Jan 222016
 

martha photo death

by Martha K. Huggins, Ph.D……..

In 1940, my father-in-law, George Findlay Willison, created and edited, Let’s Write a Play (Harper), a compendium of plays written by children attending the Hessian Hills School that he Co-Directed (1929-1935). A private progressive school located in New York State’s Croton-on-Hudson, designed in the spirit of John Dewey and other progressive educators, was fertile soil for eliciting the best from youthful minds. In 2016, I am transforming George’s work and his collaborative spirit into a project of ‘interactive journalism’: Will you cooperate with me in creating a play about the economics, science, and politics of death?

This article on shallow well injection of potentially deadly chemicals, may not right now, but can over time produce a collaborative play, “Fifteen Lethal Acts of Shame,” about how economics, science, and politics enhance environmental disasters and promote deaths. Besides making Key West a better place, our ‘interactive journalism’ could encourage making news for print and visual media more democratic. And hey, maybe “Key West Fringe” will be interested in producing our play.

Scientific and Political Questions

  • Could Key West and Stock Island become dangerously water-polluted like Flint, Michigan—a city now declared a ‘federal disaster area’ for its lead-contaminated water that citizens have been using, then paying for non-use for over a year now?
  • Could Key West’s and Stock Island’s water end up like “94 water systems across 27 states,” whose water, soil, and air are polluted by “perfluorooctanoic acid”–a chemical product used for hundreds of products, including Teflon, some Scotchguard products, and the foam that extinguishes fires? (DuPont’s version of this deadly chemical, ‘C-8,’ is estimated to be in the blood of 99 percent of all Americans—and it never will completely break down.)

martha photo boat

  • Have our local naval bases and the adults and children who live and visit there been contaminated by ground residues from the “Aqueous film forming [fire fighting] foams (AFFF) that contain… perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)…or perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS)? (The former chemical substance is what DuPont Chemicals calls C-8.)

If a Chemical is Not Found Does it Not Exist?

No such chemicals contamination has been reported at our Southernmost military bases, you say. That’s very true, I’ve looked at the annual reports for surrounding areas and there is no mention of what in this article I’ll call FPSs. But do our Southernmost military bases even get tested by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection or the Navy for these chemicals? Answer: The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) do not require testing for FPSs —for example, in the Lower Keys shallow or deep water injection wells and the Stock Island landfill. There is no federal, state, County, or local government mandate that such testing be done, even though there is now firm evidence–and there has been for some years, including by the very chemical companies producing these dangerous chemicals— that FPS chemicals enter human and other animals’ bodies through water and land contamination. Once injected into shallow or deep water wells, the contaminated effluent containing partially treated FPS ‘poop’ and ‘pee’ and other household wastewater becomes a secondary source for spreading contamination to other humans, animals, and to plant, land, and marine life.

martha photo scale

  • If deadly water and land pollution is found to have resulted from government and corporate actions–such as from lies and cover-ups—and/or from inaction—as in failures to heed experts’ warnings–should Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA), and Key West City Government be held responsible for environmental and human devastation?
  • Is it sufficient for these entities to claim that ‘there was no federal or state mandate to test for FPSs’?

The Back Story

This week the Key West Citizen reported (1/16/2016) that Florida Department of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) Judge Cathy Sellers had ruled that “Key West Resort Utilities can use two shallow injection wells to handle…treated effluent on Stock Island…”   Rationale: It’s cheaper to do that than build a more costly and more effective deep-water injection well. It is common knowledge among engineering and scientific communities that when liquids, such as wastewater ‘effluents,’ are injected into shallow wells in the Florida Keys the human waste quickly seeps through the porous rock and spills into the surrounding environment. Back-ups are also reportedly common with strong and persistent rains, like the Lower Keys have seen recently.  One hears that this occurs after big rains at the Monroe County Jail, when the detention facility’s own effluent well–as one cleaner reports—belches up ‘human waste sewage all over the place.’

