Ramona's picture

    The Flint Water Crisis: It's All Obama's Fault


    Jake May—The Flint Journal-MLive.com/AP


    Nearly every day I'm hearing from people who are just now paying attention to what's been going on in Michigan  Their reactions to the latest and the worst insult--the water poisoning in Flint--are many and varied, but tend to follow the same theme:  WTF??

    I'm not here to judge, but it's not as if our bleating protestations haven't been wafting through the air for years. (They have been--even before 2011, when the GOP gerrymandered their way into absolute power and Rick Snyder took the oath he pretended he didn't hear.)

    It's not as if we haven't been begging Michigan voters not to give ALEC, The Mackinac Center, and the Koch brothers the toehold they so actively coveted.  (We saw them coming long before their hand-picked choice, former CEO Rick Snyder, suddenly appeared on the scene.)

    It's not as if we didn't vote in a referendum against emergency managers by a solid margin.  (We did that. All legal and everything. Gov. Snyder appointed them, anyway.)

    It's not as if we didn't warn everyone not to vote in Gov. Snyder when he ran for his second term.  (We did that, too.  We had an excellent candidate in Mark Schauer. But every major newspaper in Michigan except one gave their support to Snyder.  (The Traverse City Record Eagle decided not to endorse anyone.)  Kind of pissy that now many of them are screaming for his head--as if they knew nothing--nothing at all--and had nothing to do with his rise.)

    We've done everything we could to stop the Snyder administration from destroying our state, only to run up against a political machine so powerful we knew going in it was likely we would fail.  And we did.  Miserably.  It's embarrassing how little impact the Dems in our state have made, considering the evidence we've piled up against the guys who so relentlessly tore our state apart.

    Now we have a crisis in the already impoverished and beleaguered city of Flint, brought on solely, completely, and deliberately by the Snyder administration and the emergency manager he appointed, not to assist but to replace a sitting, duly elected city government.

    The lead poisoning of the city water system is a crisis of such huge proportions, the shock waves are felt all over the country.  The mainstream media--that same media we've begged for so long to pay attention--is just now stirring.  The sleeping giant has awakened and they're shocked--shocked, I tell you!--at the magnitude of the corruption and neglect.

    I would say we told you so. . .  Okay, I'm saying it:  We told you so.  But thank you, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, and the pathetically few others who lent their voices to our call in an effort to stop this insanity before it lead to something like this.

     The effects of the water poisoning in Flint are not going away.  Thousands of people, including and especially young children, have been harmed by it.  Action is needed NOW, but the Snyder administration and his GOP cronies are bobbing, weaving, fudging--anything to keep from having to take full responsibility for it.

    Snyder made his "The buck stops here" speech, intended to be just the ticket to absolve him of wrong-doing.  "I take the blame.  You satisfied?  No, I won't quit!  I'm staying to fix this!" (Not an exact quote, but close enough.)  But even Snyder knows a few words at a press conference won't fix anything.  So he's moved on.  Now it's the blame game.

    It's all Obama's fault.

    No joke.   The Michigan Republican Party put this out last week  (Thank you, Eclectablog):

     The Feds did delay their intervention.  It seems they were waiting to see what the state was going to do, while the state--namely Snyder--was waiting for an offer so it wouldn't look to his handlers like he was asking Obama for (OMIGAWD!) help.A stupid stand-off on both sides.  It's an emergency!  Who waits for an invitation in an emergency? 

    But Snyder and his Boys aren't going to be let off the hook.  Nor are they going to be allowed to take the credit for any aid unless they get off their asses and start pulling those lead-lined pipes out of that system. 

    The rats are leaving the ship.  The two Flint emergency managers involved in this scandal, Darnell Earley and Jerry Ambrose, are nowhere to be seen.  (Oh, wait. . .is that Darnell Earley over there in Detroit, emergency-managing their school system?  It is!  It was.  He's gone from there, too.  His next phase is as reluctant witness in front of a House committee investigating the Flint crisis. Those cockroaches can run but they can't hide.)

