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The Merchants of Thirst

KATHMANDU, Nepal — It had been 11 days since a ruptured valve reduced Kupondole district’s pipeline flow to a dribble, and the phones at Pradeep Tamanz’s tanker business wouldn’t stop ringing.

A Malaysian embassy residence had run perilously low on water, and the diplomats wanted to shower. They’d pay extra for a swift delivery. A coffee processing plant was on the verge of shutting down production after emptying its storage tank. It, too, would shell out whatever amount of money it would take. Across the neighborhood and other parts of the city, the calls were coming in so feverishly that Sanjay, a tanker driver, jokily wondered if he might get carjacked. “This is like liquid gold,” he said, jabbing at his precious cargo, large amounts of which seeped from every hatch. “Maybe more than gold.”

Dashing from filling stations to houses and factories and back, Mr. Tamanz tried to meet demand. His three tanker crews slept in one or two-hour spurts, often in the cramped, refrigerator-sized truck cabins, and kept the tankers on the road for up to 19 hours a day. He fobbed off business to competitors, an unusual practice in the cutthroat world of Kathmandu tanker men, and even sounded out a mechanic about converting a flatbed truck into a new tanker. With fat profits pouring in, the young businessman figured it might soon repay its cost.

But no matter how hard the crews worked or how furiously they pushed their lumbering vehicles over the potholed roads, there was no satisfying the city’s needs. The going was too slow. The water shortage too severe. By the time the pipeline was fully restored, some households had subsisted on nothing but small jerrycans for almost an entire month. “You know it’s not even peak season, but this is what happens here,” Mr. Tamanz said. “Just imagine what things would be like if we didn’t exist?” He trailed off as his phone rang once more.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166763508_21ed48a9-3e32-4a59-914a-3a441328dab5-articleLarge The Merchants of Thirst Water Pollution water Urban Areas Shortages privatization Poverty nepal KATHMANDU, Nepal Jordan Infrastructure (Public Works) India Global Warming Aquifers

Women filling the jars from the water being supplied by the government water authority every four days in Bhaktapur. Credit…Purnima Shrestha for The New York Times

In Kathmandu, as in much of South Asia and parts of the Middle East, South America and sub-Saharan Africa, these men and their tanker trucks sometimes prevent entire cities from running dry. Without them, millions of households wouldn’t have sufficient water to cook, clean or wash. Or perhaps any at all. And without them, an already deteriorating infrastructure might break down completely, as the tanker men know well. “The city depends on us,” said Maheswar Dahal, a businessman who owns six trucks in Kathmandu’s Jorpati district. “There would be disaster if we didn’t do our work.”

Yet there’s another side to them, too, one that is less pleasant and sometimes outright nasty. Tankers frequently deliver poor quality water, which can sicken. They usually charge much more than the state, devastating to the poor. Tanker water costs on average 10 times more than government-supplied pipeline water, according to a World Resources Institute study of water access in 15 cities across the developing world, a figure that rises to 52 times more in Mumbai.

Greedy, uncompromising and fearful of being knocked from their perch, some tanker operators even conspire among themselves to fortify the conditions that contributed to their emergence in the first place. Locals tell tales of frequent underhand deal making, pipeline sabotage and egregious environmental destruction. “They’re all thieves, rotten thieves, who should be hanged,” said Dharaman Lama, a landlady who rents out rooms alongside the Bagmati River in the Nepali capital. “It’s disgusting what they do to us.”

In some ways, these tankers are just another phase in a decades-long global process of water privatization. Many authorities believe the private sector is better at eking results out of overwhelmed utilities and have given up control of key resources. Tankers have piggybacked off that trend to secure contracts, or simply muscle in, across dozens of cities — even as officials elsewhere have concluded that water is best kept in public hands and reined in corporatized services.

The tanker fleet in Karachi, Pakistan, might have doubled over the past decade. The number in Lagos, Nigeria, has quadrupled during that time, two researchers there estimated to me, though, like in many other cities, its tankers operate in such administrative shadows that not even ballpark estimates exist. In Yemen, tankers have cornered much of the urban market since the Saudi-led intervention began in 2015. And throughout the Indian subcontinent, in particular, tanker businesses big and small have boomed as the region’s cities have swelled. Often arriving in puffs of acrid black smoke, these leaky, rust-coated beasts have become a ubiquitous sight from Bangladesh to Bolivia.

But the tanker industry might also be an early illustration of how parts of the private sector stand to profit from a warming and fast-urbanizing world. The urban population of South Asia alone is projected to almost triple to 1.2 billion by 2050, and as infrastructure decays and cities continue to sprawl into areas that aren’t served at all, tankers are well-placed to absorb some of the shortfall. Up to 1.9 billion city dwellers might experience seasonal water shortages by midcentury, according to the World Bank.

“Tankers meet a need in the short and medium-term,” said Victoria Beard, a professor of city and regional planning at Cornell University. “ You can function without electricity, but not without water. And where you have no alternatives, you’re going to have all sorts of players filling the gap.”

For city authorities that are already struggling to maintain the current supply as climate change strikes, let alone source additional water, tankers can seem like a safety net they feel powerless to resist. When severe drought emptied Cape Town’s reservoirs in 2017 and 2018, wealthy residents sidestepped restrictions by buying extra water from informal operators. When Chennai, one of India’s largest cities, almost ran dry amid weak rains this summer, over 5000 private tankers ferried in water from outside. As these shocks intensify and affect more cities, the tanker men look set for boom times.

Perched at the foot of the water-rich Himalayas and blessed with a fierce monsoon, Kathmandu should never have become a poster child for the perils of tanker dependence. But years of rampant state mismanagement and booming in-migration from the countryside, particularly during the Maoist insurgency, have massively overextended the its pipeline network. Interviews with dozens of businessmen, officials, and residents reveal the extent to which the tanker industry has taken full advantage.

Beginning in the late 1990s, tankers began to spread from neighborhood to neighborhood, picking up customers among both poor and rich residents. At first, they were welcomed as a solution to the city’s interminable water pipeline disruptions. That soon changed as the less affluent began to chafe at their high prices and unsavory practices. Previously run-of-the-mill tasks, like washing, began to require careful financial calculations. “Before, I didn’t think about how often I could shower or when I can clean the house,” said Laxmi Magar, a housewife and mother of six. “But now that water is so expensive I watch every drop.”

