Archive for the ‘environment’ Category

Today’s “WTH moment” courtesy of the NYT

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

The Grey Lady in her dotage, asserts “The embargo and socialism helped protect Cuba’s environment.”

Consistent with senility, the article by Erica Goode, Cuba’s Environmental Concerns Grow With Prospect of U.S. Presence goes bad quickly,

The country is in desperate need of the economic benefits that a lifting of the embargo would almost certainly bring. But the ban, combined with Cuba’s brand of controlled socialism, has also been protective, limiting development and tourism that in other countries, including many of Cuba’s Caribbean neighbors, have eroded beaches, destroyed forests, polluted rivers, damaged coral reefs and wreaked other forms of environmental havoc.

Never mind that beach erosion is a natural process; the Cuban communist dictatorship has destroyed multiple natural habitats, as listed in this paper:

During the last 25 years, the Cuban government, as the almost absolute owner of the island’s economy, has dumped all kinds of waste and hazardous materials into Cuba’s rivers, lakes and bays due to the lack of real concern for the ecology and environmental regulations. At the same time it has changed completely the course of rivers and the normal flow of coastal ocean currents. Furthermore, it has been experimenting with biotechnology, thus creating a potential for biological and chemical warfare. It has also been involved in the construction of a nuclear power plant with serious risks for all adjacent areas. Let us examine the facts on some of these issues.

1. The Almendares River, the main river flowing through the city of Havana, is the most contaminated river in the western hemisphere. It is dead, with no animal life.

2. The Bay of Havana, the Bay of Matanzas (about 100 miles east of Havana) and the Bay of Nipe, in the northeastern coast are among the 10 most contaminated bays in the world.

3. The city of Matanzas is one of the most contaminated cities in this hemisphere, proportional to its population of 150,000, due to industrial waste.

4. During the 1970’s Castro capriciously built over 2,100 dams throughout the country without a serious study of hydraulics or their ecological impact. These dams are adversely affecting the ecology, the fertility of the soil, and are causing the salt contamination of the groundwater.

5. Again, following Castro’s whims, many of the so-called “pedraplenes” have been built along several coastal areas. These are causeways built of sand and stones, with no asphalt. They have altered the normal flow of coastal water currents, causing salt contamination of the groundwater on the land close to these constructions.

6. Cuba and Florida have the largest coral reefs in this hemisphere. Over 40% of the Cuban coral reefs have been destroyed due to contamination. The flow of contaminated Cuban ocean water is affecting the Florida reefs.

7. The water and sewer system in the main urban areas of Cuba have not received any major maintenance in over 25 years. The average age of these systems is over 60 years. Consequently, there is contamination of the drinking water in most main urban areas due to the mixing of drinking water and sewer waste through the transmission pipes. There is a constant deposit of sewage in the streets of most main urban areas of Cuba.

8. Since the mid 1980’s Castro has been developing centers dedicated to the research, development and manufacture of biotechnological materials. Since 1992, Castro has spent over $1.2 billion on these efforts. There are 12 sites dispersed throughout the capital city of Havana. They are found mainly in Arroyo Naranjo, Playa Bejucal and Habana del Este. Due to the sensitive work done in these sites, and their lack of adequate quality control, these centers are a permanent risk to the population of Cuba due to possible leakage of lethal material. There have been several reports of evacuations from these areas due to hazardous leakage. These centers have the potential to manufacture bacteriological and chemical warfare materials and there is increasing evidence that this is happening.

9. The unfinished nuclear power plant at Juragua presents another potential for ecological disaster, including huge loss of human lives. There have been reports of over 24 violations of standards set by the IAEC during the construction of this plant. If it is completed, the possibilities of an accident are four times higher than standard plants. Greenpeace has called plants like Juragua a “ticking time bomb.”

10. If the plant becomes operational, the handling and disposal of the nuclear waste will present another threat to the ecology, as well as to human life in Cuba, the southeastern United States, the Caribbean and Central America.

Missing from Ms Goode’s bad reporting is also any evidence of the catastrophic and systematic decay in living conditions for ordinary Cubans outside the bubble,


“The Marvel”

We may call it a “What The Hey moment”; Bill Sanderson was more direct,

Other “WTH moments”:
Today’s “WTH Moment” brought to you by Jorge Ramos

Today’s WTH moment: Venezuelan vet arrested for smuggling heroin in puppies UPDATED

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Also of interest,
Real Clear Politics has an article by Fabio Rafael Fiallo, Cuba’s Own Napoleon III

Today’s tropical socialism has, too, its Napoleon III. His name is Nicolas Maduro, the current president of Venezuela who to a significant extent is a creation of the Castro regime. Not only was Maduro trained in the Cuban schools of agitprop, he was also anointed president of Venezuela – with the lobbying of the Castro brothers – by a moribund Hugo Chavez with waning intellectual faculties who was receiving medical treatment in Cuba.

