By Frank X Murphy
March 3, 2016
Just when you think you’ve heard it all about Governor Snyder’s poisoning of Flint, via his emergency mismanagement of its municipal water system, a couple reporters “follow the money” and things get even more interesting. Also criminal.
On February 27, Metro Times investigative reporter Allie Gross wrote a blog post, “Docs reveal Flint’s EM agreed to buy $1M worth of extra water from the KWA — this was never about saving money” (http://www.metrotimes.com/
A few days later on March 2 Paul Egan wrote an article in the Free Press, “State blocked Flint return to Detroit water” (http://www.freep.com/story/
Gross revealed that the new Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA), whose services were (and maybe still are) intended to supply Flint and its environs with water after it finishes its new pipeline to Lake Huron, got a sweetheart contract from Snyder’s Flint emergency manager Kurtz. The EM agreed that the cash-strapped city would buy (and of course, pay for) way more water than it needed from KWA.
Knowledgeable watchers of Snyder’s relentless hydraulic genocide in Flint will recall how state officials and emergency managers intended to make the People there drink brown, smelly water contaminated with lead, legionella, carcinogenic chemicals and fecal coliform bacteria (just the stuff we know about so far) for a couple years or so, while they waited for the KWA to come on line. (See Bridge Magazine’s chronology: (http://bridgemi.com/2016/02/
Egan then reported that in April 2015, with public outrage at Flint’s disgusting water quality boiling over and the City Council voting to reconnect to the Detroit Water and Sewerage system’s clean water, Snyder’s men made refusing to return to the Detroit system, and staying with the KWA’s empty promises and temporary poisoning, a mandatory condition of a $7 million emergency loan the city needed to stay afloat. (pun intended)
This is what’s called a “conditionality” when International Monetary Fund loan sharks impose it on Third World People as a requirement for access to credit and participation in the modern world economy, i.e., for survival. Want to be able to make payroll at City Hall and keep the cops on the beat? Better agree to whatever austerity measures the banks demand to make the rich richer, no matter how much brutal and racist collateral damage. So what do we learn from these latest financial/political reports?
As Allie Gross concludes, “saving money” had nothing to do with it. On the contrary, Snyder and the commercial, white supremacist political interests he represents were milking Flint, forcing its impoverished, disproportionately African American People to buy and pay for way more water than they need, to benefit the KWA suburban and Chamber of Commerce businesses who were greedily eyeing[TS1] the immense profit and political potential of running their own water system, subsidized by Flint courtesy of Snyder’s emergency managers.
Paul Egan adds the cutthroat casino capitalist cherry on top: Snyder and his thugs were so determined to profit by poisoning Flint that they made the continuation of the contamination a mandatory condition of desperately needed municipal finance. Awful, but true. Using Flint simultaneously as a sacrificial lamb and cash cow was apparently a crucial part of the “business case” for the KWA. Just another example of daily life under conditions of austerity in places like Flint, and the fabulous excess profits it generates for Evil Mother Fuckers (EMFs) like Snyder and his political and business cronies.
The documents coming out of Lansing so far demonstrate a few important things about this almost unbelievably horrible example of Rethuglicans’ inhumanity to Other People, especially black ones and workers:
1. Snyder and his crew knew exactly what they were doing. They are smart businessmen and this was about money, which they care about. A lot.
2. The big mistake they made was in underestimating the chances they’d get caught. For decades since the Iran/Contra scandal in the late 1980s, thru continuing campaigns of voter suppression, Bush v. Gore, Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL), and the generous taxpayer-funded bailout of Wall Street in the Great Recession, the Rule has been total impunity for the powerful. Stealing the commons and robbing the public blind worked so well for so long for Thatcher, Reagan, the Bushes, Snyder’s predecessor Michigan Gov. John Engler, and the Too-Big-To-Jail banks who make up Snyder’s class and con-stituency. Who know fate would turn so fast on them after a Virginia college prof and a Flint pediatrician scientifically proved they’ve been poisoning thousands of kids for a year and a half? It’s called running government like a bankrupt, out of control business, and they figured it was just the way things are done, because it is.
What else do we want to know that would make a difference? A) What to do now, and B) Name the names of Snyder’s cronies who hoped to benefit from this atrocity.
There’s been a lot of anguished dialog about whether Snyder should merely resign, be recalled or prosecuted. When we know exactly who he and his secret NERD Fund (“New Energy to Reinvent and Diversify”) – run by his close Flint crony Dick Baird – were carrying water for while they poisoned Flint’s People, their run will be over. For good.
Frank X Murphy is the pen name of a Detroiter who salutes Flint activists for their courage, brilliance and determination, and thanks “Ed” for his Metro Times LTE that inspired this rant: http://www.metrotimes.com/