Many families have been forced to alter what they cook, how they cook and whom they host. Water-intensive dishes, such as spinach, are off the menu for many. Large open fires in aging apartment blocks are frowned upon because there is insufficient water to douse flames if they spread. In a country where hospitality is treasured, guests are sometimes unwanted, or almost feared, as extra bodies to accommodate. At roughly 1800 Nepali rupees ($15.60) for 5000 liters, tanker water is about 40 times more expensive than pipeline water.

Among the city’s poorest and most vulnerable, tanker shenanigans have fueled some of the worst urban water access in the world. Because few of Kathmandu’s slums are connected to the water grid, they’re completely dependent on outside assistance during the dry season. The tankers raise their rates accordingly. And because many of these areas have narrow, tuk-tuk-wide streets sprawled across steep hills that often turn to mush in the monsoon, the bigger trucks can’t get through, meaning residents have to buy in smaller sums from middlemen at grossly inflated prices. Even ostensibly middle-class families are suffering as a consequence.

Nira Kasaju and her husband work in government factories in Bhaktapur, a city a few miles to Kathmandu’s east, and together earn more than their neighbors. But with limited vehicular access to their crumbling 17th century apartment building, they depend on narrow-bodied, tractor-drawn tankers that sell water at double the normal rate. They’ve since had to cut back on everything from toys for their children to holiday decorations. “Whatever it costs, we pay. We have no choice,” Ms. Kasaju said, as she sprinkled her stairwell with a few drops of water to keep the dust down. “This is unacceptable, of course, but what can we do?”

The World Health Organization recommends that households spend no more than 3 to 5 percent of their income on water, but tanker-dependent Nepalis shell out up to 20 percent of their earnings, a figure that can rise to over 50 percent in parts of rural Jordan.

Many customers say they would be able to manage the expense if only the water came clean. But that’s increasingly not the case. Residents report frequent skin problems, intestinal bugs and diarrhea, which compels those who can afford it to spend more money on “jugs” of potable water, and forces those who can’t to miss school or workdays. Again, it’s the poorest and most captive customers who get the worst of the water. (It could be even worse. Tankers in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba have been known to fill from chlorinated swimming pools, according to a WRI researcher in that city.)

Tankers strike deals with corrupt officials to limit pipeline flow and thus maximize their earnings, while also campaigning against public works projects that might break their strangleholds. In Lalitpur, Kathmandu’s adjoining city, residents around the landmark Patan Durbar Square said tankers paid officials not to fix many of the free, ornate public standpipes that were knocked out by the deadly 2015 earthquake. It’s a similar in Bangalore, India, where some state valve men are reportedly conspiring with businessmen.

Competition among Kathmandu’s roughly 400 tanker-owning businessmen is so ferocious that they regularly smash one another’s vehicles and call in favors from friendly politicians to shut down their rivals. “The competition is just unhealthy,” said Dharmanda Shresthra, who owns three tankers and a water bottling factory. “Everyone is always after each other and after profit, and it affects the quality of the water.”

And, crucially, the kingpins have few inhibitions about over-exploiting water resources, jeopardizing the environment and their cities’ long-term vitality. Tankers are tapping groundwater so relentlessly that many wells yield up to 20 percent less water every year. Dozens of deep boreholes and springs have already been exhausted. Unless there is a dramatic change of course, water experts — and many of the tanker men themselves — fear there will soon be few local resources left to tap.

Standing alongside the water filling station he operates at Khahare, in the hills to the south of Kathmandu, Krishna Hari Thapa was in a reflective mood in October. For the best part of a decade, he’s watched — and profited — as the number of tankers at his spring has increased from around 30 to over 80 a day. He’s watched too as the once mighty local spring has slowed to an unimpressive trickle. “Twenty years ago, it was like a river here, and now it’s not. You can only guess what it will look like in another twenty years,” he said. But Mr. Thapa won’t stop, no matter how low the flow goes, he says. The money is too good. And besides, “where else would people get water?”

Amid mounting public anger and shriveling resources, even big-time tanker operators admit their industry is out of control. For all their distasteful ways, though, the tanker men say they’re not the biggest villains in this sordid saga. That label, they insist, is best applied to the state, without whose repeated failures they never would have had an opening. The industry has a point. “Let’s face it: the private sector came in because the public sector failed,” said Dipak Gyawali, a political economist and former water minister. “And until you clean up government’s act, nothing will change. The tankers are just a symptom.”

These failures begin with the pipelines. Kathmandu Valley’s water delivery is so poor that its recipients average as little as one hour of running water every week, during which they’re expected to fill rooftop or underground cisterns. The pressure is so weak that many households capture no more than 250 liters on each occasion. For these people and the roughly 30 percent of residents who receive nothing at all, tankers tide them over until the next pipeline flow. Officials recognize it’s a crisis, but say the solution is out of their hands.

“Frankly speaking, the demand-supply gap is huge: demand is 400 million liters a day. Supply varies from 90 to 150 million liters,” said Sanjeev Bickram Rana, the executive director of the Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Management Board. “How can we bridge that gap?”

The roads in the area also impede water delivery to residents. Most trucks source their water in places like Khahare, where the terrain begins its slow climb to the Himalayas. But the rural roads are so rough that they can’t drive fast for fear of snapping axles, and the city’s poorly designed transport network is frequently snarled with traffic. Businessmen say their trucks could perform double their current daily average of four deliveries and thus sell more cheaply if they could move quicker. But with no expectation of improved roads, tanker drivers have implemented their own precautions.

Some pad their ceilings with folded newspapers to cushion the blows as they get bounced around their suspension-less vehicles; others deck their cabins out with so much religious iconography they can scarcely see through their windshields. The most impatient, or those who work the most traffic-clogged routes, take things further. Many trucks have equipped themselves with mini TVs or booming sound systems.

The government’s proposed solution to these grave water shortages, the Melamchi project, has turned into a four-decade-long fiasco of almost unrivaled incompetence. First proposed in the 1970s and begun in 2000, this scheme to divert a mountain river from the Himalayas has been so delayed that the water it will bring — 170 million liters a day in its first phase — is already insufficient to cover half of Kathmandu’s needs. It’s not a good plan, anyway, experts say. The pipeline network is so riddled with holes that “you could have Lake Baikal on the other end and it still wouldn’t be enough, ”Mr. Gyawali said.