Interesting article, but I disagree with his conclusions,

Napoleon Bonaparte died in 1821 – well before his political legacy was squandered by his nephew, Napoleon III. The Castro brothers have not been so lucky: They have lived long enough to witness the irreparable damage caused by their pupil, Nicolas Maduro, to whatever remained of popular sympathy for Latin American socialism. This, more than any other setback or defeat, is the worst punishment that destiny will have inflicted on the brothers who have tyrannically ruled Cuba for over half a century.

Fiallo forgets that there’s one thing the Castros and their ilk care about more than their “revolution”: The care the most about staying in power.

For starters, most of Latin America is ignoring Maduro, for as long as he keeps sending them money.

And then there’s the win:
While Pres. Obama pats himself on the back for announcing the July 20th opening of a U.S. Embasy in Havana, Raul answers back by demanding billion$ in reparations, an end to the U.S. embargo, the return of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, and the end of all American radio and TV broadcasts aimed at Cuba.

$5 says they’ll get it, too.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!
In his post Carlos Eire posted this photo of an open sewer in Batabano, Cuba,

So much for “Cuba’s brand of controlled socialism” being “protective.”

Ecuador: Selling it to China

Friday, December 19th, 2014

This is a photograph of a 420,000-gallon oil spill in Ecuador’s Amazonian region in June 2013:

Andrew Ross, writing at The Nation, asks,
Why Is Ecuador Selling Its Economic and Environmental Future to China?
The slick, oily underside of Correa’s “citizens’ revolution.”
(emphasis added)

While large swaths of the Amazon Basin remain uncharted, the most telling maps depict the region carved into numbered oil blocks, some of them hundreds of square miles in area. The Pañacocha field, for example, sits in Block 12; the ITT oil reserve is located in Block 43; and Block 57 is where Suárez took me. The blocks are periodically auctioned off as concessions to oil companies, and more and more of them are marked as a Chinese claim or interest. The Chinese extraction sites are remote, but anyone traversing the Amazon waterways, as I did this past summer, will routinely pass boatfuls of Chinese oil workers. At this point, China exercises a near monopoly on Ecuador’s oil—up to 90 percent this year alone—and is fast becoming the dominant player in mining and mineral extraction.

Of course, Ecuador is hardly alone in its growing dependence on Beijing. China committed almost $100 billion in loans to Latin America between 2005 and 2013—$15 billion last year alone, while the World Bank lent a mere $5.2 billion. But many believe that the erosion of sovereignty has been sharper in Ecuador than elsewhere in the region. The terms of its loans from Beijing are not fully transparent, giving rise to the worst suspicions. A March 2014 Amazon Watch report alleged that Petrochina has the contractual right to seize assets from any oil companies operating in Ecuador if the nation does not pay back China in full. A more extreme version of this claim is that the terms of loans include a “sovereignty immunity waiver,” that permits China to seize Ecuador’s own assets if it defaults. One of the administration’s chief critics, Acción Ecológica director Alexandra Almeida, told me that “the agreements with the Chinese are unlike any other. Even with Chevron we knew what we were getting. No one knows that much about the Chinese loans.”

Ross views the situation from the left, saying things such as “On the face of it, Beijing is not as easy to demonize as the infamous Paris Club, which represents the interests of Northern creditors,” and “has no history of ecological debt to Latin America.” But Ross is not blind to the fact that

environmentalists, like the YASunidos, have become Correa’s number-one enemy, labeled by some of his ministers as “enemies of the state.” Recent shifts in the interpretation of the penal code have made it possible to criminalize dissidents as “terrorists,” and domestic repression is growing.

Read the whole thing.

Time to put #Greenpeace vandals out of business UPDATED

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Greenpeace willfully engaged in inflicting irreparable damage. In their blindness to say “the future is renewable”, they can’t see that the past is not.

Read my post at Da Tech Guy Blog.

UPDATE:
Before Greenpeace:

After f**king Greenpeace:

BREAKING NEWS Ecuador: Chevron wins

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

WSJ: Judge: $9.5B Environmental Judgment Against Chevron ‘Obtained by Corrupt Means’

A federal judge ruled in favor of Chevron Corp. on Tuesday in a civil racketeering case, saying a record $9.5 billion environmental judgment in Ecuador against the oil giant was “obtained by corrupt means.”

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan found that New York lawyer Steven Donziger and his litigation team engaged in coercion, bribery, money laundering and other criminal conduct in pursuit of the 2011 verdict.

