Future Black Swan Weather Events | IE “Manhattan Project” Toxins

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 8, 2021 by author and climate journalist Noreen Wise

In the midst of this summer’s deadly heatwaves, melting icecaps and ferocious wildfires, a rain bomb exploded over a five-county area in rural western Middle Tennessee, traumatizing multiple communities, most notably the small, friendly town of Waverly.

It was in the early morning hours of August 21, 2021, a Saturday thankfully, approximately ten miles further up the mountain from Waverly, in McEwen, Tennessee, that 17 inches of rain dropped from the sky, (nearly triple the amount of rain that pounded communities in New Jersey and New York when Ida’s remnants slammed the tri-state area on September 1, 2021, killing 40). The torrents of Tennessee rain quickly gushed into Trace Creek which soon grew into a massive thrust of water that raged down the mountainside and pummeled Waverly much like a tidal wave crashing ashore. The unexpected catastrophic flooding overwhelmed the small community of 4,000.

There was widespread and extensive infrastructure failure. 

  • 20 people were killed.
  • 1209 homes were flooded, with several hundred completely destroyed.
  • More than 125 homes were “twisted” off their foundations and just “gone.”
  • Humphreys County 911 center became inoperable.
  • Cell service was disrupted.
  • County water system went down.
  • Numerous main roads in multiple towns were impassable and some were completely washed away.
  • 10 bridges were closed for days, with one requiring extensive repair and is still closed.

The summer devastation in western Middle Tennessee, with rushing water so forceful that two 7-month-old twins, Ryan and Rileigh, were ripped from their father’s arms and swept away, should be at the forefront of our minds as we come to grips with our new reality. 

A clear understanding of the threats we face at 1.2ºC above the pre-industrial global temperature will be our best defense. 

Prior to this tragedy, millions of Americans likely felt somewhat safe in the heartland, as well as up the East Coast in non-coastal communities. But now, post Tennessee trauma, as we assess our personal and family exposure to the risks of extreme weather events, the western Middle Tennessee flood makes it clear that there are no safe havens or hideaways. Therefore, we all must act quickly to make different choices so we can stay below 1.5ºC. Every degree higher than 1.5ºC will generate weather extremes that are exponentially more perilous. 

This week in Italy, a staggering 29 inches of rain spilled from the sky in a brief 12 hours, causing floods and landslides. Sovano, Italy is 59 miles from the coast and local official couldn’t anticipate such extreme weather impacting their community without warning.

With this in mind, it’s imperative that we begin to plan for black swan weather events like these, as well as the “what ifs.” What if torrential rains of 17 inches or 29 inches gushed from the sky onto some our 1344 superfund sites. These hidden environmental hazards quickly become mixed into the swirling, raging flood waters that surround us during extreme downpours. Take for example the Oak Ridge Reservation Superfund Site in Oak Ridge Tennessee, just 227 miles down the road from Waverly. Can you imagine the nightmare that could have struck on August 21, 2021 if the rain bomb had held out a few more miles and exploded over Oak Ridge, Tennessee instead? 

Oak Ridge, Tennessee is considered the energy capital of the world, the location of a large federal research facility, partly devoted to the research and testing of clean energy solutions to replace fossil fuels. Oak Ridge is quite historic, however, and wasn’t always clean. In fact, it used to be extremely toxic, and 35,000 acres of the campus were placed on the superfund site list in 1989.

Large sections of the landscape are labeled as “Highly Restricted,” which makes sense. Back in the 1940’s, Oak Ridge Reservation was:

  • Headquarters of the Manhattan Project beginning in 1942 after the “top-secret atomic weapons program” was moved out of Manhattan, New York to Tennessee.
  • Years were spent enriching uranium for the world’s first atomic bomb.
  • According to the EPA, over the past 79 years, toxic waste has runoff and contaminated “82 river miles of the Clinch River and the Clinch River arm of the Watts Bar Reservoir.”
  • Oak Ridge Reservation is one of the largest superfund site in the United States, clean up won’t be completed until 2028, 7 more years.

Imagine a raging 82 miles of the potentially radioactive Clinch River gushing towards homes downstream, following an intense 17 inch or 29 inch rain bomb. It’s almost too terrifying to process. But the possibility of this actually happening is about 50 percent likely, which does inspire immediate action.