When What You Don’t Know Kills You

Sharon Lerner, reporting for The Intercept, points out that “Until recently, few people had heard much about chemicals like C8. One of tens of thousands of unregulated industrial chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA — also called C8 because of the eight-carbon chain that makes up its chemical backbone — had gone unnoticed for most of its eight or so decades on earth, even as it helped cement the success of one of the world’s largest corporations”—DuPont Chemicals. Some of the very negative health effects of the C8 version of DuPont’s PFS chemical, included in Lerner’s scientifically validated short list of health problems are: ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol, pregnancy-induced hypertension, thyroid disease, testicular and kidney cancer. The effects of PFS contamination in humans also includes high incidence of neonatal deaths, immune system damage, and liver and endocrine system impairment. Scientists’ findings, “published in more than three dozen peer-reviewed articles, were striking, because the chemical’s effects were so widespread throughout the body and because even very low exposure levels were associated with health effects.”

C8 is in the blood of 99.7 percent of Americans, according to a 2007 analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as in newborn human babies, breast milk, and umbilical cord blood. A growing group of scientists have been tracking the chemical’s spread through the environment, documenting its presence in a wide range of wildlife, including Loggerhead sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins, harbor seals, polar bears, caribou, walruses, bald eagles, lions, tigers, and arctic birds.

Knowing that shallow injection wells are contra-indicated as methods for dispatching human effluents, Dr. Henry Briceño, a scientist at Florida International University’s Southeast Environmental Research Center, informed a May 2015 meeting of the Monroe County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) that, “We know that if we inject water in those shallow wells it will boomerang back to the surface” and pollute what is around the well and beyond. The Nature Conservancy’s Chris Bergh went on to argue at the same meeting, according to The Blue Paper’s coverage (5/22/15), that “based on these studies the AWT [partially treated effluent] is going to come up….There will be an impact on the environment. [So let’s] go for now with the devil that we do know and…not inject wastewater into these shallow wells.”

But, I’m talking about a devil we don’t know: the strong probability of there being PFS water contamination in our marine water, drinking water, and at the Stock Island landfill. Of course, such pollution will surely increase with shallow wells belching up the effluvium injected in them. How so? As a recent Florida State graphic by Taro Gomi remind us:

martha article photo

We poop and pee. PFSs are excreted from our bodies through our poop and pee. Even after advanced wastewater treatment the effluent will contain harmful nutrients, viruses, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals such as PFSs.  These contaminants are now officially allowed to be —according to DOAH Judge Cathy Sellers’ recent ruling–fast-driven into shallow injection wells.  Predictably this sewage effluent will make its way through the porous rock into the groundwater and surface waters that surround such wells.

And what about the Stock Island landfill that is regularly burrowed into by Iguanas (the County has hired a company to get rid of them periodically); which allows potentially contaminated leachates — “any liquid that, in the course of passing through matter, extracts soluble or suspended solids, or any other component”–to flow (especially after landfill-eroding rains) onto the topsoil below.

What PFS products might have gotten into Stock Island’s landfill? For example, Teflon-coated cookware, 3M’s original Scotchguard, Stainmaster fabric protection, Gore-Tex and other waterproof clothing, coatings for eye glasses and tennis rackets, stain-proof coatings for carpets and furniture, fire-fighting foam, fast food wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, bicycle lubricants, satellite components, ski wax, communications cables, and pizza boxes.

To put this personally, every time wastewater effluent (made from poop and pee) gets propelled out by shallow water well injection and ends up in surrounding water or soil, or when it rains hard and Stock Island’s landfill leaks from Iguana burrowing into the landfill, our water and soil are compromised– even if you don’t live on Stock Island itself.

Some leachate content apparently is tested at Stock Island by landfill inspectors, but they do not yet test for PFS. Obviously, most of us are not pooping and peeing at Stock Island’s landfill, but birds and Iguanas and other wild life do poop and pee PFSs on the Landfill, contaminating it in the process.

