Saturday, May 26, 2018

Congressional Candidate David Richardson took Sugar Money? by Geniusofdespair

You might not know who these guys are but they are the executives of US Sugar


Richardson got the above thousands of dollars of donations related to U. S. Sugar. Also now I am hearing that FPL hosted a fundraiser or something for Richardson. What is going on?

Let me be honest first. I am not good at searching Federal campaign reports. Richardson did get a lot of money from Act Blue. In fact, most of his donations are from Act Blue. What is up with that? It appears Act Blue take in individual contributions but in the report it just says "Act Blue." I am very curious and angry about that. You can't fill out a financial disclosure without a name. That is like just writing "Paypal" for every donor.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Bullsugar: Snakes On A Plain ... by gimleteye

The South Florida Water Management District excels in distraction and diversion. These serve a purpose: to deflect attention from the multi-billion dollar engineering model that is gradually turning a public resource -- clean, fresh water -- into a privatized commodity benefiting the state's biggest campaign donors. Big Sugar, for example.

The rebuttal refrain is familiar: "we have the lowest water rates in the nation" or "the cheapest electricity for Florida". It is as if taxpayers have become numb and lulled to sleep by repetition.

The upcoming elections might reveal, as we have hoped in the past, a better path forward.

As criticism of SFWMD’s political corruption and horrific water management echoes from the Keys to Tallahassee, taxpayers are paying attention. The district has responded with a unique twist on a time-honored internet diversionary tactic: Instead of distracting people with a barrage of cute animals, their social media team is distracting people with a barrage of things that eat cute animals. Well played, SFWMD.

Make sure you “Get the Facts” about SFWMD’s Python Elimination Program: A single adult python can distract thousands of taxpayers from asking why SFWMD lets the sugar industry flood nearly half-a-million acres of cane fields during a severe drought!
POSTED ON MAY 26, 2017
And now for something completely different...

SFWMD has the cure for "bad news" fatigue. It’s the python channel! All pythons, all the time.

Research linking cyanobacteria to liver failure ignited a recent wave of alarm as more evidence surfaced connecting toxic algae to health risks in coastal communities. But the South Florida Water Management District came through as usual with a welcome diversion on its electronic sidestage -- more pythons!

Although Florida faces another round of deep budget cuts, and federal funding for natural resource management programs may zero-out entirely this year, SFWMD somehow found the money to invest in a social media initiative dedicated largely to pythons.

Huge snakes are helping SFWMD break up the monotony of managing water (ABC News image)

The scorned pets, of unrestrained appetite and nasty attitude, have spread rapidly, grown to outrageous lengths, and wreaked havoc on South Florida. Almost daily, harrowing encounters are given enthusiastic coverage on SFWMD’s Python Channel, feeding an unparalleled public interest and inspiring an important state initiative.

The Elimination Will Be Televised

$175,000 Florida tax dollars are being allocated through the district to rid us once and for all of the deadly nuisances. SFWMD has hand-picked 25 professional python hunters in an effort to get these %@+#$%&#*&!% snakes off this %@+#$%&#*&!% plain.

In a flood of social media updates, Facebook live recordings, and headlining news releases, the powerful state agency responsible for managing waterways and drinking water for millions of Floridians has dedicated immense resources to making The Python Channel as entertaining and distracting as it can possibly be.

Since the inception of the Pilot Python Elimination Program, the district announced that 117 pythons have been successfully removed from the estimated population of 300,000.

Unfortunately more pythons have been hatched than hunted during the SFMWD elimination program

So at this rate, South Florida could be python-free in less than 100,000 years… assuming that no more snakes hatch during that time. Then it will take longer.

A recent SFWMD news release boasts that roughly $17,000 in bounties and $18,000 in hourly fees have been paid out so far, for an average cost of less than $300 per snake.The two-month hunting spree ends June 1st, so if the python elimination rate remains constant, the district will memorialize another 15 pythons before the game is up. Maybe more if the holiday weekend factors in.

In truth, the python program is brilliant. As criticism of SFWMD’s political corruption and horrific water management echoes from the Keys to Tallahassee, taxpayers are paying attention. The district has responded with a unique twist on a time-honored internet diversionary tactic: Instead of distracting people with a barrage of cute animals, their social media team is distracting people with a barrage of things that eat cute animals. Well played, SFWMD.