    In an amazing turn-around, Snyder has decided Flint no longer needs an emergency manager.  The patient is cured!  It's a miracle!

    There is a new mayor in town and he has complete faith in her ability to let him off the hook.  The new mayor, Karen Weaver, will be testifying this week in front of a House Democratic Committee on the Flint Crisis. She has appeared on cable and network political shows, is becoming a regular on Rachel Maddow's show, has met with Hillary Clinton, who has promised to do her best to help, and is reaching out to anyone who will listen about where the blame lies and what needs to be done now.   If Snyder thought he had an ally in Mayor Weaver, he's as deluded as he was when he came up with that cockamamie emergency manager plan. 

    News flash:  Bernie Sanders is setting up campaign headquarters in Flint.  And you've heard there's going to be a Democratic debate broadcast from Flint in March?

    Now if those new-found friends could only drink the water.

    NOTE: The water crisis time-line is here.  (One clarification. The MJ article says Snyder handed over his emails the next day after being pressured.  That's true.  But they were heavily redacted--some pages entirely redacted--and many pertinent emails are missing.  We're still waiting for those.)


    Ramona, just wanted to toss in another timeline, this one from the Bridge magazine. It is excruciatingly detailed and took me about 3-4 hours to read. Quite long, but I believe it will become the gold standard that revisionist historians cannot quibble over.

    I am unable to link it with the little chain so here's the old fashioned copy and paste way:


    All I can say is, thank goodness for Miguel Del Toral. Thank goodness for Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha. Thank goodness for the groups of Flint pastors that would run over to Lansing and take up our precious governor's precious time and repeatedly ask why nothing was being done about the foul water. Thank goodness for all those folks that dared to take a bite and refused to be shaken off.

    The knew they were fighting a good fight.

    So they didn't back down. They didn't give up.

    It gives me no pleasure to say that Michigan has the government the voting majority elected. The Dem turnout was not as strong as it could have been. So to, I believe, was the independent turnout. In the big, decaying industrial cities the underlying apathy has quite a strong pulse. We can cheerlead our lungs out but apathetic ears don't hear so well.

    It's so discouraging but you cite those few wonderful people who wouldn't give up and that's pretty energizing.  I can't help but believe this is the beginning of the end for the vermin in Lansing.

    Thanks for the Bridge link.  I'm off to bed right now but I'll read it in the morning.  Looks like a keeper.  I'll be sure to bookmark it and keep it handy!

    Thanks, FC for this excellent timeline and the analysis it contains. It does somewhat separate the technical, what caused the lead leaching crisis, lack of corrosion control, and the political/bureaucratic failures to address the problems once they were exposed.  It does identify people in the MDEQ and others who should have known this treatment was mandated but so far doesn't completely explain why they made this dangerous decision not to treat this water especially because, if i read the comments correctly, they were doing some corrosion treatment of the Detroit water before the switch.

    The decision to use the Flint River water temporarily  was approved by everyone involved, including the Flint  city government, the EM and regulators  even though the state government had the final authority for the switch so even with no EM in Flint and a Democrat governor the switch would  probably have happened with the same results. Even Democrat leaders have to depend on these experts in the regulatory bureaucracy for their decision making and the timeline emails show that the people at MDEQ were lying or at least covering up the truth in their reports to the Governor and his  advisors after the problems were exposed.

    Changing what Party is in power will not resurrect these bankrupt cities or do much to reform our incompetent regulatory agencies, who caused this crisis, and now that Flint is no longer ruled by a EM they may get clean water but will also remain in poverty and decline.

    I don't know what you're reading but it ain't that.  If you're trying to make a case for the Dems being as irresponsible as the Republicans you'll have to go looking for some other story.  What don't you understand about the powers of Flint's emergency manager?  He was all-powerful.  The city officials were puppets under his reign and had no say-so about anything.  They weren't even in on the email discussions about what was happening and when.

