Everyone knows that when you’re in a moment of personal crisis, or if you’re too close to a situation, rational decision making and problem solving can be difficult. As humans, we respond emotionally at first. This is why those of us who are not having to deal with the following three people need to help those who are just struggling to get through their day.
Public Enemy Number One: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
What did he do? He not only undermined the democratic process in his state by orchestrating the kind of power grab that only Machiavelli would love, but then, thanks to his inordinate amount of control over state governance, he managed to oversee a change in Flint, Michigan’s water delivery system and then hide the lead poisoning in the drinking water caused by that change. To add insult to that serious and actual injury, he then set out to deliberately undermine the outside investigations into the water’s toxicity when people starting looking into why their drinking water was making them sick. Snyder tried to marginalize, demonize and silence the people trying to bring the issue to light, until he couldn’t get away with it any longer.
It’s impossible to overstate just how bad and how criminal Rick Snyder is. I can’t do it justice, but Rachel Maddow sure did during her December 18th show. It starts at about the 3o second mark:
Thanks to the way Rick Snyder maneuvered, twisted, hobbled, and distorted any remnants of the “democratic process” in Michigan, it became the only state in America that protects its governor from things like Freedom of Information Act requests or other such pesky attempts at accountability, citing his Executive Privilege. For a year and a half, Governor Rick Snyder told people in Flint to just “relax” and keep drinking the poisoned water, keep cooking with the poisoned water, keep bathing with the poisoned water. And now, given the opportunity to (half-assed) make things right by signing an Emergency Declaration, guess what? He’s hemming and hawing and he doesn’t want to. Why? Because the Governor, who also has a law degree, can’t be sure how it exposes HIM to legal prosecution and further investigations down the line.
Public Enemy Number One (Snyder) and Public Enemy Number Two (Rahm Emanuel) are harming the very same people: blacks and those less fortunate. I personally think that Black Lives Matter needs to hold Flint, Michigan up as an example of overt racial injustice and hate crimes being committed by these two public officials. Using US Census Bureau data, let’s take a look at some relevant statistics for Flint:
Population is 99,002, which is down 3.3% from 2010;
57% of Flint’s population is black (national average is 12.6%);
Median home value in Flint: $36,700 (national average is $175,700);
11.3% of Flint residents have a Bachelor’s degree or higher (national average is 29.3%);
Median household income in Flint is $24,679 (national average is $53,482);
42% of Flint, Michigan’s residents live below the poverty line (national average is 15%)
So, to summarize, Rick Snyder’s administration forced the residents of Flint to rely on poison, toxic drinking water for a year and a half. They still rely on it to this day, even after he’s been outed as a heartless crook. He finally, only recently, made an “apology,” which was totally lame. In fact, it doesn’t even qualify as lame because he’s not apologizing at all. And he has the gall to passively blame it on their “infrastructure:”
“I want the Flint community to know how very sorry I am that this has happened,” Snyder said. “And I want all Michigan citizens to know that we will learn from this experience, because Flint is not the only city that has an aging infrastructure.“
I’ve added bold-faced emphasis to the “Fuck you, Flint” part of his pathetic apology. The aging infrastructure IS NOT the problem. And he knows it. The problem is that they’re now drinking river water (thanks to his cost cutting) which has corroded the pipes because it wasn’t properly treated beforehand. The corroded pipes are leaching lead into the water. If I were in Flint, I’d tell him to shove every word, in 100 point font, right up his puckered ass.
Given the horrific effects of lead exposure to (particularly) the young, Rick Snyder is guilty of criminal negligence mens rea, intentional harm, child abuse, racketeering, breach of contract, and fraud. He should be put in jail and forced to drink the water he has left the people of Flint, Michigan with – for the rest of his miserable life. As a matter of fact, I think his first step (forget that stupid half-ass apology) should be to go to Flint and pour himself a big jug of water and sit in front of a TV camera and drink it. No potty breaks. If he pees himself, that’s even better (for us and for ratings). He should also make his wife, who apparently is a “champion” for children’s health (wtf?) and their beagle drink the water. His kids should join in as well. And if that sounds heartless, I’m sorry, but babies, toddlers, pregnant women, the whole lot, are drinking that same water in Flint and have been for a year and a half, and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for Snyder and his family.
Oh, and by the way, he apparently thinks he’s going to run for President in 2018. He can kiss that one goodbye.
UPDATE as of 5pm today (Tuesday): News sources are now reporting that, apparently, this morning, Governor Snyder was notified that the Department of Justice was opening an investigation into Flint’s water situation. At roughly 4pm today, and in an obvious and pathetic attempt to act like he cares, Snyder finally decided to sign the Emergency Declaration for Flint, Michigan. Too little and way too late. On a positive note, the Justice Department hasn’t said if their investigation is civil or criminal. Fingers crossed that it’s the latter.
Public Enemy Number Two: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
What did he do? Covered up the gangster-like shooting by Chicago police of 10th grader LaQuan McDonald. LaQuan was shot 16 times by Jason Van Dyke on October 20, 2014. Emanuel knew it was bad right away. He knew there was a video. He fought the release of the video. Keep in mind that LaQuan was shot in October 2014. Emanuel was up for re-election a few months later. After failing to win a majority in the initial February (2015) election, he was forced into a runoff and on April 7, 2015, he won re-election. On April 8th, the city of Chicago accepts terms for a settlement with LaQuan’s mother, awarding her $5 million dollars for the murder of her son (who was a ward of the state at the time) even though she hadn’t even filed a lawsuit against the city yet.