CALL TO ACTION. We must contact our local, state and federal representatives regularly to let them know how vitally important it is that laws are passed to protect us from environmental hazards in the age of climate change. 

Oak Ridge Reservation was listed as a superfund site 32 years ago. It doesn’t seem like Oak Ridge Reservation was ever a priority. How unfortunate. The situation has now morphed into a Code Red for Humanity threat. We have to start planning ahead and do whatever we can to curb the threat. 

No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
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Golf Courses and the “Good Life” May Kill You

Washington (GGM) Analysis | August 24, 2021 by Michael Wells

You do not need to be a character in a Lifetime movie to be poisoned by arsenic. Same goes for some other deadly chemical. Just spend time on a golf course or near one. Contrary to what golf affocinadios claim, golf courses are not good for the environment even though many of the courses look like a cross between Xanadu and Shangri La. Pesticides, herbicides, rodenticides and other chemicals abound on golf courses, according to Fred Siegel’s book Environmental Hazards: Are you Exposed?, and they seep into the soil and run off onto property nearby.

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Heart of the matter. In reality, golf courses are not any different than nuclear sites, chemical dumps, and most any other place where toxic chemicals are dumped, buried, or deposited. What makes them more troubling, perhaps, is they masquerade as environmental improvements. 

For example, on Long Island, 52 golf courses applied 192 different pesticides containing 50 different active ingredients, Siegel writes, and it was later found that these courses averaged 7 pounds of pesticides per acre when the national average was 1.5 pounds per acre. 

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In Virginia, the Battlefield Golf Club was built out of 1.5 million tons of toxic coal ash, and its owners sued Dominion Resources for selling them the coal ash laden dirt used to build the golf course. The course is situated in a planned community, and the EPA deemed the water underneath the course contaminated. A contractor hired by Dominion found more than double the acceptable limits of arsenic as well as high amounts of chromium, lead, beryllium, magnesea, and zinc. One of the developers sued Dominion for contracting kidney cancer, and 383 residents sued for over $1 billion in damages. URS Corporation, the company Dominion hired to test the course, found the course was basically an “open dump”. The groundwater under the course threatened the aquifer supplying water to all the residents. 

In Cape Cod , the Conservation Law Foundation sued Willowbend Country Club for dumping toxic nitrogen pollution into the water. 

These are but a few examples, but this is happening everywhere. And very few people living near golf courses are ever asked (or told) about it. Most troubling is that children are the most vulnerable. But, for whatever reason, golf is associated with the “good life,” but sometimes the “good life” will kill you. Talk about a farce.

How this impacts you personally. Maybe you do not golf or think you live near a golf course, but golf courses are everywhere and often near bodies of water. Their chemicals spread through the water and the air like so many other toxic sites in America. They may look pretty, but they are heavily polluted and pose risks to those far beyond their borders. 

If you live in North America, you live near a golf course more than likely.

What you can do. There are a few things you can do. Never play golf, or, if you have, stop playing. Refuse to live on or near a golf course. Show up at zoning meetings open to the public, and say you do not want developers building golf courses in your town. It may not work, but, if enough people speak up, perhaps it will slow their growth.

Here’s what Gallant Gold Media can do for you! When you buy an Eco Green Tee, you’re helping educate the public on climate change, promote climate action, and fund habitat restoration projects in Environmental Justice communities which will help alleviate heat islands, insufferable air pollution, and boost carbon storage.

Next Steps

Golf is tied to the chemical industry, so fighting golf course development is really about stopping chemical companies such as Dow Chemicals from polluting. To that end, people can:

  • Contact their local, state, and federal officials and complain about golf course development, which is really golf course pollution;
  • Find out which chemical companies manufacture chemicals used on golf courses and protest these companies as well as boycott them; 
  • Google golf course lawsuits, and read more about them. If you do, you will realize these cases are no different than coal ash in North Carolina or the Hanford superfund site. 

Golf courses are the same as any other environmental problem, but they are not as obvious until you learn all about the toxic chemicals necessary to keep them looking pristine. And people should not have to be poisoned, get cancer, and die just because looks can be (and are) deceiving. You shouldn’t have to die for a cliche to be true. 