Bloomberg: Chevron Wins U.S. Ruling Calling Ecuador Judgment Fraud

“It is distressing that the course of justice was perverted,” Kaplan wrote in a nearly 500-page ruling that followed a trial last year.

Related:
Will Legendary Law Firm Patton Boggs Be Swallowed or Evaporate? and How the Chevron Case Helped Wreck a Big Law Merger

Last month Locke Lord managing partner Jerry Clements told The Am Law Daily that the potential liabilities and “reputational aspects” of the Chevron matter were a key part of her firm’s due diligence efforts in evaluating a merger with Patton Boggs.

At Chevron’s blog: What You Won’t Learn on Ecuador’s Toxic Tour

Kerry Gives $17 Million to Vietnam to Fight Global Warming

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

John Kerry Gives $16 Million to Vietnam to Fight Global Warming (h/t Frontpage); The AP reported

Kerry pledged $17 million to a program that will help the region’s rice producers, shrimp and crab farmers and fisherman [sic] adapt to potential changes caused by higher sea levels that bring salt water into the delicate ecosystem.

Don’t know about the “higher sea levels”, but some of the water was frozen on its way down:

Some of the rice producers, shrimp and crab farmers and fishermen may need to get themselves some goretex with the $17 million, as Heavy Snowfall Causes Damage In Vietnam’s Lao Cai Province

According to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Sa Pa, more than 100 hectares of chayote and another 100 hectares of flowers were buried under snow.

School kids got a snow day off from school, perhaps for the only time in their lives.

In other global warming news to warm your heart, Climate change expert’s fraud was ‘crime of massive proportion,’ say feds (h/t Babalu)

The EPA’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change deserves to go to prison for at least 30 months for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job, say federal prosecutors.

He even got his shrink to say the scam was “fueled by his insecurities.”

Tellya what: John Kerry gives me $17 million, and my (financial) insecurities will not only vanish, I’ll even put some of that money towards clearing the waters rising outdoors in the form of snow.

IMG_0433

Winter hasn’t even started.

Tuesday night tango: Flaco Dany in Siberia

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

and the singing gynecologist,

Puerto Rico: Wind farm fiasco

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Last week Bill Clinton was in PR saying that PR could lead the entire Caribbean toward a green future.

But not quite yet.

The Santa Isabel wind farm was shut down for a month and a half due to equipment modifications Siemens Energy had to make following malfunctions in the B53 blades at wind farms in Iowa and California. The blades are 170 feet long and weigh 10 tons apiece. 36 out of 44 aerogenerators are now functional.

Pattern Energy, which owns the wind farm, loses $1.5 million each month it can not sell electricity to the local utility, Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica (AEE).

The project has disappointed expectations. In addition to the above equipment problems and monetary loss, it is located in an area that is not windy, and it is serving 10,000 fewer customers than the 63,000 originally projected.

UPDATE:
Linked by Dustbury. Thank you!

Uninvite Psy! UPDATED

Saturday, December 8th, 2012


Korean rapper Psy, he of Gangnam Style(*), is scheduled to perform at the White House tomorrow.

It turns out that Psy had some unkind things to say to the USA back in 2004

According to reports, in October of that year, Psy took part in a concert in which he joined several other prominent artists onstage for a version of Korean rock group NEXT’s song “Dear American,” and after seizing the microphone, rapped a verse that stated “F—ing Yankees” and their families, should be killed “slowly and painfully.”

The concert reportedly took place months after the kidnapping — and subsequent beheading — of South Korean missionary Kim Sun-il by an Islamist group, who demanded the nation cancel plans to send 3,000 troops to support the U.S. war in Iraq. After the South Korean government refused to back down, Kim’s execution was videotaped, with the masked executioner stating “Korean citizens, you were warned, your hands were the ones who killed him … your soldiers are here not for the sake of the Iraqis, but for cursed Americans.”

Say again? Islamists murder a Korean missionary, and it’s the Americans who are the “F—ing” evildoers?

In case you think he just blurted it out on impulse, here are the lyrics,

Kill those f****** Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives
Kill those f****** Yankees who ordered them to torture
Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers
Kill them all slowly and painfully

Not what you would expect from a performer that claims,

“In my music I try to give people a release, a reason to smile.”

Psy now wants to go to the WH, though, so he’s issued a non-apology, starting with the classic,

“I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused anyone by those words,”

by which he’s not apologizing for what he actually said, but for the pain he caused you.

Apology accepted, but please stay home.

And, by the way, I find it offensive and inappropriate that the White House would have him perform after finding out about this, for two reasons: the incitement to violence against Americans, and the fact that tomorrow’s is a Christmas concert.

UPDATE,
Obama Still Meeting with “Gangnam Style” Korean Rapper, Who Rapped So Eloquently About Murdering US Troops & Their Families

Cross-posted at Liberty Unyielding.


