Flint Water Crisis

Republicans Vow to Hunt Down Flint Emergency Manager Responsible for 'Government-Made Catastrophe'

Republicans vow to hunt down the emergency financial manager.

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Justin Amash
C SPAN

At a congressional hearing on the Flint water crisis, Republican Rep, Jason Chaffetz vowed to "hunt down" emergency manager Darnell Earley and drag him to Washington, D.C., to explain why he did nothing while citizens drank poisoned water for months.

"We're calling on the U.S. Marshals to hunt him down and give him that subpoena," said Chaffetz.

Rep. Justin Amash was equally critical of Earley, as well as the emergency financial manager law—which allowed Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to install unelected administrators in positions of extreme power in failing cities like Flint.

"It's outrageous that this sort of government-mad catastrophe would happen anywhere in the United States," said Amash, who maintained that the state of Michigan and not the federal government should cough up the money to fix the problem.

Two bureaucrats testified at the hearing: Keith Creagh, the new head of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and the EPA's Joel Beauvais, who blamed each other's agencies for myriad failures that created the disaster. LeeAnne Walters, a former resident of Flint, and Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech engineering professor who helped uncover the truth about Flint's water, also testified.

Edwards was unfailingly critical of the manner in which the government oversaw the crisis. He repeatedly claimed that the DEQ and EPA simply refused to follow the law and obey their own standards, and are directly responsible for the damage they caused.

Edwards expanded on those thoughts in a recent interview with The Chronicle of Higher Education in which he accused government agencies of stifling dissent. Scientists and experts have every incentive not to criticize the government, he said, because they rely on government funding for their research:

In Flint the agencies paid to protect these people weren't solving the problem. They were the problem. What faculty person out there is going to take on their state, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency?

I don't blame anyone, because I know the culture of academia. You are your funding network as a professor. You can destroy that network that took you 25 years to build with one word. I've done it. When was the last time you heard anyone in academia publicly criticize a funding agency, no matter how outrageous their behavior? We just don't do these things.

If an environmental injustice is occurring, someone in a government agency is not doing their job. Everyone we wanted to partner said, Well, this sounds really cool, but we want to work with the government. We want to work with the city. And I'm like, You're living in a fantasy land, because these people are the problem.

In summary, Flint's environmental regulators were asleep at the wheel, but nobody wanted to call them out, because bad things happen to people who criticize the government. The horribly mismanaged water system was the result of government planning born of economic ignorance. So far, relief has come in the form of private corporations donating millions of bottles of water.

Has there ever been a more compelling case for privatization of publicly-run government services?

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  1. I hear he’s going to be the ace in a new pack of kill cards.

    1. Well, there is room, now that Saddam and Osama are gone, amirite?

    2. Compare this to the treatment of Tom Wheeler, FCC Chair, who refused to testify on Net Neutrality in Feb. Instead of “hunting him down” they stated that they were “deeply disappointed.”

      From http://www.freerepublic.com/fo…..495/posts:

      Two prominent House committee chairs are “deeply disappointed” in Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler for refusing to testify before Congress as “the future of the Internet is at stake.” Wheeler’s refusal to go before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday comes on the eve of the FCC’s vote on new Internet regulations pertaining to net neutrality. The committee’s chairman, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah), and Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R., Mich.) criticized Wheeler and the administration for lacking transparency on the issue.

      Note that it was Chaffetz who declined to “hunt down” Tom Wheeler in the February incident.

      1. Sorry SF-ed the link:

        http://www.freerepublic.com/fo…..1495/posts

    3. Thats fine if a big, dramatic circus is built around a given “deer in the headlights” or two. After all, they’re just citizens, and the congress has power. It’s fun to use power, and we can enjoy it vicariously. You’re off to a good start reminding me how fun it is to enjoy targeting the enemy by making them into playing cards. We could also burn them in effigy! Yeah!

      In a less power mad perspective, keep dragging in top people, Repub and Dem. Get testimony and documents, and both Repubs and Dems will share blame. We will be able to agree on a factual timeline.

      If Repubs are as guilty as Dems are now saying, crucify them. Do the same if Dems are guilty, and share the blame if as it looks both are. But use no Fed money to re-pipe Flint. Evacuate the mess if necessary, or at least the worse affected sections, if the State can’t pay.