No rose without thorns. —French Proverb. Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Not only a gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also one that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this potentially civilization-destroying threat.

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Gordon Plaza EPA Failures | Environmental & Climate Injustice

Washington (GGM) Analysis | August 6, 2021 byNoreen Wise, author, climate journalist, Act Now community builder

“Responsibility is accepting that you are the cause and the solution of the matter.”  
—Anonymous

Following an article written on June 7, 2021 outlining the many decades of suffering that the families of the New Orleans subdivision, Gordon Plaza, have endured as a result of the galling indifference of federal, state and local leaders, and their refusal to take responsibility for the traumatic plight of the Gordon Plaza residents, I sent an email to EPA’s Environmental Justice Division, requesting answers to a few questions: 

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∙What new measures is the EPA implementing to protect residents of Gordon Plaza (who are already dealing with environment hazards) from the climate change impact on these environmental hazards?

∙What is the EPA doing to address the safety of Gordon Plaza residents from the threat of the wet bulb temperature (Gordon Plaza used to be called Danté’s Inferno because of the fires caused from spontaneous combustion), thus it seems possible that this particular land could potentially explode? I cited the recent explosion of Chemtool outside of Chicago that is currently being investigated. I even mentioned that potentially the entire subdivision could explode and everyone could potentially be killed. 

∙The residents are seeking a fully funded relocation which is very reasonable. Why is this being denied?

Tragically, two days ago on August 4, 2021, in Ellisville, Mississippi, 112 miles north of New Orleans, 35 year old James Keyes was tragically killed by explosion while at work at Jarrell Recycling scrapyard. Mississippi State Fire Marshal’s Office, Mississippi Office of DHS, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on hand to investigate the explosion and determined it was caused by an ordinance. No mention of whether the extreme heat of 95ºF triggered the ordinance that had found its way into the scrap heap.

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The EPA Press Office replied as follows:

“Both the Gordon Plaza Apartments and the Gordon Plaza subdivison were included in the residential property clean up that EPA completed in 2001. Lead was the primary contaminant addressed by the cleanup. The cleanup of the Gordon Plaza residential properties included excavating the top 24 inches of lead-contaminated soil and transporting it off-site for disposal; placing a filter fabric on the subgrade;  then covering the residential properties with 24 inches of clean fill.  Following this cleanup, EPA determined that no additional cleanup actions were necessary to protect human health and the environment at the Agriculture Street Landfill Superfund site.

“EPA conducts a review of Superfund site cleanups at least every five years.  These Five Year Reviews (FYR) include a protectiveness statement to communicate EPA’s most recent evaluation of a cleanup’s protectiveness.  The fourth FYR of EPA’s cleanup (also called the remedy) at the Agriculture Street Landfill Superfund site was completed on September 7, 2018.  The FYR determined the remedy for the residential properties, including the Gordon Plaza apartments and subdivison, is protective of human health and the environment.”

First, the 2001 clean up mentioned in the EPA’s reply, was washed away during Hurricane Katrina. Residents repeatedly asked for the clean fill to be replaced. I could not uncover any documentation that stated that the clean fill had been replaced, nor does the above email reply indicate it was replaced. The most logical conclusion that can be drawn, is that the health and well-being of Gordon Plaza residents have been at grave risk since 2005. The 2019 Louisiana Tumor Registry listed Gordon Plaza as the second highest tumor rate in the entire state of Louisiana. If these alarming facts aren’t of concern to the EPA’s Environmental Justice Division, there doesn’t appear to be many issues that will enable the EPA to meet the public’s expectations of such an important and noble mission as environmental justice.

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Second, the FYR on September 7, 2018 was during the Trump Administration which was very vocal in their opposition to regulations. Under Trump, the EPA implemented an aggressive campaign to delete superfund sites from the National Priorities List (NPL). The EPA eliminated a staggering 82 sites. There does not appear to be any plans for the current EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan to review the 82 sites deleted from the NPL to make sure these Trump Administration FYRs were thorough.