    From the Bridge Mag timeline:  (Truth Squad Note: The council’s vote is symbolic; with the city under control of a state-appointed emergency manager, the council vote is not binding. Final decision to switch from DWSD to KWA was made by state treasurer Andy Dillon.)

    And later:

    January 23, 2015: Flint Mayor Dayne Walling spreads blame for the growing water crisis in a report published by MLive.com: “Walling said the decision to use river water last year was made by emergency manager Darnell Earley, but the mayor said he was involved in the decision for the city to join the Karegnondi Water Authority in 2013. ‘The governor and the (state) treasurer to their credit recognized it was important for the city’s elected representatives to be included in the decision about the long-term source (of water) because we would be living with it,’ he said. “But once the decision was made in April 2013, it become an operational issue … and I wasn’t directly involved… I wasn’t directly involved in the city’s (decision) to use the Flint River as a source… It’s now clear that the challenge was underestimated.” Walling blamed the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department for terminating Flint’s contract to purchase Lake Huron water while the KWA pipeline is under construction. ‘I do think it bears repeating that it was DWSD that terminated the contract with the city of Flint,’ he said. ‘DWSD put the city of Flint in a difficult position when they terminated that contract we had for decades and decades … My goal had always been to have a cooperative relationship with DWSD but every opportunity that was looked at ended with a barrier.’”

    January 29, 2015: Flint emergency manager, Jerry Ambrose, declines DWSD water source reconnection. (As reported in December 2015 by the Michigan Auditor General.)

    The KWA is not the source of the untreated Flint water.  It's a whole different project entirely.  Just so we're clear.

    (Truth Squad Note: This is an early example of a theme which appears numerous times in written communication between state and federal regulators… There’s a repeated sense of seeking to endure the Flint River problems until the KWA water source comes online in 2016. Again, this MDEQ briefing does not mention a lead problem or concern over lead.)

    (TRUTH SQUAD ANALYSIS: Add the EPA’s very top official in the Midwest region to the long and growing list of state and federal regulators who know about, but are not urgently acting on, Del Toral’s concerns. Also add Flint’s mayor at the time to those at least partially in the know, but Walling tries and can’t get the actual Del Toral memo. Instead, EPA Region 5 Director Susan Hedman apologizes “for the manner in which this matter was handled.”)

    July 7, 2015: MDEQ Public Information Officer Karen Tommasulo emails MDEQ Communications Director Brad Wurfel: “I got a weird call from a ‘reporter’ with the ACLU asking about Flint drinking water. His name is Curt Guyette, and I’m 98 percent sure it’s the same guy who used to work at the Metro Times. He said he heard from someone at EPA that we use a ‘flawed methodology’ to collect our water samples… Additionally, he claimed Flint is not adding corrosion control to their water, and said a city of their size should be doing so by law. But apparently we told Flint they didn’t have to. I didn’t offer any comment, just took the message from him. Do you want to talk to him, or does this one need to go to Liane’s shop?” Two days later, Tommasulo emails Wurfel again as Michigan Public Radio begins picking up on the ACLU reports… “Apparently, it is going to be a thing now.”

    (TRUTH SQUAD ANALYSIS: These, we believe, are the first communications in publicly released emails to date in which state employees whose job it is to speak directly to the public on behalf of the Snyder Administration are documented discussing a potential lead problem in Flint drinking water.)


    Here is how Curt Guyette got the story.  It's also an excellent read.  

    Your claims about the Emergency Manager law are bogus as are much of the other claims in your post. One important fact missing from this timeline is that the head of the KWA required in writing the democratically voted approval of the Flint city government before any contract would be signed no matter what the EM mandated. The FCG didn't reject the water switch because they were supporters of the decision to find a less expensive water source.

