Friday, October 21, 2016

Clean Water Inaction: How GOP Funders Practice Psychological Warfare Against Its Own Voters ... by gimleteye

Only Republicans can end the psychological warfare practiced by the GOP and its top funders against the interests of voters. Case in point: Marco Rubio and clean water in Florida.

In 2015, the Republican state legislature fundamentally weakened water pollution standards, in a re-write of state water quality law that put the interests of big polluters, like Big Sugar, first. In Congress, Florida Republicans, lead by Senator Rubio, have continuously rejected efforts by the US EPA to tighten standards on water pollution. Rubio, in 2010, was pulled off the back bench by the Fanjul/ Florida Crystals interests to stand as a bulwark against environmental rules and land acquisition plans that conflicted with the family's business model; to shift pollution containment costs to the maximum extent possible to taxpayers.

In early 2016, historic flooding, likely exacerbated by climate change, denied by Rubio -- caused the massive lake in the center of the state, Lake Okeechobee, to rise rapidly during what is normally dry season in Florida. The consequence of the rainfall forced state and federal water managers to release hundreds of billions of dirty, contaminated water down Florida's coastal estuaries, impacting both property owners on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts who are, unsurprisingly, mainly Republican.

The solution to the water crisis in Florida had been in hand, through the plan to acquire US Sugar lands and funding secured through a multi-billion dollar pool of public money, approved by more than 75% of Florida voters in a 2014 constitutional referendum. In 2015, Republican lawmakers refused to allocate the money as voters demanded and water managers, appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, x'd the deal made by his predecessor, Charlie Crist. Scott -- who plans to run for US Senate in 2018 -- is strongly embedded in the Big Sugar camp.

Then the rains fell, all the way from north of Lake Okeechobee to Miami-Dade. The pain materialized immediately in local areas impacted by polluted runoff from Lake Okeechobee, laden with decades of fertilizer back pumped from sugar fields south of the lake.

In a Republican county on the Atlantic coast, a Republican challenger emerged in a local county commission race to fight for clean water. Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch is a well-known Martin County realtor who had been mayor of a small town in Martin County. She had all the qualifications to take on a incumbent local county commissioner, Doug Smith, who formed a bulwark protecting Big Sugar's interest in controlling local government, especially where water pollution upstream could impact downstream politics.

Thurlow-Lippisch advocated for and strongly supports taking significant land out of sugarcane production to use for water treatment and storage so that Florida's fragile coastal estuaries, rivers and Everglades don't need to be used as escape valves in order to keep Big Sugar's profits intact at the expense of taxpayers and downstream businesses. Marco Rubio, Florida's US senator from Miami, is the strongest ally of Big Sugar in its aim to squeeze the last cent out of sugar production, including its protections through federal corporate welfare.

Thurlow-Lippisch raised a competitive war chest and was polling favorably to win the GOP primary in August when, unexpectedly, a high school student named Chase Lurgio joined the race as a spoiler. Lurgio, according to a recent blog post by Thurlow-Lippisch, was likely recruited by a Big Sugar loyalist and director of the Jensen Beach Chamber of Commerce.

In a analysis after her loss, Thurlow-Lippisch decoded how political action committees tag-teamed against her. Using the fake candidate Lurgio and a series of last-minute, attack mailers to likely voters, Big Sugar made sure that taxpayers would be denied an elected officer whose stated aim was to protect their shared interests. The attacks were indirectly funded by Big Sugar through a series of political action committees that legally launder contributions so that corporate identities can be effectively shielded until after the election.

On her blog, Thurlow-Lippisch published a series of analyses culled from publicly available information on the state election data site to show what happened to her campaign. Her work is a public service, including this recent documentation:

Crystal Mills Lucas is now facing a similar "hit job" by Big Sugar, involving the same political action committees nested like Russian dolls that took out Thurlow-Lippisch. Lucas is a Democrat running for state house district 83, also in Martin County.

