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Moore writes: "The people of my hometown, Flint, Mich., are being poisoned. Let me not mince words: This is a racial crime. If it were happening in another country, we'd call it an ethnic cleansing. Flint is a very poor, majority African-American city, and the Republican governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, knows they have no political power, no lobbyists, no money."

Michael Moore. (photo: Michael Moore/Facebook)
Michael Moore. (photo: Michael Moore/Facebook)

Flint Poisoning Is a 'Racial Crime'

By Michael Moore, TIME

23 January 16


The people of my hometown are being poisoned

he people of my hometown, Flint, Mich., are being poisoned. Let me not mince words: This is a racial crime. If it were happening in another country, we’d call it an ethnic cleansing. Flint is a very poor, majority African-American city, and the Republican governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, knows they have no political power, no lobbyists, no money. And they didn’t vote for him. So when the residents of Flint, many of whom work two or three jobs for minimum wage, complained about the levels of lead in their water and told the governor their children were getting sick—two years ago!—he didn’t have to listen.

Everybody knows that this would not have happened in predominantly white Michigan cities like West Bloomfield, or Grosse Pointe, or Ann Arbor. Everybody knows that if there had been two years of taxpayer complaints, and then a year of warnings from scientists and doctors, this would have been fixed in those towns.

This started when the governor turned Flint’s authority over to an “emergency manager,” ostensibly to fix the city’s finances. In order to save a few million dollars, the manager and the governor’s office came up with the bright idea to unhook the city’s water supply from Lake Huron and tap into the Flint River.

In the 20th century, General Motors made Flint the ultimate company town, and over the next 100 years the Flint River was turned into a sewer. Environmental experts warned the political leaders of the dangers of using the Flint River as a water source. They didn’t listen.

So here we are. People need to stop saying that Flint was using Detroit’s water. It was pure water from Lake Huron, the third largest body of freshwater in the world. A toxic water crisis is the last thing that should happen here.

The American middle class was built in Flint. Our grandparents knew that if they worked hard and the company prospered, they prospered. That was the American Dream, and it spread from Flint to the rest of the nation. Then around 1980, General Motors, a company that was making billions, figured out that it could make even more money by sending jobs to the nonunion South or overseas. This halved Flint’s population and brought along unemployment, poverty, alcoholism, broken families and other ills. The crime rate skyrocketed. Wall Street came in and cut Flint’s credit rating, making it impossible for Flint to recover, to attract jobs, to fix its infrastructure and schools. Flint went through a three-decade economic and social assault. Those who could get off the sinking ship—myself included—escaped. And those who were abandoned and left behind? They got their water poisoned. And when the governor found out, he kept quiet and let the poor of Flint continue drinking the poison. Marie Antoinette would’ve been proud. Except this time, no one offered any cake. “Let them drink the Flint River” has such a nice ring. your social media marketing partner


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+97 # ktony 2016-01-23 13:49
I can only hope that the richly deserved heat catches up with Snyder and burns him down. Club Fed is too good for his kind.
+27 # Old4Poor 2016-01-23 23:29
I keep thinking of the song from The Mikado, "Let the Punishment Fit The Crime" and am imagining Snyder and crew locked forever in a lovely room, but with only Flint water from the past two years to drink.
+27 # yetti121 2016-01-24 02:44
It is an extreme example of capitalist, bankster crime that hits all of us workers, but hits the poor and minorities worst. Liberate and democratize the means of production; and impeach, depose, and prosecute the capitalist criminal class!
+29 # ForceFoxFive 2016-01-24 04:04
Poisoning water supply is a Terrorist act..why isn't Snyder in Gitmo?
+16 # ritawalpoleague 2016-01-24 09:38
Let's get off the 'Naive Train', and onto the 'Liberty and Justice For All Train'. Reality ain't in any way, shape or form justice based, these so shameful plus days. Here are but two examples:

1. The call for help came to me, from my African American friend. A black woman she knew had received an FED (forced entry and detainer) from her landlord. Made no sense whatsoever, since she had paid all her rent on time. Landlord was irate, due to his tenant's having forced him to repair dangerously broken things in the house she had rented. By time of the FED hearing, which I attended and acted as a legal advocate, he had texted her with a photo of a sad looking black man, and had written his message to her: "At least I'm not a nigger."
We won in court, thank God.