    Mayor Walling does state clearly that the decision to use Flint River water their long-time backup water source, until the new KWA source was available, was made by EM Darnell Earley a Democrat and former Urban League leader but there was no other option available because of the DWSD decision to cut off Flints water supply. If Flint was under an all powerful 'Ruler' during and before this crisis it was a Black Democrat Ruler.


    You are not really challenging Ramona in regards to claims but the chronology set forth in the Bridge article provided by flowerchild. Do you have a link that could help illuminate the conditions set forth by KWA that you are referring to?

    By the way, the word is Democratic not Democrat party. Unless, of course, you intended the expression to be derogatory.

    No, I am challenging Ramona's claims, the chronology is set and documented. The KWA demand email for FCG public approval of the switch to KWA water was reported about a week ago and there is too much information coming out too quickly for me to retain and link to any of it, good luck finding it, the truth is out there.

    I've been pointing out the lack of democracy in the Democrat Party since 1968 so my intent is far beyond derogatory.

    Peter, I'm guessing you've only recently come aboard to study the Flint water crisis and only because you want to believe what you want to believe, but there are many others before you who have been studying this for many months--some of them for two years now.  If you want to dispute what I've said, go ahead, but my sources are more accurate than your hunches.

    Detroit did not shut off the water without giving the EM a chance to reconsider.  It wasn't a matter of either the Flint River water or no water at all. Detroit was willing to extend the deadline. It was his decision, bolstered by the governor, to run the Flint Water through untreated pipes and then, once the damage was done, to institute a cover-up and insist the water was okay to drink when that was far from the truth.

    Gov. Snyder secretly ordered truckloads of clean water to be delivered to state employees in Flint. You don't do that if you think the city water is okay. 

    And I really don't give a shit if you call it "the Democrat Party" or if you make your last point about how black Flint is.  ("If Flint was under an all powerful 'Ruler' during and before this crisis it was a Black Democrat Ruler.")  You're wrong, wrong, wrong.

    You seem to do too much inaccurate guessing along with jumping to conclusions and projecting misinformation. In your post you claim that there was gerrymandering used in Michigan redistricting when you certainly know that that practice is illegal and the courts including the SCOUS regularly strike down any redistricting that even appears to be gerrymandering, the most recent was two districts in Texas. You then claim that the Snyder cabal ignored the referendum rejecting the first EM law when that law is not in effect. They produced and passed a new EM law  that met the concerns raised by the referendum and i don't think anyone has tried to overturn this law.

    Politically Snyder is probably finished  because of the incompetent  response and bureaucratic gamesmanship displayed during this crisis but unless someone proves he was running the clean water business and hand delivered those truckloads of water to state employees not much more will come of this political circus.

    The city, state and federal regulators and their minions made the flawed decisions about the technical requirements for the use of Flint River water and they were the ones who tried to discredit the warnings and data produced by inside and outside water and health experts.

    The reason I highlighted the fact that Earley is black and a democrat is that he represents the Black Misleadership Class who in many of these crumbling cities are corrupt, incompetent and lead these cities further into crisis where they have to be put under EM.

    Name an elected black official or activist organization head that you do not include in the Black Misleadership Class.

    Well I did look for evidence for your argument and I did find statements similar to yours at Free Republic but when I followed the links down regarding the limitations Earley faced, they keep being countered by such things as the letter he wrote turning down the interim proposal from the Detroit Water and Sewer Department:

    Following DWSD’s April 17, 2013 notice of termination of the water service contract between the City of Flint and DWSD, the City of Flint has actively pursued using the Flint River as a temporary water source while the KWA pipeline is being constructed. We expect that the Flint Water Treatment Plant will
    be fully operational and capable of treating Flint River water prior to the date of termination. In that case, there will be no need for Flint to continue purchasing water to serve its residents and businesses after April 17, 2014.

    If you are actually interested in challenging the detailed timeline provided by the Bridge article, telling people to Google it is not going to get the job done.