A former school teacher who loves the outdoors, surfs and fishes and recreates on Florida's once pristine coast, Lucas became outraged and energized to run for public office as a result of the devastating pollution now coursing through waterways she shares with so many Floridians and tourists and local small businesses. Her website describes her reason for running:
Crystal Lucas was born and raised in Florida. She has a deep connection to this state and wants to fight to protect it and help it to prosper. Crystal has been on the forefront of speaking out for the Treasure Coast in the last 10 years and will continue that effort when she is elected. She brings the outlook of a community leader and servant. She proudly serves as the Vice-Chair of the Martin County Local Planning Agency and the Chair of the Martin County Affordable Housing Committee.

She brings the outlook of an educator. Crystal has taught High School in Martin County public schools and now is teaching at Indian River State College. She understands what it means to be a business owner. Crystal and her husband own and operate a marine woodworking business that has thrived and grown. She is a mother who understands the issues facing families today. She is raising her daughter to be an independent leader and wants to work to protect the rights of women.

She is involved in the community. Speaking out against the discharges from Lake Okeechobee, founding a marine focused youth film festival, acting as the route director for the Marathon of the Treasure Coast and diligently working to get Amendment 1 passed in 2014.

A recent attack mailer against Lucas is filled with straight-out lies, claiming that she is, herself, a polluter. The allegations against Lucas is a flat-out lie.
Lucas, as is often the case with first-time political challengers, lacks the campaign war chest to defend herself, either through advertisements on television or response mailers.

The sad fact is that Big Sugar is spending to protect its profits ahead of taxpayers in Florida's polluted coastal areas. Big Sugar depends on Florida's fragmented media markets to ensure that the trail of tears is never fully mapped to connect voters with what manifestly harms their own interests.

This is a form of psychological warfare that only educated, informed voters can bring to a stop by refusing to return office-holders who are bought and paid for by powerful, wealthy insiders.

The first on that long list: US Senator Marco Rubio. If you are a Republican angry about the status quo, take this first step: stop voting for a Republican ticket that works against the interests of taxpayers. That list begins with Marco Rubio.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Democratic Candidate Nick Duran has Sugar and Industry Ties. By Geniusofdespair

Poison Endorsements. We have written 33 times about AIF.
Nick Duran the Dem State House option for District 112 is backed by Fla Chamber and AIF, FPL (through Florida Standing United PC), TECO, a number of sugar growers, and U.S. Sugar through its affiliate Southern Gardens Grove Corp., which he identifies as being a "garden services" company on his filing.

We hate AIF here at Eye on Miami and FPL and Big Sugar.  Not good. A Democrat???

This is Jose Javier Rodriguez's House Seat (Jose is running for State Senate).  If I had it to do over I might vote for the Republican Rosa Palomino (I already voted however).

Early Voting City in Miami Dade County. By Geniusofdespair

Early voting starts in Florida on Monday, October 24, from Monday through Sunday, November 6. There is a change this year --- Miami City Hall is not an early voting location. The closest place for Coconut Grove to vote early is the historic Vizcaya Garage. This is next to the old Museum of Science. It's an easy lot to get in and out of and it's not far from City Hall.

The Vizcaya Garage is at 3250 S. Miami Avenue. Across the street from the Vizcaya house.

Voting times every day that the early voting is available is from 7 am to 7 pm.

Other areas in the city that will hold early voting is the Arsht Center downtown, the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, Shenandoah Branch library, Carrie P. Meek Senior & Culture Center, Model City Branch Library and Lemon City Branch Library.

Another location close to the Grove is the Coral Gables Branch library. You can vote in ANY early voting location, not just one near your home.

My suggestion: VOTE EARLY.  Following are all the early voting locations in Miami Dade County:

Care about your job? Vote for the candidate who recognizes the threat to your job by climate change ... by gimleteye

Astoundingly, the televised debates for the next president of the United States failed to probe federal responsibilities to address global warming impacts.

