Monday, January 22, 2018

What went wrong at the Women’s March in Las Vegas. By Geniusofdespair

I spent a lot of money to plan a trip to Las Vegas for the 2018 National Women’s March.

It was poorly planned and executed. I will never attend another march planned by this group. The speakers mostly sucked. They had us sitting in an open air, cold stadium for hours and hours listening to very boring mostly self congratulatory speakers. I was over an hour late and missed nothing. I found myself not being inspired but only focused on waiting for Cher to appear. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and left without seeing Cher. Same crappy speakers were in Washington, D.C. in 2017 peppered with a few good speakers. This one had no pepper. And this one—unlike Washington—had zero marching.

Don’t waste people’s time. Why would I want to hear so many local speakers? This was a local rally billed as a National March. No Marching here. I don’t like being used and I don’t like Las Vegas. And frankly some of the speakers were dismissive of white women...the majority of the audience.

I don’t like the Republican Party but I don’t like the platform of the Democrats either. Both parties are playing to the interests of their narrow bases. Republicans are destroying every facet of our environment and packing our courts with ultra conservatives and all Democrats are focused on is immigration.  I am lost in a sea of discontent. No one represents me. Especially not the guy in the White House that put a partisan recorded message disparaging  Democrats on the White House number.

See what Big Sugar really looks like ... by gimleteye

Sugar silo 2013, Zineb Sedira
Take a look. Look at the photos. As seasons cycle, this is what the Big Sugar outcome looks like.

Take a good look: your Everglades, your waterfronts, fishing and swimming, your waterways, your tourism-based jobs, your county and your state are all sacrifice zones to giant piles of sugar like this.

What is good for sugar -- and billionaires supported by subsidies in the US Farm Bill -- is manifestly bad for you.

Sugar is always the 3rd rail in Florida politics. Its public relations and political machinery meshes government with lobbying and marketing budgets. Just like Big Tobacco spent decades telling consumers smoking was benign and did not cause cancer.

Dark sugar money pools everywhere elected officials scramble for campaign cash. To that rule there are exceptions, but there are no exceptions to its domination of water management in Florida. Big Sugar gets water on its own terms.

When it rains too much and Lake Okeechobee rises too high, billions of gallons of polluted water are dumped to tide, covering what you value with dangerous scum. These impacts could be fixed if the industry cleaned up its irrigation runoff on its own lands, but it uses public lands -- lands you paid for! -- instead.

It is very real. Big Sugar is toxic to your health, to your waterfront properties, to your waterways clogged with fertilizer byproducts including methylmercury and cyanobacteria, to every rule and regulation to protect your health and your environment including the St. Lucie, the Caloosahatchee, the Everglades and tribal lands of the Miccosukee and Seminole.

When consumed in excess, sugar is toxic. In laboratory experiments, rats prefer sugar to cocaine. According to a 2013 Credit Suisse report, a trillion dollars per year is attributable to over-consumption of sugar in the American diet.

What you value would be protected if "once and for all" the state and federal governments created enough polishing marshes for Big Sugar's pollution, stopping the industry from using the Everglades, Florida Bay, your waterways and property as its sacrifice zones. It could happen if Gov. Rick Scott and Senate President Joe Negron intervene now to fix what went wrong in last year's legislation: poison pills that pin the state to Big Sugar's outcome. The Treasure Coast Palm's Eve Samples recently wrote:

(In 2011) ... Scott forced $700 million in cuts to the state’s water management districts — including the South Florida Water Management District, the lead state agency on Everglades restoration. And during his first six years as governor, he gutted staffing at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The agency lost more than 600 employees, dropping from about 3,500 to 2,900, according to reporting by Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times.

About the Everglades: Scott has touted an Everglades restoration bill he signed in 2013 — but doesn't talk about how it phased out a tax farmers pay to grow crops in the Everglades Agricultural Area, leaving taxpayers on the hook for any lingering pollution costs. Also in 2013, Scott and the Legislature approved 30-year, no-bid leases for farmers in the EAA, including sugar giant Florida Crystals.

The same year, Scott was among the politicians who took secret trips to U.S. Sugar’s private hunting lodge at King Ranch in Texas. After the trip, Scott appointed a King Ranch executive, Mitch Hutchcraft, to the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District. By the way, U.S. Sugar Corp. donated $960,000 to Scott's political committee Let's Get to Work between 2014 and 2016.

We can offer mild praise for Scott's support of state Senate President Joe Negron's efforts to build an Everglades reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee — but he's been far from bold on the issue. And bold action is what's needed for a true fix.

The bottom line: less for you, more for them. A lot more because what Big Sugar really wants is to farm tract housing when it becomes more profitable than farming sugarcane and to sell you rainwater that falls on their fields when there is not enough in city reservoirs.

That is the bitter truth.

