Florida’s badly damaged estuaries and bays or for suburban sprawl.

That is where Crystal Mills Lucas lands: a neophyte inside a "rigged system" putting up campaign yard signs surrounded by Republican leadership engaged in a tribal rite: to spare no expense in maintaining control to the account of its benefactors, Big Sugar oligarchs.

It is not just that Senate president Negron, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Florida, and Big Sugar interests want to beat Lucas: they want to send a clear and unequivocal message to dissenters in their ranks and to Democratic challengers.

The message goes something like this: you might have rejected our guys, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, and you might win the presidential election, but we have Florida locked down. Raise your voices on Facebook and social media, but if you dare to tamper with our rigged system, we will use every tool in the toolbox to make sure you fail. We will restore the Everglades and maybe the rivers and lagoons, but it is not going to look anything like your version of restoration. It will look how we want it to look, surrounded by suburbs we control and flood control infrastructure we also control. And, If you want to leave the state, be our guests: we will guarantee you safe passage.

That’s the simple message behind an expensive campaign to defeat Crystal Mills Lucas by the Republican Party of Florida, its dark money pools and Big Sugar funders.

What does this say, however, about the post-election picture? This summer, Senate president Joe Negron signed the Now Or Neverglades Declaration calling for acquisition of lands now in sugarcane production using funds directed through another citizens’ initiative to protect the Everglades and other environmentally damaged areas of the state.

Just because he signed, doesn’t mean he will put his shoulder to the legislative wheel in 2017 with any expectation of success. Moreover, by signing the Declaration, Negron effectively removed Florida’s pollution crisis as an electoral issue in 2016.

Big Sugar proxies have already launched a campaign in north Florida districts, enlisting politicians to object to the use of state funding to increase the footprint of state land ownership in the Everglades Agricultural Area south of Lake Okeechobee. There are, in fact, no secrets in Florida. The exchange of secrets between legislators and Big Sugar takes place out of state.

It is simple. As Big Sugar says, through its army of legislators, consultants and industry associations, to millions of disenfranchised and angry voters — including Republicans in districts like the one where Crystal Mills Lucas is challenging Gayle Harrell — elections have consequences.

Friday, October 28, 2016

No One Voting? By Geniusofdespair

Early voting in progress during a Presidential Election at 5pm in the City of Miami and no one is voting? Really?

What is it with you Floridians, inclement weather scares the shit out of most of you. It is just rain. You are not going to melt. Get off your ass and go out and vote while there are no lines. I walked a mile in the rain to take this photograph. See, I didn't melt, I survived the rain.

If you need a slate should not be voting. By Geniusofdespair


This is a part of a slate card:

do not vote yes to Amendment 1 because it says it on a slate card.

Most slate cards are phony. DO NOT LOOK AT NOR VOTE FROM SLATE CARDS, I DON'T CARE WHO PRINTED IT. They even put photos of Obama on one side to lure Democrats into believing they are righteous cards. They are paid for by bad people trying to manipulate you. For the record, I don't like party official slates either. They should do away with all slates because people get too confused between real and unregulated slates.

I have reason to believe those wicked utilities are using slate cards to have you vote yes on Amendment 1.

If you read Amendment 1, it really sounds good but it is not. All the environmental groups are against it, I am against it, if you care about the future of solar energy in our State, you should be against it too.

Carl Hiaasen of the Miami Herald said about Amendment 1:

Let the scum shine.

The solar-power amendment on Florida’s ballot is a slick, oily fraud. Promoted as a way to expand solar energy and protect residents who want it, Amendment 1 would do just the opposite.

All you need to know is who’s bankrolling the massive advertising campaign: Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, Tampa Electric Co., Gulf Power, and a few nonprofits funded heavily by Exxon Mobil and a pair of right-wing billionaire brothers named Koch.

When is the last time they all banded together to do something wonderful for the average consumer?

These are not fans of broadening our energy choices. These are politically powerful utility and oil interests seeking to restrict and monopolize the burgeoning solar industry. The last thing they want is free-market competition. The prospect worries them so much that they’ve forked out almost $22 million to push for Amendment 1.

