They Won't Tell You About the Flint Water Tragedy.
But I Will
03, 2016 "Information
News of the
poisoned water crisis in Flint has reached a wide
audience around the world. The basics are now known:
The Republican governor, Rick Snyder, nullified the
free elections in Flint, deposed the mayor and city
council, then appointed his own man to run the city.
To save money, they decided to unhook the people of
Flint from their fresh water drinking source, Lake
Huron, and instead, make the public drink from the
toxic Flint River.
governor's office discovered just how toxic the
water was, they decided to keep quiet about it and
covered up the extent of the damage being done to
Flint's residents, most notably the lead affecting
the children, causing irreversible and permanent
brain damage. Citizen activists uncovered these
actions, and the governor now faces growing cries to
resign or be arrested.
Here are 10
things that you probably don't know about this
crisis because the media, having come to the story
so late, can only process so much. But if you live
in Flint or the state of Michigan as I do, you know
all to well that what the greater public has been
told only scratches the surface.
1. While the Children in Flint
Were Given Poisoned Water to Drink, General Motors
Was Given a Special Hookup to the Clean Water.
months after Gov. Snyder removed Flint from the
clean fresh water we had been drinking for decades,
the brass from General Motors went to him and
complained that the Flint River water was causing
their car parts to corrode when being washed on the
assembly line. The governor was appalled to hear
that GM property was being damaged, so he jumped
through a number of hoops and quietly spent $440,000
to hook GM back up to the Lake Huron water, while
keeping the rest of Flint on the Flint River water.
that while the children in Flint were drinking
lead-filled water, there was one -- and only one --
address in Flint that got clean water: the GM
2. For Just $100 a Day, This
Crisis Could've Been Prevented.
requires that water systems which are sent through
lead pipes must contain an additive that seals the
lead into the pipe and prevents it from leaching
into the water. Someone at the beginning suggested
to the governor that they add this anti-corrosive
element to the water coming out of the Flint River.
would that cost?" came the question. "$100 a day for
three months," was the answer.
that was too much, so, in order to save $9,000, the
state government said f*** it -- and as a result the
state may now end up having to pay upwards of $1.5
billion to fix the mess.
3. There's More Than the Lead in
to exposing every child in the city of Flint to lead
poisoning on a daily basis, there appears to be a
number of other diseases we may be hearing about in
the months ahead. The number of cases in Flint of
Legionnaires Disease has increased tenfold since the
switch to the river water.
Eighty-seven people have come down with it, and at
least 10 have died. In the five years before the
river water, not a single person in Flint had died
of Legionnaires Disease. Doctors are now discovering
that another half-dozen toxins are being found in
the blood of Flint's citizens, causing concern that
there are other health catastrophes which may soon
come to light.
4. People's Homes in Flint Are
Now Worth Nothing Because They Cant Be Sold.
buy a house in Flint right now? Who would? So every
homeowner in Flint is stuck with a house that's now
worth nothing. That's a total home value of $2.4
billion down the economic drain. People in Flint,
one of the poorest cities in the U.S., don't have
much to their name, and for many their only asset is
addition to being poisoned, they have now a net
worth of zero. (And as for employment, who is going
to move jobs or start a company in Flint under these
conditions? No one.) Has Flint's future just been
flushed down that river?
5. While They Were Being
Poisoned, They Were Also Being Bombed.
story which has received little or no coverage
outside of Flint. During these two years of water
contamination, residents in Flint have had to
contend with a decision made by the Pentagon to use
Flint for target practice. Literally. Actual
unannounced military exercises- - complete with live
ammo and explosives -- were conducted last year
inside the city of Flint. The army decided to
practice urban warfare on Flint, making use of the
thousands of abandoned homes which they could drop
with dilapidated homes had rocket-propelled grenades
fired upon them. For weeks, an undisclosed number of
army troops pretended Flint was Baghdad or Damascus
and basically had at it. It sounded as if the city
was under attack from an invading army or from
terrorists. People were shocked this could be going
on in their neighborhoods.
Wait -- did
I say "people?" I meant, Flint people. As with the
governor, it was OK to abuse a community that held
no political power or money to fight back. BOOM!