(Click here to watch Dr. Robert Lustig's "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" viewed on YouTube more than 7.4 million times.)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Trump and Scott: climate change deniers ... by gimleteye

Can’t argue with science. That’s why the Trump WH and administration of Gov. Rick Scott refuse to acknowledge the reality of global warming. It’s your choice whether to keep electing politicians who will deny this national security threat, this threat to your jobs and your families, until it is too late to do anything. Your choice.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Bullsugar sets the record straight: Gov. Rick Scott OWNS this multi-billion dollar water mismanagement betrayal ... by gimleteye

NOTE: Bullsugar is the activist group that has been arguing, with its allies, for completion of the promise made by Senate President Joe Negron in the last session of the legislature: to fix "once and for all" the water infrastructure spewing toxic water on coastal communities and businesses and destroying the Everglades and Florida Bay, the cornerstone of billions in economic value and thousands of jobs.

Now that the Rick Scott water management district has had a year to tinker, that "once and for all" is turning into "maybe never".

Instead of exploring ALL options for increasing the footprint area of water treatment marshes, the district has come up with a deep reservoir that will -- a decade down the road -- cost at least $2 billion. The only guarantee of success is to the special interest that controls the Florida legislature.

Big Sugar inserted enough poison pills in last year's legislation that taxpayers, once again, are being played for fools. A deep reservoir cannot dodge the same algae-choking problems that plague Lake Okeechobee, the diseased liquid heart of the state.

Voters should have known better before electing Scott in 2010, a political neophyte, who made one of his first priorities to drastically cut the science capacity at the water management district and axe his predecessor's plan to acquire 187,000 acres of US Sugar land in the Everglades Agricultural Area. The deal was "too expensive", he said. Silly voters!

That was, then. There is still a chance that Florida voters will wake up and revolt. In the meantime, Gov. Scott and Senator Negron could mitigate the damage.

The water management district could terminate the sugar farming leases on land already in public ownership. There is enough land -- according to Everglades Foundation scientists -- to improve chances the reservoir plan will work as promoted. (We've argued that what the legislature should pass a "fix" bill to last year's Everglades legislation: striking the prohibition against eminent domain, freeing the District to talk land purchases with all landowners, and stripping the Fanjul Christmas gift, the C51 Basin water privatization scheme.)

Here is how Bullsugar puts the issue. 

Read on:

There’s a myth, really a lie, that we need to set straight right now: “willing sellers.”
Almost a year ago, before the EAA reservoir bill switched to locating the project on public property, US Sugar and Florida Crystals shouted themselves hoarse that they weren’t willing to sell land. But no one had asked them to sell any. That idea was written out of the bill long before Rick Scott signed it.
No one is asking the sugar industry to sell land today, either.
It’s true that the reservoir plan needs more land for filter marshes, because its benefit to the estuaries and the Everglades is limited by the proposed project footprint. But that footprint can be expanded--and the project can stop more discharges to our rivers and send more clean water to the Everglades--without buying private land.
So what Florida taxpayers are asking the Fanjul and Mott families is much simpler than to become willing sellers. We’re asking them to get off our land.
Our land. Governor Scott and his cabinet--the trustees of Florida’s Internal Improvement Trust Fund--lease nearly 14,000 acres of taxpayer-owned land in the Everglades Agricultural Area to industrial growers. The terms are cheap, no competitive bids. Mostly a giveaway of taxpayer property, mostly paid for with government handouts. But now we need that property back to protect our economy, public health and safety, a national park and world heritage site, and our water.
So we don’t need willing sellers but we do need those leases terminated, just like the law says, and we need those companies to vacate. Now. Also, we need those 4,000 acres of taxpayer-owned US Sugar prison-labor land, especially now that the prisoners have been kicked off it.
We could also use more honesty from state employees at SFWMD. When district spokespeople look you in the eye and say, “We terminated all our leases,” they’re telling a child’s half-truth, talking only about district-held leases, pretending to forget about all those other state leases. They know better.
After those leases are cancelled, sugar vacates, and the free ride ends, maybe the companies will be willing to swap some land? Trade property near the reservoir site for more productive farmland? Help our engineers find more land to clean the reservoir’s water and send more of it south and less of it into the rivers? Help taxpayers get the best value for a $2 billion clean water investment?
Either way the “willing seller” myth is false. It’s already our land. We just need them off it.
-Bullsugar.orgP.S. If you can, please click here to make a donation to today to help us fight for the best plan to protect our water.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

We will never get rid of Teflon Don. By Geniusofdespair

All the Democrat hand-wringing will never change our being stuck with Donald Trump "Teflon Don".  No matter that Trump Supporters don't acknowledge that Obama's hands were tied by an obstructionist Congress, that vowed to NOT support anything he put forward.

Trump supporters will back this president no matter what and they don't give a lick what he does that is inappropriate. In fact, they love it. They give him credit for everything getting done that they love. It is the second coming as far as his supporters are concerned. Big fucking deal he is a racist. They are racists too.

You can read this, if you dare to hit on it, warning it will depress you.

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.