Vice Mayor of Palmetto Bay John Dubois Appears to talk to voters INSIDE the area designated no campaigning. By Geniusofdespair

Vice Mayor John Dubois seen here with his former House Guest Mr. Stanley Kowlesser (accused Pedophile)
What is Vice Mayor John Dubois talking about: "What did you have for dinner, How are the kids, Vote for me?" We don't know what is being discussed -- irrelevant -- people should not be talking to a candidate this close to the polling location. A candidate should know this.

FPL Turkey Point update and the November election ... by gimleteye

Earlier this year, the pollution crisis exploded at FPL Turkey Point. Science revealed what environmentalists had been complaining about for many years; that pollution was contaminating underground aquifers serving south Dade, threatening the Florida Keys and Biscayne Bay.

Only a few years ago, environmentalists had strongly opposed the "up-rating" of the aging nuclear facility and now their fears were realized: the super-hot, saline conditions were radiating beyond the boundaries of the nuclear plant, underground.

The bad news triggered a hurried response from GOP leadership in Florida, as afraid for the political outcome of regulatory failure in November as for fixing the crisis itself.

Fixing the crisis would require a commitment to de-comission the failed cooling canal system and to replace it with cooling towers, standard at every other nuclear reactor facility in the U.S.

In the past, it paid politically to bury all the ways the cooling canal system at Turkey Point violated binding agreements between FPL and the state. How FPL and its parent company, NextEra Energy, did this -- beyond campaign contributions to incumbents who are part of the protection racket -- is to make sure that when government regulators test water quality, that testing is designed to reveal positive results the polluter seeks instead of science that might tilt politics in the direction of protecting people not corporate profits.

For example, for many years FPL steadfastly opposed the use of a radioactive isotope produced by Turkey Point reactors in assessing its water pollution by regulators, even though that isotope -- called tritium -- is scientifically established as a true marker of water contamination sources.

FPL needed a fast plan to deflect public criticism or else its political protectors would face jeopardy at the polls, so earlier this summer -- after an emergency field hearing in Homestead headed by incoming state senate president Joe Negron -- FPL and the state came up with a quick fix that will cost the company, and ratepayers, at least $200 million.

When Negron came to Homestead, he was flanked by two fellow Republican state senators who are influential members of the Miami-Dade GOP delegation, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a former FPL lobbyist, and Anitere Flores, supportive of FPL until the crisis blew up.

The electoral optics were clear: "we are going to fix this problem" was the message, delivered by Michael Sole, FPL's top environmental officer in Florida, past director of Gov. Rick Scott's environmental agency, and current board member of the Everglades Foundation.

The so-called "fix" helped deflect attention away from the jeopardy to Republicans in November.

This week, the primary civic group challenging FPL at Turkey Point on the cooling canal crisis -- the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy -- said the state plan won't work. The 160 mile long cooling canal system is leaking through underground fractures and convection routes through the soft and porous aquifer, according to a report of new data.

Voters should care about the bad public policy and politics that continues to permit pollution from one of the most powerful corporations in Florida.

This issue alone is a reason to vote for Jose Javier Rodriguez, a Democratic state representative who is running against Diaz de la Portilla for the state senate. Rodriquez has been one of the most vocal critics of FPL on Turkey Point, in sharp contrast to DLP.

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a Democrat running against incumbent state senator Anitere Flores, has a long record of civic involvement on behalf of the environment and Biscayne Bay.

Florida taxpayers, FPL ratepayers, and citizens deserve better than our current Republican leadership. A vote for Jose Javier Rodriguez and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is a step in the right direction.

FPL’s Turkey Point fix won’t solve pollution problems, group asserts

Susan Salisbury
Palm Beach Post
October 27, 2016

Just weeks after Florida Power & Light began work to clean up an underground plume of extremely salty water and other toxins stemming from its Turkey Point nuclear plant, a clean energy advocacy group says the plan will not work.

“The solutions that FPL and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection have proposed will not stop the pollution. It will only clean up the old pollution,” said Laura Reynolds, a consultant for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

In fact, new findings provided by Miami-Dade County indicate water from the cooling canals is likely seeping into Biscayne Bay, Reynolds said this week.

Thursday, October 27, 2016



Since folks are giving their recommendations as to who to vote for, so I'll give you mine. You already know who I support for President. My pick for Senate is Patrick Murphy, even though back in 2002, I helped create Marco Rubio.

How, you're probably asking, did I create Marco Rubio.