    Thanks, moat.  That should settle it, right? 


    Well, rmrd0000's link citing the same letter I did clearly shows how fallout from the Emergency Manager position is an issue on to itself. During my journey through freeper land, I learned that the creation of the job is considered to be entirely the result of corruption on the part of Democratic officials and representatives.

    Being completely wrong about any particular claim won't stop that narrative. It is not a research project for them.

    I think you're confused about these two separate but connected decisions. The first was to switch to the new KWA water supply, when it became available and it was approved by everyone involved and the KWA required the FCG to publicly vote their support for the project, something neither the EM nor the state could force or change, even if the FCG had rejected the switch in water source.

    The second decision, to use Flint River water was made by EM Earley over the objections of the FCG, I haven't seen what options they were offering for a temporary water supply when DWSD cut off their water or if there was a recorded vote on this decision.

    I think the counteroffer from DWSD came after these decisions were finalized and approved by the state with the option for DWSD to make a final offer that was rejected. I can't download the letter Earley wrote and would appreciate a summary but there had already been bad blood between these two cities over this issue that i first read about in 2013. This is when the conspiracy theories began  about the state Republicans scheming to bankrupt the already bankrupt DWSD by disconnecting one of their larger customers, Flint.

    You will notice that DWSD never offered to lower their price much, overpriced would be more accurate, when Flint requested relief from them before the decision to switch to the KWA was finalized and they used the media and threatened court action  to protect their control over who supplied Flint with water.

    Again, the timeline is documented and the decisions are dated, I do contest the speculation, accusations and conclusions Mona and others have made about the reasons and intent of those people involved in this crisis. The poor response to the lead leaching problem caused by the missing corrosion control is another separate but connected subject.



    I am not confused about the two decisions. The timeline in Bridge article clearly distinguishes them. Ramona quoted the article because you seemed to be conflating them.

    You had said to Ramona: "Your claims about the Emergency Manager law are bogus" That claim came from the same article: "Truth Squad Note: The council’s vote is symbolic; with the city under control of a state-appointed emergency manager, the council vote is not binding. Final decision to switch from DWSD to KWA was made by state treasurer Andy Dillon." If you have some information that contradicts this understanding of the Emergency Manager law, please provide.

    The Early letter of March 7, 2014:



    Darnell Earley, ICMA-CM, mpa
    Emergency Manager


    March 7, 2014

    Ms. Sue McComiick

    Detroit Water and Sewer Department Detroit, Michigan

    RE: DWSD Water Rates

    Dear Ms. McCormick:

    Thank you for the correspondence dated February 12, 2014 which provides Flint with the option of continuing to purchase water from DWSD following the termination of the current contract as of April 17, 2014.

    Following DWSD’s April 17, 2013 notice of termination of the water service contract between the City of Flint and DWSD, the City of Flint has actively pursued using the Flint River as a temporary water source while the KWA pipeline is being constructed. We expect that the Flint Water Treatment Plant will be fully operational and capable of treating Flint River water prior to the date of termination. In that case, there will be no need for Flint to continue purchasing water to serve its residents and businesses after April 17, 2014.

    We are aware that Genesee County has been in negotiations with DWSD to purchase water from DWSD following the termination of our contract, and we understand that an agreement may be imminent. Should that occur, there would be no further need for the City to discuss with DWSD any continuing purchase of water. Should that not occur, however, we would be interested, if Genesee County were to so request, to purchase water from DWDS for some period of time. In such an event, our demand for water would be only for the amount necessary to provide Genesee County with water. That amount would be approximately half of the amount Flint is currently purchasing from DWSD.

    City of Flint • 1101 S. Saginaw Street • Flint, Michigan 48502
    www.cityofflint.com • (810) 766-7346 • Fax: (810) 766-7218


    Ms. Sue McCormick March 7, 2014

    Page 2

    However, in the very unlikely event that the City of Flint is not able to draw water from the Flint River no later than April 17, 2014, then the City would like the option of continuing to purchase water from DWSD for a period of time, up to the time water is available from KWA.

