Sunday, October 23, 2016

FLINT CRISIS IS NOT WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE, IT WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN GOVERNOR SNYDER

OCTOBER 23, 2016


FLINT CRISIS IS "NOT WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE" NOR CAN IT BE FORGOTTEN

RICK SNYDER REMAINS GOVERNOR, SNUBS THE LAW IGNORING THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE 

Michigan Governor Snyder is ecstatic due to the turbulence of this Presidential Election Year. The reason Snyder has kept fairly quiet and out of sight; a recall referendum is conspicuously absent from November's Michigan ballot.

Today's Washington Post resurrected the criminal story of the Flint Water Crisis and how after a year where the situation "officially" became a catastrophic event, an emergency. 
Brady Dennis writes for the Post and revisits Flint and concludes "If I could afford to leave, I would. In Flint, a Water crisis with No End in Sight." 

I suggest you go the link posted for the The Washington Post story that brings us up to date on what is currently happening in Flint. The individual stories are heartbreaking, the progress is at a snail's pace and the citizens of Flint continue a horrible ordeal living day to day.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/if-i-could-afford-to-leave-i-would-in-flint-a-water-crisis-with-no-end-in-sight/2016/10/21/4d42f2f0-953c-11e6-9b7c-57290af48a49_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1


This absurd State of Michigan oligarchy flies under the radar avoiding the headlines and Governor Rick Snyder remains unchecked. From day one of Snyder taking the oath Snyder has snubbed the will of the people, neutralized all opposition by  Democrats and gained favor of the State's Justice system in his consolidation of power during his tenure.

In the past week I read again how the taxpayers of Michigan are paying the tab for the Governor's legal defense in excess of $2 Million dollars and another $750,000 to pay an outside firm to collect all of the document requests under FOIA. This is an outrage on every front. First, the Governor is using a small stipulation in the law where he can charge the Michigan taxpayer for legal fees as the "litigation is being brought against the Office of the Governor" and not the person per se. It is too bad the Feds did not bring him up on criminal charges for his part. It takes a lot of  --- nerve for Snyder to even contemplate accepting taxpayer money for his defense. The last I checked he is worth something in the range of $200 Million. And yes, he wants to remain on the job to see this through. Read the Post article and you will see where his priority lies.

THE CANDIDATES RESPOND

Two years ago, Bernie Sanders began his unprecedented "political revolution" where throngs of citizens became inspired by the power of numbers to exact change in a corrupt, misguided government.


In June 2015, Donald Trump tapped into the underlying anger an epidemic across certain demographics throughout the country. Trump whose campaign most of us who retain sanity can deem a disaster to a republic and democratic system of government. With defeat in sight, Trump now cries the "system is rigged."


In a way Donald Trump is correct. However, a justifiable anger among the nation is misdirected. If the perils and abuses of power are present they operate covertly within several State governments. In Michigan, the degree of abuse acts overtly and without the degree of public and legal scrutiny. Michigan, the Governor and Legislature is the crowning achievement of the Koch agenda. Governor Rick Snyder is the poster child. 


HOW WE GOT HERE

If the revelations of the Flint Water Crisis government official negligence, obfuscation of responsibility and the arrogance of emergency managers and the executive nerd in charge occurred in any other than election year, those responsible would not go under investigated and without prosecution.


Hundreds, if not thousands of investigative stories appear in the press, on the Internet and in social media where outrage skyrocketed to a level as distant as Pluto. If the level of legal scrutiny came anywhere near the scientific study of NASA, the crimes of the Flint Water Crisis would no doubt removed certain public officials if not imprisoned them.


To the credit of The Washington Post they ran an article that first appeared in February by Joshua Hakala who wrote of just how we (Flint) got to this unforgivable horrendous living situation. One year after the belated acknowledgment of Governor Snyder that Flint's water is indeed toxic, Hakala investigated the situation and the effort of the Governor to correct this problem as he promised in a State of the State address.

The 30 Day Promise: Drink Flint Water at home in the Bunker
 

 The article takes an unbiased approach in assessing any progress in rebuilding Flint's water infrastructure but more importantly the permanent damage to a community where children suffer physically, emotionally scarred and educational under performance. Then, there is the loss of life due to Legionnaires' disease where the outcome of lawsuits may prove is an incontrovertible link to toxic water served to vulnerable adults. They are adults reliant upon long-term care to protect their lives only to be discarded with no more thought than that of an empty, crushed Ice Mountain bottle. 

How did this happen? Here is in quotes from Hakala's conclusions (bold font is my own).
"When Snyder took office, one of the first bills that he signed in 2011 was Public Act 4, a “beefed-up” emergency manager law."

The outrage and the abuse of power occurs first when,  "Michigan voters rejected that law by referendum in 2012, only to see a new bill passed, PA 436, a month later. The new version made some changes to the original version, including requiring the state to pay the salary of the EM, rather than the cash-strapped local government they were appointed to rescue, and giving the local government the power to vote out the EM after 18 months.

The most controversial change made to PA 436 was that it stipulated that the public could not repeal it."

To repeat, an Emergency Manager referendum appeared on the ballot in 2012 and was soundly defeated by the Vote and Will of the people of Michigan! 

