Update (1300ET): During a press conference, the NTSB referenced a video from Salem, Ohio, about 20 miles from East Palestine which shows sparks and flames emitting from beneath the train. The apparent structural issue with the train was captured on a security camera when it was travelling through Salem. According to Michael Graham, board member on the NTSB, two videos they had obtained were indicative of mechanical issues attributed to the rail car axles which likely led to the derailment.
The second video obtained from when the train was passing through Salem was recorded by a processing plant nearby a hotbox detector which scans the temperature of the axles as trains pass by. According to Graham, the wayside defect detector reading resulted in an alarm alerting the crew of a mechanical issue shortly before the derailment in East Palestine. Consequently, that alert forced the train to execute an emergency brake application which may have been the cause of the derailment. Presently, the NTSB is reviewing the trains data and audio recordings in order to examine the cause of the derailment and which hotbox detector indicated a mechanical error preceding the accident. The NTSB is expected to issue a preliminary report on its findings within 30 days.
* * *
Submitted by ‘BlueApples’,
While the US government is dispensing millions of dollars in resources to treat balloons as an existential crisis, a small town in Ohio finds itself engulfed in what actually looks like the apocalypse. Perhaps by design, all of the drama surrounding violations of US airspace by Chinese spy initiatives has done well to keep what is becoming one of the worst environmental disasters in recent memory from getting any headlines.
The chaos began early last week when a train of more than 100 cars derailed in East Palestine, Ohio near the state’s border with Pennsylvania with roughly 5,000 residents. The accident launched fifty of those hundred freight cars from the tracks. Twenty of the freight cars on the train were carrying hazardous materials, ten of which were detailed. While the accident had no fatalities, of those ten cars, five contained pressurized vinyl chloride, a highly flammable carcinogenic gas.
In order to address the volatile scenario around the crash site, the Ohio Emergency Management Agency executed its plan of venting the toxic gas with a controlled burn in order to evade an uncontrolled explosion which presented the risk of catastrophic damage. “Within the last two hours, a drastic temperature change has taken place in a rail car, and there is now the potential of a catastrophic tanker failure which could cause an explosion with the potential of deadly shrapnel traveling up to a mile,” Gov. Mike DeWine warned in statement explaining the decision to take action to avert widespread devastation.
However, that operation sent large plumes of smoke containing vinyl chloride, phosgene, hydrogen chloride, and other gases into the air as the flames from the controlled burn raged on for days. Phosgene in particular is a highly toxic gas that can cause vomiting and respiratory trouble. The toxicity of phosgene gas is so potent that it was previously used as a chemical weapon during the First World War.
The hazardous airborne chemicals prompted officials to issue mandatory evacuation and shelter-in-place orders within a one-mile radius of where the train derailed. Those orders forced nearly 2,000 residents of East Palestine out of there homes. Despite the public safety risk in proximity to the crash site, over 500 people within the parameters of the evacuation order refused to leave their homes. However, those orders were lifted on February 8th, allowing residents to return to the area adjacent to the disaster.
Following the controlled burn, local authorities received multiple concerning reports from residents outside of the mile-long radius of the evacuation area conveying that the emergency posed by the disaster was far from over. One local farmer reported the sudden deaths of many of the animals on the premises of his farm, Park Dairy. The farmer, Taylor Holzer, also works with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as a registered foxkeeper. Following the disbursement of chemical agents into the air from the controlled burn, many of the foxes on Holzer’s farm experienced fatal effects from the air quality surrounding the area.
“Out of nowhere, he [a fox] just started coughing really hard, just shut down,” Holzer recalled to local media outlet WKBN 27 News. “This is not how a fox should act. He is very weak, limp. His eyes are very watery and weepy. Smoke and chemicals from the train, that’s the only thing that can cause it, because it doesn’t just happen out of nowhere,” he added.
“The chemicals that we’re being told are safe in the air, that’s definitely not safe for the animals…or people.”
Holzer’s concerns were echoed by reports from other residents who described similar conditions near their own properties. One of those residents was Katlyn Schwarzwaelder, the operator of a local dog kennel in nearby Darlington, Pennsylvania. The catastrophe caused her to leave her home despite the fact that it lies more than 10 miles away from the site of the controlled burn. After fleeing to Boardman, Ohio, 15 miles away from the derailment, Schwarzwaelder stated she received multiple reports of dead chickens, fish, and other animals from friends and acquaintances. One affected resident told Schwarzwaelder that they let their 2-year old dog out to use the bathroom only for it never to return. When they embarked upon a search for their missing pet, they found it dead in their yard.
