Archive for May, 2015

A Message to Journalists – From One of Your Own

May 30th, 2015 No comments


The Intercept reports that legendary journalist Theodore H. White wrote this in 1960 – no further comment required:

…it is all fraudulent, all of it, everywhere, up and down, East and West. The movies, radio and state and books and TV — all of them are fraudulent; and the foundations and universities and scholars, they are all fraudulent too; and the executives and the financiers … and the Commissars and the Krushchevs and the Mao Tze-tungs, they are fraudulent equally; it is all a great game; and there are two dangers in this great game: first, the fraudulent people come to believe their own lies, they come to have faith in their fraud; and second, underneath it all, because people are fundamentally good, they come to realize that we live in lies and the people get angrier and angrier and they may explode.

The scenery of politics is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. Yet I must report all this as serious. This is the strain on me. That I must be serious, and I must exhaust myself trying to find out what is true and what is fraud and yet, even after I know, I must take them both seriously and write of them both as if I did not know the true distinctions between them.

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I Was Poisoned By The *NJ State Police

May 28th, 2015 No comments

This really happened 

A Tale Told By The Perp In His Own Voice

The scene of the crime - behind the barbecue grill in Bordentown, NJ

The scene of the crime – behind the barbeque grill of a home in Bordentown, NJ

With the trombones blaring in the background:

Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to [read] is true. The names have [not] been changed to protect the innocent.

This is the City – Bordentown NJ – I work here. I carry a badge.

It was Wednesday May 27, it was hot and humid.

We were working the day shift out of skunk patrol. My partner’s Frank Smith. My boss is Captain Nelson.  My name’s Pete.

A stinky skunk had been on the loose, and a neighbor wanted him captured – dead or alive.

The skunk had escaped – we had to try to find him.

If this were not so serious, it would be hilarious.

The illegal contraband, a chemical poison, was recovered on the scene:

bags of month balls taken from the scene of the crime

bags of moth balls taken from the scene of the crime (5/28/15)

I had read somewhere that mothballs were a great deterrent to stinky skunks.

So, I managed to sneak behind the house – trespassing, but who gives a shit, right? – and planted these moth balls under the porch of 359 Oliver Street.That would sure drive out the stinky skunk suspect! (blaring trombones: dum, de, dum, dum, dummmm!)

Just look at how well we hid the mothballs under the porch, – without the homeowner’s knowledge or approval – just behind his barbecue grille! No more damn stinky skunks there!

We were sure to hide the moth balls well out of sight under the porch.

There is NO WAY the property owner would find them! How’s that for some stealth investigative  detective work! That should assure my promotion any day now!!

moth balls3

But how were we to know that this property was owned by some organic gardening, animal loving, chemical freak who knew jack shit about federal pesticide laws and chemical toxicity?

(Damn! Had I known that, no way would I have left a confession on his phone message tape!)

Yes, this asshole chemical freak immediately smelled our little skunk stunt and he made his own big stink about it.

This animal loving environmental asshole called the local Bordentown police and convinced them to visit his home and witness the chemical vapors in his house and yard. Now there’s a police report to substantiate his paranoid bullshit! Damn!

Then he called the zealous bureaucrats at the DEP to report a violation of federal and state pesticide laws!

Who knowns, the next thing he might do is file a trespass charge and a lawsuit seeking damages!

And all this bullshit, after I called him to apologize and admit we were just after some stinky skunks!

Yours truly.

*** State Police Officer Pete

*** A neighbor told me Pete was a State Policeman. Obviously, Pete was not on duty when he did this. He owns and rents the house next door.

This is just my way of pocking fun at the absurdity of the situation.

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My Neighbor Is Poisoning Me, Local Wildlife, Pets, and His Own Child

May 28th, 2015 No comments

Mothballs Used As Illegal Pesticides To Drive Away Skunks

That Is A Violation of Federal Law

[Important update below]

We have skunks in the neighborhood.

I have a new, young, and very stupid neighbor.

A few weeks ago, the skunks sprayed in the middle of the night, as they occasionally do.

My new neighbor thought his house was on fire and called the fire department at 2 am. Good thing I woke up before they knocked my door down and told them it was only the skunks and not a fire (we live in attached row houses).