Miguel De Grandy and I were hired by Florida House Speaker Tom Feeney to run the redistricting for the Florida House, Florida Senate, and the Florida Congressional Districts. Our plan was to tightly control what was being said during debates. (A lot of voting rights cases had been attacked on the strength of stupid things said by the majority party during debate.) So I started writing a screenplay, a live action art installation, of how the floor debate for the plans should go. Feeney put the word out to his members: If you aren't given a notebook with a script, you don't say anything. The Democrats had no idea of what we were doing. Feeney had a role as Speaker. So did Johnny Byrd, the Reapportionment Chair and upcoming Speaker. There was a speaking part for Mario Diaz-Balart, the chair of the Congressional Districting subcommittee. Bruce Kyle was the chair of Senate District subcommittee and he got a script.

But we wanted to have one of the other Hispanic members of the House play a prominent role. The role required a small challenge to the conventional wisdom and with it, a challenge to Johnnie Byrd. (Byrd was in on it.) Miguel and I approached Gaston Cantens, who was in line to be Speaker after Byrd. We told him what we wanted him to do. He wanted no part of it. Cantens was set to be the first Cuban-American Speaker and thought that reading a script was beneath him. (Byrd was feared by House members, but Cantens was grudgingly respected by them as a future Speaker.) Miguel and I polished the script as the 3 redistricting plans made their way through the Committees and towards the floor.

Without a Hispanic House member, we were afraid that we'd have to redo the play we were writing. Miguel suggested that we sit down with a young guy from West Miami who was the start of his second term, Marco Rubio. We did, and Marco agreed to his role. On the day of the floor debate on second reading, Miguel's associate, Nick Mazzora, went onto the House floor with a stack of black binders. Every player got one and each played his part. Marco was so convincing in the way that he challenged Johnny Byrd that it made an impression on the Republican House members. That one performance by Marco made members reconsider their support for Gasten Cantons. Why make him the first Cuban-American Speaker, the chatter began, when we can support Marco? I overheard members talking about how amazed they were that Marco had the courage to stand up to Johnnie Byrd. Gaston's support evaporated that day and Marco secured enough votes to become Speaker from 2006 to 2008. Without being Speaker, Marco would have gone back to West Miami as a term limited legislator with a small ego wall. Instead, he used it as the launchpad for his Senate campaign and, from there, to his abortive attempt to get the GOP nomination.

Marco wasn't always the staunch conservative he tries to portray himself as now. At one point, he was a fan of my mentor, Rep. Bill Sadowski, who was both a liberal and a progressive. (Those are two different things, by the way.) But Marco hitched his wagon to the Tea Party star to get into the US Senate. And once there, he spent all of his time trying to become President. I have no doubt that, if he gets reelected, he'll be trudging up to Manchester, New Hampshire and Center City, Iowa in 2018 to pick up where he left off.

Steve Cody
Florida needs a full-time Senator, not someone who treats the job, at best, like a hobby and, at worst, like an annoyance. My friend, Bill Sadowski once wrote: "Public office is a public trust, both legally and conceptually. Never violate that trust." (Click the link below to read Bill's last speech when he retired from the Florida House back when I was his legislative aide.) I'm afraid that Marco forgot that the office he sits in was only loaned to him by the people.

I don't regret creating Marco Rubio. I just wished I had more of a chance to teach him what the service part of public service means. He was a fan of the words of Bill Sadowski once, but the meaning of those words was lost on him. For that reason, I'm voting for Patrick Murphy for US Senate.

Marco Rubio on the Democrats, Cuba and Myanmar ... by gimleteye

In last night's debate between challenger Patrick Murphy and incumbent US Senator Marco Rubio, the two engaged in spirited exchange on Cuba and Democratic policies loosening the embargo that Florida's junior senator strongly opposes. It is worth looking more closely where Rubio's punches landed wide of the mark.

One of the criticisms against Rubio is that he delivers policy robotically in sound-bites. Rubio's polish in front of the TV camera is key to his attraction to GOP funders. But Cuba is a central theme of Rubio's political life so it makes sense for voters to understand what he said last night.

Rubio claims to be a foreign policy expert, but he betrayed his shallow understanding by comparing the Obama administration opening of relations with Cuba with Myanmar where, according to Rubio, the United States responded to the military dictatorship by incentivizing and calibrating our response based on demonstrated steps toward democracy by generals in power. That's what Obama should have done in Cuba, Rubio asserts.