PFSs Will Out Live US and Cannot be Eliminated by Chemical Treatment

PFSs are bio-resistant and so do not break down of their own accord. They will still be on the Earth when we are long gone. And PFS cannot be treated away chemically. Monroe County and Florida’s Judge Sellers may be insuring that Lower Keys waters and soil make a fast and furious contribution to the enduring presence of PFS contamination in southernmost Florida.

However, with the EPA maybe about to move toward requiring soil and water testing for PFS, Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection has published, in 2013, a document listing six chemicals found in Florida waters of “emerging concern” to the department.

Among these, Sucralose—“non-nutritive sweeteners” that pass “through waste water treatment systems with virtually no degradation, [and are] unaffected by chlorination and tertiary grade treatment”–were given greatest attention, in part as a ‘detector’ for other such chemicals. At the beginning and end of the FDEP’s list of ‘emerging’ pollutants in Florida waters, were (#1) Brominated fire retardants (almost always containing PFS) and (#6) “Perfluorinated Compounds” (PFS). The former were described by the FDEP as, “Bioaccumulative, endocrine disrupting, toxic, persistent; the latter was designated, “Bioaccumulative, [and] Endocrine disrupting.”

Well, now we know that as of 2013, the FDEP formally knew of the severe health consequences of FPS pollution and recognized its presence in Florida waterways. Still, no evidence of testing for its presence, however.

Chemicals Kill, Especially When Collusion Hides Their Lethalness

But this and my next week’s article will show, hopefully along with your insights, that what kills is not merely just the presence of unknown chemicals but especially the potentially criminal acts of corporate executives, their high-paid in-house lawyers, and the government regulators who often work together with them and who either fail to test for chemicals known to be dangerous or test for them and then hide test results.

  • Power and Death. Would our Monroe County and City officials use their power to deny or even to actively hide water and/or landfill pollution that could permanently damage the lives of constituents?
  • The Play’s the Thing. The known actions of corporate chemical producers and government officials and their agents are the subjects of our play, “Fifteen Lethal Acts of Shame.”
  • The script for corporate and government officials’ doing these things has been put together and routinely performed for at least 125 years and consistently ignored by those of us who are victims of their well-worn and lethal script.

So let’s try ‘interactive journalism’ and develop with facts the following script for all to see and hear. You can share what you know and I will do the same, while requesting that research and media colleagues participate.

Scripting Environmental Disaster: Flesh Out Each Scene with Examples and Actors

  1. Save Money/Enhance Profits: Cost-saving/-cutting decisions are made with respect to a potential environmental and human threat.
  2. Government Transparency Claims: ‘The landfill chemicals are monitored annually’; ‘chemical findings are on-line’; ‘government committees have been established to hear complaints’; ‘everything is under control and operating according to law.’
  3. Experts Prevail. Chemical facts understandable only by government insiders or chemical experts.

Stock Island Chemicals:

fldeploc.dep.state.fl.us/www_wacs/Reports/SW_Facility_Testsite_Results_Date_res.asp?txtFacility=79636&txtBegin=01%2F01%2F1999&txtEnd=01%2F11%2F2016&cboOutput=B&cmdCheckForm=Submit

  1. Evidence Contrary to Corporation’s and/or Government’s Scripts are Ignored/Stifled. Using cherry-picked “science” or cost-saving promises, backed by a chemical corporation’s and/or government’s in-house ‘science’ experts, and the power of these entities to silence alternative “scientific” evidence.
  2. Citizens on their own Collect Evidence of Environmental Dangers and their Lethal Consequences, with this evidence discredited–until it cannot be…. Lois Gibbs, Love Canal, www.imdb.com/title/tt0084262/; Flint, MI: Mona Hanna-Attisha, www.democracynow.org/2016/1/15/flint_doctor_mona_hanna_attisha_on
  3. Whistle-blowers, Citizen Activists, and the Free Press warn public but their evidence is discredited by the powers that be. The city’s free press gets wind of the environmental danger and looks into it, with its exposés initially ignored, dismissed, and discredited.
  4. Truth Discovered and Hidden. Corporate officials learn early—sometimes decades before the public–that their chemical product has lethal consequences, yet they continue to produce and dump it. Monsanto: http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2985458/monsanto_knew_all_along_secret_studies_reveal_the_truth_of_roundup_toxicity.html;   DuPont and C-8: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/10/magazine/the-lawyer-who-became-duponts-worst-nightmare.html
  1. People Are Sick and Dying. Too many people get sick, and too much environmental destruction becomes obvious for a corporation or government to be able to continue asserting that ‘all is well, scientifically.’

