With evidence that Snyder discussed the problem of lead contamination in Flint’s water with his advisors as early as the summer of 2015, the Governor’s hand-selected Flint Water Advisory Task Force had no choice but to turn on him in their scathing final report

When it was announced last year that our Governor would be hand-selecting a panel of politicians and experts to look into what exactly went wrong in Flint, I wasn’t expecting that their efforts would amount to anything substantive. “If the Governor were serious about this,” I thought, “he would have had someone else choose the task force members, and he would have made sure that they had the subpoena power necessary to really get at the truth.” And, as neither of these things were true, I felt it was pretty clear that the intent was just to shift the blame away from him and his administration. Later, when I read the preliminary report of the task force, which came out just a few days after this past Christmas, I knew that I’d been right to be suspicious. Following the lead of Snyder, the members of the task force laid the blame squarely at the feet of the ‘career bureaucrats’ at the MEDQ… Here’s their exact quote: “We believe the primary responsibility for what happened in Flint rests with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)“… That was three months ago, though, and a lot has changed since then.

In their 116-page final report, which was just release today, the members of the Flint Water Advisory Task Force, while still placing blame on the MEDQ, have apparently come to the conclusion that the Governor’s office played a significant role. While the authors do echo the common refrain we hear from inside the Snyder administration that this was “a failure at all levels of government,” the five members of the task force don’t shy away from suggesting that much of what went wrong had its origins in the Governor’s office.

Not only do the authors of this report say that the Governor’s office played a role, though. They say that Snyder himself knew about the problem of lead in Flint’s water long before October 2015, when he maintains he first heard about the issue and sprang to action. “In mid-summer 2015, the governor and senior staff discussed Flint water issues; lead was apparently part of those discussions,” they write.

While the five authors of the report are still clear that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) bears “primary responsibility for the water contamination in Flint,” they are also now quick to point out that this likely wouldn’t have happened if not for Snyder and his emergency manager law. This “occurred when state-appointed emergency managers replaced local representative decision-making in Flint,” the members of the task force said in the report, “removing the checks and balances and public accountability that come with public decision-making.” The task force members, to their credit, also don’t shy away from the issue of environmental racism. As the report says, “Flint residents, who are majority black or African-American and among the most impoverished of any metropolitan area in the United States, did not enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards as that provided to other communities.”

What does it mean when even your hand-picked task force members are turning against you? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I can’t help but think, though, that we may see a new Governor in office this spring.

Here, for those of you who don’t have time to read the entire report, is a clip from the executive summary.

flintwaterreport

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47 Comments

  1. Demetrius
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    How guilty do you have to be to have your own hand-picked investigative panel accuse you and your administration of ” … failure, intransigence, unpreparedness, delay, inaction, and environmental injustice?”

    Is it going to take actual criminal charges for Snyder to resign? Will he go even then? This guy obviously has no shame or remorse whatsoever … short of what his highly-paid handlers are instructing him to demonstrate for the TV cameras.

  2. Jim
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I’ve changed my mind on the recall movement and now will sign a recall petition. Even though Calley is more ideologically extreme than Snyder, Snyder needs to be recalled regardless of the political consequences. His gross malfeasance and lying must be publicly repudiated by the voters.
    Going forward, Democrats should focus on retaking the House this fall. As the task force report concludes, the Flint water crisis would not have occurred without the Emergency Manager Law that the Republican-controlled legislature passed twice, the second time by overriding the will of the people expressed through referendum. We need to restore democracy in Michigan by ending one party Republican rule.

  3. anonymous
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    The Republicans know that their likelihood of staying in power increases if Snyder leaves office. It’ll happen eventually. Just be patient. They’ll support him for a while, but they’ll eventually cut him loose.

  4. Jim
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I agree that politically it’s probably better to leave Snyder in place, but with the task force’s revelation that he discussed lead in Flint water with advisers in mid-summer 2015, it’s clear that his claim that he didn’t know about the lead problem until October is a lie. I think that voters have a responsibility to remove him from office.