2. The African American man, a vet who had lost his eyesight from being hit by a bullet during war in Iraq, was being arrested over and over, for walking with his white cane on side of road (some of area where he lived had no sidewalks), due to city's bus transport having been cancelled in Colorado Springs on Sundays. The vet was merely attempting to go to church. Take him to an ethical and people serving member of city council I did, and help came his way, thank God.

Let's thank Michael Moore, along with Rachel Maddow, for getting out info. on the FLINT SLAUGHTER, and MM's call for true justice and no repeats allowed.
-17 # bmiluski 2016-01-23 18:08
Wrong....It's a republican crime. If Flint had been a RICH suburb, color would not have matter. Let's not forget that there are black republicans.
+54 # NAVYVET 2016-01-23 20:59
To Bmiluski:
"Let's not forget that there are black republicans." Not many. I'm white, live at the crossroads of a black low-income neighborhood in a 70-apartment complex where only 2 of us are white. There are very few black Republicans any more. I've met exactly one. My church is about half-and-half (none of them Repubs) and together we've held Black Lives Matter vigils every week since August 2014.

Hate to say it about my own kin, but most poor African Americans are just too shrewd to be suckered as easily as poor Euro-Americans, and you should hear my neighbors' wicked (but funny) comments about Dr Oreo Carson and Donald the Overage Frat Boy. Lincoln was the only Republican blacks ever admired, and today he wouldn't be a Republican--wou ld he?
+13 # mim 2016-01-23 21:50
It's both. It's a crime against the most despised class of people in Republican eyes - poor blacks, the class supposedly typified by the Welfare Queen. It's also a crime against Democratic voters - the fewer of them there are, the easier it will be for Republicans to rule the country.

When the Emergency Management law of 2011 was enacted, the top news was of Wisconsin and the public-sector unions. But I considered what was happening in Michigan to be even worse than Wisconsin, because it was a frontal attack on democracy. We are now seeing how this emergency management works in the real world.

But besides Lincoln (who is not universally admired), don't African Americans also admire the radical Republicans who kept Reconstruction going after Lincoln's death? Lincoln was never a radical abolitionist but some Republicans in Congress were.
+56 # jazzman633 2016-01-23 18:33
I go way back with Michael, though he doesn't know it. I was on GM's PR staff when he made "Roger and Me." I too remember when Flint was a thriving city (he shows it in the movie). What has happened is heart-breaking.
+27 # MidwestTom 2016-01-23 20:25
Why is the Flint River still so acidic? The Ohio river is now clean enough that they hold fishing tournament on it, and you can eat the fish. Where was and is the EPA? If GM did this why are they not being fined big time, like GE was for contamination in the Hudson river?

I have been involved in cases where one drop of oil per minute was dripping into a river, and the threatened fine was $10,000 per day until it stopped. In West Virginia they recently threw the President of a polluting company into jail.
+25 # NAVYVET 2016-01-23 21:12
MTom: It took years of Pete Seeger's hard work and the soaring of his popularity to wake people up, elect governors who were capable of understanding complex sentences, and improve the Hudson. (I knew Pete and Toshi. He really was a saint; they both were!)

Flint, Michigan has Michael Moore, and maybe he'll build a sailing vessel and devote most of his time to transporting concerned citizens and schoolkids along the river to teach them ecology via songs of sanity. But I believe Moore's talents lie elsewhere, in educational film making, and am awaiting his next bombshell documentary. Mike, it needs to be another one about Flint!
+53 # Blackjack 2016-01-23 18:42
Sounds a lot like Shrub and New Orleans. Poor people don't matter, especially if they're black. Repukes try to ignore poor black people. Their vast needs are just to costly to deal with, so it's much easier and cheaper to let them die in the misery imposed on them by the broken system created by those within the power structure.
+46 # dipierro4 2016-01-23 20:11
Bush was clueless in the face of a rapidly developing situation. It doesn't speak well of him, but I don't think he intentionally exposed himself to the criticism of letting a great American city be destroyed. This, OTOH, was willful, both in the act itself and in the coverup.

Really, this is THE paradigm racial crime of our time: A generation of children's lives knowingly sacrificed to save a few $$; then the denial and coverup despite two years of protests.

It is less excusable or explainable than police shootings. It was done in cold blood, not in the heat of the moment by a battle-traumati zed or unbalanced police officer.