In an interview at her family’s tightly guarded compound, Bina Magar, the minister of water supply, blames her predecessors for the severity of the water deficit. “For so long we had unstable governments that have lasted one year, six months, eight months.” she said. “Now we have an opportunity to bring stability and fix everything.” And while the minister conceded that tankers have helped mask the state’s shortcomings — so much so that every ministerial residence relies on them — she insists they’re living on borrowed time. “They charge too much. We charge much less. Once Melamchi is complete, we will be the answer.”

But corruption and bureaucracy riddle almost every level of state, ensuring the tankers perform even worse than they otherwise might. Tanker men field so many demands for bribes that they sometimes keep wads of cash on hand for that purpose. If they don’t pay sums that vary from 5,000 ($43) to 100,000 ($866) rupees, they can get shut down, a dozen businessmen said. These costs, too, must be passed on to the consumer. Officials are noticeably tentative in their denials. “These claims are not related to our organization, but perhaps the traffic police or someone else,” said Mr. Rana of the water management board, citing what’s widely seen as the greediest branch of Nepali officialdom.

In fact, the state’s disregard for the water sector is so pronounced that the poor quality of tanker water is as much a consequence of shoddy or nonexistent regulation as opportunism. The state implemented a color-coded sticker system to gauge tanker water in 2012 — green for drinkable water, blue for household use, yellow for construction-quality — but years on it still isn’t properly enforced. Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Management Board says it lacks the resources to monitor more than three days a week; the tanker men say officials don’t care as long as their pockets are lined. No one disagrees that it’s a mess.

As chairman of the largest water tanker association, Pradeep Prasad Pathak is charged with defending business interests, a task that he said is getting trickier as the state falls back on “divide and rule” tactics by playing off tanker men against one another. “The government has never felt responsible for supplying water to the people. It’s always the case in cities like Kathmandu that people like us do their job for them,” he said. Some tanker men lack the education to differentiate between good water and bad, he acknowledged, which is precisely why the industry needs to be regulated. “We’re not heroes. We need some controls as well.”

For the time being, neither the state nor most tankers have much inclination to change their ways. Circumstances might soon force their hand, though. Demand for water is growing so swiftly that tanker operators can’t meet all orders in the dry season, no matter how much they hike their prices. “Every year, more people come to us, which is great,” said Maheswar Dahal, the Jorpati tanker man. “But in the winter, we have to tell them, ‘it might take five days,’ or sometimes we just have to say ‘no.’” In times of scarcity, it’s the best customers, generally the rich, who get priority from the pipeline and tanker operators alike.

Supply is also shrinking, in part because authorities are mishandling growth that in Kathmandu, as in most South Asian cities, is far outpacing that of the region at large. In addition to the tankers’ over-exploitation of boreholes, the city is eating into its remaining forests, which feed the springs, while also sprawling over aquifer recharge areas. For much of the rainy season and the months that follow, many households use hand pumps to extract from the shallow aquifers under their properties and provide for at least some of their needs, but the more the valley is tarmacked over the less the groundwater is replenished. Climate change, in turn, is making the rains more erratic, which limits rooftop rainwater harvesting, and fuels floods that contaminate some aquifers.

And as this gap between supply and demand widens, the public is beginning to lash out. Residents of water-impoverished districts have assaulted water officials when they venture into their areas. Water tankers have been attacked when they have gone on strike, and people are increasingly fighting each other as water becomes scarcer and more expensive. Though many Kathmandu area farmers welcome tanker men and often make more from leasing wells than growing crops, increasing numbers of their peers in India and elsewhere are butting heads with businessmen whom they accuse of drilling them dry. “We get no water from the pipelines, less water from our well, and we can’t afford tanker water. Of course we’re angry!” said Anjali Tamang, a student, as she picnicked with friends along the Bagmati.

With some households subsisting on as little as 15 liters per person a day, well below the United Nations’s minimum acceptable standard of 20 liters for refugees, community leaders warn of more severe violence unless the government solves the crisis.

There are signs of hope. With their profits threatened by depleted resources, some tanker men have begun to adopt more sustainable extraction practices. In Chandragiri, a fast-expanding outer neighborhood of Kathmandu, six tanker men have banded together to try and save the forest on which their springs — and income — depend. In several municipalities far to the south of the capital, local administrators have signaled what can happen when they, not the central government, are entrusted with control of utilities. Hetauda municipality now delivers at least six hours of running water a day, at 60 percent of the price the state charges in the capital, which has shut out most private water providers.

Away from Nepal, in other water-impoverished megacities, authorities have proved that seemingly intractable shortages can be addressed, or at least somewhat allayed, while reining in private tankers. From Delhi, which is rehabilitating up to 500 lakes and wetlands in order to boost groundwater recharge, to large parts of urban sub-Saharan Africa, where public standpipe access has expanded, a number of cities are at least trying to cut back on informal water provision. “I think optimism at this point would just make us complacent, but not everything is lost,” said Aditi Mukherji, a senior researcher at the International Water Management Institute in New Delhi. “We have solutions, even if none of them are easy.”

But until Kathmandu and its growing cohort of struggling urban peers radically alter their ways, they won’t be among that select few. Residents certainly expect little to change. If anything, they’re gearing up for more thirst, more expense and even more vulture-like practices.

On a Saturday morning in late October, Sunita Suwal waited outside her house in Bhaktapur for the weekly pipeline delivery to flow. She grew increasingly angry as the scheduled time passed. Then, she waited another hour, losing out on a shift at a seamster’s workshop that she could ill afford to miss. Finally, as the morning ticked by with no water in sight, Ms. Suwal snapped. “The state fails us. The tanker men rob us,” she said. “They all just want to make money from us. Really, what’s the difference?”

Rojita Adhikari contributed reporting from Kathmandu.

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Trump Wants a Review of Toilets: Americans Are Flushing ‘10 Times, 15 Times’

ImageWestlake Legal Group 07trumtoilet-image1-articleLarge Trump Wants a Review of Toilets: Americans Are Flushing ‘10 Times, 15 Times’ water Trump, Donald J Environmental Protection Agency Energy Efficiency Electric Light Bulbs Bathrooms and Toilets

President Trump discussed water efficiency standards on Friday at a White House meeting about small businesses and reducing red tape.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

President Trump is taking on Americans’ flushing habits and the country’s water efficiency standards.

“We have a situation where we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers and other elements of bathrooms, where you turn the faucet on — in areas where there’s tremendous amounts of water, where the water rushes out to sea because you could never handle it — you turn on the faucet, you don’t get any water,” he said Friday at a White House meeting about small businesses and reducing red tape.

