Thursday, July 28, 2016

Sea levels arising, zika's a-biting ... and still no word from the Florida Department of Health on pediatric cancer clusters in Miami-Dade ... by gimleteye

Florida - Zika: FDA is requesting that all blood establishments in Miami-Dade County and Broward County cease collecting blood immediately (July 27, 2016)
Today, 11:56 AM
Advice to Blood Collection Establishments on Non-Travel Related Cases of Zika Virus in Florida

July 27, 2016

The Office of the ‎Florida Department of Health State Surgeon General has announced that it is conducting an epidemiological investigation into a number of non-travel related cases of Zika virus in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. These may be the first cases of local Zika virus transmission by mosquitoes in the continental United States. Miami-Dade County and Broward County are adjacent counties in South Florida.

In consideration of the possibility of an emerging local outbreak of Zika virus, and as a prudent measure to help assure the safety of blood and blood products, FDA is requesting that all blood establishments in Miami-Dade County and Broward County cease collecting blood immediately until the blood establishments implement testing of each individual unit of blood collected in the two counties with an available investigational donor screening test for Zika virus RNA or until the blood establishments implement the use of an approved or investigational pathogen inactivation technology.

Additionally, FDA recommends that adjacent and nearby counties implement the precautions above to help maintain the safety of the blood supply as soon as possible.

For blood collection establishments outside of this region, FDA suggests that donors who have traveled to Miami-Dade and Broward Counties during the previous 4 weeks be deferred.

FDA will continue to monitor this potential outbreak in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Florida State public health authorities and provide updates as additional information becomes available.

Donald Trump: President of Resentment ... by gimleteye

In Donald Trump's mad universe, there are no rules that can't be broken. Inciting espionage from a hostile, foreign power: check that!

As Vice President Joe Biden pointed out last night at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia; his rhetoric depends on blasting low-cost labor nations that supply his shirts and products. Donald Trump doesn't run a business. He runs a brand: his own. For a culture that the GOP often derides as narcissistic and contaminated by "moral relativism", Trump is the ultimate narcissist and moral relativist.

What "very, very successful" businesses he has run have largely depended on breaking contractural arrangements, stiffing clients and suppliers including many from the middle class he swears to protect if elected to the most powerful elected office in the most powerful nation in the world.

Trump's bull-in-a-china-shop approach to the White House appeals to American voters fed up with rules that reinforce the greatest wealth disparities in US economic history. But there isn't a shred of evidence that Trump understands the middle class or public arena except how to herd people into it by drumming fear and anxiety from behind.

"Blow the bridge up!" is the only feat Trump is capable of, and such is the resentment of a small segment of Republican voters that the theme has overtaken the GOP.

On every topic, Trump offers multiple views. Even his core issues; immigration and ISIS are subject to daily change. The wall will be twenty five feet high. The wall will be five feet high. The wall will be three feet thick. The wall will be built of Mexican cement. We will ban all Muslims. We will ban some Muslims. We will ban some terrorist nations. We will ban all terrorists nations.

That's not "breaking the rules": that's pathological. When, last night at the DNC, Biden pointed out that governing is not a reality TV show, it is reality, he pierced the popular resentments that are Trump's fuel and fire.

The only illumination Trump provides is to his own political party, the GOP. With Trump, ordinary Republicans finally rebelled against the party's "moral majorities" and "values voters" in service of oligarchs. Except they rebelled through a candidate who does, in fact, fly around in his own Boeing with his name blazoned on the side.

Trump is working the plot points from the popular "Hunger Games". He is the PT Barnum of our times; the circus empressario and small-town politician of mid-18th century America who famously paraded an elephant. (Not an elephant tail, cut from a safari conquest, like the one triumphantly held aloft in a trophy photo by one of Trump's sons. Who does that?)

The world's dictators are cheering the emergence of one of their ilk on the American presidential stage. For the broad American electorate -- including Republicans and Independents -- for that reason alone, the GOP, its leadership and candidates for high office who delivered Trump as the best in class does not deserve the popular vote.

These are trying times, but "blowing up the bridge" is actually what Republicans have been trying to do for decades under the guise of an agenda that virtually assures failure-by-design at every level of government.