(Asbestos cover-up: http://www.asbestos.com/asbestos/cover-up.php,  http://www.mesotheliomalawyercenter.org/mesothelioma-lawsuit-asbestos-litigation/)

(DuPont and C-8: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/10/magazine/the-lawyer-who-became-duponts-worst-nightmare.html)

  1. Citizen pressure on government intensifies to explain the environmental conditions that are damaging or could be impairing human and animal health and the environment (See Flint Michigan today)
  2. Lawsuits are filed by environmentalists and for those sickened by a denied and covered up environmental danger
  3. Small Bits of Corporate Money Thrown at Victims to buy off their charges and negative publicity
  4. A Government Investigative Commission is established to ‘learn the truth.’
  5. Lawsuits continue with most awardees gaining little from these payouts, even though most of us assume such lawsuits ‘pay off big time.’
  6. Call for criminal penalties for the corporations and/or government officials involved who knew of the environmental/human problems and covered them up.  Civil penalties are, at most, the norm, with culpable corporations settling and stipulating ‘no criminal acts have been committed.’ Government officials–covered by ‘Directors’ and Officers’ liability insurance purchased by taxpayer money—suffer no real financial consequences.
  7. Remediating Environmental Contamination Ends Up Costing Taxpayers More Than the Original Allegedly Too Expensive Fix.

 

Stay tuned for Next Week’s posting. I’ll develop these scenes, hopefully with your examples and mine. Think: Johns-Manville (Asbestos cover-up), Monsanto (Agent Orange; RoundUp), Hooker Chemical (Love Canal), Flint, Michigan (Lead in water), DuPont Chemical (C-8 chemical cover-up), and the lower keys shallow well injection legal decision and its possible outcomes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sources:

Nathaniel Rich, “The Lawyer who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare” 1/17/2016

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/10/magazine/the-lawyer-who-became-duponts-worst-nightmare.html

http://theparalegallitigator.com/found-in-the-blood-of-99-7-percent-of-americans-and-it-never-breaks-down/

“Chemicals used on military sites appear to be a major part of the problem. “Water testing done in or near military bases, which isn’t yet complete, has already shown that the chemicals spread into public drinking water systems around Willow Grove, Pease, and a third base — Eielson, in Alaska,” the report said.” See http://www.wateronline.com/doc/military-bases-linked-to-drinking-water-contamination-0001; http://www.13newsnow.com/story/news/military/2016/01/20/fentress-drinking-water-contaminated/79083224/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefighting_foam

The Citizen, 1/16/2016. Pp. 1, 10A

The bio-persistent chemicals, that are labeled PFSs in this article, include “perfluorooctanoic acid,” known by DuPont Chemicals as ‘C-8’ and also labeled “PFOA” (perfluorooctanoic acid), as well as the “PFOS” chemicals (perfluorooctane sulfonate).

https://theintercept.com/2015/08/11/dupont-chemistry-deception/

Ibid, reference ‘vii’

“FDEP Pilot Study on the Occurrence of Emerging Substances of Concern (ESOCs) in Florida’s Flowing Waters,” https://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/bioassess/docs/bcpost/2013/ESOC-Presentation-Oct2013.pdf

“A leachate is any liquid that, in the course of passing through matter, extracts soluble or suspended solids, or any other component of the material through which it has passed.