  5. wobblie
    Posted March 25, 2016 at 4:10 am | Permalink

    The is America. Snyder is a plutocrat. Different rules apply to him. Of course he will not be held accountable.

  6. Demetrius
    Posted March 25, 2016 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    NYT Editorial: The Racism at the Heart of Flint’s Crisis

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/25/opinion/the-racism-at-the-heart-of-flints-crisis.html

    It is hard to know how much of this callous disregard is the result of race, and how much is socioeconomic (since in Flint there’s a lot of overlap), but Rochelle Riley and others clearly correct – there’s no way this would have been allowed to happen in Brighton, or Rochester, or Holland.

  7. EOS
    Posted March 25, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Why not spend your efforts proactively. YCUA has an inventory of all the lead water pipes in its system, but does not maintain any records of the pipes in homes or businesses. Most older homes have lead pipes, and copper pipes put in as late as 1988 use lead solder to connect. Do we wait until human error incorrectly buffers our water supply or do we replace all lead lines now? Will we blame the governor or EPA or MDEQ or do we have a responsibility to remove lead pipes that we know are hazardous and can potentially inflict irreversible damage? Are you willing to pay a higher monthly fee for water to eliminate the lead distribution lines? Should we get plumbing materials and services donated or provided at reduced costs so homeowners can replace the lead pipes in their private homes? Should we have a bake sale? Or would you rather sit around and blame the current governor for the long term fiscal irresponsibility of a Democratically controlled city or the emergency manager law implemented by the former Democratic governor?

  8. Demetrius
    Posted March 25, 2016 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    There’s plenty of blame to go around, but neglect and a failure to foresee possible negative ramifications is NOT the same thing as willful deception, obfuscation, and failure to warn citizens of an imminent threat. (That is likely a crime.)

    Under-funding, then imposing “Emergency Managers” on communities was wrong under Granholm, just as it is under Snyder. That’s not the point. In this case, the “they all do it” defense if misleading, and frankly, loathsome.

  9. Demetrius
    Posted March 25, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    EOS: Why not spend YOUR time proactively by urging Republican majorities in both houses of Congress to adequately fund the EPA so they can create a national database? You might also want to consider advocating for support so local communities can replace old water lines …

  10. EOS
    Posted March 25, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    O.K. Demetrius,

    I’ll put you down as a “No” to the bake sale.

  11. EOS
    Posted March 25, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    There’s no way we need to fund the EPA to create a national database. YCUA already has a complete database of supply lines. The EPA is too busy spending Billions and Billions of dollars because the CO2 in the atmosphere has risen from 280 parts per billion in the 1800’s to 402 parts per billion today. The EPA is destroying the last vestiges of industry in this country because CO2 is a whopping 0.00004% of the atmosphere. And the majority are so scientifically illiterate that they are persuaded the world as we know it is going to end because Al Gore produced a film using a polar bear stranded on an ice flow. The next target of the EPA is to eliminate beef because of methane. The insanity won’t stop until we eliminate the EPA and stop all its funding.

    I thought I did advocate that local communities should replace lead water lines. That would be a substantial step towards reducing risks.

  12. stupid hick
    Posted March 25, 2016 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Of course. Donations and bake sales are how society should fund public services. Because taxation is theft. Funding of public infrastructure should be voluntary. And the EPA should be eliminated because regulation of business is tyranny! It’s obvious, isn’t it? Does Obamacare cover lobotomies? Where can I get get my free lobotomy?

  13. wobblie
    Posted March 26, 2016 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    Typically EOS tries to change the discussion. YCUA has nothing to do with the Governors inaction over the debacle that is called the Flint water crises. It is an ideological/theological dispute. In EOS mind Snyder is one of the chosen ones and is not accountable. Since god has made the people of Flint poor they deserve what has happened to them, after all if god loved them the way god loves Snyder (god clearly loves Snyder since he has given him all this wealth and power) god never would have allowed it to happen.