A few years ago, my dog was sprayed in the backyard early one evening, so I have first hand experience.  My solution is not to let the dog out after sunset. Simple.

But my neighbor? He deployed chemical warfare.

Last night about 6 pm, I was sitting on the porch watching the thunderstorms roll in and drinking a few cold beers. Went in to take a leak, and was almost knocked over by the powerful smell of mothballs (naphthalene). I shut the bathroom door and closed off the back porch in an effort to contain the vapors.

By this morning, the chemical odor had spread throughout the house. I could even smell it outside in the backyard.

I think my idiot neighbor may have put the mothballs under the back porch to drive off the skunks.

Here is EPA Guidance and warning under federal pesticide law:

Common Illegal Pest Products

mothballs | pet products | insecticidal chalk | “Tres Pasitos” | antibacterial products

Illegal naphthalene moth repellent products — mothballs —
 pose a hazard to young children. Mothballs can be easily mistaken for candy, or simply tempt young children to touch and play with them. Recent studies have linked naphthalene to illnesses, including nasal cancer. Widespread sale and distribution of these products make illegal mothballs a particular concern

Here is the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry on the Health Effects of naphthalene, something my idiot neighbor should be very concerned about because he has a young baby in the house:

Hospitals have reported many cases of hemolytic anemia in children, including newborns and infants, who either ate naphthalene mothballs or deodorant cakes or who were in close contact with clothing or blankets stored in naphthalene mothballs. Newborns or infants are thought to be especially susceptible to this effect on the blood, because their bodies are less able to get rid of naphthalene than adults.

Here is a pet poisoning advisory about risk to pets:

Mothballs are pesticides that slowly release a gas vapor to kill and repel moths (and their larvae) and other insects. Mothballs are also used to repel snakes, mice, and other animals, though this use is not recommended and can be harmful to pets, children, and the environment. Mothballs come in cakes, scales, powder, balls, cubes, spheres, and flakes and may contain the insecticides naphthalene, paradi-chlorobenzene (PDB), or occasionally camphor. Older mothballs most commonly contain naphthalene. Due to concern for naphthalene’s flammability and toxicity, most modern mothballs now contain PDB instead.

The chemicals in mothballs can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or absorbed through the stomach and intestines. Cats are more sensitive to the toxic effects of mothballs, but dogs are more likely to ingest mothballs. Naphthalene mothballs, or old-fashioned mothballs, are considered the most toxic type of mothball. Modern PDB mothballs are less toxic but still can cause illness, especially when ingested. Clinical signs of mothball poisoning include vomiting, mothball-scented breath, pale or brown gums, weakness or lethargy, difficulty breathing, tremors, seizures, and organ failure (e.g., liver, kidneys).

Please do not do this.

Find a way to live with the skunks and other critters.

[Update: 5:30 pm – I just got a call from the owner of the property – It was not my young neighbor who used the moth balls, it was the owner of the property, “Pete”. My apologies to my young neighbor.

Amazingly, he told me that he read somewhere that mothballs would chase away skunks and that he put 2 bags of mothballs under my porch, just behind my grill!

On my property, without my permission, in violation of federal pesticide law and likely involving trespass. Pete is a NJ State Trooper.

We just put in a call to DEP Hotline and filed a complaint. We will keep you posted on how this turns out.  ~~~ end update]

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Pipeline Debate: Finally Engaged, But Still Mis-focused

May 28th, 2015 No comments

Looming Climate Catastrophe Must Drive Policy Debate

Global Warming Response Act Emissions Reductions Must Be Focus

Could the media and policymakers be catching up to the activists? If so, the Foundation funding can’t be far behind.

There is a series of set up stories running for NJ Spotlight’s Pipeline Roundtable tomorrow.

Yesterday’s story by WHYY focused on Pennsylvania fracking –

The gas industry sure has done a great PR job by changing the subject from NY State’s fracking ban, which was based on public health risks – that framing and narrative were quickly revised by industry propaganda.

Today Tom Johnson lays out the NJ story in NJ Spotlight:

Tom’s piece today is pretty good, but, as I’ve been complaining for some time now fails to put the infrastructure and energy policy debate in the proper climate context.