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=leachates+definition

Ibid, reference ‘vii’

Ibid, reference ix

DID YOU LIKE THIS STORY?  SUPPORT THE BLUE PAPER

Help us continue to bring you local investigative journalism…  Click on the image to make a donation [NOT tax deductible].

teamwork hands

Print Friendly
Martha K. Huggins
Tulane Professor Emerita and scholar of Brazil, Huggins has researched police violations of human rights in Brazil for 40 years. Huggins is now transforming that work to the US, where she is studying municipal government and the insurance industries' direct complicity in promoting, covering up, and hence rewarding police violence.
 January 22, 2016  Posted by at 1:08 am * Featured Story *, Issue #150, Martha Huggins  Add comments

  13 Responses to “Let’s Write a Play: Scripting the Economics, Science, and Politics of Death: “Fifteen Shameful Lethal Acts””

  1. Martha, Gosh, you do such vital work. We all need to thank you. I have a question about the Flint thing that no one in the media seems to want to ask. Why is it that the Flint River is so polluted? Obviously, the powers to be did not think so when they went to using it for the city’s water. Could a great percentage of our river resources be polluted also? Thanks again Martha, ciao, jerome

  2. Hi Jerome, thank for your vote of confidence, coming from you it is an honor. As for your question about Flint Water, here’s one answer (http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/11/health/toxic-tap-water-flint-michigan/). Mine is that auto plant fuming must also be a contributor–which went on a long time. What do you think?

  3. Another in depth and well researched piece. All the small government proponents need to wake up and realize that the hated “big government” scientists and active citizen whistle blowers are the only things standing between them and a glorious array of deadly illnesses that will kill them and their loved ones. A little common sense would tell you that a shallow well is not going to make the contaminated sewage magically vanish…

    Flint is just the latest example of putting money before the health and safety of the people. The poor and powerless are more likely to be on the receiving end of these crimes of environmental poisoning. Just like the West VA coal company crapping in a river that was a major source of water for 300,000 people and all to “save” money…

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/01/22/3176161/west-virginia-poverty-pollution/

    I’ve said it before… Capitalism is a disease. The word “enough” does not exist in these sociopath’s lexicon.

  4. Martha,

    Another magnificent compilation of data comprehensively put forth in a brilliant and convincing manner. Thank you…

    A related issue recently appearing in the news:

    DETROIT (AP) — The needs of Flint, Michigan, “far exceed the state’s capability,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a request for a federal disaster declaration and millions of dollars that could pay for clean water, filters and cartridges for residents whose water system has been contaminated by lead.

    Snyder’s letter to President Barack Obama paints a bleak picture of the troubled city, describing Flint as an “impoverished area” that has been overwhelmed by the release of lead from old pipes — the result of using the Flint River as the city’s drinking water for 18 months. Nearly 60 percent of residents get food stamps, and median household income is 50 percent less than the statewide figure, according to Snyder’s letter.

    “Mistrust in government is at a heightened level,” Snyder, a Republican, said in a request dated Thursday and released to The Associated Press.

    The application seeks help from all available federal programs. Snyder said 90 days of clean drinking water could cost $10.3 million, and home filters, filter cartridges and testing kits could cost $31 million over a year.

    Michigan Nation Guard Sgt. Steve Kiger, left, of Harrison, Mich., stacks cases of drinking water with Red Cross …

    “The governor has made a request through the formal process, and that’s a request that we’ll consider expeditiously,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday.

    The tap water in Flint, population 99,000, became contaminated after the city in 2014 switched its water supply to the Flint River while a pipeline to Lake Huron is under construction. The corrosive water lacked adequate treatment and caused lead to leach from old pipes in homes, schools and elsewhere.

    Flint returned to the Detroit system in October, after elevated lead levels were discovered in children, and could tap into the new pipeline by summer. But officials remain concerned that damage to the pipes could allow them to continue leaching lead. Exposure to lead can cause behavior problems and learning disabilities in children as well as kidney ailments in adults.

