Company in New Hampshire knew of toxic poisoning and failed to act

Recently, I have written several posts about the poisoning in groundwater by companies who use these forever chemicals referred to by their acronym of PFAS. Dupont was highlighted in the movie “Dark Waters” about the true story surrounding their making of Teflon in a West Virginia plant, where they denied for years what they admitted knowing in their files. In short, PFAS (or per and polyfluorinated substances) “is a harmful manmade set of chemicals that don’t break down in the environment and can cause medical issues like some cancers if consumed enough.” See the fact sheet below from the CDC.

In an article in The Guardian yesterday by Tom Perkins called “‘They all knew’: textile company misled regulators about use of toxic PFAS, documents show,” we learned that Dupont was not the only company to hide the fact the making of and disposal of waste from their product was causing major health concerns in adults and children in the area. Here are a few paragraphs from the article that can be linked to below.

“A French industrial fabric producer that poisoned drinking water supplies with PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ across 65 sq miles (168 sq km) of southern New Hampshire misled regulators about the amount of toxic substance it used, a group of state lawmakers and public health advocates charge.

The company, Saint Gobain, now admits it used far more PFAS than regulators previously knew, and officials fear thousands more residents outside the contamination zone’s boundaries may be drinking tainted water in a region plagued by cancer clusters and other health problems thought to stem from PFAS pollution.

Saint Gobain in 2018 agreed to provide clean drinking water in the 65-sq-mile area as part of a consent agreement with New Hampshire regulators, and damning evidence suggesting it used more PFAS than previously admitted surfaced in a trove of documents released in a separate class-action lawsuit.

‘People are sick, there are really high cancer rates and people literally have died, so when you see what’s happening and the company acts like this – it’s really upsetting,’ said Mindi Messmer, a former state representative who analyzed the documents and sent them to the New Hampshire attorney general and state regulators.

Saint Gobain has denied wrongdoing. PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of about 12,000 chemicals used across dozens of industries to make products resist water, stains and heat. The highly toxic compounds don’t naturally break down, and are linked to cancer, thyroid disease, kidney problems, decreased immunity, birth defects and other serious health problems. They have been called ‘forever chemicals’ due to their longevity in the environment.

Saint Gobain Performance Plastics’ Merrimack, New Hampshire, plant had for decades treated its products with PFOA, one type of PFAS, to make them stronger. The company released PFOA from its smokestacks and the chemicals, once on the ground, moved through the soil and into aquifers. Hundreds of residential and municipal wells pull from the groundwater.

Please look through the CDC Fact Sheet below. If you have not seen “Dark Waters,” please watch it as it shows how Dupont knew and covered up their poisoning of others, then was shown verified causal data from the largest sampling of people in a scientific study and reneged on an offer to help and then lost successive lawsuits before they settled the remaining cases in a class action. I am sure there are some theatrics in the movie, but over all the movie will disgust you that leaders of a company could be so brazen. And, stop using Teflon cookware as their poison resides within many of us if we did.

Companies must be held to account. Leaders must be held to account. And, it cannot be so rarely done, that they make a movie out of the effort. Rob Bilott, the attorney who fought Dupont and Erin Brockovich cannot be the only folks recognized for fighting these battles.

https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/PFAS_FactSheet.html

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/05/saint-gobain-textile-company-toxic-pfas

Former Vice President goes all out against Trump in support of his daughter

I have noted before I disagree with many of the policy positions of Representative Liz Cheney, but I do admire her political courage and remembering her oath to the constitution. Sadly, because she is telling people the emperor has no clothes, she is trailing in her race for reelection. I actually hold her father in less regard, as I believe he served his own interests more as Vice President than our country’s. Yet, I do have to say he is being a good father for taking on the wanna-be-emperor and his allies with hard truths they need to hear.

In an article by Paul Steinhauser of Fox News called “Trump blasted by Dick Cheney as former vice president stars in his daughter’s latest ad,” the former Vice President does not mince words in his defense of his daughter Representative Liz Cheney. Here are a few highlights or lowlights, one could say.