As the King Tides in Florida just demonstrated, there is reality to contend with even if the moderators won't. For the New York Times, Dave Leonhardt aptly wrote:
Tonight wrapped up three weeks of presidential campaign debates. It was also a three-week period in which cities in at least 34 states reported record-high temperatures. New York reached 80 degrees today, and Nashville nearly hit 90.

This year is all but guaranteed to be the planet’s hottest on record, just as 2015 and 2014 were. The damage from climate change is now speeding up.

And how many questions were Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Tim Kaine and Mike Pence asked about climate change over the six hours of their four combined debates?


Sir Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics (LSE), and President of the British Academy, recently said that the global economy could “self destruct” if the fossil fuel, carbon economy was not quickly reformed.

That's your job he is talking about. So when panderers like Senator Marco Rubio say he's more concerned about the economy than climate change, the bottom line is that he pretty much as clueless as the presidential candidate he supports, Donald Trump.

In a determined effort to enlighten, New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert focused this week on Greenland's melting ice cap. Here are a few excerpts:
... Just in the past four years, more than a trillion tons of ice have been lost. This is four hundred million Olympic swimming pools’ worth of water, or enough to fill a single pool the size of New York State to a depth of twenty-three feet.

... As moulins form at higher elevations, more water is carried from the surface of the ice to the bedrock beneath. This lubricates the base, which, in turn, speeds the movement of ice toward the ocean. At a certain point, these feedback loops become self-sustaining. It is possible that that point has already been reached.

... “What concerns me the most is that this is the kind of experiment we can only do once,” Rignot said. “A lot of people don’t realize that. If we start opening the floodgates on some of these glaciers, even if we stop our emissions, even if we go back to a better climate, the damage is going to be done. There’s no red button to stop this.”

... the problem with global warming—and the reason it continues to resist illustration, even as the streets flood and the forests die and the mussels rot on the shores—is that experience is an inadequate guide to what’s going on. The climate operates on a time delay. When carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere, it takes decades—in a technical sense, millennia—for the earth to equilibrate. This summer’s fish kill was a product of warming that had become inevitable twenty or thirty years ago, and the warming that’s being locked in today won’t be fully felt until today’s toddlers reach middle age. In effect, we are living in the climate of the past, but already we’ve determined the climate’s future.

What do Florida’s Congressional challengers and incumbents believe about climate change? A website, Earth Forum, answers that question here. We know what Marco Rubio thinks, because we heard his answer in the presidential primary: oh it's just like flooding in West Dade, we'll engineer around it. Pathetic and ill-informed.

Climate change is not some future, hazy concern on the horizon. It is here, now. We can't afford a single elected office holder who denies climate change or the urgency to change our energy future.

The clearest signal Floridians can send is to elect Hillary Clinton and Patrick Murphy to the US Senate.

Help Restore Pine Rockland and Coastal Wetlands - Volunteers Needed! By Geniusofdespair

Need a break from the election? Do something to make a difference out enjoying nature.

Date: October Saturday 22- Sunday 23
Time: 8:30 AM- 3:00 PM
Location: 18400 Old Cutler Rd, Cutler Bay, Fl 33157

*SE corner of Old Cutler Rd and SW 184 st. Park along curb on 184 st east side of Old Cutler Rd.

*Please bring sunscreen, mosquito repellent and work gloves. Water and snacks will be provided*

What is this effort about:
Florida's coastal communities and our Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands are increasingly threatened by rising sea levels and extreme weather events are being intensified by climate change. This is why local community restoration efforts of coastal habitats like in Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay are critical to reduce the impacts where rapid development is threatening neighborhoods and safety.

Please learn more and join these efforts by coming to our workdays 10/22 & 23. Come experience an ecosystem restoration hands on. Volunteers are wanted to continue to restore coastal wetlands, pine rocklands, and hammock habitat. Please, help create a natural buffer that will protect us and bring resiliency to our community. We will be planting native plants, mulching, and weeding.
You can also make a donation online The raised money will be used to buy hundreds of native plants and trees, and supplies.