  14. EOS
    Posted March 26, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    YCUA has everything to do with the water that is piped into our homes. The responsibility for safe drinking water and proper treatment of sanitary wastes is given to local agencies. We have formed a regional alliance through YCUA and are dependent on their competencies to provide good quality water. The governor is not responsible nor will he be held accountable if YCUA fails to do its job. We pay YCUA for the water we use and we pay taxes to YCUA for upgrades to their system. If we want to eliminate the lead supply lines that exist in our local communities, then we need to direct YCUA to do so. If you are concerned about the possibility of lead contamination occurring in our community, then do your part by participating as an informed citizen in local government decisions. If we don’t remove the lead supply lines then we will be the ones responsible should our children be poisoned by lead.

    I don’t like Snyder and I didn’t vote for him. He was my 4th choice among the candidates. He is our Govenor because Democrats voted in the Republican primary. However, the Democratic option would have been far worse. Stop pointing fingers and think that you are doing something to help.

  15. Demetrius
    Posted March 26, 2016 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    “The responsibility for safe drinking water and proper treatment of sanitary wastes is given to local agencies.”

    True … In accordance with standards and best-practices set by state and federal environmental agencies that are currently under-funded and under siege because of right-wing, anti-tax, anti-government hysterics.

    It is simply unrealistic to try to solve complex environmental, health, and infrastructure issues one community at a time. They require a comprehensive, systematic approach, and realistic (and sustainable) funding models that will require careful coordination between various agencies and levels of government.

  16. EOS
    Posted March 26, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Every layer of bureaucracy adds unnecessary costs and reduces efficiency and accountability. It isn’t rocket science. Lead pipes are bad – so eliminate them.

  17. Jean Henry
    Posted March 26, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Yes EOS, Snyder should get on that. They put forward a remediation proposal the other day. No budget, much less budget allocation and no timelines at all, much less deadline. No business would accept such a proposal. He’s running from trouble instead of running the state. I don’t care if they recall him or not. I want to see criminal charges and civil suits. I want to see him bankrupted and possibly in jail And some of his little friends too. But that can come in time. Recall petitions keep pressure on him. One tough nerd needs to do his job a lot more effectively. He’s acting like a bureaucrat.

  18. EOS
    Posted March 26, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Why stop at the governor? It’s the President’s fault. Sue him. Recall him. Put him in jail. Can you see how idiotic that line of reasoning is?

  19. Jean Henry
    Posted March 26, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t say they should arrest him now. I said in this forum that calling for his arrest without due process was absurd and purely political. BUT it would appear that he knew about the situation in Flint long before he said he did in October. He said he found out in October because he didn’t take action until October. And prior knowledge and failure to act meets the standard for government criminal negligence. So it seems they will have a valid case against him (v Obama) and if they do I hope they go after him. Because law and justice and the American way and all that.

  20. EOS
    Posted March 26, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    I would have thought that people would be more concerned about avoiding a problem similar to Flint’s than in blaming the governor. I now see I was wrong. Go ahead and keep spending your money on contaminated downtown properties and waiting for an EPA funded by other people’ s money to swoop in and pay for your infrastructure needs. And if the kids get poisoned in the meantime, we’ll just blame the governor. Good plan.

  21. Demetrius
    Posted March 26, 2016 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    People like EOS conveniently ignore that, a couple of generations ago, we had killer smog, and leaded paint and gasoline, and flaming rivers, and DDT killing birds and frogs … and the people rose up and demanded that government do something about these issues, and we established things like the EPA and state-level DEQs, etc., and over a couple of decades these problems were brought under control.

    Now, they argue we don’t need such government oversight because the air is clear, we have lead-free paint and gasoline, the rivers are cleaner, and DDT is no longer prevalent.

