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Friends and readers,

I try to put on this blog information which you might not come across elsewhere vitally important for us all to know.  I realize that aspects of this story have been told on various places on the Net, in periodicals, are available in public records.

But tonight Amy Goodman on her DemocracyNow.org put together a series of videos that tells the story clearly and rapidly in one place: you learn from Claire McClinton how and why the city Flint, Michigan came to be connected to poisoned water, the motives of those doing it, what laws gave them the right. Eric Mays tells her see how the gov't officials stopped opposition from the get-go -- the aim was to get people to agree to privatize and make a bonanza for a corporation. Goodman interviews an investigative reporter, Curt Guyette, of the ACLUC. All the while Nestles company was shipping out of the states hundreds of gallons a day of free water, how Peggy Case, Glenna Maneke, Terry Swier organized to fight Nestles in court and expose what had been done were harassed by (among others) Nestles and the FBI. As one person said this is not a crisis about water, it is a crisis about the erasure of democracy in cities around the US, It's also environmental racism as the cities which were put under this manager were overwhelmingly African-American.

There are five parts to this story: If you cannot play or reach the YouTube videos or listen to the podcasts, I've copied out the introduction and heads of topics.

In 2014, an unelected emergency manager appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder switched the source of the city’s drinking water from the Detroit system, which they’d been using for half a century, to the corrosive Flint River. Soon, residents were complaining about discolored and foul-smelling water, which was plagued by a host of problems. First, the water was infested with bacteria. Then it had cancerous chemicals called trihalomethanes, or TTHMs. A deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which is caused by a water-borne bacteria, spread throughout the city, killing 10 people. And quietly, underground, the Flint River water was corroding the city’s aging pipes, poisoning the drinking water with lead, which can cause permanent developmental delays and neurological impairment, especially in children. Since the news about the lead poisoning broke last October, a slew of Michigan public officials have been ousted, the FBI has opened an investigation, and a special counsel for the Michigan Attorney General’s Office has announced top officials, including Governor Rick Snyder, could face criminal charges, including manslaughter. Well, this past weekend, we went to Flint to learn the remarkable story of how the governor and other officials ignored residents’ complaints for a year and a half, and how the city fought back—with protests, citizen journalism, a new mayor and a massive resident testing project.

What did GM & the Governor know? GM stopped using Flint water over a year before emergency declared

Meet the Flint official whose bid to restore safe drinking water was blocked by the unelected manager

Inside how citizens, journalists, doctors & scientiss exposed the Flint water crisis cover-up

Michigan water: Nestle pumps millions of gallons for free while Flint pays for poisoned water






Miss Drake


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 18th, 2016 01:39 pm (UTC)
Criminal behavior and why a class action suit may not help them
Tyler (who lives elsewhere in Michigan): This is a true travesty. Gov. Snyder, if he had any decency, would resign. His emergency managers are a form of dictatorship. I don't understand why the man has not yet been impeached. He's the worst governor Michigan has ever had. Since it is happening in my state, I am completely disgusted by it. The local government has basically poisoned the people, especially the children. The governor would resign if he had any decency. I will never buy Nestle's products again. Flint, some may remember, was featured in the Michael Moore film some years
back about George W. Bush. It's a poor area the military targets for
recruitment of teenagers who often have no other way to escape poverty
or go to college. It has a sad history altogether.

My reply: The word criminal is appropriate; many of these people behaved and thought like criminals. Were they heads of a corporation, the could be sued. Did you know there is a "sovereign immunity" clause in the constitution which precludes this, to which has been added individual immunity? Lawyers are going ahead because they think these cases reach of standard of such egregious deliberate negligence they may be able to win. But it will be hard to sue and win.

Edited at 2016-02-19 04:19 pm (UTC)
Feb. 18th, 2016 05:57 pm (UTC)
Intimidation through obscurant uses of biased experts (aka liars)
Arabella: "Part of the problem is how "ascientific" the American public is. We have created a population without fundamental knowledge about what is in the environment around them. Don't even get me started... "

Me: "You mean the people were not educated enough to realize? but they did, almost immediately. The corrupt officials too understood they were doing something dangerous. When they stood there drinking those glasses of water they were defying what they knew. Eric Mays would not drink. In this case I feel education about pollution on the part of the people was not the source of this problem."

