FLORIDA: GOV. DeSANTIS @govrondesantis Distributes Vaccine as Political Favors

Democratic Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried fired off a written statement condemning the governor.

“There is no reason that Gov. DeSantis should be rationing vaccines based on political influence. This is troubling and potentially illegal. Vaccines should be distributed to counties based on need, capacity, and science,” Fried said.

“While I am disappointed in the governor using vaccines as a political tool, I plan on working with the Biden administration to ensure they do not penalize Floridians for his actions and continue to ramp up vaccine distribution to all communities, so that we can get our economy and state going again.”

Florida Democratic Party chair Manny Diaz also released a written statement.

“Gov. DeSantis must stop playing politics with the vaccine distribution here in Florida. Threatening retribution and less vaccine access for communities that criticize the vaccine rollout for its problems is shameful and inhumane,” Diaz said.

“Vaccine access is a life or death situation for so many Floridians, yet somehow Gov. DeSantis thinks it is okay to play favorites and punish anyone who criticizes him or his vaccine program. This must stop. Floridians need a leader with empathy, not a politician who chooses politics over lives.”

With the help of connections, several FL groups appear to get special treatment in securing vaccine doses | Florida Phoenix

Demagogues vs. Dictators by Michael Lind – Project Syndicate

Unfortunately, while wealth and status are becoming increasingly concentrated in modern Western societies, intermediate institutions and local communities have decayed, and traditional political parties have declined to the point of being mere labels that billionaires and media celebrities can easily co-opt. That means the conditions will remain ripe for more Berlusconis – and for more Trumps.

Demagogues vs. Dictators by Michael Lind – Project Syndicate

CORAL GABLES: Community Organizations Against Zoning Code–LETTER TO AUTHORITIES

Coral Gables Neighbors Association Gables Good Government Committee Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables Ponce Neighbors Association  

February 6, 2021  

Dear Mayor Valdes-Fauli, Vice Mayor Lago, Commissioners Fors, Keon and Mena:  

On behalf of the members of the undersigned civic organizations, we wish to voice our opposition to the proposals, which the Commission is currently considering, for amending the City’s Zoning Code.  

We petition you to delay voting on adopting any Zoning Code or Land Use amendments until after the upcoming April election or, more appropriately, until after a post-pandemic normalcy returns, which would give the community a meaningful opportunity to fully participate in and contribute to the deliberative process.  

The Reason Why:  

The process used to formulate the proposed amendments to the Zoning Code was flawed because it did not formally provide for adequate or meaningful input from residents during the formulation process.  

After three years of working without an effectively structured methodology for resident inclusion in the deliberative process, the proposal was presented as a fait accompli to the surprise of your constituents, many of whom are members of the undersigned Coral Gables civic organizations.  

Thus far, so-called community meetings have not allowed for adequate input or effective interaction between the Commission and its constituents due, in part, to the very nature of ZOOM gatherings.  

What is further disconcerting is that City staff, the outside consultants, and members of the Commission have failed to provide adequate responses to written requests for information and/or clarification from residents and from the undersigned civic organizations.    

Summary:  

There should be no vote to adopt the pending proposal until the City’s residents have had an opportunity to hear an open debate on this issue between the candidates for Mayor and Commission members during the upcoming election. Once the new Commission is seated, it will hopefully do what should have been done previously – provide a welcoming environment for citizens to participate in the deliberative process — effectively and fully.    

Respectfully yours,  

Coral Gables Neighbors Association Sue Kawalerski, President coralgablesneighbors@gmail.com  

Gables Good Government Committee Thomas Snook, President gablesgoodgov@gmail.com  

Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables Karelia Martinez Carbonell, President Karelia.m.carbonell@gmail.com  

Ponce Neighbors Association Gordon Sokoloff, President Gordons360@aol.com

Zoning Code – Important Week for Action – stephenmcgy@gmail.com – Gmail

The Failure of Our Democracy

Over the past four years, that example has been badly damaged. We elected a president who refused to recognize the democratic process. We stood by while some members of Donald Trump’s party cynically colluded with him, helping him break laws and rules designed to restrain him. We indulged his cheerleading “media”—professional liars who pretended to believe the president’s stories, including his invented claims of massive voter fraud. Then came the denouement: an awkward, cack-handed invasion of the Capitol by the president’s supporters, some dressed in strange costumes, others sporting Nazi symbols or waving Confederate flags. They achieved the president’s goal: They brought the official certification of the Electoral College vote to a halt. House and Senate members and Vice President Mike Pence were escorted out of the legislative chambers. Their staff members were told to shelter in place. A woman was shot to death.

What Trump and His Mob Taught the World About America – The Atlantic

We Owe Much to @SteveSchmidtSES and His Affirmation of the Sedition of Senators and Congressmen Against America and Our Democratic System

AGENDA FOR POVERTY ALLEVIATION: 14 Policy Priorities

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival policy agenda and analysis brought to public a recognition of the depth of poverty, low wealth and income status of a very large growing share of the US population. It is estimate that there are 140 million poor and low wealth people in the US and the COVID-19 pandemic increased this number by 8 million people.

The poor population has been publicly hidden from view in recent years, whereby, the national GOP political agenda has strongly favored the ultra-wealthy, large corporations with a huge tax reduction program that cost the government $1.7 trillion. Also, the owners of enterprises and stocks that are benefiting from the pandemic have greatly increased their share of the wealth.

The 14 policy priorities elaborated as a moral and economic agenda for the first 100 days of the Biden Administration are as follows:

  • Enact comprehensive, free and just COVID-19 relief
  • Guarantee quality health care for all, regardless of any pre-existing conditions
  • Raise the minimum wage to $15/hour immediately
  • Update the poverty measure
  • Enact a federal job program..
  • Protect and expand voting rights and civil rights
  • Guarantee safe, quality and equitable public education, with support for protection against re-segregation
  • Comprehensive and just immigration reform
  • Ensure all of the rights of indigenous peoples
  • Enact fair taxes
  • Use the power of executive orders
  • Redirect the bloated Pentagon budge towards those priorities as matters of national security
  • Work with the Power People’s Campaign to establish a permanent Presidential Council to advocate for this bold agenda

This agenda reminds of the task ahead in working against the huge inequities that have arisen the US over the last 50 years, and which have become much worse in the last 20 years.

Don’t Appoint Another General (ret.) Sect of Defense

Having made good choices for national security adviser and secretary of state, it is a pity that the president-elect has made such a fundamental blunder. Congress should not enable him to make an appointment that would have more in common with the behavior of shaky democracies and authoritarian governments than the most powerful and long-established republic on the planet. It would be a bitter irony for an incoming administration to strike a different kind of blow at the democratic norms that it is so clearly, in other domains, keen to recover and restore.

This Is No Job for a General – The Atlantic

One of the norms that Trump violated was to appoint current and retired generals to key national security pots. “His Generals.” Biden should not make the same mistake because he knows the retired general as a friends and confident.

We need secure, competent civilian control over the military who are here to serve the country, not to direct policy.