Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Hasn't Been Arrested Yet-- What's Going On?
December 17 was the day we first wrote about the drinking water disaster in Flint, Michigan by contrasting the arrest of multimillionaire Martin Shkreli with the hands-off policy of law enforcement agencies towards Rick Snyder, responsible for poisoning the city of Flint, Michigan. Maddow was on the case very quickly and has stayed on the case... very doggedly.
As you'll recall, Snyder's administration keep reassuring Flint residents that the water was perfectly safe and that nay-sayers were crackpots and troublemakers for months and months before they finally admitted something was wrong with the city's drinking water late in December. It now turns out that Snyder was aware of the gravity of the situation for half a year. So for months his administration was telling residents to drink poisoned water. This is mind-boggling. I've never heard of anything like this in my life. He hasn't been arrested. I don't know if there's been a Grand Jury empaneled to investigate. NBC News reported that "Six months before Michigan's governor declared a state of emergency over high lead levels in the water in Flint, his top aide wrote in an email that worried residents were 'basically getting blown off by us.'" This was something that started in April when Snyder's anti-democracy plenipotentiary, Darnell Earley, ordered that Flint stop using water from Detroit to save some money. It didn't take long before the salty water from the Flint River to start corroding pipes and leaching out lead and causing illnesses among children.
"I'm frustrated by the water issue in Flint," Dennis Muchmore, then chief of staff to Gov. Rick Snyder, wrote in the email to a top health department staffer obtained by NBC News.Half a year later-- this week-- Snyder declared a state of emergency. It seems pretty clear that Snyder, frantically trying to duck responsibility and cover his ass, is to blame. Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, wrote that "The source of the Flint Water Crisis leads directly to Gov. Rick Snyder and the fiscal austerity policies that he and his Republican colleagues have been pushing for years on Michigan residents. Families in Flint were forced to drink lead-tainted water while the administration scoffed at their concerns and cries for help. An entire generation of Michiganders now face an uncertain future because of Republican cuts to essential and life-giving services."
"I really don't think people are getting the benefit of the doubt. Now they are concerned and rightfully so about the lead level studies they are receiving," Muchmore said.
"These folks are scared and worried about the health impacts and they are basically getting blown off by us (as a state we're just not sympathizing with their plight)."
In his rush to save money while poisoning a city's children, Snyder's austerity agenda will cost Michigan taxpayers upwards of a billion dollars. Thursday Chuck Todd interviewed Michael Moore, film-maker and Flint resident, who told him Snyder should be arrested and that his weak apology was like that of a drunk driver saying, hey, he wasn’t trying to kill that kid on that sidewalk. "It really was absolute insanity. The governor refused to listen. He mocked the critics. He mocked the doctors doing the studies at a local hospital. He ridiculed them. He wouldn’t listen to anybody." And he was covering up what he already knew to be true and getting worse.
Yesterday Tom Hartmann explained why it makes sense for Snyder to be criminally charged., in part by quoting Moore's letter to Gov. Snyder.
Dear Governor Snyder:This is the crux of what Republican governance is all about. There many be many reasons to not vote for a Democrat, but there should never be any reason to vote for any Republican. The Agenda Project's web ad yesterday:
Thanks to you, sir, and the premeditated actions of your administrators, you have effectively poisoned, not just some, but apparently ALL of the children in my hometown of Flint, Michigan.
And for that, you have to go to jail.
To poison all the children in an historic American city is no small feat. Even international terrorist organizations haven't figured out yet how to do something on a magnitude like this.
But you did. Your staff and others knew that the water in the Flint River was poison-- but you decided that taking over the city and "cutting costs" to "balance the budget" was more important than the people's health (not to mention their democratic rights to elect their own leaders). So you cut off the clean, fresh glacial lake water of Lake Huron that the citizens of Flint (including myself) had been drinking for decades and, instead, made them drink water from the industrial cesspool we call the Flint River -- a body of "water" where toxins from a dozen General Motors and DuPont factories have been dumped for over a hundred years. And then you decided to put a chemical in this water to "clean" it-- which only ended up stripping the lead off of Flint's aging water pipes, placing that lead in the water and sending it straight into people's taps. Your callous-- and reckless (btw, "reckless" doesn't get you a pass; a reckless driver who kills a child, still goes to jail)-- decision to do this has now, as revealed by the city's top medical facility, caused "irreversible brain damage" in Flint's children, not to mention other bodily damage to all of Flint's adults. Here's how bad it is: Even GM won't let the auto parts they use in building cars touch the Flint water because that water "corrodes" them (link). This is a company that won't even fix an ignition switch after they've discovered it's already killed dozens of people. THAT's how bad the situation is. Even GM thinks you're the devil.
Maybe you don't understand the science behind this. Lead, in water-- now, bear with me, this involves a science lesson and you belong to the anti-science party, the one that believes there's not a climate problem and that Adam and Eve rode on dinosaurs 6,000 years ago. Lead is toxic to the human body. There's no way to fully eliminate it once it's in your system, and children are the most damaged by it.
By taking away the city's clean drinking water in order to "cut costs," and then switching the city's water supply to Flint River water, you have allowed massively unsafe levels of pollutants and lead into the water that travels in to everyone's home. Every Flint resident is trapped by this environmental nightmare which you, Governor, have created.
Like any real criminal, when you were confronted with the truth (by the EPA and other leading water experts across America), you denied what you did. Even worse, you decided to mock your accusers and their findings. As I said, I know you don't like to believe in a lot of science (after all, you used to run Gateway Computers, and that, really, is all anyone needs to know about you), but this time the science has caught up with you-- and this time, I hope, it's going to convict you.
The facts are all there, Mr. Snyder. Every agency involved in this scheme reported directly to you. The children of Flint didn't have a choice as to whether or not they were going to get to drink clean water. But soon it will be your turn to not have that choice about which water you'll be drinking. Because by this time next year, if there is an ounce of justice left in this land, the water you'll be drinking will be served to you from a tap inside Jackson Prison.
I am calling upon my fellow Michiganders-- and seekers of justice everywhere-- to petition U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asking her to arrest you for corruption and assault (i.e., the physical assault you committed against the children of Flint when you knowingly poisoned them).
Yesterday, the federal prosecutor in Flint, after many of us had called for months for this action, finally opened up an investigation into the matter (link). Now we need your arrest, prosecution and conviction.
And who will be cheering on that day when you are fitted with a bright orange jumpsuit? The poor and minority communities of Michigan who've endured your dictatorial firing of their mayors and school boards so you could place your business friends in charge of their mostly-black cities. They know you never would have done this to a wealthy white suburb.
I welcome all to look at the appalling facts of this case, which have been reported brilliantly here, here, and especially here by the great Rachel Maddow. Thank you, Rachel, for caring so deeply when the rest of the national television media didn't.
I'm asking everyone who agrees with me to sign on to this petition and call for your arrest, Governor Snyder. You are not allowed to run amok in my hometown like you have done. The children whom you have poisoned have to endure a life of pain and lower IQ's from your actions. You have destroyed a generation of children-- and for that, you must pay.
It is time for you to go to prison. Out of mercy, I'll ask that you have in your cell your own personal Gateway computer.
Michigan resident and voter