Arabella: "I didn't mean to come across that way. Let me try it again. When member of the public complains about something like drinking water quality, a standard "brush -off" response is "the water has been tested." This is a catch-all excuse that tends to intimidate the public. The water has been tested for what? and how? I guess my experience with the implementation of the Federal Clean Water Act has clouded my thinking. People should never be treated the way the people in Flint were treated."

Me: "I see what you meant, yes. This is part of the intimidation process that goes on all the time. We are presented with these experts who are supposed unbiased, and are "authorities." And false uses of lying science goes on all the time and everywhere and many do not know enough to recognize this. I agree."

Arabella: "Exactly. The government relies on a population that is easily cowed by "science" and "experts."

Me: "Maybe this pent-up feeling people have is what revels at Trump's defiance of all science, reason and experts. I was once on a jury: only once, and it was for a car accident, and I will do all I can to be thrown off next time. Both sides had these paid doctors giving diametrically opposed evidence. So the courtroom was made into a travesty. The jury conversation accepted all the corruption and awarded a woman they recognized was a liar. I have been told the most frequent court cases are these car accidents and what I saw & experienced typical."

Arabella: "Yes, I know what you mean."

Me: "I agreed with the verdict and amount because I didn't want to sit there for hours and hours. I managed to bring down the amount of money they wanted to award a woman who was a crook -- partly because she sued. She exaggerated the accident, accused this man and then wanted money to pay her false doctors and lawyers. They wanted to give her money because they had been sluiced by their doctors. How can anyone believe in any justice or fair law in such a society? That's why the Flint Michigan people dared to do what they did. "

Edited at 2016-02-18 11:22 pm (UTC)
Feb. 18th, 2016 10:08 pm (UTC)
A British friend
Your story about Flint's water supply is truly horrific. What sort of local government poisons the local kids while letting a multinational steal clean water for resell? A corrupt one, I suppose. If this was to have happened in the UK, these men would be prosecuted and on conviction, barred from public office. How the hell do they sleep at night. They seem to have no shame. I must watch out for Nestles products, in order to avoid them

Me: it brings out what is the central problem of the US as a country: the asserted melting pot is a myth. There are at least 9 regions and the different ethnic and racial groups have never and still do not identify with one another. Religious freedom was an ideal some of the founding fathers who wrote the constitution had but not the originating colonists. Fanny Trollope's Domestic Manners of the American stresses the fanatic religiosity and delusions she comes across. The emphasis is just. Thus if a profiteer, tyrant of any sort, fascist wants to he can divide and conquer.

Edited at 2016-02-19 04:18 pm (UTC)
Feb. 19th, 2016 04:30 pm (UTC)
Cynicism a basic cause
This morning I was reading in my Progressive Populist, a newspaper I get that comes twice a month (I think). Jesse Jackson had a column where he gave information. He put what happened down to cynicism and the acceptance of cynical behavior everywhere. I did see this in a court case I participated in and was appalled (by the jury's acceptance of clearly lying behavior in the defendant).

Jackson outlines the whole situation: Rick Synder almost immediately went about to erase democracy in many areas (black and poor ones especially) and substitute his emergency managers who are all shamelessly corrupt. At the same time he passed a big tax cut for corporations; one of his excuses for this switch in water was he needed to find money because of lost revenues. When one of the corporate headquarters complained very quickly about the water, theirs was changed back. The state gov't building was quickly changed back -- but these officials would not budge on Flint.

Jackson talks about a post-WW2 lead epidemic that severely afflicted poor whites and created a carnage among blacks. Lead contamination was first brought under control in the 1980s. It's not just a crisis of water; the very poverty of Flint was engineered in the first place; now all homes are worthless. The lesson to be drawn is gov'ts count, we need to place in them decent responsible competent people -- so he then talks about cynicism.

I did notice that Trump has gotten a stop-order on Cruz to stop commercials and threatened to sue other rivals -- I thought all along he was not attacked because they feared he would do that.

I just wonder what Trump wants the presidency for.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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