Make sure you “Get the Facts” about SFWMD’s Python Elimination Program:

A single adult python can distract thousands of taxpayers from asking why SFWMD lets the sugar industry flood nearly half-a-million acres of cane fields during a severe drought

With the pilot program funded all-in for only $175,000, the per-snake cost works out to less than $1,500. That means the district could fund the removal of all 300,000 pythons for less than half-a-billion dollars...again, unless more snakes hatch. Then it will cost more.

There are almost as many SFWMD-accredited python hunters as there are SFWMD employees publishing articles in Treasure Coast newspapers to attack the science behind sending water south

St. Patrick (pictured below), the fifth century “Apostle of Ireland,” famed for banishing all snakes from the Emerald Isle, was not among the applicants qualifying for cash prizes in the district’s python elimination program

Would legendary snake elimination specialist St. Patrick have contributed to the SFWMD's python program?

BONUS Python Encounter Tip: Never ignore a Burmese python! Immediately photograph any python you see and alert SFWMD. The district’s Facebook team will post an update on the snake’s awesomeness right away to help taxpayers direct their attention away from fatal disease, economic disaster, and habitat destruction related to South Florida’s water management policy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Donna Shalala on Lennar's Board? By Geniusofdespair

The Blue Wave in U.S. Congressional District 27

In a press release, Congressional hopeful, David Richardson said it was "Effectively a two-person race." I guess he must mean that Matt Haggman dropped out and Kristen Rosen Gonzalez. Really? Did they? In this poll Haggman and Richardson are running neck and neck. I guess things have changed since January. I called Matt Haggman and he was bewildered by the quote about 2 candidates. He said his campaign was moving full speed ahead.

Anyway Richardson's release makes the Lennar, a Florida based development company, connection with Donna Shalala. The only problem is, Lennar gave U of M gobs of money during her tenure on the Lennar board (She was also U of M President). It is hard to fault her with that Lennar connection if she was to do right by the University she headed. But, did that have anything to do with the Pine-Rockland property sale... that is, she was a developer flunky for a while and learned some evil ways.
“I owe it to the voters to hold Donna Shalala accountable for what she is: a double-dealing corporate Democrat." - David Ricardson
Matt Haggman said:
 My campaign isn't about the other candidates in the race, it’s about the people of Florida 27 and how we can work together as a community to usher in a new era in our politics.  We have been taking our message directly to voters on a daily basis.  Our team of volunteers has already knocked on nearly 6,000 doors across the district.  The incredible response we’ve received from voters is what keeps me energized and optimistic about a new day where politics is about the people not the politicians.

Eileen Higgins: County Commission District 5 ! ... by gimleteye

Defying conventional wisdom, first time candidate and Democrat, Eileen Higgins, defeated better known Republican rivals in a non-partisan primary race for the county district including Miami Beach and a swath of Little Havana including surrounding neighborhoods. This is a huge win for Higgins, who political operatives tried to squeeze out with a field of Republican rivals and instead topped them all. The vote between Higgins and runner-up Barreiro -- wife of the incumbent who surrendered his seat --  is scheduled for June 19.

The Miami Herald reports: "Newcomer Eileen Higgins rode a wave of support from the Democratic Party to take first place in Tuesday's election to replace Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno Barreiro and will face the former commissioner's wife, Republican Zoraida Barreiro, in a runoff election next month for the non-partisan seat. Both candidates eliminated former state senator Alex Diaz de la Portilla, who finished third. With all precincts reporting shortly before 9 p.m.. Higgins held nearly 35 percent of the vote, followed by Barreiro at 33 percent, with 222 votes separating them. Diaz de la Portilla was in third with 27 percent, followed by former television actor Carlos Garin with less than 5 percent." Read more here:

This is a huge result for Democrats and a bellweather for voters fed up with treasonous behavior in the White House and the protection of Trump provided by Republican leaders in Congress. Nation before party. Although county commission races are "non-partisan", the sour national mood around Trump and grifters inside and outside the White House means all bets are off.

Contribute to Eileen Higgins campaign, by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

HBO "The Final Year" ... by gimleteye

The emotion I felt, at the conclusion of the excellent HBO documentary "The Final Year", is in one word: "devastation".