Mr. Trump also noted that “people are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times as opposed to once” and that “they end up using more water,” according to a transcript of the discussion.

He said the federal Environmental Protection Agency was looking at the issue at his suggestion.

“So we’re looking at, very seriously, at opening up the standard. And there may be some areas where we’ll go the other route — desert areas. But for the most part, you have many states where they have so much water that it comes down — it’s called rain — that they don’t know, they don’t know what to do with it,” he said.

Older toilets use as much as six gallons per flush, according to the E.P.A. website. The agency also notes that recent advancements allow low-flow toilets to use 1.28 gallons or less per flush.

“This is 20 percent less water than the current federal standard of 1.6 gallons per flush,” the agency said.

In 1994, the National Energy Policy Act — part of which said that new water fixtures, including toilets, shower heads and bath and kitchen faucets, had to have water-saving designs — went into effect.

Over the years, there has been criticism from conservative groups and regulatory opponents about the government regulating water flow as it relates to toilets and other plumbing fixtures that save water.

At the meeting on Friday, Mr. Trump also talked about new efficiency standards for light bulbs.

“They got rid of the light bulb that people got used to,” he said. “The new bulb is many times more expensive, and I hate to say it, it doesn’t make you look as good. Of course, being a vain person, that’s very important to me.”

“It gives you an orange look. I don’t want an orange look,” he added, to laughter at the table. “So we’ll have to change those bulbs in at least a couple of rooms where I am in the White House.”

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Nestlé Says It Can Be Virtuous and Profitable. Is That Even Possible?

Westlake Legal Group 15nestle-01-facebookJumbo Nestlé Says It Can Be Virtuous and Profitable. Is That Even Possible? water Schneider, Mark Obesity Nestle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Global Warming Food Diet and Nutrition Agriculture and Farming

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Mark Schneider, the chief executive of the Swiss food giant Nestlé, gripped a bun-clad concoction that looked like a bacon cheeseburger but contained no actual bacon, cheese or beef. He took a bite.

It was a faux-meat, dairy-free mouthful symbolizing what may be the future of the food industry. It was also a manifestation of how big corporations like Nestlé are responding to increasingly intense pressure to help fight climate change.

Vegan burgers, Mr. Schneider said, are a response to rising consumer concern about the healthiness of red meat and to criticism that cattle farming is bad for the climate.

“The reason I like the plant-based so much is this is where the two kind of connect,” he said between bites at Nestlé’s research and development center in Lausanne. “There’s an environmental side to it, and there’s a healthy nutrition side to it.”

Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, is in the pincers of both trends. It makes products that permeate daily life around the globe, like baby formula, coffee, ice cream, pet food and bottled water, and activists blame it for draining aquifers, fueling obesity with fatty and sugary foods and littering the world with plastic packaging.

The demands on Nestlé and other corporations are growing as consumers pay more attention to the environmental effect of what they eat. Agriculture accounts for more than a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions, and plastic production and incineration account for an additional 10 percent or so. There is no way to avoid catastrophic climate change without action by the food industry.

Pressure to behave more virtuously has also been coming from investors. Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest investment fund, has put companies on notice that it expects them to serve a social purpose, not just generate dividends for shareholders.

That does not necessarily mean that investors are willing to sacrifice profit for sustainability, Mr. Schneider said. “From the financial results side, people are not cutting you a lot of slack,” he said.

But at least some shareholders have become more willing to take the long view. “To me, the difference is time horizon,” Mr. Schneider said. “Take the burger here. A Swiss franc we spend on developing the burger is a burden to this quarter’s profits. Next year or the year after, it will come back to us if we do our job right.”

Studies support the idea that profit and sustainability are compatible over the long run. Shares of companies perceived as environmentally responsible significantly outperformed shares of companies that were not, according to a study published by Deutsche Bank in September. The same report found that consumers were becoming more likely to base buying decisions on whether they believed brands were kind to the environment.

Jolted by movements like FridaysForFuture, a global climate protest staged by schoolchildren, companies are responding in a way that sometimes feels like panic. Hardly a day goes by without a big corporation’s promising to install solar panels on its factory roofs, buy battery-powered delivery vehicles or finance a reforestation project in Borneo. Increasingly, being green is a commercial imperative.

But corporate history is full of cases where claims to be environmentally responsible proved to be exaggerated if not outright fraudulent. Volkswagen said in 2010 that its goal was to be the most ecologically minded car company in the world. At the same time, Volkswagen engineers were rigging millions of cars to cheat on emissions tests.

During an interview and lab tour that lasted several hours, Mr. Schneider insisted that Nestlé’s commitment to the environment and public nutrition was sincere and longstanding. For example, he pointed out, Nestlé adds iron to Maggi brand bouillon cubes to address a common nutritional deficiency in Africa, where the product is a cooking staple.

“No one asked us to fortify these bouillon cubes,” Mr. Schneider said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Born in Germany, Mr. Schneider, 54, earned an M.B.A. from Harvard. Before being recruited to Nestlé in 2017, he was chief executive of Fresenius, a health care company in Bad Homburg, a city near Frankfurt. He drives a Tesla and said one of his hobbies was making vegetable drinks.

As part of a companywide campaign to reduce plastic waste, he recently volunteered to help clean up garbage along the Seine in Paris. In September, Nestlé inaugurated the Institute of Packaging Sciences in Lausanne, which has a goal to ensure that all of the company’s packaging will be recyclable or reusable by 2025 and that none of it will end up in landfills or floating in the Pacific.

Activists say recycling is not a solution. Experience shows that even recyclable packaging usually winds up being thrown away. Poorer countries lack the necessary infrastructure. The solution is to make packaging reusable, said Graham Forbes, global project leader for Greenpeace’s plastics campaign.

“If they want to remain viable in the future, they need to embrace the direction young people want to go, which is away from throwaway culture,” Mr. Forbes said.

Nestlé’s size and dizzying array of products mean that the company, based on the shore of Lake Geneva in Vevey, is often in the cross hairs of activist groups. Nestlé has more than 300,000 employees, and sales last year were $93 billion. It operates in virtually every country.

One of the biggest knocks against Nestlé is that it promotes obesity in places like Africa, a growth market, by getting consumers hooked on sugary and fatty foods. The company’s products include Nesquik flavored milk powders, KitKat chocolate bars and Häagen-Dazs ice cream.

