5 Disconcerting Facts About The Flint Michigan Water Crisis

5 Disconcerting Facts About The Flint Michigan Water Crisis

Despite clear evidence of contamination, officials continued to provide Flint Michigan with impure water.
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On April 24th, 2014 Flint Michigan Officials changed their city's water supply from a Detroit based exchange to the Flint River. From this point on, citizens have been complaining about the quality of their drinking water. Many claimed that their water smelled like sulfur. As the problems worsened, people from the community began attending city hall meetings and events with jugs of brown chalky water. Despite clear evidence of the water being unfit for public consumption, city officials refused to acknowledge the issue plaguing Flint until late 2015. In the past week, emails from state officials have been released that shed further light onto the events of the past year and a half.

1. The decision to change water supply was driven by financial, not health, concerns.

The driving force of Flint's change from Detroit based water to the Flint river was money. The city officials were worried with the rising price of water from Detroit. As with many American cities, Flint was financially unstable and this rising price would have continued to affect the city's budget. From this perspective, the change in water supply is understandable. What is disturbing is that the city officials allegedly had reason to believe the Flint River was less than ideal for consumption. Efforts to create a pipeline to Lake Huron, a better alternative for water, would take until 2016. So the officials new that this change was their least viable for water, but proceeded regardless. What is worrying is that the officials knowingly provided this water to citizens. Decision making based on financial factors rather than pubic health concerns lead to the issue Flint is currently plagued with. Unfortunately, it was the residents of Flint that suffered from this irresponsible change.


2. Evidence was provided almost immediately after the switch to the Flint River.

The first signs of the water being unclean was its smell. Residents began to complain that their water smelled like eggs all the way back in 2014. This smell is indicative of high levels of sulfur. As if that wasn't enough of a problem, residents began having brownish water pour from their faucets in their homes. Outraged by this apparent contamination, citizens began bringing jugs of the disgusting water to city hall meetings. As public outrage continued, city officials released "boil before consumption" ordinances. These warnings demonstrate that the city's officials knew the potential risks of the water they were providing citizens. It is completely unfathomable that officials continued to deny the critiques of residents after such apparent evidence was brought before them on a multitude of occasions. As this crisis continues to unfold, it will be interesting how many, if any, officials resign.


3. Officials belittling the opinions and criticisms of citizens.

In the same vein as the previous point, City officials immediately began talking down the concerns of citizens. Lampooning several early protesters as being oversensitive, officials continued to state that the water was safe. The could not, however, continue to blindly to shoot down citizens' complaints as the problem grew. Rather than addressing the clear issue of the river itself, the powers at be blamed aging pipes for the discoloration of the water. The "boil before consumption" solution was a short term way to assuage the fears of residents. Worried parents claiming that the water was unsafe for consumption were childishly mocked in the emails that surfaced this Wednesday. Yet, these emails contained information that implied the entire water supply contained high levels of lead as well as specific examples of citizens with lead poisoning. Parents were viewed as overzealous and overcautious for not wanting to have their children drink this lead filled water. Elected and appointed officials seemed to not be working with and for their residents, but around them. President Obama weighed in by stating this entire situation was "inexcusable" and will be providing $80 million dollars for Flint to repair its water infrastructure. At least some legislators care about public health.

4. What do residents do in the meantime?

Being that the tap water in Flint is undrinkable, the local government is providing bottled water for citizens. Despite the $80 million allocated to fix this issue, there is the concern of the interim period. Are they going to continue to provide bottled water for the entirety of this process? This crisis has been raging for nearly 2 years, yet it is only just now getting media attention. These citizens have been denied a necessity for this extensive time period and still have long to wait before clean water is provided in their homes. Another glaring issue is lead poisoning. Will the city officials be providing health care to the populace they have poisoned? Despite the solutions beginning to unfold, the citizens still have a painstaking wait for this damage to be undone.

