Wednesday, July 19, 2017

John Feffer, The Invisible Monster of Climate Change

TomDispatch
Tomgram: John Feffer, The Invisible Monster of Climate Change
By John Feffer
Posted on July 18, 2017, Printed on July 18, 2017
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176309/


A Fairy Tale from 2050
Donald Trump and the Triumph of Anti-Politics
By John Feffer

Once upon a time, long, long ago, I testified before the great assembly of our land.

When I describe this event to children today, it really does sound to them like a fairy tale. Once upon a time -- a time before the world splintered into a million pieces and America became its current disunited states -- this old woman was a young idealist who tried to persuade our mighty Congress that a monster was stalking the land.

“Did they listen to you, Auntie Rachel?” they typically ask me.

“Oh, they listened to me, but they didn’t hear me.”

“So, what did you do?”

“I thought and I thought, and I wrote and I wrote, and I put together an even better presentation,” I say patiently. “I had to somehow make that monster visible so those mighty people could see it.”

“What did it look like, Auntie Rachel?”

“It was invisible, my dear children, but we could feel its hot breath. And we could see the terrible things that it did. It could make the oceans rise. It could make the crops wilt in the fields. Still, we kept feeding this terrible beast.”

“But why?”

“It’s what the monster demanded. Some monsters want to devour little children. Others insist on young maidens. But this one insisted on tankers of oil and truckloads of coal. Even as it grew, it only demanded more and more.”

At this point, the children are always wide-eyed. “What did you do then?”

“I talked to those great people again. And this time I tried even harder to describe the monster.” As I slip into the past, the faces of the children become those of long-dead politicians. “I provided more detailed graphs of rising temperatures. I cited statistics on the impact of burning coal and oil and natural gas. I displayed photos of what the melting ice and the surging waters had already done. And then I showed them pictures of what the future would look like: submerged cities, drought-stricken lands, dead seas. They looked and still they didn’t see. They listened and still they didn’t hear. Great people,” I conclude, “are not always good people.”

“What did you do then?” they always ask.

“I stopped talking, my darlings. I came here to escape the monster. I came to Arcadia.”

They look disappointed. The children know their fairy tales. They expect someone -- perhaps a knight in shining armor -- to appear suddenly and slay the monster.

“There was no knight,” I lament. “And the monster still lives. We can feel its hot breath even now.”

Of course, my young charges don’t really understand my story. Today, in 2050, there is no Congress. There are no committee hearings. There are no intergovernmental panels or global gatherings. I might as well be telling them about Roman banquets or medieval jousts. And yet my little students always clamor for more stories of the vanished world of Washington, D.C., 2017, just as they would beg for yet another of Aesop’s fables. But they don’t quite see how these tales of long ago connect to their lives today.

After all, they live in a post-political world.  (click, read more)

Russia's favorite congressman: Dana Rohrbacher

Last summer, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher used information he received directly from the Russian government to promote one of President Vladimir Putin’s top priorities: removing the name of the martyred Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky from a global anti-corruption law.

He is Russia's favorite congressman, but one could as easily claim based on the videotape yesterday, that he is just out of his mind like the rest of the the Washington Republican establishment. Cray-cray.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Rumor on Brian Goldmeier and Truth on David Rivera. By Geniusofdespair


Brian Goldmeier and Mrs. Mayor Gimenez
Mayor Carlos Gimenez pulled support from Jose Felix Diaz because he attacked Gimenez's daughter in law who apparently has a long relationship with Alex de la Portilla his opponent --- including getting arrested with him. Brian Goldmeier the nerdy fundraiser who made it rain dollars for the Mayor is said to still be supporting Diaz. That would be a slap in the face to Gimenez. According to the Miami Herald:
Gimenez withdrew his support shortly after the Miami Herald reported Friday on Diaz de la Portilla's 2012 arrest at a Boston hotel over a lit cigarette.

Diaz de la Portilla was arrested at the Intercontinental Hotel and charged with trespassing along with Gimenez's daughter-in-law, Tania Cruz, who is working for the Diaz de la Portilla campaign and is also a long-time friend of the candidate.
Police observed that suspects were belligerent, intoxicated and stated they were lawyers in Miami --Off. Raymond D’Oyley, Boston Police incident report

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article160217214.html#storylink=cpy

In response to the Herald article, I wrote on Typepad:
Is your daughter-in-law still Married to your son? If so why is he not suspicious when his wife is in another mans hotel room and then working for the same man. Personally if my husband did that--- he would be my x husband...and he is a good cook so it is an even harder decision but I would gladly switch to frozen dinners and dump the chump.
Alex and Tania Cruz - Not Currently Able to Practice Law in Florida According to the Bar

There are more rumors on Goldmeier (once a Democratic fundraiser with ties to Kris Korge) that he may be helping Tomas Regalado (son of the Mayor) despite Mayor Gimenez's supporting of Joe Carollo (Joe was said to be working on Gimenez's Mayoral campaign by many in the rumor circle). Joe is ahead in the fundraising with $210,800. Barreiro's wife has $138,073 and Regalado has $92,055. They are all running in the District 3 race of the City of Miami.