It also also allows some energy industry propaganda to go unchallenged by facts or rebuttal by environmentalists.

So, here are a few thoughts and links to documents that I think should be driving the debate, from the climate perspective:

Finance capital is a scarce resource.

By investing billions of dollars in gas infrastructure (wells, pipelines, power plants, etc) we are diverting necessary capital from efficiency and renewables.

These infrastructure debates MUST begin with the imperative of the climate catastrophe and the need to make a rapid transition to a low carbon future.

In addition to diverting scarce capital, the economics of “cheap” gas undermine investments in efficiency and renewables.

This dual economic dynamic is a disaster and virtually guarantees irreversible and catastrophic climate change.

The jobs and “manufacturing renaissance” arguments are all spin no substance.

There’s no “manufacturing renaissance” – look at the data:

Local pipeline jobs are greatly exaggerated – alternative energy is more job producing:

And I wonder how Senator Sweeney feels about his South Jersey constituents having to pay higher monthly gas and electric bills for the SJG Pinelands/BL England fiasco?

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Oblivion of The “Rocket Fuel” Drinking Water Standard Exposes The Character of the Christie Administration

May 26th, 2015 No comments

Christie Executive Order Killed Proposed Drinking Water Standard for Perchlorate

DEP Commissioner Martin Denied It, Attacked Critics, and Then Lied About It

When Facts Emerged, Martin Then Betrayed Promise To Propose Standard

Five Years Later – No Accountability

Senator Buono, Senate Majority leader (R) and Lt. Gov Guadagno at Red Tape hearing in Montclair (April 2010)

Senator Buono, Senate Majority leader (R) and Lt. Gov Guadagno at Red Tape hearing in Montclair (March 23, 2010)

[Update below]

To the news media, this is all ancient history, but the 2010 controversy over a proposed drinking water standard for the chemical perchlorate provides a perfect illustration and casebook study of the reckless rot within the Christie Administration.

It shows a pattern of: 1) reckless policy; 2) the use of spin, lies, and deception to defend the policy; 3) a practice of blaming others for mistakes when the policy is exposed and criticized; 4) an attack on critics; 5) all followed by failure to correct the problem, even after admitting a mistake and promising to do so.

Here’s the blow – by – blow, in a chronological nutshell (interested readers and fellow wonks can hit the links for the documents).

1. Christie Issues Reckless Executive Orders, Based On Slogans Not Science

Governor Christie’s first official act, taken in the first hour of his first day in office, was to issue a series of four Executive Orders designed to block and rollback State regulations.

The Whereas clauses of the Executive Orders read like press releases, relying not on traditional lawyerly rhetoric and clear legislative standards, but on political slogans like “common sense” and  “red tape“, suggesting – with absolutely no factual or legal support – that proposed rules were “unworkable, overly-proscriptive or ill-advised“.

Typical Christie – Shoot first, aim later, facts and the public interest be damned. That’s how an ideological and political agenda works.

Leading the pack, Executive Order #1 established a moratorium on new regulations and blocked scores of proposed regulations then in the rulemaking pipeline (see the list of proposed DEP rules impacted by Red Tape Review).

One of those proposed rules was a 2009 drinking water standard of 5 parts per billion for the chemical perchlorate.

According to DEP scientists, a drinking water standard was required for perchlorate because:

Health Effects: The adverse health effects of perchlorate arise from inhibition of iodine uptake into the thyroid gland, which may lead to disturbances of thyroid function at sufficient doses. Pregnant women and infants are considered to be sensitive subpopulations to the effects of perchlorate, as ingestion of elevated levels of perchlorate can cause hypothyroidism which can have serious consequences on neurodevelopment.

Christie’s EO#1 and subsequent review by his “Red Tape Commission” established by Executive Order #3 killed the DEP’s proposed drinking water standard (legally, rule proposals expire 1 year after proposal. Team Christie allowed the rule to quietly expire – a huge fact buried in the weeds of the DEP’s proposal archive), see:

2. DEP Commissioner Martin Shows Loyalty to His Boss, Not the Science, and Attacks DEP Scientists

Under EO#1 and the Red Tape Commission’s review process, proposed rules in the pipeline were not automatically killed. The proposed rules were reviewed 

to assess their potential or actual effects on New Jersey’s economy, to determine whether their costs and other burdens on businesses, workers and local governments outweigh their intended benefits

DEP Commissioner Martin refused to defend the proposed DEP perchlorate standard. He let the red tape review process effectively kill it.