    Everyone is urged to get a free filter. The National Guard is distributing water, filters and other supplies.

    Over the long term, replacing old lead service lines at Flint homes and other private properties could cost $54 million, the governor told the president.

    “The state has responded, but the response needs far exceed the state’s capability,” Snyder said.

    Separately, at least 10 people have died from Legionnaires’ disease in Genesee County, due to the Legionella bacteria, although state and local health officials say they can’t make a definitive connection to the water.

    “We’re finally getting the attention that we need and deserve. For so long, our voices have gone unheard,” Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said in response to Snyder’s request for federal disaster aid.

    A state task force recently faulted Snyder’s Department of Environmental Quality for not requiring Flint to treat the river water for corrosion and for its derisive response to the public’s fears. The head of the department and his spokesman resigned.

    State Attorney General Bill Schuette said Friday that his office was investigating if any laws were broken. He declined to elaborate on the scope of the probe. The U.S. Justice Department is also investigating.

  5. Alex, thanks for your input. It’s ironic I guess that government is both our fire wall and can also be our enabling ‘contaminator’ when it comes to the presence and denial thereof (of) dangerous chemicals. But then, as Marx pointed out, capitalism is full of deadly contradictions. Thanks for a post for our play in process. Martha

  6. Dear Mr. Donnelly, yes indeed mistrust is high, I assumed mostly by Tea Party and associated Trump followers, with both being largely Republicans. I wonder what they think about a Republican Gov being a central actor in the Flint mess? I always appreciate your Blue Paper analyses, thanks, and also for contributing to our thinking about a play with your news item. BTW are you a VN theater vet? I’d like to send you a link for a prize if you are. Best Martha

  7. Martha, Thanks for the links. The industrial world has surely done much damage … but that is nothing new. And yes, government can be both the cure and the sickness. But one thing is usually correct: if there is a cure, only government will find it. Private enterprise will always look out for its bottom line, making their ability to police themselves very dubious. Government can be as corrupt and useless as private sector malfeasance (they usually go together), but the solution can only come from government with regard to something like this. It is interesting to find someone like Gov. Snyder, who is the usual small government Republican, using this government screw up (his) to kind of back his small gov ideology. What hucksterism! ciao, Jerome

  8. Martha,

    Your inspiring awareness and literary gifts, provides “The Blue’s” audience with an avalanche of intelligently vetted data, packaged in an invigorating, precise and attractive manner. Again, many thanks to you.

    I do have one bone to pick with you. I’ll give it a go, with the following comment::

    According to my understanding of several investigative reports, a series of Mayors and City Council Members from Flint, Michigan have been, and are, all Democrats. Not a single Republican is on the Flint City Council.

    All of the Flint City Council members, along with the last 2 Mayors, have all been Democrats.

    According to FBI statistics from 2012, Flint, Michigan is the ‘Most Violent City in America’.

    Headlined in a 11-11-2013 news article, “Flint Michigan City–Elected 2 Felons Onto City Council, Including A Convicted Murderer”.

    In March 2013 Flint’s City Council voted 7-1 to leave the ‘safe water system’ that had provided them with all their drinking water.

    Ineffective government policies, dismantling the middle class, urban decay, corruption, violent crime, school illiteracy and poverty; finally broke the financial back of the city in 2002. Since that time, the city and its residents have been enslaved in servitude under their failed leaders and the government’s “Emergency Financial Management” overlords.

    Except that it was brought up, I would not have looked upon this as a failure of any political party. Incompetence, indifference and criminal malfeasance hasn’t a monopoly upon any one political party. In this matter, there is plenty of dirt, death and injury to go around.

    Violations of the public trust, from those securing a salary and charged with the safety and protection of children and civilians dependent upon them for their lives; is a serious offense.

    Civil servants from the ground up, right on into where the ‘buck stops’; are responsible, accountable and liable for the pain and suffering inflicted upon an innocent and unknowing citizenry.