6. The Wife of the Governor's
Chief of Staff Is a Spokeswoman for Nestle,
Michigan's Largest Owner of Private Water Reserves.
Throat told Woodward and Bernstein: "Follow the
money." Snyder's chief of staff throughout the two
years of Flint's poisoning, Dennis Muchmore, was
intimately involved in all the decisions regarding
Flint. His wife is Deb Muchmore, who just happens to
be the spokesperson in Michigan for the Nestle
Company -- the largest owner of private water
sources in the State of Michigan.
been repeatedly sued in northern Michigan for the
200 gallons of fresh water per minute it sucks from
out of the ground and bottles for sale as their Ice
Mountain brand of bottled spring water. The
Muchmores have a personal interest in seeing to it
that Nestles grabs as much of Michigan's clean water
was possible -- especially when cities like Flint in
the future are going to need that Ice Mountain.
7. In Michigan, from Flint water,
to Crime and Murder, to GM Ignition Switches, It's a
Culture of Death.
just the water that was recklessly used to put
people's lives in jeopardy. There are many things
that happen in Flint that would give one the
impression that there is a low value placed on human
life. Flint has one of the worst murder and crime
rates in the country. Just for context, if New York
City had the same murder rate as Flint, Michigan,
the number of people murdered last year in New York
would have been almost 4,000 people -- instead of
the actual 340 who were killed in NYC in 2015. But
it's not just street crime that makes one wonder
about what is going on in Michigan.
it was revealed that, once again, one of Detroit's
automakers had put profit ahead of people's lives.
General Motors learned that it had installed faulty
ignition switches in many of its cars. Instead of
simply fixing the problem, mid-management staff
covered it up from the public.
industry has a history of weighing the costs of
whether it's cheaper to spend the money to fix the
defect in millions of cars or to simply pay off a
bunch of lawsuits filed by the victims surviving
family members. Does a cynical, arrogant culture
like this make it easy for a former corporate CEO,
now Governor, turn a blind eye to the lead that is
discovered in a municipality's drinking water?
8. Don't Call It "Detroit Water"
-- It's the Largest Source of Fresh Drinking Water
in the World.
keeps saying Flint was using "Detroit's water." It
is only filtered and treated at the Detroit Water
Plant. The water itself comes from Lake Huron, the
third largest body of fresh water in the world. It
is a glacial lake formed over 10,000 years ago
during the last Ice Age and it is still fed by pure
underground springs. Flint is geographically the
last place on Earth where one should be drinking
9. ALL the Children Have Been
Exposed, As Have All the Adults, Including Me.
a fact. If you have been in Flint anytime from April
2014 to today, and you've drank the water, eaten
food cooked with it, washed your clothes in it,
taken a shower, brushed your teeth or eaten
vegetables from someone's garden, you've been
exposed to and ingested its toxins. When the media
says "9,000 children under 6 have been exposed,"
that means ALL the children have been exposed
because the total number of people under the age of
6 in Flint is... 9,000!
should just say, "all." When they say "47 children
have tested positive", that's just those who've
drank the water in the last week or so. Lead enters
the body and does it's damage to the brain
immediately. It doesn't stay in the blood stream for
longer than a few days and you can't detect it after
a month. So when you hear "47 children", that's just
those with an exposure in the last 48 hours. It's
10. This Was Done, Like So Many
Things These Days, So the Rich Could Get a Big Tax
Governor Snyder took office in 2011, one of the
first things he did was to get a multi-billion
dollar tax break passed by the Republican
legislature for the wealthy and for corporations.
But with less tax revenues, that meant he had to
start cutting costs.
things -- schools, pensions, welfare, safe drinking
water -- were slashed. Then he invoked an executive
privilege to take over cities (all of them majority
black) by firing the mayors and city councils whom
the local people had elected, and installing his
cronies to act as "dictators" over these cities.
mission? Cut services to save money so he could give
the rich even more breaks. That's where the idea of
switching Flint to river water came from. To save
$15 million! It was easy. Suspend democracy. Cut
taxes for the rich. Make the poor drink toxic river
water. And everybody's happy.
those who were poisoned in the process. All 102,000
of them. In the richest country in the world.
here to sign the #ArrestGovSnyder petition.