Gallant Gold Media will continue to follow the Gordon Plaza environmental & climate injustice story. Gordon Plaza lives matter, too. It’s demeaning for the public to see fellow American families treated with such indifference. It must feel dehumanizing for Gordon Plaza residents to experience so many slammed doors, and the blatant contempt of moral integrity. 

No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
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Concrete Kills: Burdens Outweigh the Benefits

Washington (GGM) Analysis | June 25, 2021 by Michael Wells

After water, concrete is the most widely used substance in the world. But this does not mean it is safe. Concrete is responsible for 8% of global CO2 emissions. It outweighs the combined mass of every tree, bush, and shrub on Earth, and it hardens and degrades slowly. Joni Mitchell once wrote a song about paving paradise to put up a parking lot, and that has already happened. 

Companies and governments have stripped mountains, ripped sand out of beaches, and taken lake and ocean water to feed the massive demand for concrete, the substance that produces buildings for the modern world. Concrete takes so much from the environment, and, in return, the manufacturing of concrete belches CO2 into the atmosphere and spreads harmful particles in the air that causes cancer and respiratory ailments. And it exacerbates the carnage of hurricanes like Katrina and Harvey. It did so by preventing water from being absorbed into the concrete covered ground. In short, concrete is a menace that we all live and work in, on, around, and near.

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Heart of the matter. No material has made the building of the modern world more possible from the construction of the Pantheon in ancient Rome to the Empire State Building. None of it would have been possible without concrete. But that has come at a huge price to the environment, animals, and people. 

“Unfortunately, a cement plant makes for a horrible neighbor,” writes Fred Siegel in his book, Environmental Hazards: Are you Exposed? It is one of the least regulated industries on the planet, and it is largely run by organized crime. What a scheme: perhaps the world’s greatest polluter run by the worst criminals, which makes dead bodies entombed in concrete foundations seem almost quaint by comparison. From thousands of concrete plants that are everywhere it produces mercury, cement kiln dust, burns toxic waste (while lying about it), produces cancer causing particulate matter, and uses toxic gases and metals. 

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How this impacts you personally. Concrete is in your backyard, and under your feet as you read this article. You drive on it, play on it, and your house, office, and apartment sit on it. You cannot escape it. The problem is two-fold: the production of the concrete is extremely harmful, and the concrete itself is harmful. As the saying goes, they get you coming and going, they being the industry with a bottomless need for production that has the ear(s) of most politicians. 

Take Harris County where Houston, Texas sits: it has 188 concrete plants due to there being no zoning laws in Texas. In 2015, 5,200 premature deaths were caused by particulate matter from concrete according to a study done by Rice University. The study states concrete production is one of the deadliest forms of air pollution because it produces massive amounts of CO2 and other harmful chemicals, and the dust it produces causes cancer, bronchitis, COPD, and other breathing issues. 

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Unfortunately, concrete plants are located disproportionately in poor neighborhoods and communities of color. Another disturbing fact is ⅓ of concrete batch plants are a short walk from a school or a daycare.  

As if all of these facts were not disturbing enough, there is a company in Scotland that wants to sell you concrete made of toxic ash. No, this is not an Onion article. Given the prevalence of coal ash in the United States, this type of business could easily take off  because the EPA does very little to regulate the concrete industry. And why is that? Because it is everywhere, and it contributes to most people who are in Congress. Therefore, nothing is done about it.

No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
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What you can do. Be loud. Be vocal in your opposition to using concrete. Tell everyone you can, we need to regulate this industry and do all that we can to find other viable building materials. Surely this dinosaur (no offense to dinosaurs) of a building material can be replaced by something more ecological. Besides, was that building in Miami that recently collapsed built of concrete in a city that is sinking?

Do you want more of that?

Next Steps

  • Call your government representatives at the local, state, and federal levels, and let them know you want something done about concrete;
  • Do research on the internet; and 
  • Boycott companies that pollute when they make concrete.

Concrete is everywhere, and it comprises most buildings in one way or another. It does not always have to be that way though. Concrete may dry quickly and take forever to diminish, but that does not mean the future is already set in stone or concrete, rather. Things can change if we want them to change. 


