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Free Minds & Free Markets

The Government Poisoned Flint’s Water—So Stop Blaming Everyone Else

A failure of local government, brought on by public employee pensions.

FlintFlintwaterstudy.orgFlint, Michigan, was a sickly town long before residents discovered something toxic in their water.

The city’s appallingly high crime rate makes it one of the most dangerous places in the country. Its automobile manufacturing industry declined and disappeared decades ago, plunging Flint into a depression from which it never recovered. Its residents are poor. And the local government is so badly in debt that the state had to appoint an emergency financial manager in 2011. Flint is Detroit without the historic appeal. You wouldn’t want to live there. You wouldn’t even want to visit.

On top of all that, local authorities were recently forced to admit that Flint’s drinking water is contaminated with lead. The new water source might also be linked to 77 recent cases of Legionnaire’s disease (resulting in 10 deaths) in the area.

The #FlintWaterCrisis has captured the nation’s attention: many pundits have seized upon the fact Michigan is governed by a Republican, Rick Snyder, and have thus spun the disaster as one primarily caused by conservative indifference to poor black people. During last Sunday’s Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton explicitly blamed the crisis on Snyder’s leadership:

I spent a lot of time last week being outraged by what's happening in Flint, Michigan, and I think every single American should be outraged. We've had a city in the United States of America where the population which is poor in many ways and majority African American has been drinking and bathing in lead-contaminated water. And the governor of that state acted as though he didn't really care.

He had a request for help and he had basically stone walled. I'll tell you what, if the kids in a rich suburb of Detroit had been drinking contaminated water and being bathed in it, there would've been action.

She reiterated this stance during an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who holds the same view. Michael Moore, who hails from Flint, all but accused Snyder of pouring lead in the water supply himself. Elsewhere at Salon, writer Elias Isquith blamed “austerity,” since the root of the problem was the decision to seek a more efficient, cheaper water supply. That decision was not made by Snyder, nor was it made by his emergency financial manager, a Democrat. In fact, Flint’s own city council and mayor approved the idea. State treasurer Andy Dillon—also a Democrat—signed off on it.

In hindsight, the execution of the decision to seek a new water supply was a disaster of epic proportions. But it is one entirely caused by government actors—most of them local government actors—and ignored by regulators until it was too late. The people who have thus far done too little to fix the crisis are also government actors—at the local, state, and even federal levels. Flint is mostly a failure of governance, not a failure of markets.

At the same time, let’s not forget the reason why local authorities felt the need to find a cheaper water source: Flint is broke and its desperately poor citizens can’t afford higher taxes to pay the pensions of city government retirees. As recently as 2011, it would have cost every person in Flint $10,000 each to cover the unfunded legacy costs of the city’s public employees.

The #FlintWaterCrisis is not a blueprint for what would happen if libertarians abolished government and let poor people drink poisoned water, as some enemies of free markets are no doubt claiming. Instead, it’s a great example of government failing to efficiently provide even the most basic of public services due to a characteristically toxic combination of administrative bloat and financial mismanagement.

But as long as the media is tossing out blame, perhaps Flint’s public employees—who cannibalized a dying city’s finances—deserve more than just a drop?

Updated at 3:30 p.m. on January 21: Local officials dispute that they played any formal role in the decision to use the Flint River—the source of the contamination—as a water source, instead pinning the blame on the state-appointed emergency manager. The emergency manager, on the other hand, says the decision was made by the city long before his appointment.

Photo Credit: Flint

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  • Tak Kak||

    "In fact, Flint’s own city council and mayor approved the idea. State treasurer Andy Dillon—also a Democrat—signed off on it."

    Hey, look over there, Milo's doing something outrageous on Twitter!

  • EndTheGOP||

    Simple solution: Privatize ALL public services including police, prisons and the military.

    Trump will run this country like the business it should be.

    Any doubters out there wanting to take me on?

    I didn't think so.

  • Sevo||

    Pretty sure you're totally incapable of "thought". Emoting, spouting lies, and strawmen, you got that down pat.
    Fuck off, slaver.

  • No Yards Penalty||

    What Sevo said.

  • MATH||

    you sir, are a fucking moron.

  • Shiekyerbooty||

    Every issue must be structured as " victim " vs " evil white oppressor's "

    That's how the brainwashing works.

    They get trapped in the intellectual trap described by Kafka in " The Trial "

  • Hank Phillips||

    When Henry Ford was Kingfish of Michigan, he blamed everything on Jews and beer.

  • No Yards Penalty||

    To be fair, beer IS the cause of - and the solution to - all of life's problems.

  • Citizen X||

    How about this: Flint's public employees and retirees can keep their pensions... as long as they consume at least a liter of Flint public water a day.

  • dchang0||

    Outstanding idea! Add to that that if they suddenly decide that cleaning up Flint's water supply is worth spending on, they must provide the funds themselves out of their own private bank accounts and that not a penny will come from the public's coffers.

  • WTF||

    Flint’s drinking water is contaminated with lead—which might be linked to 77 recent cases of Legionnaire’s disease (resulting in 10 deaths) in the area.

    Lead doesn't cause Legionnaire’s disease.

  • Aresen||

    If an issue has even the most tenuous connection to the other Team, it causes everything bad that happened within a light-year and ten years before and after.

    That is what TEAM politics is all about.

  • DirtyDean||

    Considering the reports of Legionella in the Flint River, I think it's safe to say that the same "team" is responsible.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I gave it the charitable reading of "lead contaminated water filled with microbes".

  • WTF||

    Assuming it was just a very poorly constructed sentence, I guess that's what he meant, but it isn't what he wrote.

  • Vapourwear||

    ?

    "On top of all that, local authorities were recently forced to admit that Flint’s drinking water is contaminated with lead. The new water source might also be linked to 77 recent cases of Legionnaire’s disease (resulting in 10 deaths) in the area."

    Or was the story edited?

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Two different sentences, two different concepts. It contains lead AND might be linked to Legionnaire's disease.

  • WTF||

    I see he changed it without noting the revision, making our entire conversation seem bizarre. Thanks Rico!

  • Detroit Linguist||

    A colleague who works in public health research believes the sharp jump in legionnaire's is just a warning of what's to come--it's certainly not only the lead, it whatever the hell else was in those pipes. And 10 people died from the legionnaires in the last year and a half, which is way beyond chance.
    All my FB friends (none of whom live in the area) are blaming Snyder and his 'fiscally responsible' government. Here is one friend:
    but it is really hard to see this one as anything but a disaster caused by a clumsy attempt to be more "fiscally responsible" than concerned for public health and safety. Republicans own this one.
    It's more important to score political goals than to actually understand what happened.
    Also, thanks, Robby, for posting this so I don't have to FB link to the National Review saying essentially the same thing. Enough of my friends think I'm just a conservative anyway.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Enough of my friends think I'm just a conservative anyway.

    Everyone knows that Libertarians are just pot smoking Republicans!

  • ||

    Who like ass sex and Mexicans.

  • ||

    Why am I only hearing about the ass sex now?

  • Chocolate Starfish ( . )||

    Obviously you had to pull your head out first. Everybody knows libertarians recently polled favor ass sex 80% with 10% against and 10% undecided.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    Flintbabies will be born with two heads. The bad news is they're going to be owed two pensions

  • ||

    Have you considered getting new friends ?

  • SimonD||

    I guess they fail to see that the reason why Snyder had to be 'fiscally responsible' is that the local politicians spent the city into oblivion with no way out, eh.