“In the developing world, the sudden availability of high-calorie, sugary, fatty products has displaced traditional products,” said Oliver Huizinga, head of research and campaigns at Foodwatch Germany, a watchdog group. “That is certainly one reason for the epidemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.”

Nestlé, sensitive to the criticism, says it has already cut sugars in its products by more than a third since 2000 and will cut them by an additional 5 percent by next year. It has set similar targets for saturated fat and salt.

At the Lausanne labs, scientists in white coats, working in labs with all-white surfaces, swish colored liquids around in beakers as they search for formulas that preserve taste while reducing sugar, saturated fat and salt.

The company has also promised to add more vegetables and fiber-rich ingredients like nuts, whole grains and beans to its products.

Still, there will always be an element of indulgence in some foods, Mr. Schneider said. “We would be defining food and beverage way too narrowly if you say only what makes you live longer and healthier is good,” he said. “That’s not the reality in which we all live.”

Mr. Huizinga of Foodwatch said corporations were unlikely to ever voluntarily stop selling their most profitable items, and called for restrictions on marketing sugary foods to children and other regulatory measures.

“The state has to act and not wait for Nestlé to someday stop selling unhealthy food,” Mr. Huizinga said.

Bottled water is another business where Nestlé is often on the defensive. The company owns brands including Perrier, San Pellegrino and Poland Spring. Last year, Nestlé’s water business generated almost $8 billion in sales.

But in places like Florida and California, the company has been accused of contributing to the depletion of spring-fed aquifers and selling a public resource at a profit. Bottling water and trucking it to stores are considered per se wasteful in developed countries where the tap water is just fine.

On a rainy morning recently, Cédric Egger, a geological hydrologist who is Nestlé’s corporate water resources manager, led a tour of the hills above the Swiss village of Henniez to demonstrate why he believes the accusations are unfair.

Nestlé acquired the Henniez mineral water brand in 2008 from a family company that had owned it for a century.

“The farmers were suspicious,” said Olivier Mayor, whose land is in the so-called catchment area where rain collects and then, over the course of years, seeps through underground rock to emerge at a spring near the village. “We have been here for centuries.”

But Mr. Mayor said Nestlé worked with him and other farmers to improve their agricultural techniques in a way that also protected the quality of the water.

For example, Nestlé fuels a biogas plant next to the Henniez bottling facility with local manure and spent coffee grounds from recycled Nespresso pods. Farmers use the waste as fertilizer, cutting down on their use of chemical fertilizer.

“This is the water stewardship strategy we are trying to diffuse worldwide,” Mr. Egger said.

Mr. Schneider defended bottled water in principle, noting that sales have surpassed carbonated soft drinks. “Water is the healthiest form of hydration,” he said.

He acknowledged that the company had work to do to reduce its impact on the planet. “There is the environmental side,” Mr. Schneider said. “We fully own up and step up to the plate when it comes to that responsibility.”

The vegan bacon cheeseburger is Nestlé’s entry into the veggie burger arms race. The taste was convincing to a Times reporter who, for health reasons, had not tasted a real bacon cheeseburger for many years.

Nestlé plans to supply the burger to restaurant chains, but has not yet announced any customers. The company is already selling plant-based burgers and other meat substitutes under the Sweet Earth brand in the United States and the Garden Gourmet brand in Europe.

Because cattle and dairy farming are major sources of greenhouse gases, the ersatz meats have the potential to serve the twin ideals of saving the planet and making money.

“Clearly, if we want to feed a planet of 10 billion people in a few decades,” Mr. Schneider said, “having more plant-based alternatives and a more plant-based diet is going to be a big support.”

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Nestlé Says It Can Be Virtuous and Profitable. Is That Even Possible?

Westlake Legal Group 15nestle-01-facebookJumbo Nestlé Says It Can Be Virtuous and Profitable. Is That Even Possible? water Schneider, Mark Obesity Nestle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Global Warming Food Diet and Nutrition Agriculture and Farming

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Mark Schneider, the chief executive of the Swiss food giant Nestlé, gripped a bun-clad concoction that looked like a bacon cheeseburger but contained no actual bacon, cheese or beef. He took a bite.

It was a faux-meat, dairy-free mouthful symbolizing what may be the future of the food industry. It was also a manifestation of how big corporations like Nestlé are responding to increasingly intense pressure to help fight climate change.

Vegan burgers, Mr. Schneider said, are a response to rising consumer concern about the healthiness of red meat and to criticism that cattle farming is bad for the climate.

“The reason I like the plant-based so much is this is where the two kind of connect,” he said between bites at Nestlé’s research and development center in Lausanne. “There’s an environmental side to it, and there’s a healthy nutrition side to it.”

Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, is in the pincers of both trends. It makes products that permeate daily life around the globe, like baby formula, coffee, ice cream, pet food and bottled water, and activists blame it for draining aquifers, fueling obesity with fatty and sugary foods and littering the world with plastic packaging.

The demands on Nestlé and other corporations are growing as consumers pay more attention to the environmental effect of what they eat. Agriculture accounts for more than a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions, and plastic production and incineration account for an additional 10 percent or so. There is no way to avoid catastrophic climate change without action by the food industry.

Pressure to behave more virtuously has also been coming from investors. Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest investment fund, has put companies on notice that it expects them to serve a social purpose, not just generate dividends for shareholders.

That does not necessarily mean that investors are willing to sacrifice profit for sustainability, Mr. Schneider said. “From the financial results side, people are not cutting you a lot of slack,” he said.

But at least some shareholders have become more willing to take the long view. “To me, the difference is time horizon,” Mr. Schneider said. “Take the burger here. A Swiss franc we spend on developing the burger is a burden to this quarter’s profits. Next year or the year after, it will come back to us if we do our job right.”

Studies support the idea that profit and sustainability are compatible over the long run. Shares of companies perceived as environmentally responsible significantly outperformed shares of companies that were not, according to a study published by Deutsche Bank in September. The same report found that consumers were becoming more likely to base buying decisions on whether they believed brands were kind to the environment.

Jolted by movements like FridaysForFuture, a global climate protest staged by schoolchildren, companies are responding in a way that sometimes feels like panic. Hardly a day goes by without a big corporation’s promising to install solar panels on its factory roofs, buy battery-powered delivery vehicles or finance a reforestation project in Borneo. Increasingly, being green is a commercial imperative.

