Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Poisoned Waters of Flint Michigan.

When I first heard this story it rang a few bells ( if not ) harking you back to another tragedy of decades ago when the government of the United States was in denial . The Poisoned Waters of Flint Michigan is a federal disaster , but it parallels  (1)>>the Love Canal story of the 1970's  The actions drew new scrutiny to an environmental crisis that poisoned the water supply for a year and a half before it was addressed. The contamination has left a city of 100,000 people unable to use tap water for drinking, cooking or bathing, and has caused mounting political woes for the governor, Rick Snyder. What is going on in Flint, Michigan is criminal, and at the very least, Gov. Rick Snyder, along with a number of state officials should be indicted for attempting kill off the people of the community of Flint, Michigan.  In recent days, even as Mr. Snyder has declared a state of emergency, requested federal action and summoned the National Guard, he has continued to face intense criticism that the state has been slow to react, despite admitting that it bungled the problem.The governor, a Republican, did virtually nothing to help the city until an outpouring of rage from Flint residents, city leaders, journalists and independent researchers forced him to wake up and focus on the calamity,which started more than a year ago. Despite being several months into a contaminated water crisis that  (2)>>US president Barack Obama has declared ( rather late ) a federal state of emergency,  (@)>>(while ) the city of Flint, Michigan is still charging residents up to $200 a month for their supply, it has been claimed. 10 people have also died from the pneumonia-like condition Legionnaire's disease.When tested by a team from Virginia Tech, the water was so contaminated with lead that the US Environmental Protection Agency branded it “toxic waste”.Meanwhile  The Mayor of Flint  Dr. Karen Weaver, was only just sworn into office in November, after running on a platform of solving the water crisis. Since 2011, the city has been under control of an emergency manager appointed by Snyder, who made the decision in 2013 to switch the city off of its shared water system with Detroit and instead use water from the Flint River that flowed through contaminated pipes.  From the time of switching to the river water people started to complain but were ignored!! The mayor got on the news and drank water in a coffee cup you could not see through and told  it was safe!! There have been complaining since 2014 and it's heartbreaking to learn that because they didn't want to spend a $100 a day too have made it safe for the people to drink, they ignored what they were told in 2010 and raised the water rates several times and served it up ignoring what they were told!!!. It (3)>>AMAZES me  talk about a corrupt government system. (4)>>Michigan Republicans suggested that Flint’s water crisis wasn’t all that bad — and might even be a hoax — during a lunch meeting of business leaders and elected officials. This bizarre crap is a perfect illustration of one of ultra-conservatives' most vile, destructive attributes:Anything they don't like, anything that puts them in a bad light or nails their ass to the wall, they simply ignore, spin, "reframe", whitewash and worse of all, twist the facts and try to blame someone / something else for their own errors. One of the reasons for their blanket denial is that it's just plain easier for them to believe all kind of BS than to actually have to admit that life isn't fair, that the rich are always ahead of the game, etc   The damage done by this misguided decision, and the callous apathy on the part of officials to quickly admit their error and work expeditiously to correct it, displays a staggering level of ineptitude, if not criminal negligence.Lawsuits are sure to spring up by the thousand. It’s not clear whether anyone will be held criminally responsible, but it is highly likely that civil suits for damages could be successful, so much so that they could bring the state to its knees.The possible damage seems almost incalculable and one can imagine that a jury would find that the monetary damages should match. Protests are growing in Flint, Michigan, over the state’s cover-up of the ongoing water contamination crisis. Filmmaker Michael Moore is asking fans to sign a petition on his website calling for the immediate resignation of Governor Rick Snyder. In an open letter to the governor, he writes: "[Y]ou have effectively poisoned, not just some, but apparently ALL of the children in my hometown of Flint, Michigan. And for that, you have to go to jail."