    So, even if they're right, it's government's fault.

  • Lee G||

    But bullets are made from lead. And bullets go in guns. Just another example of how guns are killing all of us.

  • Aresen||

    After the attack at Bacha Khan University, I am awaiting the NYT article on "Pakistan's Gun Culture".

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • WoodchipperPatriarch||

    Right, and marijuana doesn't cause rape. Go back to your commune, hippie!

  • WTF||

    Yeah, but it's really mellow rape, not like "rape-rape".

  • Animal||

    So it's not a "legitimate" rape, then?

  • Robby Soave||

    Thanks, I fixed that sentence to make it clear that I wasn't implying a connection.

  • Will Nonya||

    They aren't claiming its the lead contamination but rather the Flint river itself that contain the link to legionnaires

  • Moridin||

    Now reports are starting to surface that Obummer's EPA knew about this and covered it up.

    Anyone surprised? They did the same thing in my own back yard, Idaho's Silver Valley, which also happens to be the second largest super fund site ever.

    Cock-sucking bastardos.

  • WTF||

    Fucking RethugliKKKans.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    Now reports are starting to surface that Obummer's EPA knew about this and covered it up.

    Links, please!

  • Moridin||

  • Moridin||

    and

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....bc1cd5373c

    etc. just google search if you want more

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    "This experience has really shattered my trust in government," said Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a Flint pediatrician whose research showed a spike in lead poisoning among children after the city switched its water supply in 2014. "It's not that I was naive to start with,

    Uh, yeah, it has everything to do with the fact that you are a doctor and by definition don't understand a goddamned thing about economics.

    The lead isn't from the water supply, it's from the water supply LINES in each person's residence.

  • Sevo||

    Wanna bet on her voting record?
    D, baby, pull the D lever!

  • Michigan Dave||

    The problem is that the Flint river water has a different PH which is causing the lead to leach out into the water. One would think that the (city ) public employees who run the water treatment facility would know that, but of course that assumes that they are competent which they clearly are not.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    Thanks, I need stuff like that when I point out to the Godvernment-worshippers the government's role in the crisis.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    Well, damn, not only did the EPA cover up DC's lead-in-drinking-water scandal but the CDC helped.

  • some guy||

    Second behind the entire state of New Jersey?

  • Hugh Akston||

    The #FlintWaterCrisis is not a blueprint for what would happen if libertarians abolished government and let poor people drink poisoned water, as some enemies of free markets are no doubt claiming.

    If you can find people making this claim, you should link to them. If not then this is a strawman in an otherwise really concise and excellent post.

  • Citizen X||

    I've seen articles on Facebook blaming the Flint crisis just on the governor being a Republican, as well as on congressional GOP attempts to cut Clean Water Act funding.

    That is Facebook, though.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Yeah, Robby cited some people making those same claims. But Republicans aren't the free market. Indeed, they demonstrably want nothing to do with a free market.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Jesus, Hugh, you think RationalWiki articles pop-up instantly?

  • Citizen X||

    But Republicans aren't the free market.

    You know that, and i know that, but the average Kos reader is determined not to know that.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Yes, I had see a post last night claiming it was a failure due to valuing freedom at the expense of regulation.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    I'm sure that Bush is to blame as well.

  • MarkLastname||

    Why not blame Obama too though? After all, if Snyder is 'in charge' of all the local (and state) Democrats and can be held responsible for their decisions, can't Obama be held responsible for his? Or does the buck just stop at the first R they come to as they go up the chain?

  • WoodchipperPatriarch||

    The Nation never disappoints.

    http://www.thenation.com/artic.....-in-flint/

  • kbolino||

    Remember, they are the intellectuals and philosophers, but somehow they can't understand an abstract concept like Smith's "invisible hand".

  • Hugh Akston||

    That's less the Nation than it is Tom Tomorrow who, to be fair, is the dumbest motherfucker alive.

  • WoodchipperPatriarch||

    Really? Dumber than Friedman?

  • PBR Streetgang||

    As improbable as it seems, yes.

  • Hugh Akston||

    He's...incredibly retarded.

  • Michael||

    That...makes no sense at all.

  • Harun||

    On reddit, they are using the Governor's "run government like a business" rhetoric.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Just seeking a new water supply wasn't the problem. The problem was the choice of an interim water supply until the new regional system could come on line.

    As for this:

    some enemies of free markets are no doubt claiming

    you can leave out the "no doubt"; I've read exactly that.

    Other commenters blame Republicans in state government. They don't appreciate being reminded of Baltimore.

  • Ken Shultz||

    This should be the leading image on every Flint story:

    http://strangesounds.org/wp-co.....o1_500.jpg

  • Loki||

    That must be where Tyler Durden moved to after the events of Fight Club.

  • WoodchipperPatriarch||

    I spent a lot of time...being outraged

    This could sum up Hillary's entire campaign.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Hillary should be outraged - by her own conduct over the last 40 years a so.

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    Just the last 40 ?

  • Spartacus||

    To me that just reads as bizarre. It sounds like something in her calendar, like 11:00 -- 12:30, be outraged. 12:30 Lunch. Is she keeping track of her outrage time? Is it billable?

  • Lee G||

    Hey, DU says it's the Retardicans fault. That's all I need to know.

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    Yeah, but to be fair, that's DU. If they get shocked with static electricity when they touch a doorknob, it's the fault of republicans.

  • Loki||

    If they get shocked with static electricity when they touch a doorknob, it's the fault of republicans.

    "Clearly, this demonstrates the need for common sense carpet control. Nobody needs thick, shag pile carpet!"

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    I was going to suggest a parody of DU but… it's hard to parody something so extreme.

  • SimonD||

    Isn't DU where you go when Salon is just too damn right-wing.

  • Idle Hands||

    after reading this story from the various sources It's really kind of amazing the level of mental gymnastics that you need to leap through to put the blame solely on the Republican Gov. but there it is.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    I see that from my cousins and former classmates…

    Anything bad = Republicans/right

    Anything good = Democrats/left

    They had to change Wilson, both Roosevelts, and the entire Democratic Party from the 1950s to 2013 to right-wing Republicans in order to make it work…

  • Doctor Whom||

    Or just fire up the memory hole. You'd think the memory hole would have gotten clogged by now, but no.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    You'd have thought the memory hole would have gotten clogged when the FDR Administration recycled many of the officials from the Wilson Administration, but no, Wilson became a hero and FDR a saint.

  • Rational Exhuberance||

    The memory hole is like a black hole: the more stuff falls into it, the bigger and nastier it gets.

  • Brian Macker||

    The only involvement and mistake I can see here by the Rep. Governor is to have reappointed a Democrat, Dan Wyant, to DEQ who was originally appointed by a Democrat. The emergency managers he appointed did nothing wrong since they only approved on financial issues and made no decision (which were made by Flint City Council or civil servants). The finances approved included treatment for the water with limestone, which is incredibly cheap to begin with. All the mistakes were by professional civil servants trained in dealing with the water supply, or by Democrats stonewalling.

  • MarkLastname||

    I bet whenever a Republican mayor does something great, these people just immediately give Obama credit.

  • ||

    So does this guy: https://shar.es/1htoiB

    Amazing how he contorts to blame republicans.

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    "But I knew you wouldn't listen. So I took the liberty of pouring water from the lake Flint tap in all your drinking glasses"

    (this is why we should hate kids)

  • Lee G||

    But wait! There's more!