And it was done by the highest decision-making authority in the state, carrying out what he saw as his mandate. He appointed an unelected outsider to do whatever was necessary to save a few $$, cutting the most fundamental human necessities when it suited the mandate to Shrink Government, especially in relation to Those People, the Takers. Then he ignored expert warnings, denied, covered up, until the cries became too loud and he was outed.

But what makes it the paradigm racial crime of our time is that his mandate in fact reflected a mainstream view in today's version of the Party of Lincoln. His acts were not an aberration. Those who voted for him fully share the responsibility, along with the party leaders, campaign consultants, find-raisers, donors, etc. This is not a one-person crime.
+11 # NAVYVET 2016-01-23 21:17
Thank you, Dipierre! And AMEN.
+9 # mim 2016-01-23 22:35
It's not as simple as blaming all those who voted for Snyder. Snyder ran as a moderate and showed his true colors only when he was governor. Furthermore, the law enacted in 2011 was defeated by the voters in a referendum in 2012. It was replaced almost immediately with a new, similar law, Public Act 436.
+40 # Anarchist 23 2016-01-23 18:46
The Nazis would be proud of this crime against humanity. Let us not confuse who the REAL Terrorists are!
-58 # Philothustra 2016-01-23 19:32
Look, a democrat5ic mayor switched the water source from local to Lake Huron, an d nobody knew that would cause a corrosion issue that leached the lead out of the pipes. This only
got into the news and came to the awareness of the Republican governor a couple of months ago.

I am a progressive liberal and critic of the
American scene, but when our side cries Nazis and shrieks about lynching the Governor (who is admittedly a jackass) I have to wonder if there is no shame on the left.

I am a progressive and ardent critic of the moneyed establishment, but this kind of rubbish makes me ashamed to be a registered
Oh, thats right, I'm a Sanders independent socialist. I don't have to listen to this nonsense.
+49 # pegasus4508 2016-01-23 20:17
Let me help you with your facts. Since I was made aware of this crisis 2 months ago, I can share the FACTS as they are known by all who care to KNOW.
FACT: There was no "mayor" when the water was switched. Flint was operating under an "emergency manager" appointed by Gov. Snyder.
FACT" Neither the mayor, nor the city council had ZERO authority by virtue of the emergency manager,
FACT: Said emergency manager devised the plan, and did not want to wait for the proper safeguards to be in place before the water was switched, and - wait for it - actually switched the water himself.
FACT: according to the paper trail, the governor knew early last year that the water had high levels of lead, and the pipes had been rendered useless.

So please take your babble to Fox News - where I am sure you got your talking points. Because your entire 1st line is incorrect. Heard of GOOGLE - use it!
+3 # Billsy 2016-01-24 13:56
Thanks for sharing. Additional fact: these managers have virtually no accountability and to thwart the (I believe 18month) limitation of their "reign" they are often reassigned the day before hitting this limit to another unwitting community. The manager who made this lame deadly decision in Flint was reassigned with no accountability for his mistake. They continue to work with impunity. It's a corrupt broken system. The governor is ultimately accountable for his lack of response.
+18 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2016-01-23 20:55
Fact check: The water was SWITCHED from Lake Huron To the Flint river-not the other way around.

Your post is a collection of incoherent opinion. When you state who you are, politically, it is very doubtful.
+13 # kgrad 2016-01-23 21:01
[quote name="Philothus tra"]Look, a democrat5ic mayor switched the water source from local to Lake Huron, an d nobody knew that would cause a corrosion issue that leached the lead out of the pipes.