    This is much the same as when people claim that climate change isn’t real because “it snowed last week.

  22. Jean Henry
    Posted March 26, 2016 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    It’s not my job to prosecute the Governor. I don’t spend any energy on that effort. I don’t have to. I simply said I hope he’s prosecuted. Calm down EOS. Different parts of government are responsible for different aspects of Flint. I didn’t hear you getting too worried about wasted energy on all those politicized Benghazi inquiries. Pressure on the Governor is pressure to get it fixed at this point. Your rhetoric is transparently political when you start going after the EPA while defending the governor. Shouldn’t we be holding ‘all levels of government’ accountable?

  23. wobblie
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    people like EOS are the greatest enablers of criminality in our society. S/he refuses to accept responsibility for supporting policies which have gutted our infrastructure, divided our nation on religious and cultural identity and placed greedy worthless plutocrats in control of government so that they can more easily loot our country. The plutocrats are bi-partisan but they know what strings to pull to get cultural warriors like EOS on their side. Her/his arguments clearly put the onus of blame on the victims in Flint, as if the poor folks there have had any input or control over the events of the last 4 years of what we call the Flint water crises. This is what you have when you run government like a business. Cut cost, maximize short term profit–get whats mine and get out before anyone notices. Of course Snyder will not be held accountable. So low lying bureaucrats have taken the fall, that is what they are for, after all Snyder is one of the chosen ones.

  24. Jean Henry
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    To say Snyder runs government like a business is not fair to business. A business is more accountable, legally and financially, for this kind of malfeasance. Government leaders have extensive immunity; business leaders do not. Nothing he has done in response to this crisis reflects good or even normal business practice.

    What this crisis shows is that governments CAN’T be run like businesses. They are completely different beasts. Business has inherent structural weaknesses, but so does government. Flint shows all of them.

  25. David Tamulevich
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Nearly 100,000 people were deliberately poisoned in Flint. That is criminal. It is not even a question: Snyder and his cohorts did it. The law calls for prosecution of those responsible…it is called justice. Pretty simple , and absolutely the right thing to do. We can have justice and deal with the disaster at the same time.

  26. EOS
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    The primary responsibility lies with the local government of Flint. Had they been responsible there would be no emergency managers. They drove their city into the ground believing that the state could step in with unlimited funds to provide for all their needs. It is not in the best interest of the state sustain Flint indefinitely. Let it die and let the people move to communities that are well managed.

    Wobblie you’re delusional, but I guess that is to be expected coming from someone who thinks communism is preferable to capitalism. Sure, I’m the one responsible for dividing our nation and I’m the one who put every government official in power.

  27. Demetrius
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    “The primary responsibility lies with the local government of Flint. Had they been responsible there would be no emergency managers.”

    As usual, more simplistic “sounds good” statements in reaction to complex, multi-faceted problems.

    Do you know anything about the history of Flint? Do you understand how so-called “fair” trade policies allowed giant auto corporations to abandon the community – including its people and infrastructure needs? Do you know that Michigan’s system of funding local governments and school districts is complete broken … and that no matter how “responsible” local governments are (especially older, urban communities) they can *never* catch up financially when forced to compete for development and new residents (i.e. tax base) against far-flung suburban and exurban, low-tax, greenfield developments in the cornfields.

    I’m sure there is plenty of blame that is due to generations of Flint officials … but to ignore the larger economic, social, cultural, and political dynamics at play by blaming Flint for its own problems is either woefully uninformed – or shamefully dishonest.

  28. EOS
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Demetrius,

    Did you “know” that GM closed it’s plants in Flint in the 80’s? A generation has passed. Since we “know” that older urban communities can’t compete with low-tax suburban communities wouldn’t it be wise to plan accordingly??? Why wouldn’t we expect government officials to reduce their costs to match current revenues??? Wouldn’t you expect that contracts could be renegotiated within a 30 year time frame??? I don’t “know” why people choose to live in older urban environments knowing their economic disadvantages, yet they do. Shouldn’t those who choose to live in older cities, with their increased costs, be the ones responsible for those costs??? It is your presupposition that the entire state must maintain older, decrepit cities regardless of cost, that blinds you to the reality that it is individuals who are responsible for their choices.