I voted for Obama twice, but I found plenty to criticize in his two terms.

Still, "The Final Year" conveys his essential nature -- competence and caution -- qualities of character that stand in stark contrast to the wild and careening presidency of Donald Trump.

The HBO documentary that premiered last night is told mainly through two principal figures in the Obama administration: chief speechwriter and advisor, Ben Rhodes, and Samantha Powers, ambassador to the United Nations. Both convey the care and thoughtfulness absent from the current White House is ways that are shocking and unprecedented.

But these are one viewer's observations, not of the documentary or its makers.

Rather, "The Final Year" wrestles with the challenge of being an optimist and advocate for inclusiveness in an era lurching toward dark uncertainties, fear-mongering and creeping nationalism.

Samantha Powers puts the global emergencies -- of Syria, of crippled and impoverished African nations -- in the context of 65 million refugees around the world: the biggest crisis since the Second World War. Ben Rhodes emphasizes what he hopes will be the Obama legacy, like health care and the Paris Climate Accord.

To the very end, neither believed that in November 2016 the American voter would put targets on the back of these achievements.

What is devastating is to know, today, that the American voter didn't. Trump lost the popular vote by more than 3 million. He won the electoral college by the improbably thin margin of 80,000 in three states. We also know, today, that the influence of hostile, foreign actors like Russia on social media tipped the scales.

Of all the disparate pieces that add up to devastation, the one that most profoundly affected me is how the documentary conveyed Obama's massive achievement: he gave hope through an outreached hand to the dispossessed, the poor and the bereft.

There may be 65 million refugees on the march around the globe today, but the true number of oppressed is many times greater. Throughout our history, the United States represented hope and compassion. Today we see how fragile that capital is, how easily it is squandered, and how difficult it is to replace -- if it can be done at all -- by our allies.

Trump doesn't feature in the documentary until his appearance at the end, like a thunderclap. Obama, Rhodes, Powers: they are gone. Where we live, it is still thundering. That's what I felt, mostly, as the credits rolled on "The Final Year".

District 5 County Commission: Eileen Higgins ... by gimleteye

For many years, Miami Beach and the western edges of District 5 was under-served by Bruno Barreiro, whose place was cemented by campaign contributors from the development supply chain for his reliable affirmative votes on suburban sprawl.

Today's election is the rare instance (noted by Doug Hanks in the Miami Herald) of a county commissioner surrendering his/her seat and leaving a vacancy.

If you live in District 5, please vote Eileen Higgins. Read this interesting analysis of the district and candidates at MCI Maps.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Angry with the world and....Read on, it might be you too! By Geniusofdespair

From the New Yorker Magazine

I will never be the same. NEVER

My life with therapy taught me two lessons: don’t minimize and don’t deny: in other words be truthful with yourself. As a child I had become adept at lying to me to cope. Can’t do it anymore.

The way my country is going and the blinders on many of the people in the country is having a devastating effect on me. The truth hurts.

For example, one tiny example: the Everglades-Trust pushing hard in support of Trump’s pick for Governor — it is just too disgusting, too vile. If DeSantis gets in he will do everything Trump wants. I think Putnam will be equally as bad but at least he won't be in bed with the loony bin.

Am I destined to leave this world to your GRANDCHILDREN, with polluted water, reduced animal species, a toxic Supreme Court, crushing debt and xenophobia run wild? Will my generation be the Nazis of the 21st Century?

Nice to wake up and find this rushing to mind. They say “stay in the present” as a means to heal... and I laugh.

How did the Everglades Trust get pulled into this? Read on...

Stop Shopping At Publix ... the corporation has given nearly three quarters of a million dollars to GOP gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam in the past three years ... by gimleteye

Read this excellent OPED in the Palm Beach Post. We are unaccustomed to newspaper editorial boards pushing back against political orthodoxies like the right of corporations to be more powerful than people. In this case, Florida's iconic grocery chain: Publix for its unlimited campaign contributions to the GOP designated front-runner to be next governor of Florida, Adam Putnam.

At Eye On Miami, we've written extensively about Putnam, mostly for his role rubber-stamping whatever Big Sugar wants. Putnam is telegenic and a cool performer. His family was also enriched by the South Florida Water Management District, in the most brazen act of government "philanthropy" to an aspiring politician that we've ever experienced in Florida.