This did not pass un-noticed by us or the NJ press corps

3. Martin Is Called Out

In an April 25, 2010 story, the Bergen Record reported: New Jersey backs off plans to test water supplies for a chemical found in rocket fuel and fertilizer

The Christie administration has backed off plans to require testing and treatment of drinking water for a chemical ingredient of fertilizer and rocket fuel that has been found in some private and public wells in North Jersey and which poses health risks for pregnant women and infants even with short-term exposure. […]

“Best case is that if the EPA decides later this year to regulate perchlorate, it will be another two years before they come out with the rule,” said Bill Wolfe, New Jersey director of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. “In the meantime New Jersey homeowners could be drinking contaminated water and not know it. Three years is the key development life of a child.”

Here at Wolfenotes, we were harsher in our assessment.

Echoing the Saddle River Board of Health and US Senate Environment Committee Chairwoman Boxer, we called Martin’s actions an  “Immoral Failure to Act To Protect Mothers and Infants” – we excerpted the Bergen Record story:

Support for rule

Duncan Carpenter, president of the Saddle River Board of Health, wrote to the DEP last month supporting the proposed perchlorate rule. He called it “an important public health protection that should be provided not only to the affected residents in our area, but also to residents in the rest of the state who may not be aware that their water supply is affected by this contaminant.”

In 2008, the EPA recommended that water suppliers treat for perchlorate if levels are above 15 parts per billion, but it didn’t make it a requirement. During her confirmation hearing to become EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, the former head of New Jersey DEP was questioned closely by Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, on perchlorate. Boxer described the EPA’s failure to act on the perchlorate issue as “immoral.”

4. Martin Flat Out Lies

Christie DEP Commissioner Bob martin

Christie DEP Commissioner Bob Martin

We were on top of the situation and immersed in the weeds and fine print, and noted that Martin claimed, in the Red Tape Review Report, that he had not adopted the proposal because he had consulted with EPA and was told that EPA would propose a national standard during the summer of 2010:

pending the issuance of federal standards from EPA this summer“. (Source: Red Tape Report, Appendix G, @page 113 HERE.]

That was a lie – and we had the EPA emails to prove it.

So, on April 26, 2010, we called Martin Out:  DEP Commissioner Martin Lied About EPA Perchlorate Standard

The next day, April 27, 2010, Martin appeared before the Senate Budget Committee. He got probing questions from Senator Buono.

Martin repeated the lie, but went further, with a bigger lie that attacked DEP scientists and called their work

shoddy, poor, not organized, and anecdotal” and that “there was little data and science to back it up”.

The next day, Martin went further over the top and issued an unprecedented DEP press release attacking Senator Buono.

It is a good thing I wrote about that at the time ( see: Martin Attacks Senator Buono) and excerpted text from the DEP press release, because it has been taken down from DEP’s Press Office website (another down the memory hole tactic this administration frequently uses to cover their tracks – they take down links all the time!)

IMMEDIATE RELEASE:               Contact: Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994
May 5, 2010                            Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795


(10/P35) TRENTON – Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin today refuted a statement by Senator Barbara Buono, who contended he has done an “about face’‘ on setting drinking water standards for the chemical perchlorate in New Jersey.

“I have not changed my position at all,” said Commissioner Martin. “From the start, I have insisted we need good, reliable data and scientific information before making such an important decision on water standards. We anticipate getting that information this summer, when we expect the federal EPA to share with us the results of research they have done and their direction on perchlorates.

[Note: some time after this post criticized the Orwellian tactic (down the memory hole), the DEP reinstated the above press release, but they left fingerprints: The original press release, which was taken down, was dated May 5, 2010 (see above screen shot). The revised reinstated release is dated May 7, 2010. GOTCHA! 1/5/17 ~~~ end.]

