The Flint Water Crisis and the Criminality of American Capitalism (Source globalresearch.ca)
After hailing record profits for the Michigan-based Big Three auto companies and touting the supposed “turnaround” of Detroit in a year the city emerged from bankruptcy, Snyder came to the subject of the Flint water crisis. The millionaire former corporate executive gave an empty apology to the people of Flint and asserted that it was “now time to tell the truth about what we have done,” promising to release his emails concerning Flint the next day. After the obligatory “the buck stops here” declaration, he evaded any responsibility for decisions that have permanently disabled thousands of Flint residents, including infants and children, and will likely result in an unknown number of early deaths. His effort at cover-up and damage control involved striking a pose of contrition (“The government has failed you”) and acknowledging that various officials had made “mistakes”—meaningless statements that were meant to evade any real accountability.
Snyder pled ignorance concerning the 17 months between April 2014, when his handpicked Flint emergency manager switched the city’s water supply to the highly polluted Flint River to cut costs, and September 2015, when he claims he first learned of the crisis. In the future, he admonished, such things “had to come to his desk immediately, with no excuses.” He omitted the fact that immediately after the water was switched, Flint residents complained of its foul smell, color and taste and the spread of rashes and sickness. Even after a “boil only” warning had been issued by city officials, tests by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) showed lead levels to be acceptable under the federal Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, Snyder maintained. In May 2015, the governor continued, Dr. Mona Hannah-Attisha of Hurley Medical Center found alarming levels of lead in blood samples of city children, but “DEQ failed to reach the same conclusions.” Again, Snyder neglected to note that his office targeted Dr. Hannah-Attisha with a slander campaign, saying she was “splicing and dicing” data and needlessly causing hysteria. With consummate cynicism, the governor asked the doctor to rise to the applause of state legislators. While Snyder claimed that he was first briefed in September 2015, his chief of staff wrote a July 2015 email to the Department of Health and Human Services expressing concern over the stonewalling of Flint residents.