We've also written about Publix. Ten years ago, Natacha Seijas, a Miami-Dade county commissioner at the time and the leader of the county's unreformable, pro-growth majority, was facing an acrimonious recall campaign mounted by citizens who were infuriated by Seijas' support for moving the Urban Development Boundary. The recall campaign collected signatures at places where signatures could be easily gathered compared to door-to-door canvassing ie. Publix parking lots. There had been no prohibition against signature collecting at Publix or anywhere else, until Seijas bitterly complained to the corporate headquarters. (Signature petitions are also required to register amendments to the Florida constitution by ballot referendum. At the time, Publix was heavily investing to oppose a ballot referendum -- Florida Hometown Democracy -- that would have, if passed, inhibited the kinds of sprawl that seed new locations for large state-wide retailers like Publix supermarkets.) The net result: a new state law allowing private corporations to stop petition gathering on their properties.

Our times are "polarizing" as the Post editorial board notes. We need more penetrating analysis of the underlying factors in order for an informed public to make good decisions. For the time being, at least, that means -- we add -- stop shopping at Publix.

Editorial: Publix polarizes with political contributions to Putnam
OPINION By The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board

Publix, the heirs to the company’s founder and its current and former leaders have come under fire for giving Republican gubernatorial candidate and consrevative darling Adam Putnam $670,000 in the last three years.

Publix, the supermarket giant that ranks high among things that residents love most about Florida, is learning the perils of political participation in our polarizing age.

Last week, it was reported that the beloved grocery chain has given more money to Adam Putnam’s gubernatorial campaign than to any candidate since 1995, and probably in its entire history.

Publix, the heirs to the company’s founder and its current and former leaders have given the Republican $670,000 in the past three years. Or, as the Tampa Bay Times put it, “enough money to buy 74,527 chicken tender subs.”

“No other Florida candidate has ever come close to that kind of subsidy from Florida’s largest Fortune 500 company,” the Times said. “Its most recent contribution, a $100,000 donation on April 30, was the largest, too, according to the latest campaign finance filings.”

Publix immediately ran into a deli-slicer of criticism. That’s largely because Putnam, a 43-year-old former congressman who is now the state’s agriculture commissioner, famously responded to criticism of his fondness for the National Rifle Association by calling himself “a proud NRA sellout” — a not-so-funny wisecrack given the mass shootings at Pulse nightclub in Orlando and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

The backlash against Publix was fierce. It included tweets like this, from state Rep. Carlos G. Smith, D-Winter Park: “How many flowers did I buy from your stores for funerals, graves, + memorials for Pulse + MSD victims? #BoycottPublix”

Publix, shifting quickly to damage-control mode, tweeted that it “has not provided financial support to the National Rifle Association.” And it swiftly released a statement meant to distance itself from all controversy: “We support bipartisan, business-friendly candidates, regardless of party affiliation and we remain neutral on issues outside of our core business.”

The trouble with this explanation is that, while certainly business-friendly, Putnam has not shown himself to be “bipartisan.” He’s not a candidate for centrists. He makes overt appeals to social and religious conservatives and the Trumpian anti-immigrant right.

While in Congress, Putnam voted to roll back requirements for the Voting Rights Act. He pressed for stricter voter IDs beyond driver licenses in a thinly disguised effort to suppress minority votes.

As a candidate for governor, he is pushing a “Florida Families First” agenda that includes promises to “fight for the life of the unborn and make Florida first in protecting life,” create an “Office of Faith-Based and Community-Based Initiatives within the Executive Office of the Governor” and establish a “Home School and School Choice Ombudsman.”

Putnam’s NRA rating is A+. He has endorsed the open carrying of firearms, and the carrying of guns on college campuses. He criticized Florida’s recently passed law that raised the firearm-purchase age to 21 from 18 and requires mandatory three-day waiting period for firearm purchases.

Sorry, Publix, these are not bipartisan positions.

Publix and Putnam go way back. Putnam was just 22, running for state representative, when Publix made its first donation, for $500, to the local up-and-comer: Publix’s base in Lakeland is 20 minutes from Putnam’s hometown of Bartow.