I will be there. Just look for the one wearing sunscreen. Sounds like fun too!   


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Miami Herald Endorses Murphy for U. S. Senator. By Geniusofdespair

Miami Herald Editorial Board

This newspaper has a long history of supporting U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s electoral campaigns, going back to his days as a promising political newcomer from West Miami with a strong measure of personal magnetism and a crowd-pleasing message that served him well as he climbed the political ladder. When he ran an insurgent campaign for the Senate against a sitting Republican governor in 2010, we backed him because we believed, “He has the potential to be the kind of statesman Floridians can be proud to call a native son.”

On occasion, Sen. Rubio lived up to that early promise, never more so than during his freshman year in the U.S. Senate when he led an effort to forge a historic compromise on immigration. It ultimately failed, but the young senator displayed political courage and a willingness to defy his own party. This year, he again broke from the Republican majority by supporting President Obama’s request for $2 billion in emergency funding to fight Zika.

But in many other ways, Sen. Rubio has been a disappointment.

He has fought Obamacare at every step, even though it has brought immeasurable relief to millions who previously had no healthcare. He has joined the Senate majority in the scandalous move to block any consideration of the president’s nominee for a Supreme Court vacancy. He has unilaterally blocked other meritorious presidential nominations for purely political reasons, including confirmation of a judge he himself had once recommended.

Beyond the political differences, there are issues of sincerity and character for voters to consider. First, he reneged on his unequivocal pledge not to run for re-election for a position he once openly disdained — but only after he lost his bid for the Republican presidential nomination to his nemesis, Donald Trump. Then he endorsed Mr. Trump, whom he called a con man during the campaign. And still at this late date, he continues to stand by that endorsement, even as the Republican candidate stumbles from gaffe to insult to outrage.

Mr. Trump’s candidacy is a test of character, and Sen. Rubio is failing that test. How can voters believe he’s sincere when he says he does not share Mr. Trump’s awful views on Mexicans, immigrants, Muslims, women, etc., yet — at the same time — stands by his endorsement of the New York billionaire? His act is unconvincing. It reeks of political convenience rather than political conviction.

And he has refused to issue a clear, unequivocal statement on whether he will finish out his term if he wins reelection. And though he used the June massacre at Pulse, the gay nightclub in Orlando, as his excuse for getting in the race, he has a disastrous record as far as LGBT issues are concerned, opposing marriage equality and adoption by gay parents, and voting against giving LGBT Americans workplace protections.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, the main challenger, is in many ways an untested figure. His claim to fame is that he knocked off firebrand conservative Allen West in a Treasure Coast district in 2012. As a relatively new Democrat in a Republican-controlled House, he has had little chance to show what he can do as a legislator.

Opponents claim Rep. Murphy padded his résumé, especially regarding his work on cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and his status as a CPA, but a thorough investigation by PolitiFact suggests the attacks are overkill. A more nuanced — and accurate — view is that he embellished his record but mostly did what he claimed.

What is clear, however, is that Rep. Murphy will fight for the right issues, as he stated in his debate with Sen. Rubio on Monday. He supports the diplomatic opening to Cuba, reasonable gun-control measures, the Affordable Care Act, measures to rein in climate change and Roe v. Wade — as well as comprehensive immigration reform and filling the Supreme Court vacancy.

For the U.S. Senate, the Miami Herald recommends PATRICK MURPHY.

Read more here:


Amendment 1 Block The Sun: Vote No ... by gimleteye

An outstanding investigative report by Mary Ellen Klas, showing the deception by Florida's electric utilities behind Amendment 1; the fake solar energy proposal by voters that should be stopped cold in its tracks. Congratulations to the Herald on this important story.

Amendment 1 Blocks The Sun: Vote NO.

