Here we go again, another Bundy takeover of public deeded lands. The Bundy clan decided that dad, Cliven Bundy’s armed militia 2014 takeover of federal lands in Nevada wasn’t quite enough, so the sons, Ammon and Ryan decided to act on their militia penchant and start-up another showdown with law enforcement.
To recall, Cliven refused to pay over $1 million dollars in years of back pay he still owes the federal government for grazing his cattle on public lands. The fees go all the way back to 1993. These fee rates were introduced and enforced by order from the right-wing’s semi-deity Ronald Reagan’s 1986 Executive Order 12548.
When Bundy’s steadfast refusal to ever pay the grazing rights fees over the past 21 years was obviously apparent, the ‘Bureau of Land Management’ was tasked to collect his cattle off the public lands in 2014. That’s when the Bundy’s appealed to militia groups to come to their aid resulting in the armed standoff.
Cliven was even expanding his livestock grazing into other federally-owned territories. With numerous court judgments against him, the federal government was finally sending agents in to collect the trespassing cows. Bundy, who was given fair warning of the future seizure, issues implied threats and implications of “another Waco.” There were complaints that the federal cow collectors were armed, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that federal agents were armed in the Bundy case since in fact his threats were real.
Now, as of late the two Bundy brothers caught wind of the father/son Hammond ordeal going on in the S.E. corner of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon. President Ulysses S. Grant first established this land as the ‘Malheur Indian Reservation’ for the Northern Paiute in 1872. It was taken away from them and the Bannock tribe in the 1878 Bannock War removing the Native American tribes to Washington State where the U.S. government then converted the Indian’s reservation to federal land. Further, in 1908 President Theodore Roosevelt designated its present name as the ‘Malheur National Wildlife Refuge’.
Dwight Hammond and his 46-yr-old son, Steven were found guilty of arson in setting fires on the public lands in 2001 and 2006. The Hammonds claim they set the fires to control invasive plant species, when in all actuality it was to clear land so that their livestock could graze on it.
Their actual conviction occurred in 2013 and both were sent to prison with Dwight serving three months and Steven one year of a mandatory minimum five year sentence. For after all, the U.S.’s West is fraught with wildfires, much less with intentionally set fires, so federal prosecutors appealed the Hammonds release demanding the minimum five years be served. A federal court agreed and the Supreme Court turned down a legal request to hear their case. Minus time already served, the Hammonds reported to prison voluntarily and are now serving out their term.
The Bundy boys without the aid of their dad decided to take it upon themselves, gather up a collection of “patriot” minded militia vigilantes and tread on U.S. sovereign public land. Now one might wonder why they would want to do this again, but why not?
The first armed confrontation in Nevada where they had guns loaded, cocked and aimed at local, county, state and federal law officials…nothing happened. It’s been over a year and a half and not one single militia Rambo has been arrested. In fact, the militia horde held an anniversary celebration of the event. The Bundys organized a get together and party serving up Bundy cattle steaks that once roamed and grazed on federal lands illegally.
Robert Crooks, founder of the ‘Mountain Minutemen’ in claiming victory gave a little pep talk at the reunion of sorts stating, “We’re gonna stand our ground. BLM no longer exists in this section of Nevada.” The rogue crowd proudly displayed their weaponry, got drunk, shot off their guns and went off-roading on fragile environmental public lands. Sorry to say, but Crooks right; the BLM, due to safety concerns pretty much no longer patrols the southeastern corner of Nevada where the stand-off occurred.
As previously stated, the Bundy boys gathered up as many militia wannabes as they could and headed on up to Oregon and while heavily armed, on January 02 took over the ‘Malheur Wildlife Refuge’ facilities with a claimed 150 militia cohorts. Ammon Bundy quickly released a video declaring, “We’re going to be staying for several years,” in his request for more gun enthusiasts/government conspiracists to join him.
Once settled in, Ammon announced what it was all about and demanded that the Hammonds’ be allowed to go on about their business. Well that rallying cry didn’t work out too well, for the Hammonds wanted nothing to do with it.
The Hammonds realize their guilt and are only interested in serving out their time and they most certainly do not want any part in aiming guns at law officers. In fact they outright reject the anti-government militia’s takeover.