“Former Vice President Dick Cheney calls former President Donald Trump a ‘coward’ and argues that Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is ‘fearless,’ as he stars in the latest ad released by his daughter’s re-election campaign.

‘In our nation’s 246-year history, there has never been an individual who is a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump. He tried to steal the last election using lies and violence to keep himself in power after the voters had rejected him,’ the elder Cheney says in the ad, which the younger Cheney started running on Thursday, a week and a half before she faces a Trump-endorsed challenger in the Republican congressional primary Wyoming’s single congressional seat.

‘He is a coward. A real man wouldn’t lie to his supporters. He lost his election and he lost big. I know it, he knows it and deep down I think most Republicans know it,’ the former vice president claims, as he points to Trump’s repeated unproven claims that his 2020 election loss to President Biden was due to massive voter fraud.

Liz Cheney was the most senior of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol. The attack was waged by right-wing extremists and other Trump supporters who aimed to disrupt congressional certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory in the 2020 election.”

While I am not a fan of name-calling, I agree with everything the elder Cheney said. This message needs to be heralded by many more Republicans, although more and more are starting to speak out. All of these folks are, of course, discredited as RINOs, Republicans in Name Only, for a key reason. If they admit they are true, then all of those candidates who are running on a platform built in Donald Trump’s sand of lies, will see their campaigns crumble. What these folks fail to realize is it should crumble.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-blasted-dick-cheney-former-vice-president-stars-daughters-latest-ad

A coverup of treason?

‘”Coverup of treason’: Trump-appointed IG, facing investigation, was aware of missing Secret Service and DHS texts far earlier” by David Badash of Alternet is a blaring headline I saw across my browser feed. A few paragraphs tell the story, with a link to the full article below.

“The Dept. of Homeland Security scandal is growing larger, with its embattled Inspector General increasingly appearing to be at the center of what one noted political scientist is calling a ‘coverup of treason.’

DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, appointed by then-President Donald Trump in 2019, was aware of Secret Service agents’ deleted text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, and deleted texts from top Homeland Security officials, months earlier than first disclosed, according to reports from CNN and The Washington Post.

‘Earlier this month, Secret Service officials told congressional committees that DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, the department’s independent watchdog, was aware that texts had been erased in December 2021,’ CNN reports. ‘But sources tell CNN, the Secret Service had notified Cuffari’s office of missing text messages in May 2021, seven months earlier.’

That means that four months after the January 6 insurrection the Dept. of Homeland Security knew Secret Service agents’ text messages, from the day before and day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, were missing and did not inform Congress or the National Archives, which is required by law to retain those records.”

There are several observations to be made here. First, what forced President Richard Nixon to resign and sent forty-eight (per Wikipedia) others to jail as much as the Watergate crimes committed was the coverup. Second, members of the Secret Service have been acting very inconsistently since the testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson on the former president Donald Trump trying to grab the steering wheel in anger when told he could not go to the Capitol building as it was not safe. Third, what several fellow bloggers and I have discussed from well before the insurrection and bogus election fraud claims, is what happens beneath the surface of Donald Trump’s world is likely far worse than actually known.

The last statement is indeed opinion, but it has been his history to market and merchandise himself, so a great deal of his energy and effort is to protect his brand name when he screws up. Of course, he his loathe to admit he makes mistakes, per his five biographers. This is why he has a fixer, one of whom testified under oath that “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is cheat.”

And, quite often, others are taken down as his foils and suffer the consequences. His nickname is “Teflon Don” for a reason. Blame others to escape culpability. Right now, his last Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows is in the cross hairs, but maybe he will throw Joseph Cuffari under the bus as well.

Finally, what frightens current and departing sycophants of Donald Trump is what lies beneath the surface. They have no idea what they will have to defend tomorrow or the next week or the next month. And, what is more frightening are these sins and crimes have already been committed, so it is a matter of discovery not committal.

