Western North Carolina Landslides
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Enviva, a biomass manufacturer, went public in the spring of 2015.
Prior to its IPO, Enviva touted its wood pellet product as cleaner-than-coal energy but that statement was only a sale's tool. Presently the company's customers are foreign energy utilities who are receiving government subsidies to buy and burn wood pellets rather than coal. Investors and clients are learning that the burning of wood pellets is not beneficial to the environment. In fact biomass as an energy source is a critical air pollutant, producing 50% more CO2 than coal.
It isn't just make believe environmental statements that should give investors and clients reason for doubt. Enviva's timbering practices were criticized by The Wall Street Journal a few years ago. The newspaper questioned the company's source of wood. Enviva's spokesmen had reported that the bulk of their wood was purchased from sawmills and pine tree plantations. Contrary to Envivaspeak the company's primary source of wood is southern forests. Wood pellet mills, including Enviva's are located in southern states and are growing in number. Stand outside these production facilities and watch the entering trucks bring large hardwood trees to the grinder. Enviva and its competitors are devastating southern woodlands to produce greenhouse toxins for foreign entities. In June The Washington Post raised the same red flags as The Wall Street Journal concerning Enviva's forestry practices and far fetched energy claims.
For the truth of biomass manufacturing please google Enviva images. One of the photos taken by the WSJ shows an eighty-one acre tract along the Roanoke River in North Carolina that was clear cut by Enviva operators. It is not known how many trees it takes to make 1.74 million metric tons a year but that is Enviva's advertised processing capacity. When biomass loggers work a forest site it is razed to bare dirt. There are reasonable concerns regarding Enviva's forest removal techniques. Experts warn that Enviva's denuded landscapes will raise the risks of flooding and erosion events.
One would not expect Enviva's owners to need public money to expand their business but the costs of the Enviva Pellets Northhampton facility was underwritten by various federal, state, and local agencies including the Economic Development Administration , North Carolina Department of Commerce, Golden Leaf Foundation, and the North Carolina Rural Center. Enviva's owners, Riverstone Holdings, LLC , a $20 billion private equity fund, was the beneficiary of these public funds. In addition to those sweeteners Enviva received $ 1.7 million in North Carolina tax rewards.
Carbon dioxide levels reached a never-achieved point in March according to NOAA and exceeded 400 ppm for an entire month. The trees being pelletized by Enviva and other biomass manufacturers were pulling massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. Now these pellets are contributing to the earth's warming.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Michael Morell, former CIA deputy director, current self promoter would have readers of his new book, "The Great War of Our Time: The CIA's Fight Against Terrorism - From al-Qaida to ISIS," believe that Edward Snowden's release of classified documents in 2013 advantaged terrorist organizations such as ISIS. Mr.Morrell offers no proof that Snowden was instrumental in enhancing terrorists' abilities to avoid detection but uses the allegations as a sales gimmick. If possible Mr. Morell would accuse Snowden of complicity in the September 11 attacks. Mr. Morell's focus on Snowden is nothing more than a distraction from the real issue which is why the CIA had no clue that al-Qaeda had formed a motley crew of Saudi nationals to bomb the twin towers, the Pentagon, and an unknown government building with commercial jets. Although the 911 attacks are the greatest intelligence failure in U.S. history there are no answers as to how this horror came to be. Remarkably the CIA has not had to answer for the 911 breakdown or its erroneous intelligence reports regarding Iraq's nonexistent WMD. The CIA has caused irreparable harm and is responsible for the Middle East maelstrom. It is not Mr. Snowden who endangers the US, it is retired government officials who hope to profit from their unbelievable books.
Monday, June 15, 2015
CarePartners, an Asheville, North Carolina rehabilitation facility, cared for me for three weeks after I suffered a stroke in early May. The stroke damaged my left arm and leg.
Shortly after entry into the hospital I was enrolled in CarePartners' rehabilitation programs which are designed to restore function to damaged limbs. It was an amazing adventure and because of the efforts of the physical and occupational therapists my leg and arm are responding to treatment. It is a long-term endeavor but I have been offered recovery. I owe CarePartners' therapists a debt of gratitude for they are responsible for my recovery.
Sunday, June 14, 2015
An area known as Oak Flat, Arizona , long revered and protected since '55 as an Apache holy site was recently bartered in a foreign land exchange deal. The copper to be extracted from the Oak Flat mining site will primarily benefit Iran and China. Congress approved the exchange at the behest of Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake. For smooth sailing McCain tacked H.R. 687 onto the National Defense Authorization Act which guaranteed passage. For quid pro quo McCain received campaign funds from the new owner, Resolution Copper Mining, part of the Rio Tinto conglomerate. Flake before gaining entry to the Senate was a lobbyist for Rio Rössing Uranium. Oak Flat is sacred ground for it is where Apaches go to pray. The planned despoliation is like plundering Gethsemane for economic advantage. Members of Congress should be barred from selling sacred places. McCain, Flake and the members of congress who supported the Oak Flat transaction deserve harsh criticism for their participation in the scheme. For further information on this shameful legislation please read " Selling Off the Holy Land ." Congress can repair the injury done to the Apache people by rescinding H. R. 687. [ Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013].The question is will they?