The question voters ought to be asking: once the bridge is blown up and everyone cheers, hooray!, how will you get from one side of the river to the other, because on the other side of the river is where your job is, where stability is, where democracy is.

Put another way: Donald Trump and the GOP Senate are not pruning the tree of Democracy and liberty, they are sawing off the branches where the rest of us live.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Mo Abety seen here with County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava

Raquel Regalado had to resign from School Board District 6 to run for Mayor.

Mo Abety is my choice in District 6. He was the Founding President and CEO at the Children's Trust. Please vote for Mo Abety.  He is endorsed by Mayor Cindy Lerner, The United Teacher's of Dade and County Commissioner Daniella Levine and others.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez's sister- in-law is also running.  Gimenez's son is said to have called ALL her opponents trying to bully them out of the race so Rojas (the sister-in-law) would have a better chance.  Mo Abety confirmed he was called and threatened as well.

Richard Tapia,  one of the candidates asked to get out of the race by Gimenez Junior said he wanted to drop out but his check was filed with elections and elections told him it was too late to cancel his check.  Gimenez's son is said to have told Tapia, "don't worry we will take care of it".  A big HMMM.  I asked elections about this Check after hearing this:
 I said I thought that was illegal to stop payment without the oath of withdrawal. Something seems fishy.

"No qualifying fee shall be returned to the candidate unless the candidate withdraws his or her candidacy before the last date to qualify".   
Without the requisite Oath of Withdrawal by noon on Friday, June 24, 2016, Mr. Tapia was listed as qualified at the end of the qualifying period. In summary, Mr. Tapia submitted all required paperwork and qualifying fee before the official qualifying period was over. Mr. Tapia was listed as qualified at the end of the qualifying period. 
Elections told me that Mr. Tapia told election staff he had placed a stop payment on the qualifying check.  After confirmation from the County's Finance Department that the check had not cleared, Mr. Tapia's status was updated to "Did Not Qualify."  I was told he DID NOT put a stop payment on it...prior to Gimenez Jr.'s conversation.  Maybe my pressing Elections is forcing them to collect?? I don't know.

I pressed elections on whether they were going to collect on this check. They said yes.  I guess the Gimenez campaign might reimburse Tapia? Lots of bucks to qualify $1,702.  Was there hanky-panky going on with Gimenez insiders and this check? Only the Mayor knows for sure and the Elections Department.  Remember we don't have an elected Elections Supervisor. The Department answers to the MAYOR.  We need to see the date of the stop payment if in fact there was one.

Mo Abety confirms that Gimenez's son called him and he was threatened and bullied by him. Abety's response was, why doesn't she drop out of the race?

More on Mo:

You Will Return Home To This ... by gimleteye

Angry. Furious. Leaving.

If you live anywhere near Florida’s toxic waterways, chock full of cyanobacteria and thick, mucous-like algae, that’s what you want to do. Get out. Take a break.

Let the water get better.

The reason it is so awful is too much fertilizer in the water. At least that's what you've heard. Who knows what to believe anymore.

So you pack up the SUV, take some vacation days. The car is filled with kids, or clothes in suitcases or plastic bags, and leave.

The words come to your mind. “Death Panel”. That's what Republicans said President Obama was going to do with health care, but so far as you can tell, whoever let Florida’s waterways turn into sewers, acres of rotting fish; those people sat on Death Panels.

There is nothing majestic in the SUV, filled to the gills with stuff you will need at the motel or your sister's house. It was hard enough to herd them into the car. You can't talk to them like maids. You don't have maids. The kids wanted to stay. The fishing rods in neat racks in the garage. They haven’t been used for months. How can I fish in water that is too toxic to touch?

They want to tell you, the problem is your septic tank. They being Governor Scott. They being the agriculture secretary, Adam Putnam whose family got $25 million from the state in a buyout that only a year before was valued at $5 million. What you could do with $5 million.