    If I lose my job, I eat beans and rice and use my savings to bridge the gaps until I once again am gainfully employed. I wouldn’t expect the rest of the world to maintain my former standard of living. If I worked in an auto factory in Flint that closed its doors, I would have the foresight to realize employment options are better elsewhere and move to obtain a better job. It is you who is ignoring the larger economic, social, cultural, and political dynamics at play.

  29. Demetrius
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    EOS – your contention that communities (and the people who live in them) are “disposable,” once plutocrats get done making a profit off them – and that the people who live in these communities should simply “move on” once they are no longer needed to serve the needs of global capital is deeply offensive.

    When the auto plants pulled up stakes, where should all those blue-collar workers in Flint have gone? Move to Silicon Valley, to work in digital start ups? To Wall Street, to help facilitate leveraged buy-outs? To Hollywood, to help produce the latest reality Bravo TV series? Have you actually ever *met* a blue-collar or working-class person?

    Also … isn’t clean, safe drinking water a basic right that comes with being an American? Are you really suggesting that only those who are hard-working or entrepreneurial enough (or have the wherewithal to move away in search of opportunity) really “deserve” it?

  30. EOS
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    An individual chooses to work for a corporation if the wage and benefits offered are acceptable. The corporation is not responsible for providing lifelong employment. The corporation is ethically responsible for acting in the best interests of its shareholders. The individual is responsible for acting in their best interest. It is a mutually beneficial relationship. The relationship can be severed by either party and that’s a good thing. I’m always looking for better opportunities and when I find one, I take it.

    The well paid middle class blue collar workers could have spent a year retraining at a community college. They could have found jobs in numerical control, heating and cooling, automotive repair, computer help desks, welding, plumbing, electronic repair or a multitude of other means of viable employment. They could have used their life savings to open a franchise like a subway, or a 7/11, or a gas station. In today’s economy a person should expect to have multiple career changes.

    My dad worked 35 years at Ford. He put forth extra effort initially and was a skilled tradesman. At one point, during a long layoff, he accepted a job in California at an aerospace manufacturing firm. When they called him back, he chose to return to the Rouge Plant, but not because he didn’t have other options.

    Safe drinking water is provided by municipalities to those who pay for it. If it is unsafe and causes harm, they are liable. Those in rural areas can drill their own wells. There is no right to free shelter, food, or water. If the water from my tap were discolored I wouldn’t use it until I had it tested at an independent lab. I do not trust in the benevolence of Bureaucrats for my well-being.

  31. stupid hick
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    EOS, I assume some people in Flint have jobs and are paying for their water. Do you sympathize with them? If your water were poisoned would you blame yourself for living where you do? Would the solution be for you to pay for it yourself or move?

  32. EOS
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    It’s a horrible thing that happened in Flint. I do sympathize with the people in Flint. I wouldn’t wish it to happen to anyone. If I had lived in Flint, I would have moved long time ago. It is one of the most violent places to live in the U.S. I sincerely doubt that it will be significantly improved in my lifetime. Sometimes you need to cut your losses and start over in a community that provides better opportunities.

  33. Peter Larson
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    “When the auto plants pulled up stakes, where should all those blue-collar workers in Flint have gone? ”

    I don’t think that private businesses are under any obligation to stay in any particular place, and am of the opinion that laws which require businesses to maintain a permanent presence once opened in a particular community are likely to backfire.

    I am sympathetic to Flint and auto companies need to be (and have been) criticized for creating the situation, but I am not sure how to create a sensible policy to avoid it. Certainly, protectionists will have their own ideas. I am not a protectionist so I have nothing to offer there.