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Environmental Justice for Gordon Plaza | Systematic Failure to Protect Health

Washington (GGM) Analysis | June 7, 2021 by author and climate journalist Noreen Wise

Gordon Plaza is a subdivision in the New Orlean’s Desire neighborhood that was developed on the ASL hazardous waste site in the early 1980’s. The first residents, excited about securing their little piece of the pie, moved into their new homes in 1981, 40 years ago. Most of the houses are modest ranches with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, on 5,000 square ft lots. The properties were federally funded and intentionally marketed as affordable housing to low income wage earners seeking an opportunity to move on up. 

Black American public culture in 1981 was framed in part by the award winning sitcom, The Jeffersons, which aired each week on CBS from 1975 – 1985. Moving on Up was the upbeat theme song: “Movin’ on up, To the east side. We finally got a piece of the pie… Took a whole lot of tryin’, Just to get up that hill. Now we’re up in the big leagues, Gettin’ our turn at bat.” The song writers are Jeff Barry and Ja’net Dubois. It seems highly probable that there were many subdivision developers and realtors across the country who were selling to black communities and linking their sales pitches to this inspirational sentiment in the hopes of motivating potential black buyers to take the plunge. Interestingly, 1981 was the year that Isabel Sanford was the first black woman to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Louise “Weezy” in The Jeffersons.  

This tidy grid of streets in New Orlean’s 9th Ward, was federally funded through HUD as well as the Community Development Block Grant Program. Back in 1981, when potential buyers were shopping around, they were apparently kept in the dark about the former hazardous waste dump. They’ve pointed out often that they felt they were duped into buying homes in Gordon Plaza. 

hen the dangerous toxins would regularly mix beneath the surface. Drivers back then would have to slow to a crawl, inching along at 10 miles per hour, guided by the police, on days when the air became so thick with toxic smoke that visibility was impaired. New Orleans Historical website notes that back in the day, this location used to be referred to as Dante’s Inferno. 

Gordon Plaza was designated a Superfund cleanup site in 1994. 

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The Gordon Plaza residents’ hellacious plight drew international attention in December of 2019 when The Guardian featured the subdivision in its series Cancer Town. This was following the 2019 Louisiana Tumor Registry listing Gordon Plaza as having the second highest cancer rate in Louisiana.

Heart of the matter. After decades of fighting for fully funded relocation, and winning several class action lawsuits against city agencies and insurance companies, as described in The Guardian piece, residents have yet to be paid any money from the lawsuits, or to be relocated to safe grounds. Protesting regularly, Gordon Plaza residents showcase a remarkable amount of grit and determination in their quest to receive what they deserve, and are asking for.

Climate and environmental injustice is only going to get worse. It’s very important to amplify the life-threatening situations homeowners are facing in vulnerable locations as the heat and the water rises. City, state and federal agencies are failing to protect human life and adequately respond.

Time to face the music. Climate and environmental justice require sacrifices. If nature can do it, we can do it. Click here.

Shockingly, the mistreatment of the Gordon Plaza residents is pretty consistent across the United States for low income minority communities. At a recent Senate Subcommittee hearing on Public Works and Environmental Justice, Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) pointed out that “Seventy percent of the nation’s most environmentally contaminated sites are located within just one mile of federal assisted housing.” This stark reality shows a system of abuse and environmental injustice towards minority low income wage earners, and is very effective in explaining why the dire situation at Gordon Plaza has been ignored. No governmental agency, or city leader should be holding a blind eye to the shocking injustice.

In a request of New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell for comment, a City Hall spokesperson responded: “The City is exploring the feasibility of returning the Agriculture St. Landfill Superfund site to a productive use. As part of that process, the Cantrell Administration, unlike any previous administration, has reached out to Gordon Plaza residents to gauge their interest in redeveloping the site. The responses we’ve received have confirmed that while some residents adamantly favor a relocation and then redevelopment of the site, other residents want to stay in the neighborhood they call home. This is a complicated issue, and the City is working towards an amicable solution that will satisfy all of the interests of the residents.”