Michigan's other problems...
The Flint water crisis and the problems in  (4)>>Detroit public schools didn’t just start in the second week of January 2016. Republicans will blame local mayors (in this case Democrats), and Democrats will blame the governor (a Republican), but to be fair, many of these are long-term, systemic infrastructure and budgeting problems that go back many decades and are beyond the power of any single government entity. However, what can’t be disputed is Snyder’s desire to gut democracy and replace elected accountable officials with his political friends and cronies, which has brought these crises to the tipping point. Every time public school students look under their crumbling desks, they’re getting a brand-spanking-new financial manager to “clean up their schools.” 
(@)>>(while ) the city of Flint.  Residents of the impoverished City of Flint pay some of the highest water bills in Michigan. And those bills have not stopped coming or been reduced since state and local officials acknowledged the water is unsafe to drink without filtering.They say the State of Michigan — which has acknowledged significant responsibility for the lead contamination of Flint's drinking water, which began in April 2014 and continues to pose a health threat today — should be picking up some or all of the tab.Given the potential health and infrastructure implications of the Flint drinking water crisis, the water bill issue could be small change in the big picture. But it's galling for residents who get big invoices for water they now know they can't drink, and that — in some cases — they and their families consumed before knowing it wasn't safe. Lead can cause permanent brain damage in children. (1)>>the Love Canal story .Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation acquired the use of the site for private use in 1947 and buried 21,000 tons of toxic waste there over the next five years. After the site was filled, Hooker filed the canal in 1952.During this period the Niagara population was rapidly expanding and the city was desperate for land. The city bought the Love Canal for $1 (the corporation added a caveat highlighting the prior use of the site).The subsequent construction of the school punctured a copper barrier Hooker had used to contain the chemical waste. Additionally, sewers were constructed around the site as well.Health reports and strange odors were reported the following years, but not until the President of the Love Canal Homebuilders Association, Lois Gibbs, investigated was the severity of the situation realized.The homeowners, many sick, were fought by both Hooker's parent company and government and were not allowed to relocate with compensation until national attention on Love Canal intensified. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter declared the site a federal emergency area. Right now . (2)>>US president Barack Obama has declared. Speaking at a joint General Motors-United Auto Workers facility, Obama opened his speech decrying the water contamination calamity, which has spurred accusations of government negligence and cover-ups."If I was a parent in Flint, I'd be beside myself over my kids' health," Obama told a crowd of auto workers and their families, adding that the government can't "shortchange basic services that we provide to our people."Obama didn't visit Flint on Wednesday, but the White House did dispatch an administration official, Nicole Lurie, to the city to coordinate federal efforts there. Lurie is the deputy secretary for preparedness at the Department of Health and Human Services. (3)>>AMAZES me . In November 2013, Michigan lawmakers revealed the lengths to which they’d go to maintain the state’s secret system of funding election campaign activities.A Senate committee was meeting in the Capitol to discuss and approve a bill that would double the maximum amount that individuals could contribute to legislative, executive and judicial candidates. The senators were told that the higher limits were unnecessary because 99 percent of Michiganians never give the maximum amount. The shadowy aspects of Michigan’s money-driven politics serve as a key reason why the state ranks last among the 50 states with a grade of F and a numerical score of 51 out of 100 from the State Integrity Investigation, a data-driven assessment of state government transparency and accountability by the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity. Michigan received an F in 10 of the 13 categories of government operations that were examined. (4)>>Michigan Republicans suggested. Republicans are trying to get out of the Flint water crisis’ clear denouncement of their failed ideology by blaming the Democrats for corrupting the EPA. The GOP never ceases to amaze with its consistent insanity. This time the insanity has to do with the water contamination issue . It boggles the mind that the Republicans would rather talk about IS or repealing Obamacare, while they dismiss an unfolding tragedy in an American city that’s affecting thousands of American kids.(4)>>Detroit public schools.  In recent decades, large numbers of people have left Detroit, which was once the nation’s fourth most populous city. Many of those who stayed chose to enroll their children in traditional public schools in the suburbs, or in charter schools, which more than half of school-age children from Detroit now attend. And it’s not just the academics that are sub-standard and failing in the Detroit Public School (DPS) system — its finances are in complete disarray as well. Again according to Gov. Snyder, “Detroit Public Schools has accrued $483 million in accumulated operating debt that is growing each day, and combined capital and bond debt of $1.54 billion.” Further, DPS is burdened with an estimated $1.2 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, and the district was $53 million behind in pension payments last spring according to the Detroit News last March, “costing the cash-strapped district $7,600 a day in interest penalties — the equivalent of one child’s annual state funding grant. Based on minimal payments, the Detroit school district would be $81 million behind in mandatory pension contributions by July 1. The cost is exacerbated by $78,000 in fees for each month DPS remains delinquent — depriving the city schools of the equivalent of one teacher’s annual salary and benefits.”

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