    4. And that “honor” would be fitting.
      He should be forced to walk from one end of town to the other…..alone.

  2. You are your funding network as a professor. You can destroy that network that took you 25 years to build with one word.

    And there you have it in a nutshell.

    Incentives matter.

    1. He who takes the king’s farthing does the king’s bidding.

      1. “Show me the incentives and I’ll show you the outcome”

        — Charles T. Munger

        –Homer Simpson

        –Steedamike

        1. This incentive (keep on the funder’s good side) partly explains why some skeptical scientists in Academia are keeping their heads behind the parapets wrt global warming.

  3. At a Congressional hearing on the Flint water crisis, Republican Rep, Jason Chaffetz vowed to “hunt down” emergency manager Darnell Earley and drag him to Washington, D.C. to explain why he did nothing while citizens drank poisoned water for months.

    “We’re calling on the U.S. Marshals to hunt him down and give him that subpoena,” said Chaffetz.

    I haven’t followed this too closely, but my understanding is that this guy had nothing to do with this mess. Is this another case of TEAM RED snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?

    1. If Chaffetz and Amash are wanting to get at him, I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

      1. Since Earley is a black guy, this is racism, straight up.

        1. Wait, am I Irish now?!?!?!

          1. No, you’re Swiss, which is only one step from Austrian. And you know who else was Austrian…

            Yes. Irish. This explains everything.

    2. My understanding has been he was signing off on the decisions the mayor and the City Council had made. The manager was not dictating policy on this matter. He was just one place on the decision making chain that could have stopped what was happening but did not.

    3. I haven’t followed this too closely, but my understanding is that this guy had nothing to do with this mess.

      The claim is that he was the author.

      If I understand correctly, the DPW was willing to renew albeit very expensively. Flint declined to negotiate, so the DPW dropped them. Flint was looking to cut costs, *but* the method of switching was intended to create more utility jobs within the city, as a form of ‘stimulus’ – which is why they pressed the old treatment plant in service before the new system was in place. And they would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for the fuckup in how they treated the water.

      To me there are two errors implying dereliction:
      1) The failure to treat the water when doing the switchover.

      2) The failure to respond to evidence that something was wrong.

      The decision to switch was stupid, but this is the sort of thing any public official has to do. I mean, it would gladden my black little anarchist’s heart to see the emergency manager dancing the danny deever for making that decision, but in fairness, Obama should be dancing alonside him for similarly stupid decisions. Absent the fuckup in treating the water, nobody would have been injured, it would merely be a stupid but defensible policy decision.

      But the failure to treat was, I think probably criminal, and the failure to react to the warning signs was definitely criminal.

      1. My understanding is that the KWA would have activated the Flint plant also, so using it to treat Flint River water just brought it online earlier.

        1. Nice link and handle.

          1. Too bad it hasn’t commented lately.

    4. If he’s blameless, and came in after-the-fact, why is he pulling a Casper?

  4. The only person in this entire Flint Michigan debacle who shouldn’t be tared feather’d and airmailed to north korea is the VT whistle-blower imho.

    1. This. Especially the airmailed to North Korea part. They probably can’t do anymore damage there, that country’s fucked up already. Hell, they probably tell their peasants that a little lead in the water is good for them.

      1. YOU WILL BE CARRYING VALUABLE STRATEGIC METAL IN YOUR OWN PERSON!!! HAIL GREAT LEADER’S GLORIOUS JUCHE METALS PLAN!!!

        1. Nice one. I was trying to come up with a good NK propaganda parody for my earlier comment, but couldn’t come up with anything. I figured someone else would come up with something.

  5. “When was the last time you heard anyone in academia publicly criticize a funding agency, no matter how outrageous their behavior? We just don’t do these things.”

    The good professor is upset because the Republican-appointed emergency manager failed to provide city residents with safe water and the Republican-created EPA and the MI DEQ under a Republican governor failed to correct the matter. He should have been more measured in words.

    However, such an observation could never apply to other areas of academic research like anthropogenic global warming.

    1. And yet, those agencies don’t perform any better even after decades of Democrat control.
      Of course the EPA is useless, it was created by Nixon.