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A recent article written by staff writer Halle Parker for nola.com outlined that there are 54 families seeking fully funded relocation. The conflict revolves around what the city thinks is a fair market value and what residents feel is the fair market value. Halle Parker featured a comment by Gordon Plaza resident Leona Floyd in her March 15, 2021 article:

“We are rightfully due the full compensation for our house, not a devalued amount as a result of the city of New Orleans building our homes on toxic soil. We know that fair market value will not be fair to us, and we should not go into debt moving out of a situation that was presented to us as part of the American Dream.”

A quick online search, which doesn’t necessarily mean anything, shows what appears to be a gap of approximately $70,000. It looks like a home in the area that is not on toxic land is valued at approximately $85,000, but a comp home is only worth $15,00 if the property is on the extremely dangerous superfund site. If this is the heart of the matter, then it’s clear why the issue hasn’t been resolved. Is there anyone who would settle for this microscopic amount after being misled from the start four decades earlier, which resulted in a cascade of endless heartache and suffering? No weekly television series is ever produced about this “piece of the pie.” But if we all collectively amplify the Gordon Plaza SOS message each week, it will hopefully net a positive outcome for these traumatized residents who are on the front lines of environmental and climate inequities in the United States. 

The Gordon Plaza residents certainly deserve the Outstanding Fighters award.

Next Step

New Orleans is on the front lines of the climate crisis, with regular flooding, high heat, and endless hurricanes. In fact, the sate of Louisiana loses 25-35 miles of coastline per year from rising water levels. Additionally, there is the increased hazard of the wet bulb temperature that will potentially increase toxicity levels on the chemicals stuffed beneath the surface of Gordon Plaza. Ten years ago, back in June of 2011, the EPA became worried about it’s inability to protect human health and the environment in the age of climate change. The EPA asked states to draft Climate Change Adaptation PlansLouisiana was one of only 14 states that did not comply and thus Louisiana has no Climate Change Adaptation Plan. Yet Louisiana is on the front lines of climate change with a large number of citizens living in environmental justice communities with climate taking a direct toll their health. 

Be sure to check back for updates.

No rose without thorns. Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Not only a gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also one that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this potentially civilization-destroying threat.

Subscribe to Force of Nature to stay connected to the insights we provide in our effort to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral global community. Click here to subscribe.

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Trump’s Undermining of the American Public | Perspective

perspective

It’s the height of summer tourism season.

Millions of Americans travel from coast-to-coast to vacation in many of the world’s most spectacular destinations. And millions of foreigners flood to US cities from around the globe to enjoy our broad and wide and deep variety of regional culture.

But this summer of 2018, after 18 months of Trump annihilating our superior systems and institutions, we are beginning to feel the significant bite of Trump’s agenda on our daily lives.

So many little things that are adding up to a big headache and a frightening future outlook.

FIRST, Washington, DC. The preferred family vacation spot, that of visiting our nation’s Capital. But look:

  • In past administrations, the top 3 Smithsonian Museums (Air & Space, American History, Natural History) all had extended hours from June through August staying open until 7:30p. But now it’s just Air & Space. This may not seem like a big deal, but it really is significant when you spend money to bring your family to the National Mall in the summer, and it stays light until 9:00p, but 90% of the Mall is closed at 5:30. What a shame. Very un-American of our president.

gallantBLOG7-14-2018a

  • The Pentagon was always such an amazing Tour. But that too as been negatively impacted. Many days are now blocked out, which was very rare in past administrations. And the Tour itself is completely changed… now tours are way off the beaten path, down far flung empty hallways. How unfortunate.
  • The exciting FBI Tour has become a psych challenge. Scheduling a tour feels more like a freaky maze with a twilight zone ending (tricked ya, no tours available after all).
  • Don’t even get me started on the gas price, 33% increase. An unusually high jolt.
  • Have you had your oil changed lately? Huge jump in price, 42% increase. Insane!