You pack the children and the dog and cat. Just go. The property where you pay taxes isn’t good to you today. In St. Lucie or Lee County or Brevard. There is nothing glamorous where you are going. Not like Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic, the resort owned by the Big Sugar Fanjuls, filled in winter with Congressmen with or without wives. Or the King Ranch, where US Sugar Corporation flew state elected officials by private jet.

And if there is a problem with my septic tank for God’s sakes: the big, multi-billionaire sugar farmers are dumping millions of pounds of phosphorous and nitrogen into Lake Okeechobee. What’s my shit compared to theirs?

You are leaving because you can’t take it any more. At least for a while. You love your home. You love the waters, the rivers and bays.

You are leaving the place you mow the lawn once a week and cook-out with neighbors and friends. Your boat on a trailer in the driveway: that’s where you taught your teenagers responsibility. They cleaned the boat everytime you came home from the county boat ramp. Washed it down and turned hoses on each other.

This algae gives you headaches when you breathe the fumes. They say it is linked to Parkinsons and Lou Gehrig’s Disease. You are angry, because this is where you live. All your life savings are here and you are going.

A few houses down, the people left for North Carolina. Be back when school starts, they say. You have nowhere to go in North Carolina. You go to your sister’s in Tampa or to the timeshare in Orlando, even though summertime is too hot for Disney and it’s not in the budget. Anything to get away. Away from the TV cameras at Central Marina and all the businesses closed for the summer because the algae stinks like puke on a hot sidewalk.

You have watched the news. Excess fertilizer is mainly from Big Sugar and dairy operations, but cattle are grown whether it floods or not. Sugarcane production needs water like “Goldilocks”. Never too much. Never too little. Never too hot, never too cold. In other words, South Florida’s water control infrastructure is geared to the needs of some of the wealthiest farmers in the United States, protected by welfare in the Farm Bill. Grover Norquist calls it, “cronyism in its undiluted, inexcusable majesty.”

At night you’ve been dreaming of all the fish dying at the bottom.

You put the car in reverse, with the teenagers in the backseat clicking on video games, and then forward. Away to 95 or the Turnpike. Away from this mess. Away from the kids and their questions. Why can’t we go swimming? Can we touch the water here? My eyes are burning. Mommy, do something. The best Mommy can do is get in the car and go.

You are taking sleeping pills. You voted Republican all these years because the Republicans say they are going to protect your property.

They will keep your taxes low. What good are low taxes if your property value stinks like the algae? They will keep your street safe from idle people who won’t work and don’t have anything to do and look different and don’t speak your language. What good is it, if you can’t touch the water?

Somewhere in the middle of the state, an eight year old girl went swimming in a lake and four days later she was dead from an infection. Two houses down, the neighbor works for the power company. He never missed a day of work in twenty years. Went fishing in the lagoon and got fevers and chills for a whole week.

You are in for a long ride. The news might have moved on from this street, but you will return home to this.

It is all about the FRACKING stupid. By Geniusofdespair

Yesterday the Florida Department of Protection (better known as the Department of Poisonous) changed the rules to allow HIGHER levels of toxic chemicals in your water. Ick to that. You might ask WHY? WHY? WHY?

Well, I have the answer, they loosened the rules for Fracking chemicals:
Environmentalists say they are suspicious that DEP has increased the levels of benzene, which is found in the wastewater of oil and gas hydraulic fracturing operations, in an effort to pave the way for fracking in Florida.

DEP officials, however, said that the science of benzene has changed in recent years resulting in the higher limits.

Also voting against the proposal was Commissioner Joe Joyce of Gainesville, who represents agricultural interests on the commission. He also raised questions about the unexplained rise in benzene levels and asked Bartlett if there was “any correlation between this rule and benzene and fracking?”

“We don’t see a connection between this rule and fracking,” Bartlett responded. The the audience jeered.

So the other changes were just a cover for the FRACKING CHEMICAL BENZENE. Expect Fracking in our Sunshine State.

Do You Know Anything About Your State Rep and Senator? By Geniusofdespair

I have been asking around, no one seems to know who is representing them at the State level...and frankly they don't care much either. Well CARE! With redistricting, all the seats are being voted on. 

I would say educate yourself, but I am laughing too hard. Like that is going to happen. Just vote for Rick Scott...oops he isn't running.

