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Wicked Blue

Wicked Blue's Journal
Wicked Blue's Journal
April 21, 2022

Big Oil Touted Recycling to Sell More Plastic, and Left Cities Grappling With a Costly Waste Problem

NBC Washington
By James Pollard and Danielle Abreu

Just because that plastic item you rinsed out and placed in your recycling bin is labeled as recyclable doesn't mean it actually is.

In fact, according to a 2020 Greenpeace report, most types of plastics in the U.S. are not recyclable and usually end up in landfills or incinerators, if not polluting the environment. The vast majority of recycling facilities across the country can only accept two types of plastics, the report found, and even then only a small fraction of that plastic waste is actually processed.

How small? According to the Environmental Protection Agency less than 9% of plastic material generated in the U.S. Municipal Solid Waste stream was recycled in 2017 and 2018, the last years for which data is available. Another 15.8% was combusted for energy, while 75.6% was sent to landfills. Millions of tons also ends up in our oceans and rivers each year.


Hirsch pointed to a 2020 investigation by NPR and PBS’s “Frontline,” which found the makers of plastic — the nation’s largest oil companies — lobbied states in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s to mandate the “chasing arrows” symbol appear on all plastics. These petroleum companies and the industries that depend on plastic to bottle their products sold to the public the notion that the majority of plastic could be recycled, despite knowing otherwise and making billions of dollars in the process.


This is so depressing. The world is drowning in plastic.

April 13, 2022

Advice wanted: Pest control company is being a pest

Has anyone experienced something like this? Or know what to do about it?

About a year ago I hired a small local company to get rid of ants invading my house. I looked for one that used environmentally friendly materials.

They told me they did not do one-time treatments. I had to agree to four treatments. If I canceled before having all four, I had to pay a $375 early cancellation fee.

The guy that showed up was evasive about the stuff he sprinkled around the house foundation. I would have liked to cancel but didn't want to pay the fee. The final treatment was in October. I paid the bill and thought that was the end of it. I did not want to hire them again.

In January the company notified me that they were coming out that week to do another treatment. I said I did not want them to come as I didn't want to re-hire them. They told me in that case I owed them a $175 early cancellation fee. I told them I did not owe them a damned thing, that I'd paid for the required four treatments and that was the end of it.

They insist I owe the cancellation fee, and have been pestering me with emails, phone calls and letters. I don't answer them.

I looked through my paper files and computer files, and can't find any sort of paperwork or contract. I always file stuff like this, but there was nothing. I do remember signing something the guy from the company wanted me to sign. I can't remember if it was on an ipad or paper on a clipboard. This is driving me crazy. Did I have something in writing from them or not? My memory isn't as good as it used to be.

There was some kind of agreement of mine on the company's website, but they deleted my account so it's no longer there. In other words, I can find absolutely no proof of what I did or did not agree to. I clearly remember being told I had to agree to all 4 treatments and pay for them, which I did.

I don't feel I owe them anything. This ridiculous fee is for the privilege of not re-hiring them. Why should I pay for non-service?

April 11, 2022

Report of poisonous substance dropped on Mariupol


Comment in thread by Reddit poster on r/ukrainian Conflict:
IneptProfessional OP
18 min. ago

"The victims have respiratory failure, vestibulo-atactic syndrome. The consequences of using an unknown substance are being clarified."


Also on this Reddit thread:


And from Ukrainian Pravda:

"Russians have been threatening to trap Ukrainian fighters at the "Azovstal" plant in Mariupol and use chemical weapons against them.
The 36th Separate Marine Brigade, which is involved in defending Mariupol from Russian forces, has published a video address to Ukrainians in the Russian language. The statement said that 11 April could be the last battle for all defenders of Mariupol, and that the Ukrainian military command had not contacted the fighters for two weeks.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi later reacted, saying that the command had contact with the defending forces in Mariupol. He added that the details of the defence operation of Ukrainian defenders should not be the subject of public discussion."


