Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Cher (and Others) to the Rescue!

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

The city of Flint Michigan, as well as much of the entire state of Michigan, has fallen on hard times over the past couple of decades due primarily to the decrease in American car production.  Things became so bad in Flint, a city of around 100,000 individuals more than fifty percent of whom are black and more than forty percent of whom live below the poverty level, that the Michigan legislature declared it to be in emergency economic straits in 2011.

Michigan's governor, a young venture capitalist by the name of Rick Snyder (a Republican who ran for office on the promise of bringing the state's economic crisis under control) appointed an emergency economic director to take charge of Flint's deteriorating financial situation in 2013.  That person, not an elected official, reported to the governor and was not under any direct controls of the citizens of Flint.

The following year in a move to save the city $5 million a year, the new director changed how the city got its water.  The community had been buying water from the city of Detroit, water which ultimately came from Lake Huron.  That method of water procurement was scraped in favor of a less costly plan of taking the water from the Flint River.

Many of the locals began complaining at the outset about getting the city's water supply from a river that was known for its pollution.  There were complaints that water emerging from taps in the city was brown and that it smelled bad, but agents of the state and local government made assurances that it was safe for public consumption.

Then people began getting sick, and yet the official denials continued.  And there were deaths.  Finally, a daring local pediatrician released irrefutable evidence that the lead levels in children she was treating was on the rise.   And, at long last, the wall of government neglect and deceit began to crack.

Governor Snyder has now requested federal intervention to help deal with the new crisis in Flint, this one largely of his making,  and he has apologized to the citizens of the city.  The governor refers to the situation in Flint as being a "disaster" and his "Katrina."

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has called on Governor Sanders to resign, and Hillary Clinton responded more pragmatically by sending a couple of staffers to help Flint's mayor in navigating the crisis.  The Republican presidential candidates have remained largely silent on the medical and social catastrophe that has befallen (or been thrust upon) Michigan's seventh largest city.

The mayor of Flint is suggesting that it will take in excess of a billion-and-a-half dollars to clean up the results of this latest GOP-inspired economic miracle.

So now it's time for the good people of America, of which there are millions and millions, to step forward and provide aid to their brothers and sisters in Flint.  Cher, one of our country's most iconic entertainers, led the way this week with a large donation of bottled water.  The singer, actress, and activist - along with Icelandic Glacial - donated more that 180,000 bottles of clean drinking water to the hapless victims of governmental incompetence.

Also, an American Muslim organization called "Who is Hussain?" donated thirty thousand bottles of water to the Red Cross in Flint this past weekend.

Numerous venues for providing aid to the good people of Flint are listed on the Internet.  Much more help is needed.

1 comment:

Xobekim said...

This is a lesson to be learned about the fallacy of austerity. The puppets of the Koch Brothers, who themselves want no clean air or water laws, saved $5 million and now it will take "billions" of dollars to undo the damage. Hence, Snyder's regime has proven itself to be penny wise and pound foolish.

There are reasons the air where we live is breathable and the water drinkable. We are not a third world country nor are we China. Congressional Republicans these days seem to be voting to kill the ERA with as much zeal as they want to turn our healthcare back to the unregulated tyranny of insurance companies. If Republicans get their way on air and water Flint is only a harbinger.

The United States of America was a going concern until George W. Bush ran the economy into the ground, waged war off the books, and let his Vice President engage in war profiteering. Since then Republicans, first blocking in the Senate, then controlling in the House have offered nothing to solving the problems of America. Instead they pinched pennies, denied jobs bills, especially infrastructure bills. Now with all the infrastructure in decay around the country we can add billions more to replumb a city. Add on top of that the long term medical costs by persons of all ages now ill with lead poisoning and we can say that austerity doesn't work.

The Koch brothers can't breathe or drink their profits but their greed will destroy the Republic.