    Consequently, I am requesting that you clarify your proposal for the City of Flint to continue purchasing water from DWSD under the following scenarios:

    • Flint, upon the request of Genesee County, purchases water for sale to Genesee
          County for up to 3 years, beginning April 17, 2014, in an amount approximately
          50% of the volume currently purchased by the City;

    • Flint purchases water from DWSD in approximately the same volume as
          currently, for up to 3 years, beginning April 17,2014, with the ability to reduce
          that volume by up to 50% during that period, upon 30 days notice to DWSD

    • Flint purchases water from DWSD in approximately the same volume as
          currently, for up to 3 years, beginning April 17, 2014, with the ability to reduce
          that volume by up to 50% during that period, upon 30 days notice to DWSD, and
          further, to terminate the reduced volume purchase should Genesee County and
          DWSD reach an agreement whereby Genesee County directly purchases water
          from DWSD.

    Thank you and please contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to your response.


    Emergency Manager City of Flint

    By the way, the problem of corrosion control and the conflicts between Flint and DWSD are also in the article.

    Sorry for the confusion, moat I should have been more clear about what that statement of mine was referring to.  It was directed at Mona's claim in her post that Snyder ignored the referendum rejecting the 'EM law' which isn't true, the Republicans produced and passed a new law that was apparently changed enough to meet the concerns raised by the referendum.

    Thanks for printing the letter, I wonder what the  response from DWSD was?

    If I can, I'll find the report on the KWA demand for FCG public approval before they would sign any water agreement with the state or Flint to supply this water. This demand from the KWA negates the power of the EM law because they are not under any such legal EM mandate to supply water to Flint. The point is that the FCG wanted this KWA  water and were not forced to take it by the EM or the state and there were good reasons for the switch to the new Lake Huron source.

    The EM law itself is another good topic for discussion, I'm not a supporter of these laws but they seem inevitable with the continuing crises in these bankrupt cities who's leaders are either too corrupt or incapable of making the decisions that will lead to solvency.  The whining about these people losing their democracy is a bit overblown because their 'democracy' wasn't working too well and actually never existed just as it doesn't exist anywhere in Amerika.

    Here is video of the 2013 city council meeting pointing out that the council never agreed to using Flint River water.


    Arguments that are unsupported by links with data are taken as opinions. When a persons' opinions are repeatedly found to be lacking facts, those opinions are dismissed as fantasy.

    If you read the quote by Flint Mayor Dayne Walling in Mona's comment above you would see that he stated clearly that the decision to use Flint River water was made by the Democrat EM Darnell Earley, who had no other option because the DWSD was shutting off Flint's water supply. he also stated that the FCG and everyone else approved the switch to the new KWA when its pipeline was finished to Flint. Two different decisions and no opinions involved.

    Here is the letter sent by the emergency manager rebuffing the Detroit Water System's offer.


    You pathetically go from saying the city council had control to saying that the emergency manager had control. The emergency manager was appointed by the Governor. Democrats in the legislature wanted the ex-Flint emergency manager who is now the current emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools fired. They sent that statement to the Governor in October 2015. Democratic Party members did not care if the emergency manager was a Democrat.

    You attempt to dodge your original position failed.You continue to have opinions not supported by the facts. Your fantasies are not supported by reality. Your arguments are embarrassments.

    It was very very cold today in Northern Minnesota; and it will be ten degrees (at least) colder tomorrow!

    And it snowed; and it will continue to snow.


    Well that is all I got to say.



    (ps  I have no idea what this song has to do with anything. But then again, I have no idea

    what these morons' complaints about cool and clear water have to do with MY PRESIDENT!)

    Local and state corruption might have something to do with the poisoning of Michigan children.


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