    I’m delighted by your reference to the theater. Thank you ever so much for bringing it up. Along with some veterans and their groups, I’ve worked with hospitalized vets, so that they might be able to get outside and engage themselves with a theatrical performance, addressing some of their troubling issues, fears and concerns.

    We are on the verge of moving into an ‘extraordinary theatrical complex’. I will keep you abreast of our progress and upcoming season. Perhaps an acceptable arrangement can be made for yourself and a contingent of ‘Key West Friends’ to attend one of our shows.

    Best to you. Your valued contributions are ‘spot on’.

  9. Martha, you are correct when you say government can be both protector and enabler. Protector or Enabler is dependent on whether the people or Big Corporate/Finance is at the helm. As we so painfully see on a regular basis, “The People” are most definitely locked up in steerage….

  10. John, Are you aware that when Snyder became Gov he disbanded the elected officials in many Michigan cities and sent his own hand picked representatives to run their affairs? The decision to switch to river water instead of lake water was entirely his. Now, I don’t doubt that in so many run down, poor, industrially deserted, rust belt cities, like Flint, the local politicians were useless and corrupt. This is what happens in dysfunctional places. And now I have to remind you that this kind of dysfunction was the result of economic policies generally pushed by neo-liberal, right wing sections of our politics. Our usual center-left politicians were, I agree, duplicitous and weak in stopping this, but it is Republican theory, led first by Ronald Reagan, that has eventually led to all this. ciao, Jerome

  11. Jerome,

    According to my research and two “New York Times” editorials, The Flint City Council (A Totally ‘Democratic Controlled Political Body’); exclusively made, and I quote, “the disastrous decision” to discard its safe ‘drinking water system’ and connect to a dangerously contaminated source.

    Your statement to the contrary, is altogether incorrect.

    But here again, we must never pass up a chance to take a shot at Republicans, Reagan or Snyder.

    Along with even the hint of a disparaging insult, we must rise above casting political aspersions upon groups of people, particularly, when the allegations are not true;;; if we are ever to come together as a ‘People’;;; ‘And Actual Do Something’, rather than continuing with our unproductive and ideological rhetoric, which we’ve set forth to uphold & protect the fragile and meaningless political delusions that have become our gods.

    Placed on the sanctuary of our devotion, with our maddening realities at stake, ‘Both Sides’ fight to destroy the opposition, when in actuality, We are destroying themselves.

    No one will ever be held accountable for their government malfeasance and misconduct, if taking political sides TRUMPS our ethics, integrity and honor.

    I Am Not a color, political party; nor a class or group of any other particular creed, culture or dogma. I’m John Donnelly.

    Still reading IT… IT is Great…

    Blessings & Respect…

  12. John, I do not side with a political party, I side with an ideology, and one of our political parties is closer to that ideology, though, I agree, they’ve done a bad job defending that ideology, mainly because they are bought to some extent as well. But there are differences in degree. Now, just as you criticize me for looking to politics or ideology to solve problems, I will criticize you for having little feel for ideology and the institutions we have meant to deal with ideology. You dismiss politics and rely almost completely on “spiritual” things, self awareness, etc., etc. Fine, I have the utmost respect for your humanity and do not say such an attitude is irrelevant, but … policy matters, politics matters, the hard core reality of who’s in charge and what they believe in matters. The situation a place like Flint, MI. is in today (and I do not just mean the water thing) is the result of policy decisions made years ago, primarily by global economy, neo-liberal, Reaganite politicians representing the biggest corporate interests. This killed places like Flint, leaving a poverty ridden shell of the place it used to be. This leads to the low brow politcs you rightly point out … though I still say Gov. Snyder and his minions are most responsible for this, one way or another.
    John, these discussions enrich me. It takes 2 to tango, and you are not only a worthy advocate, but a teacher as well. I’ll never let our differences get in the way of that. I also believe that if the barricades ever went up, we’d be on the same side. And thanks so much for reading IT. ciao, Jerome