And how about other areas of pain that impact our budgets and quality of life. These are all occurring within months of corporations receiving a massive tax cut:

  • The never ending robo-calls are back. With Trump de-regulating every industry, the robo-calls on mobile devices feel like stalking. Back in the day, more than thirteen years ago, these came in on land lines. But now it’s all day every day on your mobile. (My car just passed 36,000 miles. I was drowning in calls trying to get me to extend my warranty.) At least it’s easy to hit “decline.”
  • The environmental de-regulation is gut wrenching to have to tread through. I was at the shore last week and was terrified to go in the water. And sadly, I had to pass on the delicious seafood options on the menu.
  • Banking issues again. Weird changes after the regulations were rolled back, that result in strange, unknown charges appearing on bank accounts.
  • Oh, and check your credit card interest rate. I have one favorite card with a low rate that jumped by 3% this year. No change in my monthly charge habits. No explanation. But from out of nowhere a rate leap within weeks of the Consumer Financial Protection deregulations.
  • Food prices are climbing too, but that’s a whole other story that we’ll hear much more about in the upcoming weeks.

So many small things, every day now. It feels like we’ve been thrown back in time. Thrown into a deep, dark hole… and now have to figure out a way to climb back out.

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PRUITT’s Bad Judgement, Is It Murder? | Perspective

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EPA Director Scott Pruitt was interviewed during an Oversight Hearing held by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Tuesday January 30, 2018 for 2 hours, 29 minutes and 15 seconds. At its conclusion, there was no doubt in any reasonable person’s mind that Scott Pruitt is the most significant threat to public health since the founding of our nation 242 years ago. Pruitt’s irreparable damage to our well-being, his sabotaging of the U.S. environment, and his undermining of one of our strongest and largest industries, the U.S Tourism Industry ($1.5 Trillion) will leave a massive swath of devastation that will take centuries to recover from, if ever.

During the Oversight Hearing, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) highlighted the 180˙ contrast between Pruitt’s strong “Trump is dangerous,” and “Trump’s abusive to the Constitution” stance in the spring of 2016, to the present “I don’t remember that,” and “I don’t echo that today at all” position on January 30, 2018. Translated, Pruitt is confessing to being “dangerous” just like Trump, and “abusive to the Constitution” just like Trump. They’re now in lockstep.

The cost to clean-up the massive amount of environmental damage is many trillions.

After Trump cut taxes for short-term benefit, shielding the public about the long-term negative consequences by attempting to blind us with neon lights and sparkles, while at the same time denying the mega financial toll climate change will have on our debt by simply denying climate change all together, (but the reality is, climate change will result in one devastating natural disaster after the next, causing financial ruin over and over and over again, turning our debt burden into Mt Everest…I’m growing more terrified with each word I click), we’re now tangled up in a tremendous confluence, and have to somehow simultaneously find a way to pay for the life-threatening Superfund Sites. Which brings us back to Pruitt.

There are apparently over 1,340 Superfund sites. New Jersey has the most with 116. New Jersey is also one of the smallest states per square-miles with a population of roughly 9 million, so the contaminated area overlaps with major population centers. Additionally, as Senator Booker pointed out during the Oversight Hearing,  New Jersey is prone to flooding, especially during hurricanes. A flooded Superfund site, is alarming from a health risk standpoint.

California is 2nd on the Superfund site list with 98 sites. New York is 4th with 93. Together, these three blue states, home to approximately 68 million people, have 307 Superfund sites.

EPA Director Scott Pruitt recently created a “Superfund Sites Targeted for Immediate, Intense Action” list. There are 20 of the 1,340  Superfund sites on the list.

  • 3 are in New Jersey
  • 1 is in California
  • 0 in New York
  • 2 in Montana

This is clearly bad decision making. Factor in the glaring fact that three of the densely populated top Superfund site states are blue states, all three of which are densely populated, and one of which didn’t have any sites make the list, leaves the impression that the Pruitt’s selection process was spiteful, which implies that Pruitt created this grouping with malice.

Again, sparsely populated red Montana, with only 16 sites, had two sites make the list.

So, when EPA Director Scott Pruitt, who unwittingly confessed in an Oversight Hearing to be “dangerous” and “abusive to the Constitution,” hones in on a very specific health crisis, one that causes many forms of cancer that result in death (by this point hundreds of thousands of deaths, perhaps even millions), and crafts a list of Superfund sites targeted for Immediate Intense Action, and taints the process by intentionally not selecting sites in specific areas that any reasonable person can deduce are the ideal, and instead chooses at least 2, possibly 5, that are extremely questionable…knowing that because he didn’t choose some of the “ideal” sites when he had the opportunity, people will die that otherwise wouldn’t…one can’t help but ask the question: is this first degree murder? Is it pre-meditated? Pruitt clearly put some thought into this.