    Certainly, though, the State of Michigan should have done more to retrain some of those workers, though we are talking of things that happened decades ago at this point. A lot of those people are dead now. I am not sure how retraining them would have avoided our current situation, though.

    I just don’t think it is so simple.

    This post, like all my others, is meaningless.

  34. Jean Henry
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    There were lots of government grants available for work retraining and post0industrial economic development in the 90’s and early aughts. They were targeted at rust belt communities, but very few took advantage to apply. The money sat there waiting. I once had a business prof who studies such things wave a book at me (well a 3″ binder) of grant opportunities. As I understood it, it was the municipalities who failed to apply. We have too many small townships and cities under separate governance in Michigan. I was told they just didn’t have staff to handle grant applications. I’m not trying to blame Flint either, but am keenly aware, at this point, that everyone has some capacity to fix things, but we are more inclined to point fingers and blame others. So I think EOS has some valid point in there– it’s just buried in her standard polemics.

  35. Demetrius
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    So …

    It is up to individuals to constantly re-invent themselves to suit the whims of global capital. Even if you are 50+ years old blue-collar worker, and have done the same job for 25 years, you must be willing to re-train, or pick up and move to another community if your corporate masters desire it.

    The children and adults who were poisoned essentially deserved it – because their parents and grandparents didn’t choose to pursue more training and education, and/or move away to a more prosperous community.

    The State and Federal government have no responsibility to guarantee that residents in one of Michigan’s largest cities have safe drinking water – it is entirely up to the elected representatives and citizens.

    Got it.

  36. Jean Henry
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Demetrius– you just seem hell bent on assuming the worst in people. No one is saying the people of Flint deserve being poisoned. It wasn’t even implied. If someones doesn’t assume your precise political posture, they are a bad person. They don’t care as much as you. We are merely exploring the set of circumstances that lead to Flint’s decay. Discussing one set of circumstances does not mean one is excusing the rest. This blog is increasingly unwelcome to the exploration of any topic outside of a pre-ordained interpretation. Mark’s done some great work on Flint. Some of his best. I’m not trying to belittle that, but I started coming here for the lively comments– which were funny and irreverent and smart. Now they are too often merely reverent. It’s not good for discourse to be constantly shaming other people’s points of view.

  37. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Those “masters” in Flint were paying their “slaves” extremely well–for various reasons. The plant closures and wind down did not occur immediately. The warnings were given to employees by HR. Often times jobs were offered in other states. Many people turned down moving to a different states, with lower but still good pay, instead choosing to take their chances in Flint. In the late 80’s and 90’s (maybe before I don’t know) GM sent representatives, who presented in small class sizes, to high schools to explain in no uncertain terms that there will not be a GM jobs waiting for the students at graduation or beyond. Moving to different economic conditions was strongly encouraged. Many people chose to take their chances with Flint. You are right Demetrius, the problems in Flint are complicated.

  38. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    It is possible I am guilty of assuming that GM was the one sending the representatives to schools. It could have been an outside group or just GM employees on their own acting as guest speakers because they were concerned. I am not sure. The point is that GM did not just pull up stakes as Demetrius suggested. It was a long process. Lots of warnings. Many warnings could not have been more explicit. Many people chose to not listen.

  39. Demetrius
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    @ Jean

    EOS said: “The primary responsibility lies with the local government of Flint. Had they been responsible there would be no emergency managers.”

    Yet you’re accusing me of being “hell bent on thinking the worst of people?”

    Sorry I can’t mange to be “irreverent” about political decisions that led to poisoning the water supply of a major American city and leaving hundreds (perhaps thousands) of children with life-long disabilities.