However, Governor Snyder is not to be denied. He appears to be from the same cloth of Donald Trump, like a spoiled child who will not accept a label of Loser. No and a sincere Apology are not within their vocabulary and the absence of compassion, a sense for a value of human life and any conviction of faith and morals. 
 

Recently on a national stage, we learned that it is acceptable for a public official such as Governor Snyder attends his church of choice and professes one view for the general public, but holds more closely a private view that guide his decisions.


Do you recall the national outrage this past January when the story broke across all media? A Democratic debate was moved to Flint where Hillary Clinton condemned the Snyder created crisis and Bernie Sanders repeated his demand for Snyder's removal. At the same time a circus troop of clowns vying on national stage for a Presidential nomination never once even mentioned a "tragic error" in Michigan.


Do Michigan voters recall the personal outrage and anger motivating them to act, call and tweet for Governor Snyder to step down or even be arrested. Subsequently a formal recall petition was circulated at least in Southeast Michigan. The process slowed and it was all for not. Michigan courts refused to accept "signatures" collected beyond a six-month date.


If Snyder is allowed to side-step the law, ignore a referendum, rewrite legislation ignoring some in his own Party as well as the Democratic minority and ram a re-plumbed version of Emergency Manager Legislature down a corroded pipeline and into law, when the people's will is summarily dismissed, a variance should be granted. Michigan's ballot conspicuously absent a recall of Governor Snyder, a negligent if not criminal public servant there is something "overlooked" like business as usual.


This does not just occur in Michigan. It is nationwide. It is an acceptance of hypocrisy within our representative Congress, the covert "pay to play" moneychangers within the temple of the Capitol, the pronounced call by same to end a corrupt system but only continues with every term and unsavory turn  and the absurdity of Citizen's United a legally sanctioned purchase of elections. There are many who are Pro Life and call for repeal of Roe vs. Wade while remain blind to the wealthy who knowingly and willfully perform an abortion to the rights of the (98%) ninety-eight percent of our people.


I Am Not Sure if this Salute is a Foreshadowing
of what is yet to come under Radical Right Rule
 


Was "We the People" redacted from our Bill of Rights? How is it that some of the most critical issues are absent from serious political discourse, climate change. Or, how it is America is almost always at war? How does it occur that we as citizens are encouraged to execute our vote for the two most unfavorable, distrusted candidates in our history?


Most likely the answer lies in the greatest concerns expressed by former Supreme Court Justice, David Souter. In a 2012 interview he states "what keeps me awake at night is not an invasion by a foreign enemy or a military coup, but the growing civic ignorance" within he American people. Judge Souter is on to something vital to the survival of our freedom because when "civic ignorance" prevails upon the people where they no longer know "who to blame, who is responsible" for every catastrophic event whether on Wall Street or on Capitol Hill, the future of our Republic is at serious risk.


When the number of citizens in a democratic republic lack civic knowledge to an unacceptable percentage where "civic ignorance" becomes predominant, our Republic, our Bill of Rights is likely to be surrendered to an elite oligarchy. Or worse to one individual who claims only "I can fix it" followed by rebirth of fascism the likes most have seen in the personage of one tyrant, Adolph Hitler.


I believe I have painted not too rosy of a snap chat of what is happening live today in our world of politics and the decision we must make in a very short time. Therefore, it will not serve anyone's interest to stop here without offering some positive steps the electorate can take after this election cycle.


I take hope in the fact that Donald Trump's insane appearance and the support he has received has shaken the Republican Party. It remains to be seen if they go forward or further in reverse. They must concede that business as usual will see the Party disappear. A Democratic landslide where the Republicans take significant losses in Congress will serve this country well. Should the Democrats take the majority in the Senate, which it appears they will then the strategy to just "say no" to everything will not work.


So the job of those of us who retain some level of sanity and "civic knowledge" will essentially unite to Elect as many Democrats on the Federal level and depose in ebery State where Republicans hold the majority in the Legislature be defeated. When the mid-term elections of 2018 approach, there must be a double down of our effort to maintain several Democrats in office and remove Governors who dominate our states.


WE the People must undo the long term strategy and devious plan of the Koch Brothers. For the past dozen years or so, they and their fellow billionaires are pouring their money to buy the down slate spots on the ballot. They are the driving force that is key to the elections of Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Rick Snyder in Michigan.


Since neither is up for re-election this November, we will need to pay close attention to whatever new strategies or laws they brainstorm to further the demise of the middle class, pulverize cities such as Flint and further isolate the poor. We as a free society based on common ideals of decency and fairness must keep vigil. We who have witnessed the explosion of hope, faith and change in the Bernie Sanders campaign cannot allow this now proven groundswell disappear into the Flint Rivers across America.


No matter what the result of the election on November 8th, it is very unlikely we will see any significant change that is fair for all people (except the 1 1/2% who deserve to take a large cut). We must wait until those mid-terms and 2020. At the same time we must go forth to educate those of "civic ignorance" and spread the advantage of "civic knowledge" and participation at least to vote.


If somehow, God willing, this movement survives after November it will be "YUUGE" thanks to Senator Bernie Sanders and others like him and the ones who will follow.