But corporate history is full of cases where claims to be environmentally responsible proved to be exaggerated if not outright fraudulent. Volkswagen said in 2010 that its goal was to be the most ecologically minded car company in the world. At the same time, Volkswagen engineers were rigging millions of cars to cheat on emissions tests.

During an interview and lab tour that lasted several hours, Mr. Schneider insisted that Nestlé’s commitment to the environment and public nutrition was sincere and longstanding. For example, he pointed out, Nestlé adds iron to Maggi brand bouillon cubes to address a common nutritional deficiency in Africa, where the product is a cooking staple.

“No one asked us to fortify these bouillon cubes,” Mr. Schneider said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Born in Germany, Mr. Schneider, 54, earned an M.B.A. from Harvard. Before being recruited to Nestlé in 2017, he was chief executive of Fresenius, a health care company in Bad Homburg, a city near Frankfurt. He drives a Tesla and said one of his hobbies was making vegetable drinks.

As part of a companywide campaign to reduce plastic waste, he recently volunteered to help clean up garbage along the Seine in Paris. In September, Nestlé inaugurated the Institute of Packaging Sciences in Lausanne, which has a goal to ensure that all of the company’s packaging will be recyclable or reusable by 2025 and that none of it will end up in landfills or floating in the Pacific.

Activists say recycling is not a solution. Experience shows that even recyclable packaging usually winds up being thrown away. Poorer countries lack the necessary infrastructure. The solution is to make packaging reusable, said Graham Forbes, global project leader for Greenpeace’s plastics campaign.

“If they want to remain viable in the future, they need to embrace the direction young people want to go, which is away from throwaway culture,” Mr. Forbes said.

Nestlé’s size and dizzying array of products mean that the company, based on the shore of Lake Geneva in Vevey, is often in the cross hairs of activist groups. Nestlé has more than 300,000 employees, and sales last year were $93 billion. It operates in virtually every country.

One of the biggest knocks against Nestlé is that it promotes obesity in places like Africa, a growth market, by getting consumers hooked on sugary and fatty foods. The company’s products include Nesquik flavored milk powders, KitKat chocolate bars and Häagen-Dazs ice cream.

“In the developing world, the sudden availability of high-calorie, sugary, fatty products has displaced traditional products,” said Oliver Huizinga, head of research and campaigns at Foodwatch Germany, a watchdog group. “That is certainly one reason for the epidemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.”

Nestlé, sensitive to the criticism, says it has already cut sugars in its products by more than a third since 2000 and will cut them by an additional 5 percent by next year. It has set similar targets for saturated fat and salt.

At the Lausanne labs, scientists in white coats, working in labs with all-white surfaces, swish colored liquids around in beakers as they search for formulas that preserve taste while reducing sugar, saturated fat and salt.

The company has also promised to add more vegetables and fiber-rich ingredients like nuts, whole grains and beans to its products.

Still, there will always be an element of indulgence in some foods, Mr. Schneider said. “We would be defining food and beverage way too narrowly if you say only what makes you live longer and healthier is good,” he said. “That’s not the reality in which we all live.”

Mr. Huizinga of Foodwatch said corporations were unlikely to ever voluntarily stop selling their most profitable items, and called for restrictions on marketing sugary foods to children and other regulatory measures.

“The state has to act and not wait for Nestlé to someday stop selling unhealthy food,” Mr. Huizinga said.

Bottled water is another business where Nestlé is often on the defensive. The company owns brands including Perrier, San Pellegrino and Poland Spring. Last year, Nestlé’s water business generated almost $8 billion in sales.

But in places like Florida and California, the company has been accused of contributing to the depletion of spring-fed aquifers and selling a public resource at a profit. Bottling water and trucking it to stores are considered per se wasteful in developed countries where the tap water is just fine.

On a rainy morning recently, Cédric Egger, a geological hydrologist who is Nestlé’s corporate water resources manager, led a tour of the hills above the Swiss village of Henniez to demonstrate why he believes the accusations are unfair.

Nestlé acquired the Henniez mineral water brand in 2008 from a family company that had owned it for a century.

“The farmers were suspicious,” said Olivier Mayor, whose land is in the so-called catchment area where rain collects and then, over the course of years, seeps through underground rock to emerge at a spring near the village. “We have been here for centuries.”

But Mr. Mayor said Nestlé worked with him and other farmers to improve their agricultural techniques in a way that also protected the quality of the water.

For example, Nestlé fuels a biogas plant next to the Henniez bottling facility with local manure and spent coffee grounds from recycled Nespresso pods. Farmers use the waste as fertilizer, cutting down on their use of chemical fertilizer.

“This is the water stewardship strategy we are trying to diffuse worldwide,” Mr. Egger said.

Mr. Schneider defended bottled water in principle, noting that sales have surpassed carbonated soft drinks. “Water is the healthiest form of hydration,” he said.

He acknowledged that the company had work to do to reduce its impact on the planet. “There is the environmental side,” Mr. Schneider said. “We fully own up and step up to the plate when it comes to that responsibility.”

The vegan bacon cheeseburger is Nestlé’s entry into the veggie burger arms race. The taste was convincing to a Times reporter who, for health reasons, had not tasted a real bacon cheeseburger for many years.

Nestlé plans to supply the burger to restaurant chains, but has not yet announced any customers. The company is already selling plant-based burgers and other meat substitutes under the Sweet Earth brand in the United States and the Garden Gourmet brand in Europe.

Because cattle and dairy farming are major sources of greenhouse gases, the ersatz meats have the potential to serve the twin ideals of saving the planet and making money.

“Clearly, if we want to feed a planet of 10 billion people in a few decades,” Mr. Schneider said, “having more plant-based alternatives and a more plant-based diet is going to be a big support.”

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Study suggests fluoride in water supplies may harm IQ of children

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People worried about the fluoridation of municipal water supplies seem to occupy the same fringe space in American life as flat-earthers. But a new study published by JAMA Pediatrics appears to lend credence to the idea that fluoridated water has an impact on the IQ of children. The Washington Post reports that the study was subjected to additional scrutiny but ultimately found an impact on the IQ of boys:

Pregnant women reported their consumption of tap water and black tea, which is high in fluoride, in questionnaires. The authors of the new study also calculated the amount of fluoride in municipal water, based on the levels at wastewater treatment plants linked to the women’s postal codes. The researchers estimated the women’s fluoride intake based on a combination of those measures.