Bottom line: Brian Goldmeier may not be the golden boy of Mayor Gimenez. It appears he may have defied his top client on two separate occasions. Will there be retribution? Maybe not, Brian knows too much.

David Rivera with his former Roommate Marco Rubio

And now to David Rivera, the Miami Herald reported:
Former U.S. Rep. David Rivera funneled at least $69,000 in secret campaign cash to a ringer candidate in the 2012 congressional election, according to the Federal Election Commission — which wants the Republican ex-congressman to pay $486,000 in civil penalties.
and:
Last year, a Tallahassee appeals court upheld a $57,821.96 Florida Commission on Ethics fine against Rivera over improperly disclosed income and double-billed travel expenses, but Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who is empowered to fine former state lawmakers, has yet to impose it.

They moved a mountain: a new solar mandate in South Miami, Florida ... by gimleteye

Delaney Reynolds and EOM writer, Alan Farago April 22 2017, Miami March for Science
Congratulations to the majority of South Miami city commissioners, to Mayor Philip Stoddard, and to Delaney Reynolds, the University of Miami student (incoming freshman) who proposed and passed a city ordinance requiring new construction or significant remodeling to incorporate solar energy.

Last year there were less than a dozen new homes built in the small Florida municipality, but the government mandate is a common sense measure, albeit one that stirred a backlash by the monopolistic regional electricity supplier, Florida Power and Light.

Solar in Florida, "The Sunshine State", has had a brutally difficult time taking flight compared to other states as a result of monopolistic practices by the state's large utilities. Their goal? To put solar at a cost disadvantage to consumers.

The utilities have taken a simple approach: buy off state regulators and top politicians like Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam (aiming to replace Scott as Florida's next governor), and to enforce, basically, their conviction that no one gets to tell them how to run their businesses.

Meek regulators, pompom waving cheerleaders from statewide business and trade councils, and politicians in the pockets of big campaign contributors have all conspired to keep solar at an awkward disadvantage to consumers except for the bravest and most hardy.

Among those: university science professor South Miami Mayor Stoddard. Citizen Stoddard installed solar in his South Miami home many years ago. He knows to the last penny how much solar has saved his family budget. Florida Power and Light underwrote a smear campaign against Stoddard and funded his political opponents.

This is the point about the absolute power held by the state's electric utilities: so much effort, time and money is spent protecting and defending the high walls of monopolistic practices that any breach -- even 10 homes per year in the case of South Miami -- is interpreted as a dire threat. (All Florida monopolies, including Big Sugar, behave the same way: a very good reason for elected representatives not to empower monopolies.)

Successful businesses adapt and evolve or die. Instead of ruing that FPL has made such bone-headed errors -- Turkey Point nuclear's failed cooling canals in the most present and pressing example -- Floridians should celebrate South Miami's leadership and a smart, rising environmentalist, Delaney Reynolds.

Time will tell; the mountain needed to be moved, and they moved it.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Independent science under attack by the State of Florida ... by gimleteye

Miami, March For Science, April 22, 2017
When it comes to using independent science to affirm what is happening in the real world, the State of Florida is abdicating its responsibility.

The direction comes from the top. One of Rick Scott's first acts as governor was to slash the science budget of the state agency charged with Everglades restoration; the South Florida Water Management District.

Environmentalists had good reason to be alarmed. Restoring the Everglades ecosystem requires attention to biodiversity on the microscopic scale. It had been determined, after decades of litigation in federal court, that more than ten parts per billion of phosphorous, laid out by the ton by Big Sugar in its fertilizer run-off, and the Everglades dies. Firing the scientists is not a route to success.

The New York Times Sunday Magazine, From "Arks of the Apocalypse", published a dismal essay on the state of the planet that resonates in the Everglades.
“There is,” he said, “a very intense feeling that we’re losing biodiversity quicker than we can understand it.”
That's happening very intensely too in the Everglades. Decades ago a very public decision by Congress and the State of Florida lead to a massive investment using science to guide the restoration of Everglades biodiversity. It was called, at the time, the most comprehensive environmental restoration project on the planet. It also resonated with the emerging concern about global warming. One Glades activist, Joe Podgor, famously quipped, "Saving the Everglades is a test. If we pass, we may get to keep the planet."
A growing consensus among scientists holds that we now live in the Anthropocene, an epoch defined by humanity’s impact on planetary ecosystems. We are responsible for the current die-off of species, not some asteroid or volcanic eruption.
In Florida we are responsible for massive damage to the Everglades. The main culprit: pollution by Big Sugar streaming out of 400,000 acres south of Lake Okeechobee.