Tuesday Truisms

Rather than focus on a song title like “Ruby Tuesday,” “Tuesday Afternoon” or “Tuesday’s gone with the wind,” I thought I would stick to a short and sweet title – Tuesday Truisms. In no particular order are few truths to digest this Tuesday.

People wonder why drug prices in America are so much larger than in other countries. A key reason is quite simple. Other countries do not allow the pricing of Research and Development (R&D) in the cost of the drug. So, Americans pay for a huge share of the R&D costs. This is a key reason why the industry fights against the US government negotiating prices for Medicare.

When the recent testimony and findings of the House Select Committee are reviewed, just set aside the culpability on the planning and execution of the insurrection for a minute. There are two truisms that are clearly evident that need to be loudly stated. First, the insurrection does not happen if Donald Trump is not president. Full stop. This statement needs no further explanation and truly speaks on its own. Second, Donald Trump did not lift a finger after being pleaded with for 187 minutes to help elected officials and stop the attack on the Capitol. Security details were talking with the Vice President not the person who could have cooled the jets of the seditionists. Full stop. Then you can factor in his role in the planning and execution which does not look good either.

Oh, Boris. We will miss you when you are gone. A sure sign that Boris was not up for the task of British Prime Minister was evident when the Brexit marketing team to get people to vote for such did not want Boris or Nigel involved in the planning. That spoke volumes to me. So, knowing Brexit was not going to go well from the outset, then pairing it up with Boris to lead the way, it was not a recipe of success. The British people deserve better. They deserve the truth and truth tellers.

Speaking of the truth and truth tellers, please ask yourself why people who know they are going to be vilified for saying something, say it anyway. Names like Cassidy Hutchinson, Fiona Hill, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger should be remembered well for their courage and upholding the constitution. Yet, if you mention their names in MAGA circles, you will get a different response. Some would rather believe the likes of not very credible sources like Greene, Gosar, Jordan, Trump, Giuliani, Bannon, Stone, McCarthy, Hannity, Carlson, Ingraham, et al. By the way one person who was on this list, Mr. Cawthorn, who did not win reelection, is in more legal troubles being accused of using campaign funds for personal benefit.

As for what is happening in Ukraine, the story is hard to follow given the eagerness for both sides to claim success. I start from a position of not believing much of what Vladimir Putin says given his bent and training to misinform and disinform. There is a reason Trump admires him so. Yet, that does not mean Russia is not inflicting damage. So, Ukraine continues to make this fight linger on and in several areas have withstood the Russian offensive. To me, you need to look past the bluster of Putin. He cannot afford to make this fight go on too much longer and he certainly cannot afford to attack a lot of other countriies. That would be economically and militarily suicidal in my view. Yet, what he has accomplished is galvanize other countries against him and make him even more of a pariah.

That is all I have for now. Have a great week.

Fox News political analyst Bret Baier adds to Trump criticism

An article in Business Insider by Mia Jankowicz called “Fox News anchor Bret Baier slams Trump, saying January 6 hearings made him look ‘horrific'” adds to the editorials criticizing the former president from conservative publications such as The Wall Street Journal and New York Post, also owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Here are a few paragraphs, with a link to the article below.

“Baier said that the hearings highlighting criticism by former Trump supporters and members of his administration — such as former Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger and former Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Matthews — was especially persuasive.

‘All of these people who have been testifying at one point or another wanted Trump to win,’ Baier said. ‘They served under his leadership. They wanted him to be a success.’

Whether it changes the view of Republican voters is another matter, Baier said.

‘The charges are that it’s just not balanced,’ he said, in reference to the ongoing criticism that the hearings are one-sided. (A congressional committee hearing is supposed to publicize already-established findings, and Republican leaders boycotted involvement in the committee.)*

Baier also called for more information on exactly what Trump said about mobilizing the National Guard in advance of the riot. If Trump had taken such action, Baier said, ‘it kind squelches or downplays the thought that he wanted this insurrection.'”