    I don't know whether to get into a rage or just break down and cry...

    just thinking about those poor people and babies with lead in their baby formula puts me into a depression...people with no power getting screwed again...

    The only halfway bright spot was Obama's reaction...and he spoke from the heart as a father...
  • WTF||

    Obama's reaction to the failure and malfeasance of his EPA in this matter? Because that actually would be a bright spot.

  • John||

    The EPA poisoned the Colorado River and the water supply of an entire Indian Tribe last year. And like always, Obama didn't give a fuck. Obama's reaction to these things is "does it affect me? Then suffer in silence".

  • WoodchipperPatriarch||

    Animas river. Other side of the divide from the Colorado.

  • Pat in Colorado||

    Nope, both are west of the divide. The Animas flows into the Colorado via the San Juan River.

  • Loki||

    I was about to say "What, did he fire his EPA director?"

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Hey, at least one cartoon mentioned The EPA's role in this....progress?

  • Catatafish & Woodchips||

    To those people, Obama could literally fuck them in the earhole and they'd thank him for cleaning out the wax.

  • R C Dean||

    he spoke from the heart as a father

    If only he'd spoken from his brain, as the President, it might matter. As it is . . . .

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "If only he'd spoken from his brain, as the President"

    Mr. 57 states doesn't have a whole lot to work with in that department.

  • Sevo||

    And actually it was a fart, but the audio equipment failed, so they ran a scroll.

  • Dread Pirate Roberts||

    Of course it was the government. If anyone else poisoned Flint's water supply they would immediately be deemed a terrorist organization.

  • Horatio||

    Excellent

  • John||

    The city went broke and the thing they decided they could skimp on was the water supply. Flint Michigan is modern progressive government in a nutshell. People being forced to pay for poisoned water because all the tax money went to support lavish public pensions.

    Remember Flint the next time some Progressive tells you how much they care about people.

  • Lee G||

    Progs care about signaling, and that's it. Actual results only matter in how they can use them to signal something else.

  • Loki||

    Actual results only matter in how they can use them to signal something else.

    ...or blame the results on whichever RETHUGLIKKKAN was unfortunate to get elected after they were bounced from office.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    Remember Flint the next time some Progressive tells you how much they care about people.

    Something bad happened therefore it was the fault of right-wingers or Republicans or libertarians or corporations or rich people or white people, etc. not the fault of government or Democrats or Progressives or NGOs or etc.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Part of the what happened is Detroit's fault (also run by Democrats).

    From an NRO editorial on the Flint water issue:

    "Before the appointment of the (Democratic) emergency manager, Flint’s elected mayor and city council (Democrats) had decided to sever the city’s relationship with its drinking-water supplier, which was at the time the Detroit water authority. Flint intended to join a regional water authority that would pipe water in from Lake Huron, a project that was scheduled to take three years to come online. In a fit of pique, Detroit (a city under unitary Democratic control) immediately moved to terminate Flint’s water supply, leaving the city high and literally dry."

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/.....er-scandal

  • Bubba Jones||

    So you can blame the republican governor for a bad choice of interim water, but ultimately it was Detroit that fucked them?

    Nice.

  • DesigNate||

    You can't even blame the republican governor because the city council made the decision.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    The Flint River was always the backup source to Detroit.

  • Harun||

    Its not a bad source at all. If you put the correct chemicals in the water to make sure the water can't suck lead out of the ancient pipes.

  • Sevo||

    "Remember Flint the next time some Progressive tells you how much they care about people."

    And how we need to rely on the government to save us from Climate Change!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I played NPR-for-ten-seconds last night, which turned into NPR-for-three-minutes, and I have to say, they were pretty fair. Snyder's Republican Bona-fides weren't even mentioned-- I didn't know he was a Repub until reading this post. And the people and reporters giving commentary were putting the blame pretty squarely on local government actors, and the EPA official who apparently knew this was going on, and kept quiet about it until she could assess the EPA's legal options.

    The only focus on Snyder was the game of Political Whackbat that's clearly unfolding.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    That being said, I have faith that in the end, it'll all end up being underfunded government agencies demanding more money, more taxes, more oversight, more regulations (regulations which will make sure the existing, ignored regulations are followed).

  • MarkLastname||

    Whenever a bunch of government employees fuck up, the solution is, of course, to give them more money.

    If the stock market functioned like the government, investors would always be scrambling to find the companies with the highest price/earnings ratio and the sketchiest balance sheets to invest more money in.

  • John||

    The fact that we are even talking about which party the various miscreants in this saga belong to shows how fucking stupid we have become. Seriously, who gives a shit which political party is responsible for this? Our governments have stopped functioning and providing the basic services governments are supposed to provide and seem in some places to be little more than transfer schemes to take money from tax payers and give it to public employee unions. Leave it to the media to ignore that and of course play the entire thing as some kind of political horse race which side can blame the other story.

  • Loki||

    ^THIS^

    Apparently the blame is more important than actually identifying and fixing root causes. Shit like this is why I'm such a cynic.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    Our governments have stopped functioning and providing the basic services governments are supposed to provide and seem in some places to be little more than transfer schemes to take money from tax payers and give it to public employee unions.

    Water doesn't have to be part of "the basic services governments are supposed to provide" since private water companies can do the same thing (with the advantage of not needing permission from their owners to sue them).

  • John||

    It doesn't have to but it often is. And on the list of things the government shouldn't be doing, running the water department is pretty far down.

  • bassjoe||

    Hey, in fairness, it seems like the private sector was getting in on the broke-city gravy train, too! "Engineering consultants" were hired to figure out how to safely transfer Flint's water source to the Flint River; they apparently did a bang-up job.

  • Kandralla||

    But also in fairness:

    1. It's entirely possible that this is the best solution that could have been with the given, government issued, constraints.
    2. Fun Fact: Government officials are often amateur engineers on the side.
    3. Consultants can and often are ignored.

    I speak from experience.

    It's pretty much this:
    http://theoatmeal.com/comics/design_hell
    but with more traffic lights and dams.

  • R C Dean||

    the EPA official who apparently knew this was going on, and kept quiet about it until she could assess the EPA's legal options

    Uh-huh. One of the oldest tricks in the book to clam up and do/say nothing.

  • Lee G||

    Bureaucrats only get in trouble when they make decisions

  • Marshall Gill||

    Bureaucrats only get in trouble when they make decisions

    I didn't make that decision I APPROVED that decision!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qsnSLDEqMc

  • John||

    The latest way to do that in government is to pretend that there is some legal prohibition against doing anything and then blame the lawyers. "Our hands were tied" is a great dodge if you can get it.

  • R C Dean||

    Its just a matter of knowing the right lawyer, sending xem an email saying "Hey, this came up. Can you approve?", while knowing what xit will reply with is "I need to look into it, hang on."

    Bang: "Legal told me not to do anything . . . . "

  • John||

    It is a sick relationship. The bureaucrats don't want to have to make a decision and the lawyers always want more power than they should have. So a law that says "can" is quickly read to "should" or "must" and the decision is made and no one can be held accountable. They were just following the rules you know.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    xem/xit

    Does these substitute pronouns imply that lawyers are not actual earth mammals?

  • JWatts||

    Well they're cold blooded right?

  • CatoTheChipper||

    You can bet that if a private corporation, rather than a local government, supplied poisoned water to customers, the EPA could make a decision in a heartbeat.