Rubio knows most Americans couldn't find Myanmar on a map. That's how it goes with Rubio: make the charge, swing from the hip -- most people will be captured by the appearance and not the substance or even to know how far off the mark Senator Rubio's comment landed.

Myanmar is not only half-way around the world; the nation has always existed in the shadow of China, the gargantuan. Myanmar used the rapprochement with the US as a counter-balance to China, (whose investors turned Myanmar's property markets into the hottest in the world).

Rubio's notion that President Obama did something in Myanmar that he should have done in Cuba, ie. put conditions -- a step-by-step approach with military dictators, is just plain wrong. Different part of the world. Different history. Different circumstances.

Marco Rubio supports a failed US-Cuba policy on the embargo that divides Hispanics through wet foot/dry foot and harmed Cubans on the nation where the United States has been the gargantuan.

No one in the Democratic camp argues that generations of Cubans and Cuban Americans were deeply harmed by the brutal dictatorship of the Castros who turned the island nation into a time capsule of communism. No one in the Democratic camp argues that communism was a social and political experiment gone haywire.

But you don't get out of a foreign policy ditch by digging a deeper ditch; exactly the path US foreign policy followed for decades. Credit the Democrats, many Republicans in Congress, but especially President Obama for making that point clear to Americans.

In their hearts, Republican voters know that creating the opportunity for normal relations with Cuba will influence the next generation of Cuban military leaders. So why in the world should Cuban Americans continue to support Marco Rubio, especially given the fact that the candidate HE supports for president, Donald J. Trump, was doing business with Cuba when doing business with Cuba was a flagrant violation of US law and the embargo energizing Cuban Americans?

Rubio, last night, got a laugh when he said of Patrick Murphy's support for the end of the embargo that his challenger was endorsing Trump's behavior.

It was a below-the-belt hit and Rubio smirked when he made it. What Trump did was illegal. He lied, and he is still lying and Marco Rubio supports him. President Obama changed the rules of engagement with Cuba. The law changed. Most Cuban Americans -- and Americans -- support President Obama's initiatives on Cuba, leaving Marco Rubio at the side the road, polishing his sound bites.

For the Miami Herald, Fabiola Santiago this week wrote a scathing editorial, "In supporting Trump, proud Bay of Pigs vets drag themselves into an unworthy battle".

... Donald Trump’s campaign engaged the Bay of Pigs veterans because he’s falling behind in Florida, a must-win state where the Hispanic vote counts, and it’s massively favoring Hillary Clinton, Cuban-Americans included. He needs every single Cuban vote, but major Cuban-American Republican donors are not only voting for Clinton, they’re raising money for her campaign. And all those politicians the Brigade has supported for decades and who now face re-election too? Missing at the Brigade’s Trump event. Talk about a first. The Bay of Pigs Association endorsement doesn’t make any sense at all. It rings false, trite, like the cafecito Trump pretended to sip on his last visit to the Versailles counter while the cameras rolled.

For the next six years, wherever those cameras are rolling, Marco Rubio will not be far behind. Let's hope it is not as US Senator from Florida. Under a Clinton presidency, Patrick Murphy will have a far more influence on foreign policy than our absentee senator. Florida voters should give Murphy that chance.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

CDC CHAIRMAN: We don't have the Technology to Stop Zika Virus. By Geniusofdespair

No Hope on Zika - CDC Chairman Tom Frieden

The CDC Chairman -- the highest level official -- admits all the spraying and other crap we are doing to eradicate the aedes aegypti mosquito will not stop the Zika Virus from spreading. According to the Miami Herald he (Tom Frieden- head of the CDC) said:

Zika will become Endemic.

Welcome to global warming folks. We now have the climate that particular mosquito likes. When we could have stopped it, the County had no funding -- thank you Carlos Gimenez -- Mr. "come from behind" on all problems -- because now it is too late. VOTE FOR RAQUEL REGALADO.

Miami-Dade Voters: Now is the time to send Marco Rubio and his pal, Donald Trump, to the exit ... by gimleteye

gimleteye: Early voting started. The case to vote for Patrick Murphy to be Florida's next US Senator and against incumbent Marco Rubio will never be stronger. A vote for Murphy is a vote for common sense and leadership.

We can't afford another six years of Marco Rubio in the US Senate. Standing in the wings to run against Senator Bill Nelson in 2018, Florida governor Rick Scott, campaign finance chair for Donald Trump.