The researchers compared the fluoride intake of 400 women, some who lived in fluoridated cities and some who did not. They controlled for factors such as household income and the women’s education. A 1 milligram daily increase in fluoride intake was associated with a 3.7-point drop in children’s IQ, they found…

The scientists observed that a 1 milligram-per-liter increase in urine fluoride predicted a drop in IQ of 4.5 points in young boys. When the researchers examined the urine of mothers who had daughters, however, fluoride had no association with IQ…

Several researchers unaffiliated with the report applauded this work’s publication in the face of intense review. “I believe that, in general, the dental community will discount these findings, minimize their importance and continue to recommend the use of fluoridated water during pregnancy,” said Pamela Den Besten, a pediatric dentist who studies tooth enamel at the University of California at San Francisco. She added: “This study has been carefully conducted and analyzed.”

Indeed, the Post article has a statement from the American Dental Association in its second paragraph. A spokesperson for the group says it will continue to support fluoridation as a significant way to prevent tooth decay for large populations. The American Academy of Pediatrics also supports fluoridation.

But Philippe Grandjean at the Harvard School of Public Health called the study “excellent” and said, “CDC has to come out and look at the risk-benefit ratio again, because they can’t continue relying on studies that were carried out decades ago.”

NPR spoke to Christine Till, one of the authors of the study, who said that if the results are accurate the impact on the population as a whole would be significant even if the impact on a particular child was small:

The difference was typically a couple of IQ points, though the spread was wider when comparing those with highest exposure and those with the least. In general, there was a small difference for any individual child.

“We would feel an impact of this magnitude at a population level,” Till says, “because you would have millions of more children falling in the range of intellectual disability, or an IQ of under 70, and that many fewer kids in the gifted range.”

The study was funded by the Canadian government and the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Science.

“It’s actually very similar to the effect size that’s seen with childhood exposure to lead,” says David Bellinger, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital. He reviewed the paper before it was published and wrote a commentary about it.

No one thinks that one study of a few hundred women in Canada is going to change US policy any time soon. But this study will encourage other researchers to try and replicate the findings. If the findings do hold up then maybe we’ll see some changes in a few years.

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AOC: Palestinians — and other marginalized communities — “have no choice but to riot”

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Nothing much happening here, just the most famous progressive in the country (under the age of 77) who’s also a sitting congresswoman casually condoning riots as a response to certain injustices.

Which injustices? It’s not clear. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank? Yes, she says. Lacking clean drinking water? Yes, that too.

What about persistent refusal by the federal government to address climate change, such as by passing a Green New Deal? That doesn’t come up in the clip, but to progressives it’s a momentous injustice affecting everyone.

Seems like some mighty large riots might be justified.

Likewise, she called ICE detention facilities at the border “concentration camps” not long ago. Surely some rioting by “marginalized communities” in protest would be justified in that case under AOC’s logic.

Of note: Some headlines about her comments are framing what she said as being specifically about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Not so, although that’d be bad enough. She was quite clear in saying that riots in response to injustice are justified in many contexts, including here in the U.S.

“Once you have a group that is marginalized….once someone doesn’t have access to clean water, they have no choice but to riot,” Ocasio-Cortez said about a half-hour into the 55-minute interview…

“I’m not even talking about Palestinians,” she said. “I’m talking about communities in poverty in the United States, I’m talking about Latin America, I’m talking about all over the world.”

“Social destabilization is what happens when people do not have a plan or feel like there’s no vision for their future,” she said.

In one sense, she’s making an elementary point. Everyone has a right to resist tyranny. Defenses of the Second Amendment are explicitly premised on the need for people to be able to defend themselves with force from the government if need be. Rarely, though, do you hear members of Congress citing specific cases in which armed resistance is justified, for the sensible reason that there are oodles of cranks out there who might perceive some encouragement towards “direct action” on behalf of their own pet cause if they heard a moral defense of it from an influential political leader.

I mean, in AOC World, practically everything to the right of full socialism is tyranny of one form or another.

You have to look at it from her perspective, though. She completely escaped accountability for how her “concentration camp” rhetoric might have encouraged that nut who threw firebombs at ICE vehicles in Tacoma, as our media’s interest in how partisan rhetoric might encourage a “climate of hate” runs one way only. That being so, why shouldn’t her attempts at incitement get more brazen? She’ll pay no penalty.

Here’s the clip. I’m excited for the “you have no choice but to riot” phase of woke populist politics!

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New York Neighborhood Makes Pro-Police Statement After Anti-Police Soaking Videos Goes Viral

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-1-6-620x357 New York Neighborhood Makes Pro-Police Statement After Anti-Police Soaking Videos Goes Viral water police NYPD New York Front Page Stories Featured Story Culture car wash Allow Media Exception

At this moment, New York is in the news for two things. One is the anti-police trend of soaking police officers with water, and the other is Bill de Blasio. The soaking trend is bigger than de Blasio’s presidential run as many people seem to forget he’s a 2020 candidate, and the soaking trend is actually spreading to other cities than New York, unlike de Blasio’s popularity.

Videos have come out of both New York and Atlanta showing minority communities throwing water on officers as the officers attempt to calmly walk away. They do this as a show of disrespect and an attempt to make the officers react, which never plays well for police officers thanks in part to a left-leaning media.

However, it looks like another minority community is tacking the opposite route and using their water buckets to show police respect. According to News 12 in Brooklyn, Canarsie volunteers put on a car wash for police cruisers in order to show their solidarity and respect for law enforcement.

According to News 12, the event was a success with officers mingling with neighborhood volunteers as they got their police units washed with buckets of water that have so far only been used to disrespect officers.

“Those incidents, while they are unfortunate, I don’t believe it’s a reflection of the city as a whole,” said Terrel Anderson, the 69th District’s commanding officer.

“It’s a thankless job, but when you get the community to say thank you and to show their support, it just makes it that much easier to do a difficult job,” added Anderson.

“It’s a bridge,” said one of the volunteers. “We want the community and the cops to work together as one.”

 

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Atlanta Police Now Getting Soaked with Water as Disrespectful Trend Spreads Out of New York

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It was inevitable. The moment clips of police getting soaked with water and having no ability to do anything about it went viral is the moment it would begin to form itself into a trend. Sure enough, it has.