The generosity seems to go both ways. As agriculture commissioner, Putnam oversees regulation of Publix’s 800 Florida stores. When a TV station reported in 2016 that seven Tampa-area Publix stores failed health inspections, “Putnam responded the next day by pulling the inspections from the department’s website and eliminating the pass/fail grading system,” the Tampa Bay Times wrote. “He replaced it six months later with a new rubric. Instead of a failing grade, the worst rating issued now is ‘re-inspection required.’ ”

Publix can support whomever it wants. That’s its right as a corporate citizen. With 2010’s Citizens United, after all, the U.S. Supreme Court has given the green light to corporations and unions to spend whatever they like in independent political expenditures.

But in a nation as divided as ours, Publix can’t expect to bankroll a candidate without alienating some portion of its public. Call it a sign of the times, but our system is producing few, if any, “bipartisan” politicians. And now, not even a trip to the grocery store “Where Shopping Is a Pleasure” is immune from the tensions pulling the country apart.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

SNL grabs Donald Trump by the Pussy ... by gimleteye

SNL writers are quick, but even they couldn't react fast enough to catch Trump's capitulation to North Korea demands that the US stop its planned joint training exercise with South Korea.

In the show's season finale they did pin the tail on another donkey: Sarah Palin on Twitter. Palin is paid big bucks to put her stamp of spite, bigotry, and outright nastiness in defense of Trump. Tina Fey reprised her Palin caricature last night and voila.

In real life Palin cried tears when, recently, Senator John McCain expressed his regret for elevating Palin to the national stage. All she's done, since, is use her "celebrity" to poison the well of civic discourse. As SNL suggests, Palin has plenty of company:

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Big Sugar Money Is Turning Toxic To Florida Politics ... by gimleteye

Because of Big Sugar's chokehold on Florida politicians, what happened in 2016 -- massive toxic algae outbreaks -- will happen again. Know whose bank account is filling the campaigns of the candidates you vote for.

If you are a candidate seeking election and refusing money from Big Sugar, Eye On Miami wants to hear from you NOW.

We will feature any candidate who rejects Big Sugar's money; Democrat or Republican or Independent.

Here is our bottom line: sugar is not a food and sugar farmers are not farmers because no other crop in the United States is guaranteed protection before a seed is even planted.

Big Sugar does not put "food" on American tables. Big Sugar is a protection racket for two billionaire families and key employee/shareholders, mainly; the 200 plus family descendants of Charles Stuart Mott, founder of US Sugar, and the Fanjul family's Florida Crystals' fortune.

The same way a few gun manufacturers stand in the shadows of the NRA, these few Big Sugar families pull the strings in Florida politics. It is time for voters to make them stop.

Democratic candidate for governor Chris King just took on Big Sugar in his first television campaign ad. Watch it here:

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Betraying my Husband, Fukushima's Nukes and All That Jazz. By Geniusofdespair

I always look in on Fukushima's nuclear disaster of 2011, when there was a meltdown of 3 of their reactors. It was a cascade of events that caused the meltdown; Tsumani caused by an Earthquake. The Japanese are trying to deal with a million tons of radioactive water. The fuel is somewhere in the reactor building but, after 7 years of searching, no one is sure where it is. So everyday the groundwater percolates up from the foundation -- 150 tons of water, and it becomes contaminated by what is left in the reactors:

To keep that water from leaking into the ground or the Pacific, Tepco, the giant utility that owns the plant, pumps it out and runs it through a massive filtering system housed in a building the size of a small aircraft hangar. Inside are arrays of seven-foot tall stainless steel tubes, filled with sand grain-like particles that perform a process called ion exchange. The particles grab on to ions of cesium, strontium, and other dangerous isotopes in the water, making room for them by spitting out sodium. The highly toxic sludge created as a byproduct is stored elsewhere on the site in thousands of sealed canisters.

The filtering system cannot capture strontium:

So for now, the tritiated water is pumped into a steadily growing collection of tanks. There are already hundreds of them, and Tepco has to start building a new one every four days.

I wouldn't eat the flounder on the West Coast. Also stay away from Hanford in Washingon State...the most toxic nuclear place in the nation.

And on to our next subject "The Betrayal."

You guys aren't reading this so that is all you get on this one...the nuke part.