Reply: ."..switched the water source from local to Lake Huron"? I thought it was Lake Huron first, then switched to local [Flint River].
+12 # NAVYVET 2016-01-23 21:19
You are not for Sanders. You're a paid troll, I betcha.
+5 # Texas Aggie 2016-01-24 09:37
For the facts of the matter, see pegasus. While you may try to create your own reality, there is a reality beyond your control and that one says the actual facts on the ground are not even close to what you purport them to be. So, to coin a phrase, while you are entitled to your opinion about whose fault this fiasco is, you are most definitely NOT entitled to make up your own facts on the matter.
+6 # Helga Fellay 2016-01-24 11:29
I don't believe a single word you are saying, Philothustra. I don't know what you really are, but I do know that you are definitely not a "progressive liberal" or a "Sanders independent socialist." Who do you think you are kidding? You wrote this hateful speech with only one objective in mind: to give progressive liberals and Sanders supporters and independent socialists a bad name. None of them could ever have written what you wrote.
+3 # bmiluski 2016-01-24 12:52
Philothustra... ...Dear sweet Jesus....You're a progressive liberal, AND a Sanders supporter and you feel dissed on this site. REALLY!!??
You jack-ass! If you took a minute to read any of the posts here you'd realize that your sleazy repug posting was not going to work. People on this site do their homework. I guess you're used to those blind repug aping idiots you hang with.
+30 # CarolynScarr 2016-01-23 19:27
Snyder should be sentence to a lifetime of drinking water from the Flint River. However long he lasts drinking it.
+11 # Stilldreamin1 2016-01-23 19:49
But it might diminish his mental faculties.
+9 # NAVYVET 2016-01-23 21:20
Do you think he has any?
+2 # revhen 2016-01-23 21:20
Who would know?
+27 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2016-01-23 20:08
I'm thinking that when "certain influential" members of society can convince a country to go to war based on a big lie, kill hundreds of thousands of people, maiming, sickening countless others, perhaps those like minded Flint, Michigan murderers thought poisoning their fellow man with polluted, corrosive, undrinkable liquid filth was "no big deal."

I do think a country such as the U S which is constantly at war, sets a very cruel and inhumane infamous example for the rest of society, civilization.

"Ethnic cleansing" in the U S?
+11 # revhen 2016-01-23 21:19
We are sounding more and more like the last days of the Roman Empire. I wonder what barbarians will overrun us. Could the barbarians already be in our midst?
+7 # mim 2016-01-23 21:55
N.B. The Romans got their water from lead pipes, before the dangers of lead were known. The words "plumbing" and "plumber" reflect that.
0 # bmiluski 2016-01-24 12:55
The very rich also drank from gold cups that contained lead.
0 # Kootenay Coyote 2016-01-23 22:53
In Washington, D.C....& some in Oregon now, too
+2 # Helga Fellay 2016-01-24 11:52
Revhen, we are the barbarians. If we'll be overrun, I am hoping it will be by democratic socialists.
+8 # jdd 2016-01-23 22:11
While the Flint atrocity has rightly received major attention, Obama's pathetic and insensitive reaction has not. Two years ago he refused to intervene on behalf of the citizens of Detroit, when they were being forced into bankruptcy by the same Governor Snyder. Meanwhile, the NYTimes has featured an in-depth report of a poisoning of another kind which has reached epidemic proportions. Following up its report on the increased mortality among non-Hispanic whites aged 45-54 due largely to suicide and drug overdose, the latest report showed and even greater rate of death from overdose and suicide among the younger age groups. It showed, in a county by county breakdown, that during the entire period of both the Bush and Obama administrations . drug related deaths increased 5-fold among white men and women.And suicides have nearly doubled. This year the body count will top the 47,000 of 2014, almost triple the number in 1999, and more than those killed by guns.The most severe rates tend to mirror the areas where jobs have dried up and where there is nothing but despair. We are facing an epidemic of hopelessness, fueled by an economy that has anything but a "5% rate of unemployment." So while several of the largest banks have been racked with drug-money laundering scandals, not a single executive has been jailed.
0 # pegasus4508 2016-01-25 10:30
Unfortunately, there is something called STATE's Rights, which prevent the federal government from intervening. Michigan elected Snyder. He, in turn has damaged city after city after city. All in the name of the almighty dollar. Snyder wanted the area declared a federal disaster area so the rest of the country could pay for his mistake. That request was denied because that designation is reserved for actual natural disasters. Don't blame Obama, blame the voters of Michigan.
+9 # dotlady 2016-01-23 22:17
The Flint water situation is like fracking on steroids. Perhaps the timetable of health effects from fracking is slower, but many people living in areas where the gas companies come in to frack, often low- income areas, soon find their water, land and air poisoned from the chemicals used in drilling and in the blowback. Despite denials by companies and state agencies, the health effects are being revealed as time goes on: underweight babies, rashes, nosebleeds, pulmonary problems and asthma,leukemia and cancer. Fracking pollutes aquifers, rivers, areas where fracking waste is stored. Methane leaks at every stage into water and air, causing greenhouse gases to rise, reinjection of waste causes earthquakes.
Like Flint, this is a heartless situation.
We should stop all fracking and and make companies pay for the damage they are leaving behind. What is happening to our country?
+12 # Vardoz 2016-01-23 22:19
Racism is so out of control in our nation and has now reached a state of genocide.
0 # bmiluski 2016-01-24 12:57
Vardoz......Ple ase read your history BEFORE posting. You won't sound like such a sophomore-in-a- dorm.
+2 # Vardoz 2016-01-24 15:02
I have been keeping up with all the egregious acts that have been perpetrated against American citizens of color in our nation. As Senator Sanders expressed Rick Snyder should be in prison. But when one connects the dots between poverty which kills people and African American communities that have
been literally abandon and stripped of resources, too many are living in grinding poverty. Our for profit mass incarceration system preys on people of color and they make up the majority of
the population in these prisons. After reading many reviews from inmates they express they are treated like terrorists and there is no effort for rehab. Also
the mass murders of innocent unarmed men, women and children of color that takes places everyday across our nation, is my opinion an agenda of ]genocide of our African American citizens. The over all picture is a
disgrace and a crime against humanity. I know whites and Hispanics are now
victims as well but the trend that is threatening the health, safety and welfare of our citizens of color has reached crises proportions.
+1 # bmiluski 2016-01-24 15:24
Then maybe you should also study the egregious acts that have been perpetrated against women, of ALL color, for MILLENIA!!!!
+8 # CL38 2016-01-23 23:01
it's long past time for racist republicans who've promoted racism for 40 years to serve time!
+4 # Carol R 2016-01-24 02:46
Here is s snapshot of Michael Moore's next movie.