  6. AUSTERRORIST!

  7. Has there ever been a more compelling case for privatization of publicly-run government services?

    Sadly, this may be as “compelling” as it gets and moore people are going to feel compelled to squawk about how this proves we need moore government, moore funding, moore regulation, moore restrictions on those evil greedy corporations who will poison our children for a nickel. Poor government – they did the best they could with the meager pittance we gave them. Are you happy now we gave them so little that they couldn’t even protect the most vulnerable in our society? They killed Kenny! You bastards!

    1. I’ve had this response to postings I’ve done on other blogs, including the comments section of the Chronicle article referenced in Robby’s article. Someone lectured me on how this was a failure of ‘this particular set of governments’ not a failure of ‘government’. I guess it’s all under the heading of ‘this time we’ll get it right’, or ‘if only we had the right set of people in charge…’

      1. Yeah, there are some serious mental contortions going on. I had someone tell me it wasn’t a failure of government, it was a failure of humanity, whatever the fuck that means. Up The State!

      2. Well the interview had the exact same attitude: “But at some point in a place like Flint,”

        Implying that it’s just isolated places that Republicans ruined, like Flint. I don’t know how to combat such faith-based idiocy.

        1. “interviewer”.

      3. Listen, just because only governments have managed to round up and murder multiple millions of people, doesn’t mean that you should question government’s asserted power to initiate violence on behalf of someone whose rights may have been violated.

    2. I have heard some people claim that this was right wing conspiracy to privatize the water system. That is going to go over like a lead balloon.

      1. ISWYDT

  8. “Republicans Vow to Hunt Down Flint Emergency Manager Responsible for ‘Government-Made Catastrophe’

    I’m sure the U.S. Marshalls will get right on that.

    . . . just as soon as they get around to finding Lois Lerner.

    1. Hell. They are still looking for Jimmy Hoffa.

    2. Just call Raylan Givens. He’ll find him.

      1. Flint political class = Boyd Crowder

  9. The reaction to this has been pretty unbelievable.

    There’s still lead in the water, but the most important thing is to finger point and assign blame.

    1. Also, do not send bottled water. Better the entire town of Flint die than prove that a government function can be handled privately.

      1. What, they don’t have a Walmart there?

    2. the most important thing is to finger point and assign blame

      Scapegoats don’t just exile themselves into the wilderness, you know.

    3. By unbelievable you mean completely expected, right? This is a series of governments, after all.

    4. It’s an election year.

    5. the most important thing is to finger point and assign blame.

      That and get Captain Hindsight on the horn to tell them what they should have done differently.

      “You see that? They should have treated the water with phosphorous. They shouldn’t have left themselves in a position where they had to change water sources to the Flint River. They shouldn’t have made decisions based on what would provide them another ‘stimulus’ boondoggle…”

    6. but the most important thing is to finger point and assign blame

      Yep. That’s how government works. When something goes wrong the most important thing is finding someone to blame. Actually fixing the problem is the very last thing that anyone in government cares about. Being a government contractor, I see this all the time. It’s all about dodging responsibility. That’s why the last thing anyone wants to do is actually fix the problem. Because if things don’t go as planned, then they will have to take responsibility for it. Since dodging responsibility is the name of the game, very little actually gets solved.

  10. Flint poisoned their citizens. Never would have happened at my casino.

    BAD

    1. Sounds like Flint residents voted in some real LOSERS to run their city! Sad.

      1. Well, it is the city that gave us Michael Moore.

  11. I don’t need you to tell me the fucking department’s fucked up! I know it’s fucked up! It was fucked up when I got there! Why did you have to pick on me?

    You should have returned my calls.

    You called me a mindless bureaucrat!

    You should have paid for the damages.

    You made my kids scared to go to school. You made my wife cry when she reads the paper.

    At least she bought it, didn’t she? [others laugh, Sandusky cocks revolver] …Now come on.

    You tell me right now or I’m going to pull this fucking trigger: Why me?

    You work for the city. It was your turn.

  12. Do you know who else wanted to hunt people down?

    1. Do you know who else wanted to hunt people down?

      General Zaroff?