EPA never proposed a perchlorate MCL standard that summer as Martin stated. DEP’s science was not “shoddy”. Martin never proposed a standard in the absence of federal EPA inaction.

When a problem emerges: Deny, lie, blame others and attack critics for valid criticism. Then cover up the facts when you’re proven wrong. The Christie MO.

5. Martin Is Humiliated In A Bergen Record Editorial – Promises to Reverse Course and Propose Standard

Because we had the documents to support our arguments, we convinced the Bergen Record editorial board to write a scathingly critical editorial: “Cleaner Water”

Sadly, sensible does not always win the day, and it didn’t with perchlorate. Until Thursday, when Bob Martin, the new commissioner for the Department of Environmental Protection, did an about-face and said yes, in fact he would consider implementing restrictions on the chemical found in some drinking-water wells in New Jersey, one also found in fertilizer, rocket fuel, lubricating agents, matches and airbags. ….

Martin made a smart decision, and his willingness to change his mind is to be commended. Early last week he said he was waiting for more sound science from the EPA before deciding anything, and called the DEP research “shoddy.” That was not a smart decision.

Martin’s new opinion came about after he was embarrassed publicly. The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility released e-mails sent to Martin from the EPA that made clear that even if the agency imposed a limit, 6 1/2 years could elapse before the rule was in place, Staff Writer James O’Neill reported. Martin would have been playing Russian roulette with the public’s health.

One would think that the Bergen Record, after being duped ike that – both news and editorial -, would want to hold Martin accountable, 5 years later.

At the time, I relied on Martin’s “willingness to change hisw mind” and declared victory.

I rubbed Martin’s nose in it  – and encouraged DEP leakers to come forward confidentially, something I’m sure that really pissed him off.

In a May 3, 2010 “Note To DEP Readers” I wrote:

Ideally, while the editorial makes it crystal clear that Martin was wrong on both the science and the policy, we also would have liked to have forced an apology by Martin for his smear of DEP science, but that is unrealistic.

To obtain the documents that supported our arguments that led to this victory, we had to file both NJ OPRA and federal FOIA requests.

Commissioner Martin denied our OPRA requests to prevent us from getting this information.

So thank goodness for federal FOIA or it would have been impossible to document the abuse that occurred here.

Without credible documentation, it would have been impossible to hold Martin accountable, brief legislators to conduct oversight, and provide media with the factual basis for writing strong news stories and editorials that forced the Commissioner to reverse a bad decision.

We can repeat this success! But I can’t do it alone.

I need DEP documents! Absolutely confidentiality provided to sources.

So, I am asking that you help provide similar documentation to prevent the advance of bad policy or future bad decisions. (for examples, take a look at this prior PEER survey of all DEP employees: N.J. DEP EMPLOYEES SAY WHITMAN ADMINISTRATION SOFT ON POLLUTERS  – One in Four Report Orders to Ignore Violations

6. Five Years Go By, Martin Does Nothing, Not Held Accountable, It’s All Down the Memory Hole

Despite his statements to the Bergen Record editorial board, the Martin DEP never proposed the perchlorate standard – or more than a dozen other drinking water standards recommended by scientists.

Instead, Martin banned the Drinking Water Quality Institute from even meeting for over 4 years to block these kind of inconvenient scientific recommendations that embarrassed him and Governor Christie.

All those prior DWQI recommendations are Down the Memory Hole.

Where are all those mom’s with kids in strollers when you need them?

  • Conclusions:

So, there it is – we have all the elements of the Christie Administration in action:

  • reckless policy based on slogans that ignores science and the public interest
  • incompetent managers willing to lie to protect the Governor
  • incompetent managers will to attack their own staff to cover their asses
  • dishonorable managers who fail to honor their commitments
  • accountability free zone – the buck never stops

That pattern has been repeated in countless episodes over the past 5 years.

And that should be the focus of denunciations by press, Democrats, and environmentalists.

But, except for a few quarters, the silence is deafening.

[Update: A reader just sent me Todd Bates’ Asbury Park Press blog post: N.J. drinking water limit delayed

Take a look at the juxtaposition of the two closing quotes – which my reader correctly called “priceless”. ~~~~ end update]

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