A new video is now being circulated on the internet that shows a minority community soaking a police officer with water. The officer tries to get back into his unit, but some of the people block him from being able to close the door, pouring water into his car. Someone off-camera even appears to rip the door out of the officer’s grip. The officer quickly gets out threateningly, scattering a few black males, allowing him to finally close his car door and escape the deluge.

This disrespectful trend originated in New York, where footage was released of a couple of incidents involving officers being soaked by people in minority communities and being unable to respond in any way.

This active and open contempt of police has been something of a trend overall lately. During DC’s Pride Parade, many minorities surrounding a police car and began twerking and dancing on it while others cheered and screamed.

Rest assured that if this kind of thing continues without the police having the ability to respond, things will only get worse. Today it’s water, tomorrow it might be something more malicious like urine or bleach. The politicians, safe in their offices, put police officers in the field in real danger when they prevent them from being able to act. It only emboldens those who have a grudge against them.

The saddest part is that this further drives a wedge between the police and the community. Officers will be far more distrustful of the residents there, and in turn, the residents will only deepen their hatred of the police thanks to the fact that the police aren’t as friendly. Innocent people who call police for help will find that officers are far more forceful and likely arrive in larger numbers out of safety concerns.

There is definitely a divide between police and the black community in many places across the country, but this will not heal it in any way.

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Video: Police Hit with Buckets of Water by Civilians, but are Too Scared to Take Action Due to Anti-Police Politicians

Westlake Legal Group nypd-620x413 Video: Police Hit with Buckets of Water by Civilians, but are Too Scared to Take Action Due to Anti-Police Politicians water Politics politicians police New York Front Page Stories Featured Story crime buckets Allow Media Exception

The brave men and women who put on uniforms everyday have to deal with a lot of things daily that we civilians don’t have to. The things they see and hear, and the problems they have to solve are highly stressful.

It makes it even more stressful when the community you’re protecting and serving doesn’t respect you thanks to an endless stream of anti-police messaging from the people in charge of those communities. This is exactly what the NYPD has to deal with on a daily basis, and the effects it has can be seen in a set of videos in circulation.

As you can see, a couple of police officers are being doused with buckets of water being thrown at them by civilians. At one point, as the officers are walking away, taking no action, a man runs up and dumps water directly on top of the head of one of the officers.

The video was highlighted by the NYPD Police Benevolent Association, the union that looks after these officers. The union made sure everyone who saw the video knew exactly why this was happening, and why the police were doing nothing about it.

“Our anti-cop lawmakers have gotten their wish: the NYPD is now frozen,” said NYC PBA. “It’s not the fault of these police officers. It’s the end result of the torrent of bad policies and anti-police rhetoric that has been streaming out of City Hall and Albany for years now.”

In another video, you can see an officer making an arrest as water is thrown on him.

At some point in time, an empty bucket is thrown at the officers head. The NYPD Chief of Police Terence Monahan spoke out against these actions by civilians.

“The videos of cops being doused with water and having objects hurled at them as they made an arrest in is reprehensible,” tweeted Monahan. “NYC’s cops & communities have made remarkable progress — together — but EVERY New Yorker MUST show respect for our cops. They deserve nothing less.”

It’s sad to see how these officers are treated, but it’s even worse to see them forced to take abuse without any recourse. What’s more is that simply walking away from bullying only encourages more bullying, and it may only elevate. It starts with buckets of water, but it may end with worse things being thrown at them.

But this is what happens when politicians with anti-police sentiment make the decisions. The people who protect society are effectively hogtied, and when the thin blue line looks impotent or scared to move, then the elements that line was holding back will become emboldened. This won’t just be a problem police officers have to deal with, the but the society in general.

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CBP Agents Respond to AOC’s Claims About Detention Facility As She Runs Away From Any Questions

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., listens during a House Financial Services Committee hearing with leaders of major banks, Wednesday, April 10, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Yesterday, I reported on some pretty wild claims that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made regarding an El Paso based CBP detention facility. You can read that full write up for details.

Essentially, she made two accusations that set off a firestorm. That the guards were physically and sexually threatening her and that women were being ordered to drink out of toilets. As usual when dealing with AOC, nothing she said was actually true. In reality, the Congresswoman never even toured the facility. Her side of the story has morphed several times overnight, but what we’ve arrived at is that no woman was ever asked to drink out of a toilet and that AOC is now saying she feared the guards wouldn’t protect her, a complete reversal from saying they were threatening her. Which is odd, because that means she’s insinuating the detainees are dangerous, something we’ve been assured isn’t possible.

The entire thing is just a mess and I’m sure more details will come out as the day rolls on.

As it stands, some CBP agents are speaking out about what actually happened.

“Something under her breath, ‘Oh, all these guys in here are gonna f–k me.’ The agents are standing there behind the computers. One of the agents laughed at something he was saying to another agent, and she got irate and flipped out,” the second Border Patrol official said. “Now they’re under investigation for it. She took it as they were laughing at her and screams at them and says, ‘What’s so funny?’”

Screaming at people and thinking everyone in the facility wants to have sex with her seems normal.

In regards to the story AOC told about being ordered to drink from the toilet? That didn’t happen.

“So this is what happened with the migrant and drinking water from toilet: she wanted water, didn’t know how to use the faucet in the cell, and drank from the toilet. She never told AOC that we made her drink from the toilet. AOC, of course, changed it … This was when she [the migrant] was apprehended and brought into the facility,” according to the agent.

When pressed on whether she actually saw someone drink from a toilet, this was AOC’s response.

Let me translate that rolled up window for you. She lied by completely misrepresenting a story, framing it as something she witnessed despite clearly not doing so and now thinks she can simply ignore responsibility for that. Given the bias in our media and the cult like behavior of her followers, she’s probably right. The narrative she put out there originally will go far and wide while the truth will remain relatively obscure. That’s both morally disingenuous, but also dangerous. Whipping up this kind of hate for law enforcement rarely ends well.

Never one to let anything go, AOC is now out there making more accusations of victim-hood. She posted this last night.

So now she was attacked on her tour by CBP agents? What is she talking about? We don’t know because it’s yet another vague, unbelievable allegation with no details, facts, or evidence presented. Also, are we supposed to be outraged that they made her follow the rules by turning in her phone? That’s done for many reasons, one being the protection of agents from retaliation by putting pictures of them out in the public.

But she’s of average height for a woman and a Congressional member so rules shouldn’t apply to her I guess. None of this makes sense.

 

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