  • Akira||

    But corporations are after profits, which means that they are conspiring to screw over the citizenry, since harming people is the only way to make profits. By contrast, the government is us, and we have good intentions. Therefore, when the government screws up, it's just a simple mistake (unless evil Koch-funded operatives have infiltrated the government).

    God, do I have to explain everything to you people??

  • ant1sthenes||

    Leftists love government and worry about businesses operating without regulatory oversight, but that's basically what government is.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Bingo...

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    I have to say it again, you have distilled this down with one sentence....home team making a last second shot from half court applause....well done.

  • Free Society||

    Instead, it’s a great example of government failing to efficiently provide even the most basic of public services due to a characteristically toxic combination of administrative bloat and financial mismanagement.

    No it's even worse than that. It's the government virtually monopolizing the production of a basic and necessary economic good and then utterly failing to deliver. In that sense, one might actually construe this as a criminal act regardless of intent.

  • John||

    And then charged them for the service. You know as well as I do the people in Flint still are expected to pay their water bill every month. They get the privilege of paying for poisoned drinking water.

  • Free Society||

    I'd love to hear the phone calls that the Flint water office is receiving the last few days. I'd wager they just stopped answering the phone.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    Flint government has no phones to answer. It's that damned austerity again.

  • Free Society||

    Damn you Republicans! *shakes fist at the heavens*

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Yes austerity.

    The same kind of austerity that occurred in Britain that Krugman was yapping about - where at no point did government spending ever actually decrease.

  • GILMORE™||

    Of course the narrative will be that the poisoned-water was all the fault of "Corporate Cost-Cutting"

    The solution is obviously more and better TOP MEN. With the right-color tie, which is obviously Blue. because blue-people have good intentions and are never selfish. The fact that no one can sue the government is a good thing because it ensures that mistakes will always have plenty of money to spend on their solutions.

  • John||

    If it hadn't been for those God damned nihilist Republicans setting the taxes so low, this would never have happened.

  • ||

    This is what Tony actually believes.

  • Doctor Whom||

    As do many NYT commenters.

  • Hank Phillips||

    I'll trade you twenty God-blessed condom-banning, birth forcer, prohibitionist, Jesus freak, clinic shooting, asset-forfeiture Republicans for ten of the God damned nihilist variety.

  • MarkLastname||

    You're just a one-string banjo, aren't you?

  • Loki||

    Of course the narrative will be that the poisoned-water was all the fault of "Corporate Cost-Cutting"

    MARKIT FAELYURE!!11!!!1!!!!!11!!!!

    Nevermind that the provision of drinking water in Flint is a government monopoly, no market involved. They'll still find some way to blame it on markets. See linked article from The Nation, above.

  • Citizen X||

    You know who else spent a lot of time being outraged?

  • Marshall Gill||

    Me?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Sam Kinison?

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    Howard Beale?

  • Akira||

    Oscar the Grouch?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    She reiterated this stance during an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who holds the same view. Michael Moore, who hails from Flint, all but accused Snyder of pouring lead in the water supply himself.

    This goes further than just "blaming the republican", it's protecting the Democrat, which in this case is essentially actively working towards keeping the child rapist working with kids.

  • Westmiller||

    None of the media seem the least bit interested in the facts.

    Hundreds of tests of Flint water showed about 40% with a lead content above 5 ppm. Not a good thing, but still far below the EPA standard of 15 ppm, defined as "safe" and potable. In other words, there is no "health crisis", just a lot of water with impurities ... which may be disgusting, but is medically harmless.

    The City Council knew well in advance that the Flint River was dirty, as did the state and federal regulators. Expecting politicians to be honest about the consequences of their decisions is fanciful.

  • Kure'i||

    The Flint River is not a particular "dirty" river compared to others in Michigan. It is actually about average. It wasn't the water that was the problem, but rather the antiquated plumbing and treatment system that was in place.

  • ||

    That's not quite what I'm seeing.

    At least 25 percent of homes in Flint had levels of lead that was well above the federal level, which is 15ppb. In some homes, it was 13,200ppb.


    http://www.pri.org/stories/201.....-tap-water

  • Kure'i||

    That's because they're not going into the specifics of it.

    Here's a better article on the technical details: http://gregbranchwords.com/201.....-in-flint/

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    At least 25 percent of homes in Flint had levels of lead

    Yes, the HOMES has levels of lead, the water SUPPLY did not. That's the indication that lead piping in the homes is the crux of the issue. The Flint Water Department is supposed to treat the water, just like the Detroit Water Department did. But every city employee in Flint is an unskilled, corrupt, lying Democrat - they didn't do their jobs and the drinkable-but-untreated water is now destroying the pipes in at least 25% of the homes in Flint and injuring the residents. The oversight agencies are also filled with unskilled, corrupt, lying assholes (of both parties) and also did not do their jobs. But like police incompetence, they will all be immune to criminal charges.

    Because who gives a flying fuck about Flint? Even the mayor of Flint doesn't give a flying fuck about Flint.

  • Vapourwear||

    Then shouldn't this have started long ago?

    Why the alleged uptick in pediatric lead poisoning cases now?

  • Kandralla||

    Because the water in the Flint river is more corrosive than the water that Flint was getting from Detroit either because Detroit adjusted the chemistry with additives or because Lake Huron water is naturally less corrosive.

    A water treatment plant is not a one size fits all proposition; the physical process and additives used are set up specifically to deal with the properties of both the water they're treating and the system it's being distributed through. For whatever reason Flint didn't get the chemistry right and took too long to address the issue... I suspect a government official, who's only experience with corrosion is the rust on his car and the nice new copper pipes in his home probably, uttered the phrase "it's only a couple years" and with the best of intentions chose a riskier plan.

    A similar thing happened in Tuscon when they were forced to switch from wells to Colorado river water in the 90's; the only difference there is that out west the infrastructure is newer so there are fewer lead and galvanized pipes (which tend to trap lead over years of use) to release lead into the system as they corrode away.

  • Some Engineer||

    the action level (AL) for lead in public water supplies is 15 parts per billion, not million. If water is at 5ppm then it is 5,000 parts per billion.

    The tolerance for Pb in water is really really low.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    I just heard that nerdy guy on MSNBC say the other day that there is NO ACCEPTABLE level of lead in drinking water. I laughed, then I changed the channel. What a fucking moron.

    (And no, I don't mean Rachel Maddow, I mean the nerdy actual guy, with XY chromosomes)

  • Harun||

    During the lead in toys scandal, we got letters from retailers with a "zero-tolerance" policy for lead.

  • Harun||

    I was waiting for actual levels to be reported.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    What happened to the good, old days when we just blame the Jooz for everything?

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    Rather than rich Jews, it's now rich white people.

  • Some Engineer||

    We call this "progress."

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    Sometimes I think they're using "white people" as code for "Jews".

  • Akira||

    If you go through Hitler's speech and replace "Jews" with "the rich" and "Aryans" with "the middle class", it starts to sound a lot like standard Democrat rhetoric.

  • Brian||

    You can tell you're dealing with a great organization, when people are so eager to step up, take responsibility, and fix problems.

    That's called helping people, people.

  • Kure'i||

    As a semi-regular poster here, and having spent most of my life in Flint, and writing about it here once in a while, I'll add a few things I think worth mentioning.

    I think this article does a good job highlighting one thing that hardly anyone else has touched, and that is the utter failure of Flint's local government to effectively manage the city's finances for decades. Practically every media source I've seen has been blaming the Governor, but there has been little about the fact that an Emergency Manager was only in place because, with a few exceptions, most of the leadership of Flint has been either incompetent or corrupt, and almost uniformly Democrat of one stripe or another. Republicans are all but extinct within the city. And there is little political accountability -- if the person has a D in front of his name, he'll almost always be reelected.