If Florida voters don't make them LOSERS on November 8, we ALL lose.

The Daily Climate
Opinion: How Gov. Scott quietly stole Florida's future
Oct. 24, 2016

A decade ago Florida led the fight to reduce greenhouse emissions. Now the state is dealing with the debacle of inaction.
By Debbie Harrison Rumberger

MARATHON, Fla.—Less than a decade ago, Florida was poised to become a global leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This was a time of hope—a belief that we could still avoid the most severe impacts of a rapidly warming planet.

The irony of what has happened since makes the ecosystem collapse underway right now throughout south Florida even more heartbreaking.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pinecrest: Candidate Doesn't Even Know His Own Name. By Geniusofdespair

A candidate for the council in Pinecrest appears not to even know his legal name, he plays very loose with it, why? He is Peter Casablanca and Peter Casablanca Corredera.

On his campaign Facebook page he is:

On the Florida DBPR page his Real Estate Sales license is in a different name.

Note he uses Corredera as his last name. Yes, Peter Casablanca has a better ring to it but is it his legal name?

He did appear to do a name change after a divorce but what is the name -- can't figure this out at all?

On his campaign finance report his name is Peter Casablanca again. Doesn't appear that he legally changed it to this name:
Florida Dept. of State, he again becomes Peter Corredera, this is the business he lists on his campaign forms as his source of income:


Here is an affidavit from his Pinecrest voter file:


Here is his name on his home, registered with the property appraiser for taxing purposes:


Florida Voters Have Another Chance To Show Nation: We are aware, we are woken, and we are not going to take it anymore ... by gimleteye

The GOP has had the run of Florida for decades, notwithstanding victories by President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Yet in the March GOP presidential primary, Republicans roundly rejected the status quo.

Donald Trump won; the "burn-the-house-down" answer for Florida GOP primary voters in Florida.

In this shambolic election, Hillary Clinton made an excellent case to be president of the United States. Moreover, Florida voters could show that Republicans incumbents lost their mandate in both Congress and state legislatures.

In Florida, the GOP held people hostage through opposition to popular votes like Fair Districts. (Vote NO on Amendment 1: it blocks the sun.)

The party that says government should not be in the business of choosing winners and losers is exactly in business to protect winners and damage the chance for losers to gain advantage.

The Republican vision for America claims to protect individual liberties but in Florida as elsewhere it has proven a friend to the concentration of wealth and power at the top. The more pure the orthodoxy, the more benefits will trickle down to the common man and woman.


Through its own actions, the Republican Party has lost its mandate to govern except among the percentage riled or anesthetized by reality television and Fox News.

There will be plenty of time to level criticism against the Democrats, but not now. Donald Trump deserves to be defeated by 10 points in the popular vote. He should bring down GOP control of the Senate and state legislatures as well.

Those Americans interested in the exercise of democracy, of fairness and of equity for all citizens -- irrespective of ethnicity, race, or creed -- should reject Donald Trump and incumbent Republicans.

Floridians not only have a choice in the outcome, two weeks from now, we can show what it means to say, enough is enough.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Eye on Miami and Miami Herald Strongly Recommends Jose Javier Rodriguez and Phillip Brutus for State Senate. By Geniusofdespair

They don't always get it right, but I believe on Jose Javier Rodriguez and Phillip Brutus, the Miami Herald is on target:

Phillip Brutus State Senate District 38
Unlike Ms. Campbell, Mr. Brutus, an attorney, supports the rights of LGBT Floridians, rejecting discriminatory legislation. He says that the poorer areas of this district are not “workforce ready” and he wants to bring more vocational education to those neighborhoods and get businesses involved with high schools students. He also wants residential developers to set aside 25 percent of new building for affordable rentals. He believes in the Second Amendment, but rightly does not support open carry or campus carry. It gives people “a sense of invincibility,” Mr Brutus told the Editorial Board. “Too many things can happen.” He criticizes Rep. Campbell for voting against holding a special session on gun issues.

Mr. Brutus wants the state to confront climate change head on and opposes fracking: “We’ve got to go green.” Though he says he will caucus with the Democrats, Mr. Brutus is running as an NPA candidate — no party affiliation.

His progressive views are more in tune with this large, diverse district.  

The Herald recommends PHILLIP BRUTUS for State Senate District 38.