Testimony from Holzer, Schwarzwaelder, and others paints a drastically different picture than the official narrative tailored by officials who assured residents that the situation was under control. The poor air quality presents short and long term health risks to the public considering the carcinogenic effects of the chemicals. Carcinogens like vinyl chloride can cause cancer in organs including the liver, according to Kevin Crist, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering who also serves as the Director of Ohio University’s Air Quality Center.
Although officials in charge of the emergency response utilized techniques like dispersion modeling in order to calculate and mitigate the risk of airborne chemicals, the chemicals disbursed following the derailment pose other significant risks of contamination. Chemicals also spilled into the Ohio River toward West Virginia, prompting officials from the neighboring state to shut down water production in the area and turn to alternative sources for water supply. Soil contamination is another significant risk that leaves officials weary of broader implications affecting public health than those associated with the air pollution alone.
However, the magnitude of those risks hasn’t been apparently recognized by the leadership across various states affected by the disaster. According to Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, there were no concerns regarding the air and water quality in the area. Nevertheless, the governor reiterated that a shelter-in-place order remained in effect for Pennsylvanians within two miles of East Palestine. Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency took a similar tone, stating nothing unexpected was seen following the controlled burn. James Justice of the EPA summed up his agencies position by saying “So far, so good and we’re going to continue to monitor until the fire’s out,”.
While the immediate risks presented by a possible explosion following the train’s derailment may have been averted, the emergency response may become an instance of a cure being worse than the disease it seeks to remedy. The accidents also brings the state of safety regulations surrounding rail transport of hazardous freight into a new light. Over the last five years alone, eight train derailments have occurred in the Pittsburgh metro area, leading to calls for increased oversight over the industry.
Despite the inherent risk that comes with transporting chemicals like vinyl chloride, the US Department of Transportation approved a rule to expand the scope of what hazardous materials can be transmitted by rail. The rule made it permissible for liquefied natural gas to be shipped by train without additional safety regulations. This enables freight trains to transport 100 more tank cards with up to 30,000 gallons of the natural gas extracted from shale fields.
“The risks of catastrophic liquefied natural gas releases in accidents is too great not to have operational controls in place before large blocks of tank cars and unit trains proliferate,” the National Transportation Safety Board wrote in a comment if support of the proposed rule. In response to that comment, critics of the rule highlighted how a potential explosion of just twenty-two tank cards filled with liquefied natural gas holds the same amount of explosive energy as the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in the waning days of the Second World War.
The ongoing crisis in East Palestine represents an environmental and humanitarian disaster that hasn’t been seen in the United States in recent memory. The scenes from East Palestine look as if they’re taken straight out of a horror film depicting nuclear winter.
In spite of that, the magnitude of this story has been seemingly scrubbed from the public view as national media outlets continue to run sensationalist headlines about issues that look innocuous in comparison. It is an instance of history being rewritten in real time, setting a precedent that would allow victims of other widespread devastation to be swept under the rug. However, the scenes of the horror engulfing this small town in America’s heartland may prove to make this disaster impossible to ignore, rightfully putting the spotlight on the shortcomings of state and federal agencies tasked with emergency response management whose continued lack of accountability enables them to fail the American public time and time again.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Washington Post Rubbishes Its Own Poll Showing Trump Has Close To 10 Point Lead Over Biden
“This survey…is probably an outlier”
The Washington Post has dismissed its own poll after it found that President Trump has a commanding approval lead over Joe Biden among voters.
The poll, conducted in conjunction with ABC News found that Trump has a 51% to 42% lead in a hypothetical 2024 general election matchup.
ABC News reported that support for Trump over Biden is up three percent since February, while Biden is down by two points.
However, The Post disavowed the poll, noting “The Post-ABC poll shows Biden trailing Trump by 10 percentage points at this early stage in the election cycle, although the sizable margin of Trump’s lead in this survey is significantly at odds with other public polls that show the general election contest a virtual dead heat.”
“The difference between this poll and others, as well as the unusual makeup of Trump’s and Biden’s coalitions in this survey, suggest it is probably an outlier,” the outlet also claimed.
The poll also found that Trump is beating Biden by a massive 20 points among young voters:
ABC News reported that the numbers registered in the poll are “simply staggering”:
Meanwhile, a similar NBC News poll has recorded a record high disapproval rating for Biden:
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Democratic Mayor Of Dallas: “American Cities Need Republicans… & I’m Becoming One”
While the Democratic Mayor of Dallas says the city has thrived, Eric Johnson writes in a very frank WSJ op-ed that, elsewhere, Democratic policies have exacerbated crime and homelessness.
“The future of America’s great urban centers depends on the willingness of the nation’s mayors to champion law and order and practice fiscal conservatism.