    A few years back, one of the past Mayors of the City, who was particularly poor at its financial management, and was engaged in all sorts of nepotism and cronyism, was bad enough that he was, surprisingly, recalled. The ultimate result of the chaos and insolvency he oversaw, however, was not to be found in a quiet life of disgrace. Rather, he was soon elected to the office of State Representative.

  • Kure'i||

    Our Congressman, who had only a passing knowledge of the Bill of Rights, despite representing us at the Federal level for over 35 years, finally retired a few years ago. Apparently, according to the voters of Flint, the best possible replacement for this Representative was nephew, who I imagine will stay in office until his age becomes so advanced that his own son, or nephew, or future trophy wife, will be forced to assume the same obligation.

    The article misses some key points, however:

    1) First, it's true that the City Council voted 7-1 on making the switch to the KWA (water supply.) The plan, which was essentially a creature of the Emergency Manager, had been studied, looked like a wise choice fiscally, and everyone was on board with it. The Emergency Manager (a Democrat, by the way, even though he was appointed by a Republican Governor) asked the Council to vote as a demonstration that everyone agreed with the plan -- the vote itself was mere show, as the Council had long been stripped of power. At this point, City officials were very eager to take credit for the change, engage in photo ops, and the like. But it was actually really out of their hands at the time.

    2) Once the choice had been made to switch, the Detroit water supply made the first nasty move in this drama. They immediately cancelled their existing agreement to supply Flint, forcing Flint to find a new supply, since the KWA wouldn't be ready for two years.

  • Kure'i||

    3) Technical workers in Flint stated that they could process water from the Flint River in the interim. Unfortunately, this was a huge blunder. They were simply woefully unprepared for the task of treating the Flint River water through an antiquated, non-modernized system, and bit off much more than they could chew. These people have, to my knowledge, received very little blame, whereas they are at least partially responsible for the problem as well.

    4) After this, there is a series of questions about who knew what, and when. A lot of accusations are still flying, and political witch hunting is in season. The media is greatly simplifying it, of course, trying to blame whomever was already in the particular presenter's cross hairs. However, it appears at present that there was a dereliction of duty, and perhaps gross negligence, shared across several levels of government, and most parties involve share in the blame at some level. Of course, it's all government, so that much is clear. But it's also the people, who never bothered to enforce accountability or demand real change from their elected representatives -- the ones who, decade after decade, made empty promises, bankrupted the city, and forced an Emergency Manager to be there in the first place.

  • Some Engineer||

    Who made the call to not introduce a corrosion inhibitor into the Flint water? This is simple water treatment procedure. If your supply water has a certain pH, and you have lead lined pipes, you introduce a CCT of some sort. Period.

    Not doing so was the technical blunder that set all of this into the shit show it now is.

  • Kure'i||

    Yes, exactly. I posted this same link above, which goes into more detail about the technical details and where things fell apart, but I'll link it here again: http://gregbranchwords.com/201.....-in-flint/

    Unfortunately, the problem, once discovered, was not quickly abated, and instead the results (and multitudes of anecdotal complaints) were either hidden or ignored.

  • Harun||

    This. These are the people who should be fired first. Then the state EPA people, and the EPA.

    Its hard to expect financial managers to know how to treat water.

  • Trollificus||

    Thanx. That's a pretty clear and reasonable timeline of the problem. Much better than I have seen in the MSM.

    Why yes, I do go to Reason commenters for my news. Why do you ask?

  • Kure'i||

    You're welcome. Glad I could provide some insight that's not filtered through a one-sided, biased media.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    Now the story of KWA makes this more interesting.

    This throws the start of the story back to 1963 when Flint tried to build a pipeline to Lake Huron but that failed due to corruption.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    Robby Soave, you need to talk to Kure'i and do to the Flint water scandal what Reason did for Love Canal back in 1981.

  • Hank Phillips||

    I second that! The Love Canal ish was sooooo sold out you could only buy xeroxes as reprints.

  • Trollificus||

    Thanx for the link to that, and a fine non-wasted evening of research. Horrifying how relatively easy it was for Zeuss to do what would once have been considered basic field research on the issue.

    I remember when this was current news thinking, "The gathering of wood for the stake to burn Hooker Chem on will involve more effort and time than the analysis of what really happened."

    Always good to have one's cynicism validated...or proven inadequate.

  • Kure'i||

    I'd be glad to help, though I finally managed to escape Flint's Tractor-Beam-o'-Misery and relocated to SW Florida last year.

  • Ron||

    What a lot of people don't understand is that this is actually a blessing. How? the lead pipes have always had lead in them and that lead has always been percolating through those same pipes into peoples drinking water poisoning them. Now they switch to a new water source which only flushes out more lead than noticed before. this is like the Canarie in the mine the poison was always there poisoning them its just now noticed. So I blame whoever allowed the lead pipes to stay in. I also blame the sheeple for taking so long to get upset because they like sheep waited until the government did anything for them instead of making much louder noise from the start. If my water looked like that I would have been there everyday for week and then sued their ass.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

  • Hank Phillips||

    Run to the Express Office and ask for a bottle of Dr. Hank's Get The Lead Out Snake Oil--now with extra EDTA!

  • JWatts||

    A blessing? How long do you think it will be before prominent Democrats are demanding that the Federal government replace all the lead pipes in Flint? Using Union workers of course. Because the children and jobs!

  • Ron||

    they have already asked for that.

  • Laura91||

    tar and feather Snyder than arrest him, try him and hang him once for every person he poisoned

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    Since he poisoned exactly zero people, it should go pretty quickly.

  • Kure'i||

    This is the kind of dumb stuff I keep seeing everywhere. It's the age of the low-information mouthpiece.

  • Sevo||

    Kure'i|1.21.16 @ 4:04PM|#
    "This is the kind of dumb stuff I keep seeing everywhere."

    And that's pretty dumb!

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Fuck off troll.

  • C4LDude||

    The city council voted 7-1 to make the switch to river water in 2013, prior the EM appointment

  • Kure'i||

    This is incorrect. The EM has been in place consistently since at least 2011. There were others before, off-and-on, throughout the previous decade.

    While this vote was conducted prior to the current EM, the former EM was already in place at that time.

  • Sevo||

    I suspect an attempt at a spin; thank you for correcting it.

  • Sezneg||

    SERIOUS ERROR in the update/correction at the bottom of this article.

    The "source" of the contamination was NOT the Flint River. It would not have mattered WHERE the water being used in the system was "sourced". The issue was that protocols were not followed to ensure the water left treatment at the correct PH level for use in the antiquated water delivery system in Flint, which uses lead service lines.

    Lead service lines, which are still in use in MANY municipalities in this country, are not ideal but can be used safely. This is because a protective layer of Lead Oxide crystal forms on the interior of these lines, which under proper conditions is not subject to leaching into the water.

    In the case of Flint, the PH levels were wrong, which caused this protective layer to break down and lead to rust formation and elemental lead leaching into the water supply.

    The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEP) is the agency in charge of seeing that the correct standards/methods are used, and failed to do so. This same department disrupted/altered testing to hide the issue.

  • Harun||

    and this is why the head of that agency was rightly fired.

  • Sezneg||

    SERIOUS ERROR in the update/correction at the bottom of this article.