Jose Javier Rodriguez State Senate District 37
Mr. Rodriguez, 38, contrasts his own background as a former member of the Peace Corps and legal aid lawyer against Sen. Diaz de la Portilla’s work as a lobbyist for powerful interests such as charter schools and developers. His own work, Mr. Rodriguez says, has always served to benefit the public interest. In that vein, he called the Legislature’s unwillingness to expand Medicaid “the biggest catastrophic failure” by lawmakers during his four years as a state representative.

Mr. Rodriguez believes the state has to do more to improve public education, protect the environment and improve the justice system.

This race will be a close call for some voters, as it has been for some interest groups. Local teachers have endorsed Sen. Diaz de la Portilla. But the statewide teachers union has endorsed Mr. Rodriguez. We also give Mr. Rodriguez the edge. He has shown that he is an engaged and articulate lawmaker, willing to work hard for the right causes and to improve Florida. More Democrats like Mr. Rodriguez in the Florida Senate, where Republicans currently hold a 26-14 margin, would bring a better balance to state government.

For State Senate District 37, the Miami Herald recommends JOSE JAVIER RODRIGUEZ.

How The GOP Practices Psychological Warfare On Its Own Voters: Florida's James Madison Institute ... by gimleteye

How Florida's Amendment 1 Blocks The Sun

On its website, the James Madison Institute, a Tallahassee-based conservative foundation, calls itself "a beacon" and “Florida’s free-market think tank”. Now that one of its senior staffers has been caught on tape fronting for a constitutional amendment that inhibits solar power unless it is funneled through Florida's large electric utilities, the James Madison Institute reveals what’s wrong with today’s GOP.

Here is the James Madison Institute's mission:
"Although we work through complicated policy issues, our approach is simple. Focus on policy, not politics – and keep our principles of limited government, personal responsibility and economic freedom front and center. Throughout the years, we’ve remained tried and true -- a constant conscience of Florida’s leaders and a champion for hardworking Floridians who have made this state what it is today. While you pursue your dreams, we work to protect them.”
Protect your dreams? The James Madison Institute has now scrubbed its website and Twitter account of any mention of the fake solar amendment like Lady McBeth compulsively washing her hands after turning her husband into a murderer.

Leaked audio offers new evidence how the James Madison Institute shilled for Florida utilities, misrepresenting the utility-funded Amendment 1 ballot initiative: not only is the constitutional amendment anti-solar, James Madison Institute boasted about its strategy.

Audio obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) and the Energy and Policy Institute captures James Madison Institute's Vice President Sal Nuzzo explaining how JMI and other Amendment 1 backers successfully misled the public into believing it was pro-solar.

Speaking to other State Policy Network member organizations, Nuzzo, JMI's vice president of policy and director of the center said:
The point I would make, maybe the takeaway, is as you guys look at policy in your state or constitutional ballot initiatives in your state, remember this: solar polls very well. To the degree that we can use a little bit of political jiu-jitsu and take what they’re kind of pinning us on and use it to our benefit either in policy, in legislation or in constitutional referendums if that’s the direction you want to take, use the language of promoting solar, and kind of, kind of put in these protections for consumers that choose not to install rooftop."
So who exactly are the liars at the James Madison Institute, because Vice President Nuzzo was only saying what his board members knew to be true. The board of JMI is loaded with Florida utility executives.

Start with Board Chair, Allan G. Bense. 

Bense was Republican Speaker of the House from 2004 through 2006. He is now on the board of Gulf Power Company that has been eye-ball deep in James Madison Institute for many years. Bense is also chairman of the board of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber of Commerce does not represent the interests of small businesses in Florida. It is a political heavyweight that directs enormous campaign contributions through a Russian doll network of political action committees that serve to cement the privileges of large scale enterprises in Florida. The lessons in Florida's recent political history are clear: when you see the Florida Chamber of Commerce advocating for a constitutional amendment, run for the hills. Conversely, when the Florida Chamber stands in opposition, it is because the proposed constitutional proposal bends towards the interests of voters.

The Florida Chamber is conjoined with Associated Industries of Florida, also run by GOP insiders. Both for example are regular recipients of six figure largesse by special interests like Big Sugar -- whose profits through corporate welfare have been tagged by tax advocate Grover Norquist as "cronyism in its undiluted, inexcusable majesty".