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Russian Interference | Perspective

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RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE

All the U.S. Intelligence Agencies determined conclusively that Russia interfered with the U.S. 2016 Presidential Election for the purpose of electing Donald Trump and undermining Hillary Clinton.

There have been numerous news stories over the past 12 months identifying the methods the Russians used to “influence” U.S. voters. Fake news. Trolls. Social media ads. Fake social media accounts….all targeting ignorance and our willingness to believe what we hear or read without questioning what’s being said or written.

The Intelligence Community has been sounding the alarm about nothing being done to deter Russia from meddling again. In fact, we’ve been told point blank that Russia will definitely continue trying to influence us, and that we should be on the look out.

Trump refuses to acknowledge Russia’s interference. Congress hasn’t initiated a counter strategy. And Homeland Security isn’t advising on a battle plan for U.S. citizens. So I guess we have to look out for each other and create our own counter-Russian influence plan.

  • Russian trolls are EVERYWHERE. They seem like GOP trolls or Trump trolls and very well may be, but many are Russian.

 

  • Moscow is 8 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, although not all Russian trolls are in Moscow. But bottom-line, any posts you see on a Sunday morning (for example) that’s stamped at 4:00am ET is 99.9% likely to be from a foreign country.

 

  • The new troll isn’t as aggressive and belligerent as they were at the beginning of the year, but they are subtly trying to influence our opinions by weaving half truths through their lies.

 

  • Half truths are the most dangerous kind of subliminal pressure used to try and influence our beliefs. They dramatically increase the likelihood we’ll believe a lie. The fact that the Russian intelligence community, governed by Putin an autocrat, has an army of loyal agents diligently clicking away on their computers, trying to act like Texans (or some other region of the country), lining a news comment or FB post with a half truth is alarming.

 

  • An example: Putin is an autocrat. A tyrant. So Russia is an autocracy. To influence the world into believing this is a great system, Putin/Russia calls it “managed democracy.” Managed democracy doesn’t seem so bad, does it? And yet a an autocracy and a tyrant are the most oppressive form of government, the polar opposite of USA.

Let’s all keep each other informed about what we see and hear so we can stay protected.

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PENCE’S TIE-BREAKING VOTES

Vice President Mike Pence cast 6 tiebreaking votes this first year in office. A record!

In 2018 there’ll be one less red senator and one more blue. This may mean an end to Pence’s roll in swinging votes.

Sadly, enough damage has already been done. The following consumer protection has now been wiped away:

“The Senate voted to nullify a consumer-oriented rule that would let millions of Americans band together to sue their banks or credit card companies….The rule exposed banks to large class-action lawsuits. Supporters say that possibility would help ensure banks, credit card companies and other lenders treat consumers appropriately.”

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STATES

Alabama’s Roy Moore filed an election complaint on Wednesday December 27, 2017 trying to block Jones from taking over Sessions’ senate seat following his victory on December 12. Moore’s rationale? Voter fraud.

When asked about the fraud, Moore explained “more voters voted than in past elections.”

Moore’s complaint was thrown out and Jones’ victory was certified.

What’s so alarming is the election revealed how Moore thinks. An obviously twisted mind. Yet, he was a prosecutor and a judge?! 😳

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ENVIRONMENT

EPA Director Scott Pruitt is determined to dismantle the environmental protections that save lives and preserves our DNA.

He’s now brought in a friend who was banned from banking for life to “streamline the Superfund program.”

“The appointment was notable in that Kelly would become a senior adviser in the federal environmental agency despite having no previous experience with environmental issues.” – Sharon Lerner

Ill-conceived choices like Albert Kelly impact consumer health and cause deaths.

https://theintercept.com/2017/12/28/scott-pruitt-failed-banker-running-epa-superfund-program/

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HEALTH

Raw Unsalted Sunflower Seeds are the best way to start each day. One quarter of a cup, along with a healthy breakfast and vitamins, are sure make you feel much more positive. Sunflower seeds contain tryptophan which boosts serotonin levels. Serotonin is the “happiness” chemical manufactured in the brain that elevates mood.

 

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