    The "source" of the contamination was NOT the Flint River. It would not have mattered WHERE the water being used in the system was "sourced". The issue was that protocols were not followed to ensure the water left treatment at the correct PH level for use in the antiquated water delivery system in Flint, which uses lead service lines.

    Lead service lines, which are still in use in MANY municipalities in this country, are not ideal but can be used safely. This is because a protective layer of Lead Oxide crystal forms on the interior of these lines, which under proper conditions is not subject to leaching into the water.

    In the case of Flint, the PH levels were wrong, which caused this protective layer to break down and lead to rust formation and elemental lead leaching into the water supply.

    The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEP) is the agency in charge of seeing that the correct standards/methods are used, and failed to do so. This same department disrupted/altered testing to hide the issue.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    The new guy got squirreled. :-D

    PS: How does one abbreviate Department of Environmental Quality as DEP? Is it French? :-D

  • Hank Phillips||

    What about adding EDTA to the fluoridation chemicals and chlorine?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Union Goonion over there sez the Government is as infallible as the Pope. You must be wrong.

  • waltinseattle||

    I must be blind but I cant find where the union signed off on the water from the river. I guess now Reason has gone soviet or postmodern or some other wack because this whole article sounds like collective guilt tripping. And rather selective at that. how about the guy that signed off on the frigin work orders??? p.s. i agree the governor does not need to resign unless he was fully informed and had oportunity read all the risks and said "go ahead." leaving it for the locals to do is fine otherwuise. But the union? your out of your libertarian nest!

  • DesigNate||

    The pubsec unions negotiated themselves hefty retirement packages over the last 50+ years, basically bankrupting the city.

    Which is why the city was looking at getting their water from elsewhere instead of being assraped by Detroit.

    Oh, and the "guy that signed off on the frigin work orders" was a Democrat Emergency Manager appointed because, wait for it, the city was basically bankrupt thanks to the ridiculous public sector union retirement packages.

    Do try and keep up.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    Detroit was charging Flint a higher rate than its other customers because of Flint's elevation.

    Flint used to resell some of the water they got from Detroit to counties around Flint but those counties couldn't afford them, so they formed the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA) to get their own water from the Lake Huron. This decision cut Flint's revenues which helped to contribute to Flint's fiscal woes.

  • retiredfire||

    How dare those "pubsec" unions steal the checkbook and give themselves those big pensions, without the knowledge of the Mayor and City Council.
    As soon as they saw the City in financial trouble those municipal employees should all have done what private sector workers do and quit their jobs, to relieve the burden. Amirite?
    Looks like public employees, especially unionized ones, are destined to join Booosh and global warming as the cause of all the troubles America is facing.

  • Sevo||

    retiredfire|1.22.16 @ 10:08AM|#
    "How dare those "pubsec" unions steal the checkbook and give themselves those big pensions, without the knowledge of the Mayor and City Council."

    I got mine, so fuck you, right?
    Well, get screwed with rusty farm implements, parasite.

  • Kure'i||

    That update leaves much to be desired, because though it sounds like there are conflicting stories, both sides are technically correct.

    The City voted, but it was a show vote -- they had no real power over the issue. They had voted in order to show agreement with the EM's decision, which was controlling.

    The decision to switch was made prior to the CURRENT Emergency Manager, and happened during the tenure of the former EM.

    So both sides are technically correct.

  • Rational Exhuberance||

    The City voted, but it was a show vote -- they had no real power over the issue.

    They could have shown their disapproval in their "show vote".

    But the problem occurred far earlier, namely when the city ruined its finances, which is what caused the appointment of the emergency manager in the first place.

  • Tony||

    But in Libertopia, whether the water supply was poisoned would be a matter of whether it made someone money, right?

  • Free Society||

    Trying asking that question again, but coherently this time.

  • Sevo||

    You might ask (in vain) for a degree of honesty from that MISERABLE CHUNK OF LEFTY TURD too.

  • DesigNate||

    Derp da derp da tiddly terp.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Someone... like mebbe an altruist government monopoly operating on the principle of The Common Good Before the Individual Good? Dead People, not Profits?

  • Hank Phillips||

    You're looking at Altruria, pal. Gubmint monopolies, taxes at gunpoint, secret ballot elections nobody can verify, and two looter parties counting the votes.

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    I tried to understand, three times.....I really did, but it was a long day at work and I only have a fucking J.D. so I quit.

  • Rational Exhuberance||

    Under libertarian government, you get to hold people who supply you with bad water legally responsible for the damage they caused.

    Under progressive government, the crooks responsible for poisoning thousands of children just get off free and receive large government pensions.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    It must be a real burn for you having nothing but your strawman to blame for the failure of your deity, Big Government, to perform even its most basic functions--those things that you insist only Big Government is sufficiently competent and ethical to do.

  • dunce||

    The death spiral of cities like Flint is always the same. The productive tax payers in the private sector leave to find work elsewhere and the unproductive remain and with nearly the same level of public services and employees. reality intrudes and budgets are cut but not on public union employees. The pension legacy costs are not immediate but they are inevitable. Math is hard for people in government it seems because they all make the same huge mistakes.

  • macsnafu||

    So Flint is sort of like an Atlas Shrugged moment?

  • Hank Phillips||

    True dat. They wanted a unionized gubmint monopoly, Kool-Aid and all...

  • Frankjasper1||

    Then blame republicans. Rinse/repeat!

  • ||

    You're not really a dunce are you ?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Math is cruel. Math is absolutist and cold. Socialist extermination camps are sensitive, concerned and aware. When the prophesies come, you deniers will get yours! You'll see!

  • ant1sthenes||

    Flint, and so many towns like it, is in the "running out of other people's money" phase of things.

  • Rational Exhuberance||

    This is why true socialist countries first try a massive exit tax on people who want to leave, and when that doesn't work, just shoot them. We're getting to the massive exit tax stage in the US.

  • retiredfire||

    Got any figures to go with that?
    Like the number of public sector employees being hired, yearly, to replace retiring ones?
    In my experience, it is the vote-buying schemes that are the ones that remain just as highly funded by the politicians, who have given their employees promises of future benefits, like pensions, in lieu of raises, with the full expectation of not being around, and collecting their own short-term-employment pensions, when the other ones come due.
    No one can criticize a public sector employee unless they can, honestly, say they would refuse to take an increase in a benefit offered by their employer, because it would cost the employer too much.
    P.S. Unions don't get everything they want from their contract negotiations, in fact, they probably get less than the government was ready to part with as their final offer. Politicians want as much money as they can for mass vote-buying schemes and the votes of their employees are chump-change. What unions contribute to campaigns is, also, a drop in the bucket.
    Spoken as someone who has been involved in this process.

  • blcartwright||

    A public sector union can conspire with their government employers because they're being paid with other people's money (the tax payers). Then the union kicks back campaign contributions so keep their sugar daddies in power.

  • Sevo||

    You'll notice the handle above: "retiredfire". S/he's a retired firefighter who is all for libertarian causes, except when it means kicking the pub-sec unions off the gravy train.
    Nothing wrong with the pub-sec unions stealing taxpayer money, right, retiredfire?

  • CatoTheChipper||

    The EPA knew about this, but did nothing until forced. They were too busy saving the planet from CO2 to be concerned about real pollution.

  • Hank Phillips||

    And water vapor. Dihydrogen oxide is a much more abundant greenhouse gas threatening the planet.

  • Alan@.4||

    How about city political types who AGREED TO OR SET THE PENSION LEVELS?