      1. The walking dead?

    2. Hannibal the Cannibal?

    3. Dog the Bounty Hunter?

    4. Rainier Wolfcastle?

    5. Roy Batty?

      1. The cast of “Surviving the Game”. Minus Ice-T

    6. Canadian mounties?

    7. Anton Chigurh?

    8. Walker, Texas Ranger?

  13. Scientists and experts have every incentive not to criticize the government, he said, because they rely on government funding for their research:

    … I don’t blame anyone, because I know the culture of academia. You are your funding network as a professor. You can destroy that network that took you 25 years to build with one word.

    Now, extend that same line of thinking to other areas of scientific inquiry…

    1. Do you mean to imply that the consensus among government-funded climate scientists may have something to do with their fear of losing funding if they don’t say what the people who fund their research want them to say?

      Hogwash! Conspiracy theory! Fake scandal! Koch propaganda! Why do you want to kill the planet!?!

      1. Why do you want to kill the planet!?!

        Earth first! We’ll strip mine the other planets later!

    2. Government is just a name for the children we poison together.

      1. Stealing that.

    3. should have reviewed the comments before posting. Climate change immediately jumped to mind for me, too. Hard for it not to.

      1. I’m sure we were all thinking it.

  14. I don’t know why everyone is getting so excited about this. It’s not like there was CO2 in the water.

  15. So I’m like dude. Then they go all dude. And so I go duuuuude. And they’re all like dude.

    I can’t even…

  16. Has there ever been a more compelling case for privatization of publicly-run government services?

    This was not just a fuck up on the part of government agencies; from what I’ve read (which may be wrong), there were also private companies knee-deep in the mess who also apparently did not sound an alarm about the quality of Flint River’s water.

    That said, at least you could sue a private company out of existence for a fuck up as big as this. (Well, assuming they don’t receive immunity from the state because too big/important to fail or something… because you know that will happen and the taxpayers will be left holding the bag.)

  17. Scientists and experts have every incentive not to criticize the government

    I wonder if this statement can be applied to anything else that scientists might be working on, anything at all. Hmmmmm

  18. I’ve made $76,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student.I’m using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money.It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it.

    ?????? http://www.Wage90.com

  19. which allowed Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to install unelected administrators in positions of extreme power in failing cities like Flint.

    Wait a minute, when did this become a bug instead of a feature?

    1. It became a bug the very moment it blew up on everybody’s face. “It’s not a crime until you get caught.”

    2. But you will notice that a certain group has no trouble whatsoever with unelected administrators in positions of extreme power.

    3. I know. The pieces of shit who reside in Flint kept voting for ” moar free stuff” and then when they get free lead they bitch and moan.

  20. Has there ever been a more compelling case for privatization of publicly-run government services?

    Yes but it doesn’t matter because access to clean water is a right and… market failure… exploitation… and shit.

    You know… Marxianisms.

    1. When you point out they can walk to the lake with a bucket anytime, they say “That’s not what I mean by access! I meant free delivery!”

  21. Keith Creagh, the new head of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and the EPA’s Joel Beauvais, who blamed each other’s agencies for myriad failures

    Two bureaucrats enter. Six bureaucrats leave.

    1. So they reproduce by fission?

  22. From the Chronicle interview:

    “We looked at the stickers the university had put on its water fountain, saying that this has a filter, that this is safe. And she said: “No. I don’t drink the water here. I don’t care what they say.”

    And this person probably buys bottled water, then votes for anti-corporate socialists.

  23. Oh, let’s pretend that government agents are accountable for their mistakes outside of meaningless democracy.

    What fun!

  24. Isn’t a better question why anyone still lives in Flint? Would it just be cheaper if we paid moving costs for Flint residents to go anywhere else rather than try to fix up the town?

  25. The typo, government-mad catastrophe, works about as well as what was intended, government-made catastrophe.

  26. Last week I noted on a Disqus board that there was a proposal to spend $55 Mil on the problem. I predicted it would soon rise to Denver VA Hospital money or Big Dig money. The next day I saw it was up to $200 Mil. Yesterday I read an AP story bringing it to $500 Mil and then, only two paragraphs later, we topped out at $700 Mil. So far we’re not talking real money, yet. As suggested above pretty soon it’d be cheaper to move everyone to Detroit for urban renewal, cement over Flint, and pay the union guys from the Flint water works a stipend if they never poison an entire town again!

  27. Why isn’t anybody under arrest?

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