(*) In case you don’t know what Gangnam Style is, here‘s the video.

Happy in Haiti

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

The Happy Planet Index is at it again! When your criteria on happiness is “measure what matters: the extent to which countries deliver long, happy, sustainable lives for the people that live in them”, you really must come up with some crazy crap, like this equation,

Which, translated into practical terms means that if you have very very low expectations and live for a long time without electricity or running water, you’ll score really high.

How Cuba Became a ‘Happy’ Country
Citizens flee on rafts. But environmentalists know better.

The Happy Planet Index hasn’t been composed by some lonely obsessive living with his mother and boring a very small number of readers in a rarely visited corner of the Internet. No, the Happy Planet Index has been produced by the New Economics Foundation, a think tank with an annual budget of more than $3.9 million and a staff of more than 50. They may be as mad as a box of frogs, but these people are well-funded and influential.

They are also playing with taxpayers’ money. One of the New Economics Foundation’s biggest donors in 2010-11—giving them more than $155,000—was the British government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs paid more than $90,000 for another project in 2009 in which the New Economics Foundation produced a report—”Moments of change as opportunities for influencing behaviour”—which looked to Communist Cuba for an example of “mass efficiency improvement.”

Cuba, by the way, ranks 12th on the Happy Planet scale.

Reports like the Happy Planet Index claim to show us a different way of measuring success that “puts current and future well-being at the heart of measurement.” But there’s a reason Cubans regularly risk (and lose) their lives trying to escape their home country and make it to America, and there’s no waves of humanity flowing in the opposite direction. That the Happy Planet Index can’t capture those realities, or chooses to ignore them, suggests, well, that its authors are living on another planet.

No, just a planet with a well-funded agenda…in rooms with central heat; the NEF’s contact phone number is country code 44, for the United Kingdom & the Isle of Man.

They must be miserable!


(more…)

Crucify the oil companies! UPDATED

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Last night I was having a quiet evening at home when the doorbell rang. An earnest young woman was gathering signatures for a petition against fracking. To the best of my knowledge there is no fracking in Princeton (and if there was, I would probably support it), so I told her I wasn’t interested.

She insisted that I sign, since the petition was “against the fracking companies in Pennsylvania sending their radioactive waste to New Jersey.” Again I declined, again she persisted. I wished her a good evening and shut the door. She yelled something to the effect of “the evil must be stopped,” and moved on.

She ought to get a job with Al Armendariz’s Region 6 EPA office:
EPA Official Not Only Touted ‘Crucifying’ Oil Companies, He Tried It

The Armendriz video (which appears to have been taken off YouTube late late night) was shot around the same time he was preparing the action against Range. Here’s the highlights of what he said.
The Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.

And so you make examples out of people who are in this case not compliant with the law. Find people who are not compliant with the law, and you hit them as hard as you can and you make examples out of them, and there is a deterrent effect there. And, companies that are smart see that, they don’t want to play that game, and they decide at that point that it’s time to clean up.

And, that won’t happen unless you have somebody out there making examples of people. So you go out, you look at an industry, you find people violating the law, you go aggressively after them. And we do have some pretty effective enforcement tools. Compliance can get very high, very, very quickly.

That’s what these companies respond to is both their public image but also financial pressure. So you put some financial pressure on a company, you get other people in that industry to clean up very quickly.

The former professor at Southern Methodist University is a diehard environmentalist, having grown up in El Paso near a copper smelter that reportedly belched arsenic-laced clouds into the air. (Here’s a profile of him in the Dallas Observer.) Texas Monthly called him one of the 25 most powerful Texans, while the Houston Chronicle said he’s “the most feared environmentalist in the state.”

Nevermind that he couldn’t prove jack against Range. For a year and a half EPA bickered over the issue, both with Range and with the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates oil and gas drilling and did its own scientific study of Range’s wells and found no evidence that they polluted anything. In recent months a federal judge slapped the EPA, decreeing that the agency was required to actually do some scientific investigation of wells before penalizing the companies that drilled them. Finally in March the EPA withdrew its emergency order and a federal court dismissed the EPA’s case

The video has been pulled but you can watch a snippet at a Fox News report,

UPDATE,
found the YouTube with Almendariz’s statements here,

As Steven Hayward explains,

It is important to grasp why this kind of excessive zeal is the rule rather than the exception from federal regulators, and always will be. Armendariz is wholly typical of the regulator mentality, and we won’t prevent future “crucifixions” until we make fundamental changes to revive the rule of law and restore some kind of democratic accountability to the administrative state.

Let the snark flow!

UPDATE, 30 April,
Top EPA official resigns after ‘crucify’ comment