Future generations will examine what happened. According to a Sunday Tampa Bay Times report,
The head of the state agency overseeing the multi-billion-dollar Everglades restoration project said this week he will no longer let his employees cooperate with the top scientists who are supposed to be advising the project.

South Florida Water Management District executive director Pete Antonacci declared at a public meeting Thursday that his agency will no longer work with the National Academies of Science — one of the nation's premier scientific organizations — because science advisers there won't "tend to their knitting."
The report by Craig Pittman, "Everglades restoration project leader tells top scientists: Stay in your lane", is a sharp reminder that the disintegration of federal authority for protecting the environment is providing cover for throttling independent science in the states by big polluters who control the levers of government.

Despite the fact that Floridians do want the environment protected, the current fad of lies and misdirection casts a pall on prospects ahead. The Times notes the phenomenon:
Academics have even taken to studying the psychology of this human response — one such book, for example, is titled “The Anthropology of Extinction: Essays on Culture and Species Death.”
Back in 2000, when the road map for the state federal partnership -- costing billions -- was established, the involvement of the National Academy of Sciences was the only point where environmentalists held hope for the massive plan to restore the Everglades. (I was chair of Sierra Club's Florida Chapter Everglades Committee at the time.)

In other words, we knew -- and decision makers agreed -- that the complexity of Everglades restoration needed independent, fact-based assessments of progress; not just to ensure that results were being properly organized but also to be a truth-teller in the case that special interests railroaded billions of taxpayer dollars to line their own pockets while calling the theft something else. Like "progress".

State politicians are reinforced by quid pro quo's from Big Sugar. Their impulses, with respect to Everglades restoration, were intended to be balanced by federal interests: the US Department of Interior -- with responsibility for America's national parks -- and the US Army Corps of Engineers, the earth-moving, canal building, river-channeling agency and cooperative partner of the South Florida Water Management District.

Since environmentalists were left on the sidelines in 2000 with Everglades restoration, leaving protection of the public interests to insiders, the question arose: who would vet, or ensure, that Everglades restoration was moving in the right direction, with the right sequence of projects and public investments?

The Everglades panel of the National Academies of Science was a sturdy and extraordinarily important part of the plan to reassure the public that billions would not be wasted or diverted to paper-over the profit motive of wetlands destroyers.

The NAS panels take their responsibilities with extraordinary care, substance and skill. Unlike Florida-centric science programs, where careers can be blown up if agency funders decide they don't like one's shoe size, the independence of the National Academies is foundational to the national interest in fact.
The National Academies of Science is America's top collection of scientific minds. Congress created it in 1863 to provide "independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology." Election to its ranks is considered one of the highest honors in science.
Antonacci's complaints drew no comments from his bosses at the water district, but Cara Capp of the National Parks and Recreation Association said he's making a mistake.
"It's disappointing to see the state of Florida turn its back on the scientific body that has contributed so much to our knowledge about the Everglades," Capp said. She said her advocacy group "feels strongly that independent science must be the driving factor for restoring the Everglades. 
So did Congress when it approved the Everglades restoration program in 2000. One requirement that it put on the project was that the people building it frequently consult with scientists to make sure they were doing it right."
Antonacci, Gov. Rick Scott's former general counsel, has turned the South Florida Water Management District into an office extension of Big Sugar. He is taking aim at fact; a mini-version of the tragedy playing out in the nation's capitol, where another ideologue -- Scott Pruitt, head of US EPA -- putting a chainsaw to the budgets of federal scientists studying climate change.

Antonacci's suggestion that the University of Florida's Water Institute could replace the National Academies is an insult to the voters and taxpayers.

Science matters, and in the face of unfathomable transformations we triggered in nature, we need to change course. Sadly, when changing course affects the profit margins of the state's biggest campaign contributors, the State of Florida doesn't have the guts to stand up for what ultimately sustains us all.  Only enlightened voters can rectify that injustice.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Why is Donald Trump Tweeting Instead of Going to Church Today? by Geniusofdespair.


37 minutes ago is about 10 AM. 4 hours ago is about 6 AM.  Would someone please go in his room and tie those little hand together so they can't type.