Unlike the opinion entertainment hosts, such as Hannity, Ingraham, Carlson, et al, that still echo support of the former president, Baier is part of Fox News’ news organization. It should be noted that even Fox News management threw Carlson under the bus in a defamation trial noting what he says should not be considered as news.

People have asked if these criticisms are making a difference? From what I read they are, but those questioning are correct that it is likely not reaching the hardcore MAGA fans. One thing Trump is good at is marketing and people close to him have noted he realizes he is screwed. He should be as the only person who is largely responsible for all of this is the guy looking back at the former president when he shaves.

*Note: Republicans who offer this criticism should note that at least two of the representatives offered up by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy were people of interest in the investigation. They were denied by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, rightfully so. McCarthy then pulled the rest of the nominees. Yet, Pelosi did appoint two Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger who have performed well on the committee.

Conservative Wall Street Journal headline: “The President Who Stood Still on Jan. 6”

In a RawStory piece on a recent The Wall Street Journal editorial, “Donald Trump has lost the confidence of both of the major newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.” The RawStory piece is called “‘Incitement by silence’: Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers blister Trump after J6 hearings” and can be linked to below.

Under the headline, “The President Who Stood Still on Jan. 6,” The Wall Street Journal editorial board harshly criticized the former president.

‘No matter your views of the Jan. 6 special committee, the facts it is laying out in hearings are sobering. The most horrifying to date came Thursday in a hearing on President Trump’s conduct as the riot raged and he sat watching TV, posting inflammatory tweets and refusing to send help,’ the editorial board wrote.

‘The committee’s critics are right that it lacks political balance,’ the newspaper wrote. ‘Still, the brute facts remain: Mr. Trump took an oath to defend the Constitution, and he had a duty as Commander in Chief to protect the Capitol from a mob attacking it in his name. He refused. He didn’t call the military to send help. He didn’t call Mr. Pence to check on the safety of his loyal VP. Instead he fed the mob’s anger and let the riot play out.’

The editorial concluded, ‘Character is revealed in a crisis, and Mr. Pence passed his Jan. 6 trial. Mr. Trump utterly failed his.'”

There is really not much more to say except this is the paragon of conservative leaning publications in America and many of the folks who have testified under oath are, in fact, Republicans. Now, why would these folks do that, especially knowing they would be vilified by the former president and his sycophants?

Disturbing survey result – we cannot condone violence

I read yesterday of two alarming results from a University of California survey of 9,000 people. 1 in 5 said violence to promote a political cause would be appropriate and 7% said they would be willing to kill someone toward that goal. Really? Have we sunk that low believing the divisive rhetoric of too many that so many would commit capital offenses for a politician’s gain?

The majority of these folks have felt empowered by the former president to be more public. I guess all the folks who are pleading guilty or being convicted for an insurrection on our Capitol building at the behest of the former president are not evidence enough that this is a poor path forward. Maybe when the former president is charged with sedition for his apparently more active role in the insurrection these folks will be given pause.

And, just because the right has its extremists who are promoting violence and even death, that does not give any extremists on the left a hall pass to do the same. Civil discourse and peaceful protest are more than fine. Violence is not the answer, unless your question is when can I go to jail?

One of America’s key tenets is the peaceful transition of power. We are more divided than before because a former president’s ego is so fragile, he cannot admit he lost and per his niece will “burn it all down to avoid losing an election.” It is only our democracy – we must hold it dear and ignore those sycophants who are aiding and abetting the bogus claims of the former president. I was delighted to see a bipartisan Senate bill pass to better protect the electoral process to prevent a demagogue from trying what the former president did – an insurrection.

Taking the former president at his word is a fool’s errand. Listening to his allies and sycophants who are holding cans of white paint to whitewash history is also such. But, so is taking the word of so-called leaders of any movement that condones and promotes violence. That is inane. It is also criminal. If your group promotes this, find the door before it is too late.