After being forced by a judge to release the video to the public of LaQuan being shot by Officer Van Dyke (who had said that LaQuan was lunging towards him, although the dashcam video clearly shows LaQuan walking away from police) on November 19, 2015 (over a year after the murder), Van Dyke is arrested and charged with murder. The same day. Seriously? Who’s running the show over there in Chicago? The Keystone Cops? Anyone with a smartphone and Google can create a timeline of this situation and see that a) there was a cover up meant to help Emanuel secure re-election, b) the video of LaQuan was being suppressed, and c) the police officer that unloaded his gun into the 10th grader was ONLY held accountable for it when the public was going to be let in on the secret.
Just the audacity of Rahm Emanuel thinking that we’re all too stupid to see what’s going on should be enough to make him resign, but nope. He just assigned blame wherever could, letting anyone who would be the “fall guy” for him kindly do so and resign. He, Emanuel, should be charged with tampering with evidence, hampering an investigation, racketeering, fraud, making false statements, and probably a dozen other things. Let him rot in jail, amongst those who he purports to serve.
And, by the way, I’m referring to LaQuan McDonald deliberately as a 10th grader because when you see “17 year old” it sounds less “bad.” It should not sound less bad. The whole thing is disgusting.
Public Enemy Number Three: Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe.
What did he do? He has allowed the oil and gas industry to control him and his decision making to the point that he has let Oklahoma, which is one of the top fracking states in the country, to now experience, on average, 2 earthquakes per day with magnitudes 3.0 or greater. This has vaulted Oklahoma to the unsavory position of being the most earthquake-prone place on Earth. In 2015 alone, there were over 700 earthquakes with a magnitude 3.0 or greater. Fracking began in Oklahoma in 2008. In 2009, there were 20 earthquakes for the whole year.
People are losing their homes, their nerves are on edge, earthquake insurance is far too costly for many to be able to afford (because the insurance industry knows what’s going on), and, possibly worst of all, the rattling, caused by the fracking industry may set off a REALLY BIG ONE hundreds or thousands of miles away. It appears that Inhofe’s beloved fracking industry has reactivated a 300 million year old subsurface fault line (it is considered a “shallow” fault line since it’s only about 3.7 miles below the surface) which can and will unleash earthquakes in other parts of the United States.
And although James Inhofe finds the connection between fracking and earthquakes far too difficult for his pea brain to comprehend, it’s actually quite simple. When wastewater from hydraulic fracking is injected back into the Earth, it adds fluid to existing faults. When you inject fluid into the crust, it pushes the rock apart and causes the faults to be weakened, which makes them “slip.” The stresses are already there, and when you add fluid, you decrease the strength, or integrity, of the rock. In places like Oklahoma, where there hasn’t been a lot of seismic activity for many millions of years (compared to places like California), the rock is much more solid (in one piece) and less “fractured” which makes the quakes worse when they happen – it’s like their effects are more spread out and damaging because they’re emanating from a more uniform, “solid” piece of rock, as opposed to many (already) fragmented pieces of rock.
So what makes the whole thing inherently more dangerous is the “shallow-ness” of the earthquakes. They’re shallow because the wastewater injection from fracking is relatively close to the surface, so the depth of the quakes is consistently shallow (commensurate, of course, with the depth of the fracking fluids which are being injected). To further the “no brainer” part of this problem, when they do stop or pause the injecting of the wastewater, the number of quakes decreases. In complicated, scientific terms, Snowball Chucker Inhofe, this is called a direct correlation.
Imagine it like this: if you have a pond and you put a toy plastic boat in it and then you drop a baseball right next to the boat, the toy is going to be jostled all over the place. But if you drop a baseball 15 feet away from the toy, the little boat will sway gently with the (dissipating) waves, or energy, so it’s not affected as much. The Oklahoma earthquakes are like the baseball being dropped right next to the boat. Traditional, non human-induced earthquakes might take place ten miles or even several hundred miles, underground so what gets shaken above isn’t as bad. Add to the rotten mix the fact that Oklahoma, unlike places like California, doesn’t have building codes to accommodate earthquakes because, duh, they aren’t supposed to be having them in the first place. In the words of seismologists, humans are causing earthquakes that aren’t supposed to be happening at all, not even way down the proverbial “road” of geological time.
Inhofe also, by the way, doesn’t think that fracking is contaminating groundwater. This shouldn’t be surprising given that he’s in bed with the fossil fuel industry. In sum, anything that comes out of his mouth should be considered as logical, reasonable, and accurate as whatever a toddler says when he or she first wakes up in the morning, if that. As for criminal charges against Inhofe, criminal negligence mens rea, false statements, racketeering, and let’s throw in mail fraud because that’s the easiest way to “up the ante” and make the charges federal. The one thing that we can’t charge Inhofe with is being incompetent, which he is of course, but that let’s him off the hook on a technicality.
In fact, it’s super easy to add mail fraud, wire fraud, fraud against older Americans, perjury, and false statement charges for each of these assholes. Too bad we’re not in Saudi Arabia for this one. I have a feeling they’d skip the trial altogether and in the case of these three criminals, I’d have to agree.