Our cities desperately need the genuine commitment to these principles (as opposed to the inconsistent, poll-driven commitment of many Democrats) that has long been a defining characteristic of the GOP.”
As we have written in detail previously, cities governed by Democrat mayors have seen the largest increases in homicide rates over the past year as well as registered the highest homicide rate per capita in Q1 out of 45 cities, according to a new report.
Homicide rates in 45 of the most populated American cities rose by approximately 10 percent on average between Q1, 2021 and Q1, 2023, and continue to rise, according to an April 26 report by WalletHub. Blue cities were found to have a higher increase in homicide rates compared to red cities. The report designated a city as red or blue based on the mayor’s political affiliation.
The top five cities that saw the greatest increase in per capita homicide are Richmond, Virginia; Memphis, Tennessee; Durham, North Carolina; Garland, Texas; and Washington, D.C.
Except for Garland, where Mayor Scott LeMay is a Republican, the remaining four cities have mayors who are affiliated with the Democratic Party.
The highest homicide rate per capita in the first quarter of 2023 was in Memphis at 14.19 per 100,000 residents. New Orleans, Louisiana, came in second at 12.76, followed by Baltimore, Maryland, with 10.47, St. Louis, Missouri, with 9.91, and Detroit, Michigan, with 8.52.
Excluding St. Louis, the other four cities have mayors affiliated with the Democratic Party. The mayor of St. Louis, Tishaura Jones, was a former Democrat member of the Missouri House of Representatives.
“In other words,” the Dallas Mayor adds:
“American cities need Republicans – and Republicans need American cities.”
He is able to lift the ‘mask’ and see the problem that troubles so many of America’s cities.
“Unfortunately, many of our cities are in disarray… Most of these local leaders are proud Democrats who view cities as laboratories for liberalism rather than as havens for opportunity and free enterprise.”
Again, he nails it, daring to suggest the unmentionables that we have previously reported, Gregg W. Etter, a professor at the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Central Missouri, blamed the tendency of politicians to seek “simplistic, one-size-fits-all solutions to complex problems” as a reason behind the spike in homicides across the nation.
Politicians offer such solutions to gain favor with political interest groups during elections, he pointed out. For instance, when faced with the issue of police using force in isolated instances, such politicians might support defunding the police rather than dealing with problematic officers.
This ends up resulting in a less-effective police force, higher response times, lower morale among officers, and an “increasing unwillingness” to engage in proactive policing, he said.
“This has left many police forces in a strictly reactive mode, only responding to crimes that have already occurred. In addition, no-cash bail rulings have put many dangerous criminals back onto the streets even though they are arrested several times for violent crimes,” Etter said.
“In cities where these two things are happening, the crime rate has spiked. You have less police officers and more dangerous criminals at large.”
“Too often, local tax dollars are spent on policies that exacerbate homelessness, coddle criminals and make it harder for ordinary people to make a living,” writes Johnson.
“And too many local Democrats insist on virtue signaling – proposing half-baked government programs that aim to solve every single societal ill – and on finding new ways to thumb their noses at Republicans at the state or federal level. Enough. This makes for good headlines, but not for safer, stronger, more vibrant cities.”
He concludes, with a strong suggestion at the ballot box
“…the overwhelming majority of Americans who call our cities home deserve to have real choices—not “progressive” echo chambers—at city hall.”
We can only imagine the anger raging among the leftists as this one man steps up and unleashes the terrible truth about liberal-run urbania. You’re not supposed to say any of that in your out-loud voice.
Is it time for change?Zero Hedge
Seattle Reverses Course, Makes Public Drug Use Arrestable Crime
According to KIRO7, public drug use can now end in arrest – though there remains a large effort to funnel drug users into treatment programs.
CB 120645 adds the crimes of using a controlled substance in public space and knowing possession of a controlled substance to the statute’s list of crimes. The move follows a Sept. 12 proposed ordinance passed by the Seattle City Council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee by a vote of 4-1.
Residents were sharply divided over the plan.
“There is no budget to support this and there is no plan, no care, compassion or commitment to do anything other than imprison our most vulnerable citizens,” said one woman during the public comment section during a committee meeting.
Others were for it.
“Restoring a safe and welcoming environment downtown will bring back residents, workers and visitors, increase the momentum needed to get downtown on a sustained path to recovery,” said one man.
The dissenting councilmember, Teresa Mosqueda, said the ordinance lacked attention to diversion efforts.
“I want people to get access to public health services just as much as the people who testified in support of this legislation say they want. But that is not what this legislation does. And without the funding that is purported to come with this bill, we have no assurances that there will be alternative structures and programs and diversion strategies to prevent people from going to jail. We do not have to pass this legislation,” she said.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
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