Bense is a trustee of FSU he is a board member of Foundation for Florida’s Future, the Jeb Bush think tank supporting his cratered presidential bid, and serves on the boards of both the Florida Council of 100 and Enterprise Florida, Inc. The Florida Council of 100 and Enterprise Florida are organized to advance the privileges of Florida's GOP elite.

Florida is one of five states that do not allow a property owner to have a third-party installer put solar panels on their roof and sell the power back to them.

If it sounds like the James Madison Institute is against free-markets when they level the playing field and for free-markets when they can be tipped in favor of Big Business, you would be close to understanding how the GOP practices psychological warfare against its own voters.

Amendment 1 is not just a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” to deceive Florida voters. It is embraced by the Florida think tank that advocates limited, free-market policies while cynically supporting centralized, picking-winners-and-losers by insiders.

These are the same forms of misdirection and deception that enraged Florida Republican voters who vaulted Donald Trump above two native sons favored by the political insiders at James Madison to be the next GOP presidential nominee: Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

Against this backdrop, it is easy for voters who are paying attention to see that the JMI claim of support for the free market and limited self-government are as fake in Florida as Amendment 1. Republican voters, in particular, ought to be outraged against a rigged system that turns bedrock conservative values into a catch-basin for special interests.

The Miami Herald reported: "According to federal tax documents, JMI has received more than $120,000 from the Charles Koch Institute and Charles Koch Foundation, and Stan Connally, the CEO of Gulf Power, sits on JMI’s board of directors. Gulf Power and its affiliates have contributed more than $2.3 million to the utility-backed amendment, which also has received funding from Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, Tampa Electric Co., and non-profit groups primarily funded by Exxon and the Koch brothers.”

In November, voters will have a chance to deny Florida's utilities the lock and key to a solar future precisely because if the amendment passes by 60% of the popular vote, it is their lock and key.

If the GOP hopes to regain the trust of Florida voters, it will need to reform policies and practices including think tanks supporting a rigid status quo and pretending to be what they are not.

That "beacon of liberty" on the James Madison Institute website is really a false light set by reef wreckers to lure ships to be smashed, the easier for pirates to plunder and loot.

Allen G. Bense should resign from the James Madison Institute. However, he is doing what big business wants: concentrate power to deform the values, ideals and essential principles of conservative, limited government.

Republican voters have a lot to be dismayed about this election cycle, and the dismay only starts with Amendment 1.

Read more, here:
Bridge Project:
New Yorker investigation into State Policy Network:

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Miami-Dade Voters: The Decision To Unseat Marco Rubio Is Up To You ... by gimleteye

The decision whether or not to unseat Marco Rubio is up to Miami-Dade County voters; more accurately, Republican voters. More accurately still, Hispanic Republican voters.

There is naturally an inclination to vote for Rubio along the lines of ethnic affiliation. (The Miami Herald endorsed Patrick Murphy, Rubio's opponent. El Nuevo Herald, Rubio.)

The weight of evidence, however, is against Marco Rubio.

He has been an empty suit in Washington, DC and misrepresented to Floridians his interest in the Senate, mostly absent while chasing his dream to be the GOP nominee for president. Rubio's was a futile exercise that garnered only 15% of the Republican primary vote in Florida last March.

Florida Republicans rejected Rubio, then. Why should he do better now?

The bottom line: Marco Rubio delivers a good sound bite and stump speech, but he is loyal mainly to his ambition.

There is another calculation that Hispanic Republicans ought to weigh, as well.

Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States. Rubio, who stands by Donald Trump -- the man who belittled him --  will have no power in the Senate except to as a symbol for the same failures of leadership eroding the GOP. With another term in the Senate, what can Marco Rubio do for Floridians? Not much.

One would expect Rubio to run to the TV cameras, with little to say for Florida except bluster that ends where it begins: all sound and fury.

Patrick Murphy is the right choice to be Florida's next US Senator. Senator Rubio's part in this shambolic electoral cycle does not deserve the Miami-Dade vote.

Sunday Review
A Chance to Unseat Marco Rubio
The New York Times
OCT. 22, 2016

Just months ago, Senator Marco Rubio was seen by the Republican establishment as one of its best hopes for taking back the White House. Now, Representative Patrick Murphy, a second-term congressman, is within striking distance of defeating Mr. Rubio in the senator’s race to keep his seat.