5. Could similar issues be present in other American cities?


How did this crisis occur for nearly 2 years and stay dormant on the national stage until recently? It is not as if there was a lack of protest from the people of Flint. If such a major problem like lead poisoning could fly under the radar for so long, how are we to know that the water quality of other American cities is safe for consumption. Will this massively needed overhaul to the city's water infrastructure start a wave of other cities following suite? For now maybe the best option is to buy a water filter in your house. If you have elected officials similar to those in Flint, you need to monitor the safety of your drinking water because, clearly, they will not be.

Cover Image Credit: CI News Now

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The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

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Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

This was the day that two of President Donald Trump's most-important associates were convicted on eight counts each, and one directly implicated the president himself.

Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to file a report of a foreign bank account. And it could have been even worse. The jury was only unanimous on eight counts while 10 counts were declared a mistrial.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. Those two women are believed to be Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, a pornstar. Trump had an affair with both while married to his current wife, Melania.

And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

For too long we've been saying that Trump is heading down a road similar to Nixon, but it's evident now that we're way past that point. Donald Trump now has incriminating evidence against him to prove he's a criminal, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just getting started.

Will Trump soften the blow and resign in disgrace before impeachment like Nixon did? Knowing his fragile ego, there's honestly no telling what he'll do. But it's high time Trump leaves an office he never should have entered in the first place.

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Beto O'Rourke Is The Future For The Democratic Party

Democrats need a new voice, and now they have him.

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As a self-professed progressive, the 2016 presidential election was one of the darkest days of my life. Every day I wish that the election had turned out differently. But if there's a silver lining, the Democratic Party has almost completely reinvented itself and has a chance to move forward.

Barack Obama was an amazing leader for the party for a decade. Hillary Clinton was arguably the most-flawed candidate the modern-day Democratic Party has ever nominated, and she lost to the most-flawed Republican ever nominated. So now the Democrats need someone to look up to and lead the way past the regressive presidency of Donald Trump. That man is Beto O'Rourke.

O'Rourke is a representative of Texas's 16th congressional district, which covers the city of El Paso. But right now people in the political world know him as the guy who is running against arguably the most-hated man in the Senate, Ted Cruz. Former House Speaker and fellow Republican John Boehner once said that Cruz is "Lucifer in the flesh."

Cruz prides himself in being hated by Washington politicians, but hatred from his current colleagues could come back to bite him. "If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you," said Lindsey Graham, Republican senator from South Carolina.

If O'Rourke wins in November, he'll take down Cruz, who is one of the most powerful and influential Republicans in Washington despite being hated. And it could launch Beto to even higher office someday.

Even if he loses to Cruz, Beto has an extremely bright future ahead of him because he's just what the Democratic Party needs right now. He's young, passionate, communicates extremely well and is a perfect representation of what the face of the party should be.

This year, O'Rourke has been setting an example of how Democrats should run their campaigns. Beto has traveled to every single one of Texas's 254 counties. Ever since the Supreme Court's decision on Citizens United v. FEC (2010), Democrats have pushed for campaign finance reform, and O'Rourke is leading by example with his campaign. Beto has taken $0 from Political Action Committees (PACs). All of his money comes from individual donors. Cruz has taken PAC money, but O'Rourke still holds a significant advantage in fundraising.

O'Rourke in his campaign emphasizes that Texas has among the highest immigration populations in the United States, but the senators from Texas, Cruz and John Cornyn, do not accurately represent the diversity of the state. O'Rourke has separated himself from Cruz by speaking out against the proposed border wall and the separation of immigrant children at the border.

I'm not from Texas, but I'm just as excited for this senate race as I was when Doug Jones won in my home state almost a year ago. Beto O'Rourke has an opportunity to make positive change in our country and actually bring people together. If he doesn't win in November, Beto should make plans for 2020 because he can become the face of the Democratic Party.

If you'd like to learn more about, join, or donate to the campaign, here is a link.

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