  • Reasonless||

    It is much easier to operate your own retirement scams when the people working for you get a piece of the pie.

  • patskelley||

    Obfuscation is such crap. Especially these days when a simple Internet search may reveal truth.

  • wagnert in atlanta||

    If that picture is actually of a sinkful of Flint water, I don't think they're getting their supply from the Flint River. I think they're getting it from the sanitary sewer outfall.

  • Reasonless||

    Lot of cities operate this way. Treated sewer in - Drinking water out. Lake Michigan is a perfect example of a drinking water source and waste water depot.

  • Brian Macker||

    River water in many places is stained with tannins and humic acid. These are natural by produces of plant material breakdown, like all the leaves that fall in the autumn. You may have notice that tea has the same color, and it is made from leaves. Rivers all over the northeast have this same color. Clear rivers tend to be fed from sources that do not have lots of plants, or decomposition is retarded by cool weather, like in the rock mountains. Time of year also matters. Fall leaves decompose in the spring.

  • Harun||

    The contamination is from the pipes, not the river.

    The locals forgot to add a chemical that balances the pH of the water, to prevent the pipes from leeching lead into the water.

    Other people messed up, but this the prime cause.

  • Reasonless||

    I have heard it was a deliberate decision not to add the chemicals (save money) but you are right about the source of the lead.

  • Brian Macker||

    That's stupid because it was about $100 a day in limestone. The stuff is dirt cheap because it is essentially dirt. That amounts to a savings of $36,000 which is chump change compared by what they were saving using river water.

  • ||

    OT but must read

    Hilliary shows up to Beaumont, Texas today for an appreance and then a fundraiser.

    6 people showed up to greet her. she blew them off to avoid photos.

    http://goo.gl/5DicqL

    But then goes to a private fundraiser held by a Pakistan man.

    And guess what happens ?

    http://www.12newsnow.com/story.....n-beaumont

    Several news sources say that she was so embarrassed with only 6 supporters showing up she ducked the cameras to avoid embarrassing photos.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Gawursh, whatever Republicans come butting in here to spam with must be true. Me and the Michiganders expect all kinds of truth and honesty outta looters AND their parties. I'll read it someday...

  • Hank Phillips||

    This is the most fun reporting I've seen in Reason since the Love Canal. Local government forced a chemical company to hand over its land for a playground, then a State government monopoly tore the south end open for one of those roads Socialists believe did not exist before Max Manifesto Plank 2 was added to the Constitution. Suddenly some harmless private property was converted into a toxic monument to altruism, sacrifice and death. With any luck, the Michiganders will get more of what they voted for. Let experience teach them some harsh lessons.

  • Chuck in CR||

    I understand that there is/was no lead in the Flint River water supply but that it was highly corrosive, like the CAP water delivered to Tucson Az in 1995. This corrosive water ate through lead pipes in some of the buildings in Flint (I do not know the extent) and delivered lead from the pipes to its occupants.

    The true cause of the lead poisoning is the failure of the buildings owners to remove what has been agreed to be hazardous: lead pipes for water consumption. How this was not mandated and regulated, and inspected, permitted, taxed, and had top men determining that it was safe for the chilluns I do not know.

    Also to fault, although I excuse them, are the occupants of those buildings for not taking due diligence for their own safety... in their defense, they have been taught that someone is "looking out for them in these matters".

  • Mr Whipple||

    The #FlintWaterCrisis is not a blueprint for what would happen if libertarians abolished government and let poor people drink poisoned water, as some enemies of free markets are no doubt claiming. Instead, it’s a great example of government failing to efficiently provide even the most basic of public services due to a characteristically toxic combination of administrative bloat and financial mismanagement.


    Just being devil's advocate here, but I think some of those that have been blessed with a streak of altuism are saying that the river should never had been polluted in the first place.

    In other words, 'teh korporashuns!'

  • Sevo||

    Do you know how that river "got" polluted?

  • Sevo||

    Or, after reading more, that is WAS polluted?
    Please post cites.

  • Rational Exhuberance||

    It seems pretty clear that the move to Flint river water started with a vote of the city council: http://tinyurl.com/z84olrf

    The argument people seem to be making is that the decision was so stupid that state regulatory agencies should have prevented it and that the state appointed emergency manager should have fixed it. Sorry, I don't buy it. These decisions were local responsibility; the fact that the city council was so inept that it couldn't manage its own affairs and an emergency manager needed to be appointed doesn't mean that all of a sudden all of Flint's problems became the responsibility of the emergency manager. When you set your own house on fire, the fire department should try to put out the flames as best they can, if not for any other reason than to protect your neighbors, but they aren't responsible for the smoking ruin you return to.

  • ManIntheMirror||

    I love this comparison

  • Brian Macker||

    This is especially true if you keep setting your house on fire again.

    The EMs only role was to oversee via an approval process the decisions the the City of Flint officials (COFO) were making. His signature was one of three required for approval and the two others were also COFO signatures. The decision to move to the Flint River was evaluated by slews of qualified people, and what the EM signed were things like a request by the COFO to hire an engineering firm to evaluate the switch, or financial documents. The multiple emergency managers had no role in deciding what was safe or unsafe. Multiple local COF agencies approved the plan. It was long after the governing process that the stated plan was not followed by the COF bureaucrats and the COF screwed up in not treating the acidity of the water with limestone. There was a the state environmental agency tasked with monitoring but it happened to screw up too. It was supposed to check up on what the locals were doing but didn't follow the proper procedures to do so. The blame belongs to COF and to the state environmental agency, and EPA.

  • Reasonless||

    I was hoping Obama would fly over Flint when he visited the Detroit Auto Show this week. He could have told "Brownie" what a great job he was doing.

  • ManIntheMirror||

    PASS THAT BUCK, PASS THAT BUCK!!!

    Government officials love to pass the buck either in the context of blame or in the context of my wallet to a bloated and inefficient government program/project.

  • Brian Macker||

    "Updated at 3:30 p.m. on January 21: Local officials dispute that they played any formal role in the decision to use the Flint River..., instead pinning the blame on the state-appointed EM. The emergency manager, on the other hand, says the decision was made by the city long before his appointment."

    The local officials are lying. Go to that article by Lindsey Smith and following her links to the original documents. Lindsey Smith presents her interpretation of events which could only be true if someone invented time travel. There were multiple state-appointed emergency mangagers and their role is to review and reject or accept decisions by the local officials and nothing else. The emergency manager Darnell Earley is correct in that the decisions were made before his appointment in September 2013. City of Flint officials had made the decision earlier as per: "This was approved at the city council meeting in a 7-1 vote on Monday, March 25, 2013."

    What is clear is that the city officials requested the hiring of LA&K Engineering firm to evaluate using the Flint River as a temporary water source (approved by the EM and two city officials). They met at the city plant for a day with LA&K and others, got a report from LA&K, had it reviewed by Flint City public works and other agencies, and got a recommendation that they switch to the Flint River entirely from Flint City sources. They then made the final decision to do it June 29, 2013.

  • chmercier||

    Michigan was once Blue-on-Blue Democrat stronghold and there has been some* revitalization there since it's gone Not-Blue. Although I don't agree with all of Snyder's actions, he has generally followed (or tried) what Mitch Daniels did for Indiana. Since the Democrat Urban Machine was bruised, and there has been some success following a non-progressive model of governance, the Snyder must be destroyed.