Kyiv Independent

Monday, April 11 10:42 PM
external Azov: Russia used poisonous substance against Ukrainian troops in Mariupol.

The substance has been distributed by a drone, and its victims have shortness of breath and vestibullocerebellar ataxia, the Azov regiment said on April 11. It may be Russia’s first known use of chemical weapons in Ukraine.


April 5, 2022

How the Ukraine War Will Likely End

By George Friedman
GeoPolitical Futures
April 5, 2022

As we consider how the war in Ukraine will end, we must first understand how it began. Russia invaded for geostrategic reasons – having Ukraine as a buffer state safeguards Moscow from invasion from the west – and for economic reasons, which have often gone overlooked. The transition from the Soviet Union to the Russian Federation wasn’t exactly lucrative. It may have increased total wealth, but Russia remains a poor country. Its gross domestic product ranks just behind South Korea’s, a respectable placement but hardly where a superpower should be. And in terms of per capita GDP, Russia ranks 85th, nestled between Bulgaria and Malaysia.

Economic statistics rarely tell the whole story, of course, but in Russia’s case they fairly accurately present a country that is poorer than it appears, masked superficially by a top layer of the superrich elite. Life in major cities like St. Petersburg and Moscow is luxurious for the wealthy and bearable for the rest. Life in the countryside is something else entirely.

Individual regimes can’t be solely blamed for Russian poverty. The size of the nation, and the difficulties in areas such as transport associated with its size, makes Russia difficult to govern. From the time of the czars, it has been the state rather than shared economic prosperity that has kept Russia together. Often this has been achieved through the security services, which are tasked with maintaining state power, not with building an economy. It’s little wonder that the country that boasted the Okhrana also produced a president who cut his teeth in the KGB. Rightly or wrongly, Russia’s size and inefficiency tend to demand a strong hand.

This has created an expectation that the state will be strong even if the people are poor. There was pride in the czars and in Stalin – the so-called “man of steel.” But for a ruler to govern Russia, they must demonstrate strength. The intellectuals in Russia speak of democracy and human rights. The people want protection against invaders from without and against impoverishing chaos from within.

More at https://geopoliticalfutures.com/how-the-ukraine-war-will-likely-end/

Friedman concludes that Putin likely will continue to cling to power and blame everyone around him. And the war against Ukraine will go on unless Putin is somehow forced out.

April 5, 2022

Excellent long article about Russian mentality from a Finnish intelligence officer


The Russian idea of truth is interesting. After all, language tells how people think, how they perceive the world, and how society thinks. The United States has two words for positive rights: “liberty” and “freedom.” Russia has two words for truth and three words for lie. This is certainly not a coincidence.

There’s the word “pravda,” which is truth but not absolute truth. Rather, the kind of truth that gets rid of awkward or bad situations. It’s like tactical truth. “Istina” is the opposite of a lie. Istina is true, as true as can be. But pravda is rather… sometimes it can be true, at other times not so true.

There are three words for lie. “Vranyo” is a white lie but on the strategic level. It is also kind of a way to get rid of nasty situations. The Russians know it, but we don’t realize it. We think that there are only truth and lies in the world. It’s just black and white. But the lie in Russia was born under Mongol rule; violence and lying were the way to survive. This tradition has been in their system ever since.

Russia has the word “krugovaya poruka,” or gang guarantee. It means that when we have some set of people with a common goal. Be it the Kremlin leadership or the Russian armed forces or whatever. We have a common goal so I step out of the circle and lie to an outsider. My gang hears that I lie but they don’t judge me as a liar because they understand that I am using tactical truth (vranjo) to achieve the greater goals of our gang. The use of tactical truth, or a lie, is accepted if it is done for the benefit of the in-group. Just like you can steal when you don’t steal too much or from the wrong guy. You also get to lie if you lie for the sake of the gang.


My analysis: They are paranoid, cowardly bullies

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