Oranges and sunshine

Sometimes you come across a movie where the hero is unlikely. In this case she is an overworked social worker from England. Sometimes the problem presented is unheard of so the duty of the movie is to point out atrocious behavior on the part of people and entities that should know better. Sometimes the victims do not have a voice and really just wanted to find out what happened and who they are.

When you add these things into a pot, the movie “Oranges and sunshine” comes out starring Emily Watson. Watson is one of Great Britain’s finest actors in my view, but she has the misfortune of having a name close to another actress of Harry Potter fame, Emma Watson, so confusion results. If Watson is in a movie, it usually is a good one and this is no exception.

In short, it is about a social worker named Margaret Humphreys in the mid-1980s who learns something unsettling from an adult Australian woman who was visiting England to find out who she was and where she came from. She tells Humphreys she was transferred as a child from an orphanage in London to one in Australia, not to be adopted, but just rehoused. Humphreys does not believe her as that would be illegal, but she leaves the file.

With her husband’s (and later her boss’) help and support, Humphreys begins a process to find out what happened and locate parents, alive or dead, so that this woman and others who come out of the woodwork can get closure. Without giving the plot away, this true story tells of what Humphreys learns and how extensive a problem it is. With it so large, she hypothesizes it has to be systematic and involve folks higher up.

I will stop there. The movie is a must see. Will it make you angry – yes? Will it show you what one person can mean to many – yes? Will it show you the mental, family and physical toll trying to do the right thing causes – yes?

The movie was made in 2010 and also stars Hugo Weaving, Lorraine Ashbourne, Molly Windsor, Stuart Wolfendon, and David Wenham among many. The screenplay was written by Margaret Humphreys and Rona Munro – note the title comes from an adult telling the kids that Australia had plentiful oranges and sunshine to get them on the ship. It was directed by Jim Loach. Weaving played the father with PTSD in “Hacksaw Ridge” and people who watch British TV will recognize Ashbourne from numerous shows. Give it a look.

Fox News legal analyst calls out the former president about the insurrection

“‘Breathtaking’: Fox News analyst says latest Jan 6 hearing ‘should shock everyone’” by Gustaf Kilander reveals an increasing number of folks who are calling the former president out on his role in the insurrection. A few paragraphs will provide a few key points of just the latest condemnation on Fox News, of all places.

“Fox News legal analyst Jonathan Turley said that the seventh hearing of the January 6 committee was ‘breathtaking’.

Mr Turley shared his sense of shock at the revelations concerning former President Donald Trump and his December 18 2020 meeting at the White House discussing how to overturn the election with his allies.

‘It’s … damaging,’ Mr Turley said in reaction to the pre-recorded deposition with Trump White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. ‘The account of that meeting in the [Oval] Office is really breathtaking. It’s very disturbing.’

‘At one point, there was a suggestion that there might be fisticuffs,’ he noted. ‘It’s almost like this is Dr Strangelove and the president is saying there is no fighting in the war room. It was just a bizarre moment.’

‘You’re in the Oval Office and people seem to be actually chest pounding. So this is very disturbing. All of these details should disturb everyone,’ Mr Turley said.

A major focus of the hearing was Mr Trump’s 19 December tweet about a ‘big protest’ at the coming joint session of Congress: ‘Be there, will be wild!

Florida Representative Stephanie Murphy said the tweet ‘served as a call to action and in some cases as a call to arms’. She said the president ‘called for backup’ as he said Vice President Mike Pence and other Republicans didn’t have enough courage to try to block President Joe Biden’s win at the January 6 joint session.

The tweet ‘electrified and galvanized’ Mr Trump’s supporters, said Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin, especially ‘the dangerous extremists in the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and other racist and white nationalist groups spoiling for a fight’.

Mr Raskin said Mr Trump emboldened the groups around a common goal. ‘Never before in American history had a president called for a crowd to come contest the counting of electoral votes by Congress,’ he said.