    The thing about Michigan is it's highly symbolic, and highly numerated, for the Democrat party. If they lose Michigan, the Blue State Progressive model, though empirically a failure already, will show success when laws and economics are loosened away from union/Democrat power.

    So, the EPA, DEQ, and Democrat city council knew the problems with the lead, the water, etc. Then waited for people to get hurt to make the non-Democrats look bad to go back to the Blue State Machine. Dirty politics, but what's new for the Democrats?

  • BioBehavioral_View||

    You Owe Me!

    In this age of exploding collectivism and imploding individualism, one person’s mistakes become another’s responsibility. The motto has become, “I err — you pay.”

    Some examples? Puerto Rico intentionally assumes debt that it knows that it never can repay; federal aid. Flint, Michigan changes its source of municipal water from the relatively clean Lake Michigan to the toxic Flint River, thereby, poisoning its own children — federal aid. People build on flood-plains then suffer massive damages when the rains inevitably arrive — federal aid.

    Wait! The federal government may print a currency that it continuously debases, but upon what is that currency founded? The power to tax productive citizens. When those who intentionally engage in economically injurious behavior demand “federal aid”, they are putting their hands into other people’s pockets.

    “Ah, but we should help each other,” claim the “humanitarians”.

    If robbing a prudent Peter to save an imprudent Paul is “humanitarianism”, that word has become an obscenity. Behavior should have its rightful consequences.

    See “The Biobehavioral Orientation” at ...
    http://nationonfire.com/b-fx/ .

  • Reason4thinking||

    Who poisoned Flints water becomes a screed to beat on government hacks and public pensions. Root cause is a broken pension system:1900 retired pensioners somehow are causing the problem because they are breaking the bank? The episode displays government ineptness and becomes a case study in feckless government bureaucrats causing all problems? Of course no alternative is placed before the reader. Lets put a few of the "private sector" successes up there for review: In WVa two well documented examples of large scale industrial contamination of drinking water - the contamination of the Elk River and drinking water in Parkersburg - has left thousands ill or dead. In NC, the release of sediment laced with metals from coal ash ponds has left miles of river polluted. In NY, the Hudson river is laced with PCB's. The list is endless. Is all of this caused by feckless government bureaucrats looking the other way? I submit that root cause are the rules and regulations government employees work under that derive from an interaction between our elected representatives and extra-governmental interests. The effect is to make sure those rules are either not enforced or are so diluted that there is no effect in enforcement. It is a cynical display that is designed to say: "government is the problem". Exactly and particularly when a political ideology that views effective governance in a dim light and so is not moved to govern effectively. What would you expect the outcome to be.

  • blcartwright||

    Yes, you correctly cite examples of private industry poisoning the water. That does not mean there are not other examples of government (even the EPA themselves) poisoning the water. One difference is when government is guilty, no one goes to jail. They just shrug or blame the nearest Republican.

  • Reason4thinking||

    Sorry, none of the points you make bear scrutiny. What are the examples of the government or EPA purposely poisoning the air or water? And there have been no convictions or arrests in the industrial pollution cases cited. Fines were imposed but these were negotiated settlements to the benefit of the defendants. Cost of business. To make the argument that the Flint case somehow "proves" the ineptness of government borders on asserting truth by using a meaningless cliche. That ineptness, even criminal behavior, exists everywhere. There is little difference between hacks in private industry and hacks in government. The people in each organization are responding to the prevailing mores, the culture, of the organization. Bad culture --- bad outcomes. I have worked in industry my entire professional career. There is no end to the nonsense that goes on. But, that can be largely compensated with good leadership, sound decision making and execution of a plan. All of that is plainly lacking in the Flint case and bears poorly on the Flint city managers and the State of Michigan. It also reflects poorly on Dupont, Duke Energy, GE and other companies who have done the same. I have a simple rule: fix the problem before you fix blame. Given all that has happened in Flint, how do you propose to fix the problem? I see a lot of finger pointing and "gotcha" comments in these posts but little by way of constructive commentary as to how to fix the immediate and larger systemic problems.

  • Sevo||

    Reason4thinking|1.23.16 @ 12:50AM|#
    "Sorry, none of the points you make bear scrutiny."

    Imbecilic assertion.
    Go away.

  • Sevo||

    Reason4thinking|1.22.16 @ 9:26PM|#
    "Who poisoned Flints water becomes a screed to beat on government hacks and public pensions. Root cause is a broken pension system:1900 retired pensioners somehow are causing the problem because they are breaking the bank? The episode displays government ineptness and becomes a case study in feckless government bureaucrats causing all problems?"

    Yes.
    Yes.
    Yes.
    BTW, your handle is a lie; you obviously do not think; you post talking points.

  • Reason4thinking||

    Nice ad hominem argument. Keep up the good work.

  • Sevo||

    You hope to deserve more?
    Get lost.

  • Eman||

    i like how hil "spent a lot of time being outraged last week", as if that's something you actively do. Obviously, some people think it is

  • Bruce Majors||

    Something similar happened 12 years ago in DC

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-g.....1/2827965/

  • joshuahseverance||

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  • gigarath24||

    It amazes me how the statists among us always wants to involve the government into everything, but show them this and somehow the government needs to get more involved, yet again? Is is just me or is private water sources on average better, i.e. bottled water.

  • larrycoons@larrycoons.com||

    Why did she overlook the mayor, Karen Weaver, the ENTIRE city council, the U.S. House Representative, Both State representatives, Both U.S. Senators, the state Senator, and the current President when Hillary pointed out that Republican Governor Snyder was to blame?

    Its not republican governing that caused this, it was democrats taking advantage of the poor because the poor keep handing over their votes without question. Now, thanks to the lead in the water, it looks as though they will be handing over the lives of their children as well . . . how about that change folks!!! How about that change!!!!

  • sara542532||

    Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.

    Click This Link inYour Browser......._+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ www.Paybucket40.com

  • ||

    Not everybody likes doing what you and your sister do. How much did you spend on penicillin last year?

  • ||

    I was born and raised in Flint. Flint was a wonderful place in the 60's and 70's. Awash in UAW high salaries for everyone. The money filtered through the UAW picked city commission. The place was full of things for children to do. Then the bubble burst. Car buyers got tired of paying top dollar for an inferior product. GM got smart and decided that they could build cars cheaper and better elsewhere than their alcohol and drug addled employees in Flint could build. And they got tired of paying the property taxes that enabled liberal government largess and corruption. All that is left of this once proud city is an ever declining population of GM retirees and their out of wedlock grandchildren. These circumstance only strengthened the liberal hold on local government. The people running the city can't keep toilet paper in their bathrooms much less provide even the most basic services. The only reason that Flint is not bankrupt is there is nothing left to declare bankruptcy over. The city owes many times over what they could possibly come up with. Most people reading this have more money in their checking account that Flint has in theirs. When the retirees finally move away or die the city will be good for nothing other than a proving ground for bulldozers. This should be the prime example of what happens when liberals run out of other peoples money. The water problems are only a highly visible indicator of what is an entirely rotten situation.

  • davidvolta||

    Two different sentences, two different concepts

    ► ► ►motivation quotes
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  • Viral Stories||

    Every issue must be structured as " victim " vs " evil white oppressor's "

    That's how the brainwashing works.

  • davidvolta||

    Thanks, I fixed that sentence to make it clear that
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  • Motivation Quotes||

    It amazes me how the statists among us always wants to involve the government into everything, but show them this and somehow the government needs to get more involved Greatest Motivational Quotes

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