Governor McCrory and the state legislature support wildlife killing fields. For effortless deer kills North Carolina allows property owners to lure state animals onto private property and then fence them for slaughter. Private deer farms also supply animals for the state's death sport. Killing captive animals does not fall under the definition of hunting. It is death for pleasure. North Carolina hunters may use AR-style weapons in their sporting endeavors. It could be said that North Carolina is a savage state.
Friday, April 17, 2015
The administration's writ of certiorari complaint in the case of John F. Kerry, Secretary of State, et al., Petitioners, v. Fauzia Din, illustrates the government's unwarranted obsession with secrecy in visa determinations.
The trigger for the certiorari writ was the Ninth Circuit's ruling that American citizens are entitled to know why spousal visas are denied. The case under consideration concerns Fauzia Din, an American citizen and her husband Kanishka Berashk, an Afghan national.
Shortly after her marriage to Mr. Berashk in 2006 Ms Din filed an immigrant visa petition on behalf of her husband. The petition was approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS].
Mr. Berashk then visited the U.S.Embassy in Islamabad to apply for his visa. Generally visa applications are granted or denied in a six-week period. Mr. Berashk was not notified by the U.S. Embassy until June 2009 that his visa request was denied due the belief that he had engaged in terrorist activities. The government notified Mr. Berashk that its decision was final and not subject to appeal. With all avenues closed Ms. Din decided to challenge the consulate's decision by asking for judicial review. The district court hearing Ms. Din's complaint elected to dismiss the case based on the doctrine of consular nonreviewability. This rule prohibits the judiciary from questioning visa decisions.
The next court assessing the Din complaint was the Ninth Circuit. They ruled that an American citizen has the right to know why her husband was denied a visa, Being that the case involves national security the court suggested an in camera hearing so a judge could evaluate the worth of the government's allegation. This suggestion was rejected by the administration because in its opinion federal judges cannot be trusted with national security matters.
Because the government has refused to provide any documentation regarding Mr. Berashk's persona non grata status the Ninth Circuit said the government's terrorist claim is not valid. In other words without evidence there is no facially legitimate and bona fide reason for denying the Berashk visa.
If the administration wins its writ of certiorari petition pending before the Supreme Court neither Mr. Berashk, his wife nor the public will ever know if there is any merit to the terrorist claim. Several groups have filed amicus briefs on Ms. Din's behalf. Most notably is the one filed by Former Consular Officers. In their brief the group said present day visa evaluations are not based on consular input but rather on often faulty data drawn from suspect sources. In the officers' opinion:
Judicial review is a necessary safety valve for visa denials relying on databases and watchlists that are compiled with variable reliability by multiple agencies, several of which have no authority over visa decisions.Executive and congressional decisions often violate constitutional boundaries. Judicial review keeps these parties on notice that there is another group reviewing their activities.
Friday, February 27, 2015
Lobotomies, surgical interventions for depression, psychosis and homosexuality disorders were performed on 40,000 Americans from 1936 to the early 70s. Generally these surgeries were performed without patients' consent.
The Wall Street Journal 's Lobotomy Files informs that 2,000 WW II veterans received psychosurgery while under Veterans Administration care. Patients surviving the procedure were narcotized for life.
The American Psychiatric Association classified homosexuality a mental aberration until 1973.
Public concern regarding lobotomies and other novel experiments conducted on the mentally infirm caused President Carter to set up a National Commission to examine the issue. Members of the Commission determined that Nuremberg protections were not applicable to this vulnerable group because:
....some research involving the mentally infirm cannot be undertaken with any other group, and since this research may yield significant knowledge about the causes and treatment of mental disabilities, it is necessary to consider the consequences of prohibiting such research. Some argue that prohibiting such research might harm the class of mentally infirm persons as a whole by depriving them of benefits they could have received if the research had proceeded.Psychosurgery, rarely performed in the U.S today, has been replaced with mind-altering drugs which are another form of lobotomy.
Adults were the first population to receive antipsychotic medication. Now these products are commonly used by pediatricians and psychiatrists to control recalcitrant children. There is limited evidence , other than prescription practices, to validate the use of these medications in children. Diagnosing mental disorders in children is a subjective exercise and there are numerous indications that PhRMA and physicians have abused their licenses. Adults choose their treatment regimens; children have no say in their health care.
A 2013 Consumer Reports investigation found that the use of anti-psychotics in children has nearly tripled in the past decade and that many of these prescriptions were written off label i.e. without testing and FDA approval. Consumer Union calls the practice of prescribing anti-psychotic drugs to children an unregulated experiment. Suspect physician practices include concomitant use of five or more anti-psychotics and application of these drugs in children under the age of three.
Medicaid-insured children including state wards are far more likely to receive anti-psychotics than those in the general population. Foster children are targeted because they are routinely used in government-sponsored clinical trials.
Health Canada reported in 2013 that anti-psychotic medication had killed 17 children and harmed 73 others.
The FDA requires drug manufacturers to place black box warnings on most psychotropic medications, an acknowledgement that these products pose grave risks to patients.
American children have died and suffered injury as a result of their psychotropic drug treatments. The question of whether these medications are worth the risks is unknown because the FDA has not released casualty reports.