OCTOBER 18, 2016 5:25 PM
Insider reveals deceptive strategy behind Florida’s solar amendment
Mary Ellen Klas
Miami Herald
Read more here:

The policy director of a think tank hired by Florida’s largest electric utilities admitted at a conference this month what opponents have claimed for months: The industry attempted to deceive voters into supporting restrictions on the expansion of solar by shrouding Amendment 1 as a pro-solar amendment.

Sal Nuzzo, a vice president at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, detailed the strategy used by the state’s largest utilities to create and finance Amendment 1 at the State Energy/Environment Leadership Summit in Nashville on Oct. 2.

Nuzzo called the amendment, which has received more than $21 million in utility industry financing, “an incredibly savvy maneuver” that “would completely negate anything they (pro-solar interests) would try to do either legislatively or constitutionally down the road,” according to an audio recording of the event supplied to the Herald/TimesHe offered others a recommendation: “As you guys look at policy in your state, or constitutional ballot initiatives in your state, remember this: Solar polls very well,” he said.

“To the degree that we can use a little bit of political jiu-jitsu...

Miami Seafood Festival October 16th at Marine Stadium by Geniusofdespair

It was just too hot to eat. There were no table in the shade except some standing tables in front of a very loud ear-splitting band. It was well attended. But when the sun was out you baked. Left really quickly after eating a couple of stone crabs (that were very good).

Next year: TENTS!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

ELECTIONS: Hero Judge Mark Walker. By Geniusofdespair

Obama appointed Judge Mark Walker

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ruled against Rick Scott, our insane Governor, and his more insane election chief. His order allows people, if there is time, to fix their signature on the ballot if it is rejected by whomever is comparing signatures at the elections department.  This is a watershed moment for absentee ballots. I always worry they will reject my signature. Now they have to notify me if they do. GREAT!

The Judge said it makes no sense that the state offers a do-over to voters who omit a signature but offers no cure to voters whose signatures don't match.

He also extended the registration time in Florida because of the Hurricane.

ON YOUR BALLOT: Charter Amendment on Control of Special Purpose Districts in Municipalities. By Geniusofdespair

Sucker punch on your ballot.  Thanks for educating us about this....

I said to myself: What the hell is this on my ballot? Of course, when I don't  know -- I vote no. I asked around about it. I am always hesitant to amend the Charter anyway.

A person in the county I trust said that she could argue either way. "Taxing districts are hyper-local, so maybe cities should run them. Or the County has an economy of scale and it is easier to handle lighting districts with a single point of contact. Also, many cities didn't want the added responsibility."

Bovo sponsored it. Always suspicious when I don't like sponsor.

If a political wonk like me doesn't know what the hell is on the ballot: How is everyone to vote without knowing the issue? Unfair to the people. I am glad I voted no.

Is Florida Brave Enough To Unseat Marco Rubio? ... by gimleteye

Florida voters are see-sawing all over the place. In the March presidential primary, Senator Marco Rubio only won 15% of the vote against Donald Trump, who is going to lose Florida big-time in November.

Rubio, with one of the worst -- if not the worst -- records in the US Senate, first said he would resign his Senate seat and now clings to it like a political life raft.

"Favorite son" status should not stop Miami-Dade voters from upsetting the Rubio cart. Republicans, in particular, should withhold their vote from an incumbent who succeeds, mainly, by climbing over everyone in his path.

That includes Jeb Bush who has the dignity and personal integrity to disavow Donald Trump, the least qualified candidate to be president in U.S. history.

Rubio, on the other hand, has doubled-down on the Trump bet. With Trump, everything is "lies", and "fraud", and "rigged", promises that can't be kept and threats that only serve to agitate the worst in human nature. This candidate and this behavior Marco Rubio will not disavow.

For that reason alone, Miami-Dade voters should endorse his opponent, Congressman Patrick Murphy.

We've had enough of Donald Trump in the news. The same, for Marco Rubio.