Here is who is running in Miami Dade County (Look at the back of your voter registration card to see your State Senate and State Rep District, note do not look at an old card, only a new one):

35 Braynon II, Oscar (DEM)
36 Garcia, Rene (REP)
Peralta, Anabella Grohoski (DEM)
37 Christian, Mercedes (NPA)
Diaz de la Portilla, Miguel
Rodriguez, Jose Javier (DEM)
38 Blemur, Anis (DEM)
Brutus, Phillip J. (NPA)
Burns, Kevin A. (DEM)
Campbell, Daphne (DEM)
Festge, Don (DEM)
Gongora, Michael (DEM)
Pizzo, Jason (DEM)
39 Artz, Brent (WRI)
Flores, Anitere (REP)
Mucarsel-Powell, Debbie (DEM)
40 Artiles, Frank (REP)
Bullard, Dwight M. (DEM)
Jimenez, Mario (NPA)
Korge, Andrew (DEM)
Logan, Ana Rivas (DEM)
Perez, Missalys (DEM)


105 Moreno, Patricio (DEM)
Trujillo, Carlos (REP)
106 Ballo, Nick (REP)
Hiller, Georgia A. (REP)
Kirkpatrick, Lavigne Ann (REP)
Maguire, Connor (WRI)
Rommel, Bob (REP)
107 Estime-Irvin, Mary (DEM)
Watson, Barbara A. (DEM)
108 Collie-Echoles, Taj (DEM)
Delica, Fayola (DEM)
Duge, Moise (DEM
Hardemon, Roy (DEM)
Menes, Francesca "Fran" (DEM)
Patel, Henry (DEM)
Steril, Marie Erlande (DEM)
109 Stafford, Cynthia A. (DEM)
110 Oliva, Jose (REP)
Puentes Sr, Carlos A. (DEM)
111 Avila, Bryan (REP)
Miyar, Sevi (DEM)
112 Davey, Michael W. (REP)
Duran, Nicholas X. (DEM)
Faura-Morales, Waldo (DEM)
Palomino, Rosa Maria "Rosy" (REP)
113 Parker, Jonathan H. (REP)
Richardson, David (DEM)
Valdes, Rey (DEM)
114 Baez, Daisy J. (DEM)
Couriel, John D. (REP)
Santana, Alberto L. (DEM)
115 Bileca, Michael (REP)
Hancock, Ross (DEM)
Solomon, Jeffrey Doc (DEM)
116 Diaz, Jose Felix (REP)
Rassner, Heath (DEM)
117 McGhee, Kionne L. (DEM)
118 Asencio, Robert (DEM)
Bell, Lynda (REP)
Pria, Carlos (REP)
Rivera, David (REP)
Rodriguez, Anthony (REP)
Rojas Tallon, Steven A. (REP)
119 Nunez, Jeanette M. (REP)
Pinell, Jeniffer (DEM)
120 Diaz, Kevin (DEM)
Horton, Dan (DEM)
Raschein, Holly (REP)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Florida Death Panel Fails Floridians By Even Considering Loosening Standards On Cancer-Causing Toxics ... by gimleteye

Today, appointees of Gov. Rick Scott -- on the state Environmental Regulatory Commission -- could vote to allow carcinogens in our drinking water. Be afraid. Very afraid.

Mary Ellen Klas, for the Miami Herald, writes:
A state panel will decide Tuesday whether to allow polluters to increase the level of toxic chemicals they dump into Florida rivers and lakes as part of the first update of the state’s water quality standards in 24 years.

The governor-appointed Environmental Regulatory Commission will vote on a rule proposed by state regulators that would increase the number of regulated chemicals allowed in drinking water from 54 to 92 chemicals and raise the allowed limits on more than two dozen known carcinogens — all currently regulated — from levels that are from 20 percent to 1,100 percent higher than current standards. The agency is reducing the allowed limits on 13 currently regulated chemicals, two of which are considered carcinogens.

Read more here:

Klas and the Herald ought to train their attention to another abject failure: statistical evidence of rare pediatric cancer clusters in Florida. We wrote about it, here, a year ago: "Cancer Clusters in Florida: The Silence Of The State".