  40. Jean Henry
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Yeah, it’s EOS. What did you expect. You have been assaulting everyone’s positions as in line with EOS if there is even the slightest suggestion that they aren’t in line with yours. It’s tiresome. I seek discourse about racial, environmental and social justice and implementation, not political posturing and chest beating. brow beating as well. It’s exhausting to have one’s intentions besmirched. Your brand of liberal fundamentalism is no friend to democratic discourse. As for irreverence, you are posturing your own political gravity again. Humor is a survival tool. You know what holocaust victims wrote on gas chamber walls– jokes. Get over yourself.

  41. Westside
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I never knew that Holocaust victims wrote jokes on the walls of the gas chambers. Is that true?

  42. Demetrius
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    While you see “assaulting everyone’s positions,” I see a lot of victim-blaming and excuse-making for what happened in Flint.

  43. EOS
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I blame the firm that was contracted to provide safe drinking water. I blame their lack of expertise in knowing how to properly buffer the water. I blame the officials who thought that the safe, short term use of unbufferred water could be extrapolated to equally safe long term lack of buffering. I blame the employees of the water department who should have known better and who should have been whistleblowers, yet stood by and waited for the city to be poisoned. I don’t blame the victims.

    Ford closed it’s factory in the City of Ypsilanti. Bad decisions of former city officials have cost the city millions for loans and interest for a purchase of chemically contaminated property. The millage rates are maxed out. Many residents in the city are waiting and expecting that the State will step up and provide the funding necessary for basic infrastructure needs. Nothing is being done to take care of the lead water supply lines in the city. “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. I see the City of Ypsilanti following in Flint’s footsteps in the very near future.

  44. Jean Henry
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Of course you do, Demetrius.

    Westside– I first heard that in an anecdote from Milton Glasser, the graphic designer. I could not verify it absolutely, and most victims did not have access to writing instruments, but found several accounts of a film shown at holocaust museums that cite a joke written by the door at
    Mauthausen concentration camp. The joke: “If there is a God, He will have to beg my forgiveness.”

  45. Peter Larson
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    “It is up to individuals to constantly re-invent themselves to suit the whims of global capital. Even if you are 50+ years old blue-collar worker, and have done the same job for 25 years, you must be willing to re-train, or pick up and move to another community if your corporate masters desire it.”

    Dude, that’s just life. There are no guarantees of lifetime employment anywhere in any sector. Everyone wants stability, but unfortunately, it doesn’t exist. The 50s and 60s were somewhat of a historical aberration in my opinion.

    I am definitely not blaming workers for Flint, but workers have to be flexible to survive.

  46. Jcp2
    Posted March 29, 2016 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Steps to worker job stability.
    1. Be the only major country to survive global conflict with intact industrial base.

  47. Meta
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    “Michigan Is Still Fighting A Court Order To Provide Water To Flint”

    Nearly three weeks after a federal judge ordered Michigan officials to deliver bottled water to Flint residents who lack access to safe drinking water, the state continues to fight it.

    The preliminary injunction, issued by U.S. District Judge David M. Lawson on Nov. 10, calls for state and city officials to deliver bottled water to all Flint homes unless residents decline it or it is otherwise verified that the home has a properly installed, functioning water filter.

    The state appealed that ruling in a Nov. 17 court motion, calling the ordered water distribution a “herculean effort” that “would be on the magnitude of a large-scale military operation” and extremely costly. The state estimates it would cost at least $10.5 million monthly to carry out and is seeking an emergency motion to block the order.

    A ruling on the state’s motion is expected from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals any day now. Until then, state and city officials are required to file a status report on their compliance with the order by Dec. 16.

    In a Tuesday call, representatives of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which along with the American Civil Liberties Union is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, criticized the state of Michigan for “spending its time litigating as opposed to assuring safe water to its residents.”

    The NRDC filed a brief Monday with the 6th Circuit describing the “harsh, on-the-ground reality” of Flint residents who are still “struggling to obtain enough safe water to meet their daily needs.” The organization is calling on the court to deny the state’s motion for a stay.

    Read more:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/flint-michigan-bottled-water-order_us_583f2b3ae4b0c68e047e65f8

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