Why why why is he STILL talking about the election? When will he move on? His obsession with polls is frightening.

Boating in Coconut Grove, Danger Lurks. By Geniusofdespair


Boating in Coconut Grove -- or anywhere -- has tales of safety and of course, etiquette.

What is the woman above wearing that is really a problem for boats?

The black clunky heels of course. They leave scuff marks on the white or light color of the floor of the boat. No one wears shoes on a boat.

Now for the second tale and this one is a whopper...a true story of DANGER AT SEA.

Four guys go 20 miles offshore in this boat, pictured above. It has one engine and no kicker engine to back it up a pretty dangerous boat for offshore fishing. That is way too far for such an old engine on a 23 foot boat.

They got the 20 miles offshore where they wanted to troll and the engine conked out when they slowed down. It would not start again. They tried and tried to restart it and only the battery got drained. Apparently they had water in the fuel. Hmmm? How did that happen?

Anyway they looked miles to the East and saw a giant  gargantuan freighter coming their way. They lit a flare and then another. The container ship did not veer away from them. They called the coast guard and asked them to call the ship. Apparently the freighter was operating without looking where they were going assuming everything would get out of their way. The little pro-line owner said they were all ready to jump overboard but they didn't know which way to swim and figured they would just get sucked under the freighter as it passed. Finally the freighter came up on them and missed them by about 200 feet.

The boat called Seatow -- they were adrift in the gulf stream -- and the rescue occurred somewhere in Northern Broward County, a long way from their starting point of Coconut Grove. Thank God they had plenty of beer to tide them over during their long ordeal at sea.

What have we learned from this harrowing tale? Don't wear a bow on a dimpled butt.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Trump Macron: "You're in such good shape, you could ..." ... by gimleteye


Fill in the blank: "You're in such good shape, you could ..."

A) fill out a threesome after dinner
b) take out Mitch McConnell
C) convince Vlad to burn that tape
D) (add yours, in comments)

Donald Trump squeezing Brigitte Macron's hand. By Geniusofdespair

Okay, try to reproduce this hand shake of Donald Trump with Brigitte Macron, it looks like he is squeezing the blood flow from the tips of her fingers.....



By the way look at Melania's hand holding up Donald's arm. It looks like he has some black elastic under his shirt.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

HUDSTEAD: Wow! this is a Who's Who in Homestead.

This Ethics Complaint is so interesting. Everyone in Homestead is named, Shiver, Munz, Wayne Rosen, Lynda Bell, Mayor Porter.  Lynda Bell is so vindictive...

Lynda Bell and Steve Losner made an ethics complaint against Judy Waldman, about a "Citizen" petition that would have lengthened Waldman's term. Even Mayor Porter was behind it although he stated citizens initiated it:
We received a call on Tuesday from Mark Goodrich. He stated that he was working with the Mayor on an initiative petition and wanted to confirm the procedures we follow for signature verification. I told him that he needed to also contact you to assist him with the preparation of the package.

Just in case he has not made contact, he stated that he already had 3,000 petitions ready for verification. I did not ask for the name of the petition, but it is an Initiative Petition.

Please make sure that when you prepare the cover letter that it includes how the signatures should be verified, since your City Charter does not specify. Just in case, I have attached the sample cover letter.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Respectfully,

Kimberly M. Keels
Registration Manager
Miami-Dade County Elections Department
I took out three pages from Lynda Bell's ethics complaint (the whole complaint is at the end). Goodrich ended up with an elections complaint against him. Not much else happened, except they said "Judy Waldman was the driving force behind the petition drive." But, this is excellent reading to see how Hudstead got its name. What a snake pit of fools. A loathsome lot to be sure.



   k_15-39_waldman by geniusofdespair on Scribd

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Who is Running for Governor of Florida in 2018. By Geniusofdespair

Ron Bergeron has threatened to run as a Republican for Governor. He will make a decision this summer. Adam Putnam the Agriculture Commissioner appears to have the advantage. I would support Bergeron over that wimpy Putnam. At least Alligator Ron cares a bit about the environment. He is a mega-rich developer with 25 companies.

Ron Bergeron
Gwen Graham

For the Dems, Gwen Graham appears to be the front-runner. She is the daughter of former Senator and Governor Bob Graham. She has the connections and the fund raising capabilities. I can live with her as Governor.

John Morgan

Also in the Dem race, Philip Levine is expected to run, a no to that one. John Morgan, a personal injury lawyer who pushed for the medical Marijuana law, also wants to run and Andrew Gillum as well.

Qualifying is over in June 2018 so we have a long way to go. Scott was a surprise last minute  (waited till April) candidate. So expect more to enter.