The callous lack of interest, curiosity, or willingness to extend a helping hand to Floridians frightened by toxins in the environment is breathtaking. The Environmental Regulatory Commission is a Death Panel, if it approves the loosening of rules governing toxics. But if it does, it will only be following the orders of the worst governor in Florida history: Rick Scott.

August 2nd- Gimenez's chance for an absentee ballot fraud bonanza. By Guest Blogger Fernando

Carlos Gimenez talking with Jose Luis Castillo in 2012 photo. Need a room full of people to wear T Shirts supporting your issue? Call Jose.
Mark August 2nd as the day absentee ballots arrive in our mailboxes. The fix is already in and no law enforcement agency has enough intestinal fortitude to tackle it.

The State Attorney's Office? Forget about it! Our State Attorney was knee deep herself in ballot fraud accusations in 2012 along with Mayor Gimenez so she will turn a blind eye.

MDPD? Absolutely not! The current director, one of his chiefs and a recently promoted major were all involved in the 2012 absentee ballot investigations. They are willing to let sleeping dogs lie since they obstructed the 2012 ballot fraud investigations in exchange for promotions. They would not touch that skeleton with a 10 ft. pole.

FDLE? Not a chance. Their current public corruption squad supervisor was the FDLE director in 2012 before she was demoted. She is good friends with our State Attorney and sat idle in 2012 while county investigators tried to put together cases against absentee ballot fraud violators. No help there either. The FBI? That hapless crew neither understands the game nor cares about our "little problem". They deem it as "business as usual in South Florida".

The scheme begins with the $3 million in campaign and PAC contributions that Gimenez has amassed from lobbyists, consultants, contractors and political gadflys. The monies are rumored to be funneled through Rafael Garcia Toledo through Gimenez's campaign manager Jesse Manzano and they are distributed to a cottage industry through ballot brokers such as Jose Luis Castillo (pictured above), Al Lorenzo, etc.

Every area of the county is covered by the absentee ballot brokers who pay cash to a cast of "boleteras" and "phone bank operators" who by now have secured rights at every elderly care facility, lunch hall and elderly activity center.

The true crime occurs when the elderly, the mentally ill and infirmed are "assisted" by these unscrupulous boleteras to vote for Gimenez and whomever else is listed on their preferred ballot slates. The ballots are then transported back in bundles (in violation of county ordinance) to Gimenez's "campaign offices" and eventually dropped in the mail assuring a Gimenez win.  (See My 3 part series....on Absentee Ballot Fraud)

How prevalent is this crime you may ask?

Gimenez's own county employee Dottie Vazquez is an alleged ballot broker who is alleged to have collected hundreds of ballots in 2012. That is how she is alleged to have "earned" her county job and now works directly under Gimenez as a member of his office.

Who suffers as a result of this organized scheme to defraud? Democracy of course and we all do. This scam makes our vote worthless because elections are already won and lost by the time we go to the precincts. We suffer because our tax dollars are spent to ensure Gimenez's benefactors receive sweetheart county contracts.

Who benefits from this illicit scheme?

I would suppose the MDPD director. He owes his job to Gimenez and will do all he can to protect his interests even if that means obstructing or preventing future investigations and betraying the cause that originally attracted police officers to that profession. He will not risk the cushy jobs nor the padded retirement that awaits him in a few years.

What is there left to do? Protect our democracy and tax dollars. Vote and make sure your family and those you know vote. If Gimenez wins this election the next four years will be extremely difficult. Our public parks and properties are under siege by Gimenez and county government will become even more dysfunctional with his reelection.
If you dislike the direction Gimenez has taken our county make your vote count on August 31st and send Gimenez and his unscrupulous lobbyist friends packing. It is worth our effort, even if those law enforcement agency members (whose salaries we pay) sit by idle and fail to protect us from absentee ballot fraud.

 Note the difference in absentee ballots between Carlos Alvarez and Carlos Gimenez. 

This is  how you do absentee ballot fraud...

Picture of the Day! By Geniusofdespair

Oh you rascals! Wait till the Supreme Court implodes...