The committee spliced together video clips from interviews to describe a meeting from December 18, in the hours before Mr Trump’s tweet, in almost minute-to-minute fashion.

Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who testified live before the panel two weeks ago, called the meeting between White House aides and informal advisers pushing the fraud claims ‘unhinged’ in a text that evening to another Trump aide. Other aides described ‘screaming’ as the advisers floated wild theories of election fraud with no evidence to back them up, and as White House lawyers aggressively pushed back.”

The words I focus on are “disturbing” which is used several times and “unhinged” which is even more descriptive. Unhinged is a word that best describes a toddler when he is doing a hissy-fit. The toddler did not get his way and so he has flung himself on the floor in front of everyone and is screaming bloody murder. Think of this visual, when you see or hear the words of the former president. “I didn’t lose. They stole it from me. I won by a long shot.”

We just need the House Select committee and the Justice Department to send Donald to his room. And, while unhinged is more colorful, another apt word is more repulsive – seditionist.

Wednesday wanderings – mid July, 2022

I need to do my walkabout in the morning as we expect more heat and thunderstorms. As evidence to me of climate change, the North Carolina climate seems a lot like Florida used to where I grew up. Daily thunderstorms following a hot day. Here are few thoughts as I wander.

I did learn this week the minor league baseball team in my hometown of Jacksonville is now called “Jax Jumbo Shrimp.” It doesn’t give off the competitive image that you want in a team name, does it? Put them on a slow boil, add a beer, and you will win every time against the Jumbo Shrimp. Some folks might like Old Bay seasoning, but the beer doesn’t smell as much in the house. In keeping with my inner George Carlin oxymoron are jumbo shrimp big shrimp or little jumbos?

Not that I am prescient, but I have been saying for well over a year that the former president’s political career is toast, it will just take some time for Republicans to realize it. Well, it has taken longer than I hoped, but more and more are realizing their demagogue has lied to them and still is. And, they are beginning to realize the ugly truth about the former president; he is the reason we had an insurrection against a branch of government. January 6 does not happen if someone else is president. Full stop. He invited, he incited and he refused to stop it, until he was forced to after way too many hours. There is a word for that – sedition.

The House Select committee testimony, under oath (which should mean something) by people who were involved in the seditious insurrection or who tried to talk the former president out of his furor over losing the election, is once again compelling. Of course, MAGA fans are told not to watch, but as former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said, these are Republicans testifying under oath – Republicans must watch. Rep. Liz Cheney, another Republican, said one witness has told the House Select committee the former president called the witness presumably to influence her testimony. Frankly, this is not a surprise as some of his sycophants have been doing the same with others.

With my last three posts on the environment, this week an article about Dupont’s forever chemicals in Wilmington, NC reared its ugly head. Here are the first two paragraphs:

“A deadly cancer has already taken 43-year-old Amy Nordberg away from her family, also of Wilmington. Nordberg died in January after a three-year battle with a vicious cancer that followed the development of multiple sclerosis. The cancer moved through her body faster than doctors expected, enveloping her colon and invading her bone marrow.

Kennedy and Nordberg are only two among many sick and dying people who live in the Cape Fear River basin of North Carolina, where environmental testing has found persistently high levels of different types of toxic compounds known collectively as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.”

This stuff is real and it is here to stay. It is the chemical in Teflon. They are not called “forever chemicals” for nothing. And, in court Dupont settled individual court cases and a class action case because they knew of the danger and hid it. And, you likely have some in your body if you used Teflon.

So, the moral to these stories, is go boil some water. This is how summer is feeling. You can cook jumbo shrimp in it. You can purify drinking water (to a degree) and you can get a sense of how more Republicans are starting to feel about the former president. Boiling mad. I did hear the former president is boiling mad about the testimony. He should because I am over a president who would “burn it all down” to avoid losing an election per his calmer, more rational niece Mary.