... he sets off across the Atlantic searching out peoples to conquer who have things America needs.

First stop is Italy,..—he’s a cop, she works for a clothing company—who start enumerating all the paid vacation time they get. The basic portion, decreed by law, is four weeks....

After hearing about these citizens’ five months paid maternity leave, Moore invades two Italian companies...Wor kers [are] being allowed two-hour lunches where they can have home-cooked meals—makes for a healthier, happier and more productive work force, they say... But the picture of an industrial situation where all sides seem to define success as cooperation, health and la dolce vita...

After Italy, several episodes focus on different aspects of education. In France, he visits a provincial elementary school where the students’ hour-long lunches look like they come from a top Parisian restaurant; this is not only cheaper than the crap American kids are fed, the chef tells him, it’s also educational since it teaches about food and healthy eating,...The reforms included eliminating homework and standardized testing and giving students more autonomy and free time. The result: Finland is now number one in educational rankings.

In Slovenia, Moore inspects a system where a college education is essentially free, even for Americans who have begun to flock there...

He visits more countries, but you get the idea. America has massive problems.
+4 # Carol R 2016-01-24 03:06
I forgot to say his newest movie is entitled: Michael Moore's 'Where to Invade Next'
+9 # torch and pitchfork 2016-01-24 06:36
Unfortunately for our country the "American Dream" of becoming a member of the middle class was replaced with the dream of winning the lottery.
+2 # mim 2016-01-24 12:03
I hope Moore returns to Flint and does a film about the water crisis.
+1 # tweddall 2016-01-24 17:59
Vardoz made a comment we all need to rethink, and that is that we now have yet another greed driven take over of our social services...our prisons.

Privatization of our prisons has led to an under the radar fact that the for-profit operators of our prisons fund the election of judges! So do we have judges sentencing people to jail so that the operators can invoice higher due to the population?

Micheal Moore- why not do an expose on that greed driven scenario.

It is just another huge example of how our right wing greed driven policy makers have hijacked our societal support for their profit.

So to all, I beg you to get out this year and not only vote but work hard with the Sanders Team to REVERSE the low turnout in the last election. A majority of 17% of only 33% turnout I'd not a MAJORITY.

MY native Canada just threw out the Conservatives with a 64% voting turnout.

I'm even in favor of what I think it's Australia, maybe NZ, does...give a tax deduction to those who vote!that
0 # ThorunnPS 2016-01-25 08:28
A VERY needful subject for a film by Michael Moore - everybody needs to know this shit.
0 # Candie 2016-01-24 19:20
This does need to be addressed or other right wing chowder heads will be doing the same thing in other states. I agree its a race thing, they know most minorities will not vote for teabaglicans so they are doing their best to shut them down. Shame on the GOP = Gross Offensive Polluters!
+1 # Krackonis 2016-01-25 10:44
I'm not sure how poisoning is not murder or attempted murder. I'm pretty sure it is.

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