Monday, July 25, 2016

Rob Stein: On Jane Mayer's "Dark Money" and the Koch Empire ... by gimleteye

Rob Stein is one of the most important figures in contemporary American progressive politics. Stein's first contribution to political discourse and analysis was, in the early 2000's, de-coding the message machinery linking GOP values politics with conservative foundations and funders. Before Stein, the breadth and scale of the Republican operation was not clearly understood. In Democracy Journal book review of Jane Mayer's important, "Dark Money", Stein captures some extraordinarily important points and deeply relevant to the November election in the United States.
I, too, have studied the topic of money in politics. I have been an observer and original researcher in this field since 2003, and in 2005, I founded the Democracy Alliance, the largest network of wealthy progressives to invest in progressive independent expenditure organizations. I have spoken publicly on these issues and have communicated, from time to time, with Mayer and other researchers and journalists. (I am quoted several times in Dark Money.)
Moreover, I am keenly aware that conservatives argue that the political conglomerate the Kochs and their allies have created is simply the mirror image of the interlocking nature of progressive activism in America. Their mantra is that we all do what they are doing and that the “vast left-wing conspiracy” is as large, powerful, and controlling as anything they have built.

Their political trust is bending American politics to their personal whims.

This claim is false. There is no progressive equivalent to what Mayer has described. Yes, wealthy progressive strategists, operatives, and donors are committed to advancing their political agendas and influencing the outcomes of elections and policy debates. Progressive donors do convene and consider recommendations for funding independent expenditure organizations. And progressive organizations and networks do target and attempt to align their political efforts.
This may be the most important point in the Stein review of Jane Mayer's book. Just like the false equivalency that dominated the media discussion of the 90's and 00's -- that the science of global warming was not settled and so adverse points of view needed to be given equal weight -- there is now another false equivalency afoot: that the Kochs and major GOP funders are simply organizing to do what Democrats are also doing.

In fact, the battle for America's political future is better described as a David versus Goliath battle, where every attribute of the smaller rival is adopted to confuse public perception of the leviathan at work. Koch funded entities, super PACs and penetration of legislatures, from Congress to state legislatures and even to local county commissions, has no equivalent in Democratic circles. There is no, for instance, no analogue within the Democratic ranks to the tightly woven, indistinguishable relationship between Fox News and the GOP.

Forwarned is forearmed. Except that so much damage to the United States has already been done ... to read the Stein review, click 'read more'.

Pretty Woman: Can Raquel Regalado Swipe the Mayoral Slot from Carlos Gimenez? By Geniusofdespair

Raquel Regalado is clever, beautiful and fun to be around. She has young ideas for Miami Dade County. I really like her as a Mayoral Candidate. I will vote for her over Carlos Gimenez. Carlos has an over-flowing pocketful of cash to throw around against Raquel. He is miles ahead of her in the cash department. But he is a throwback to the days when lobbyist ruled. They rule our county now.

Tell your friends to vote for Raquel. She has spirit, she has drive and she is far better than Carlos Gimenez. If you want to see her in action watch this damn video. Also she gives us all a great 2 minute history of Miami Dade County! Pass this blog link to your friends. THE VOTE IS IN AUGUST, not November. Early voting starts soon. Spread the word on your Facebook Page.

Herald Columnist Fabiola Santiago said last week about Current Mayor Carlos Gimenez:
Yet, when it comes to potential conflicts of interest and back-door dealing, the mayor has a blind spot. He delivers done-deals like the megamall-theme park boondoggle in Northwest Miami-Dade to a spineless county commission that rubber stamps instead of properly vetting community-altering projects. His developer friends line up for tax incentives (aka corporate welfare) and get them despite promises to voters that there aren’t any, as in the SkyRise Miami giant steel hairpin.

But nothing quite captures the mayor’s peculiar sense of what’s fair game as well as the richly textured portrait of Gimenez’s relationship with his re-election finance chairman, Ralph Garcia-Toledo, a veteran county contractor, by Miami Herald county hall reporter Douglas Hanks. It’s a classic, required reading on how county government operates behind the scenes.