The Hammond family lawyer sent a letter to Harney County (the Oregon county the refuge lies in) Sheriff David Ward. The letter emphatically expressed, “Neither Ammon Bundy nor anyone within his group/organization speak for the Hammond family.”
Dwight himself told an AP reporter that he and his father will abide by the court ruling and voluntarily return to jail in saying, “We gave our word that’s what we would do, and we intend to act on it.” Sure enough, the Hammond’s turned themselves in on January, 04 to complete their sentencing.
Without a rallying point to justify their takeover of the refuge, Ammon then turned to the idea that federal land should be in the hands of private citizens for ranching, mining and logging. Well, the Paiute have a different take on that message…if the land should be given back to the rightful owners, then without doubt, it should be the Paiute, for 10,000 years it was their sacred land.
Meanwhile, at a Burns, Oregon township meeting, Paiute tribal chairperson, Charlotte Rodrique in expressing that the true rightful owners of the land are Paiute, she jokingly quips, “I’m sitting here trying to write an acceptance letter when they return the land to us.” She further adds, “We know they didn't mean us, they meant themselves. We as a tribe feel that this is our land no matter who’s living on it.”
In seeing the irony of his stance, Ryan Bundy simply digresses in oxymoron expression by stating, “We also recognize that the Native Americans had the claim to the land, but they lost that claim. There are things to learn from cultures of the past, but the current culture is the most important.”
Let’s see now if we got this right. The Native American no longer can own the land because it was forcibly taken away from them by the federal government, so “they lost that claim to the U.S. government” but…it’s quite OK for the Bundy militia et al to land grab the territory from the public to privatize it when they’ve never held any kind of claim to it.
Ya see, it’s kind of like this. The Bundys are gold diggers when it comes to relations with the government while at the same time despising the government.
Pops Bundy feels he should be able to graze his livestock for free as they raze protected lands that are of environmental or of cultural significance. Ammon himself has a Phoenix based business called ‘Valet Fleet Services LLC’. Guess what, while condemning the government for protecting public lands and not giving any land grabbing handouts to greedy individuals to do with as they please and profit from it, instead of going to a bank, he cozied up to the government and received a $530,000 loan through the ‘Small Business Administration’s low interest guarantee program. The government won’t say whether he has or hasn’t and of course neither will Ammon if he’s been paying it back.
It’s a subsidy, so his small business is entitled to it, but he is not entitled to takeover lands that are protected by each and every working American’s tax dollar. Ammon’s a snarky shark swimming in a vast sea of desert sand.
It wasn’t enough to just seize the land, the militia group has rifled through federal files stored there, opened up computer transactions and have used federal equipment to make a road. Why they even illegally tore down and opened up an eighty foot fence section of the fence line that separates public property from private property that was intended to keep private livestock from straying into the federally protected public refuge. So not only are they illegally trespassing, the Bundy boys are destroying public property….my property…your property…every American taxpayer’s property.
The Bundys say they’re doing it for the ranchers, the miners and loggers, but their main emphasis is that it’s their God given right to do so. A Republican ploy to always justify their evil deeds is to say God commanded them to do so. Just like W. Bush swore God told him to go into Iraq and just like God insisted Governor Scott Walker run for the presidency even though after Rick Perry, Walker was the second Republican to drop out of the race.
Just like the Mormon God ordered Cliven Bundy to commit seditious acts when Cliven said in 2014, “The Lord told me if the local sheriff doesn’t take away the arms from federal agents, we the people will have to face these arms in a civil war. This is your chance to straighten this thing up,” so too, Ammon now claims in reference to the Nevada standoff with his current militia escapade. He states, “If the standoff with the Bundys was wrong, would the Lord have been with us? Could those people that stood with me without fear and went through that spiritual experience have done that without the Lord being there? No, they couldn’t.”
In a twenty minute video Ammon religiously further elaborates, “I got on my knees and asked the Lord, I said, Lord, if you want me to write something, please help me clear my mind, and show me what I should write. I began to understand what the Lord felt about Harney County, and about the country. I clearly understood that the Lord was not pleased about what was happening. I did exactly what the Lord asked me to do. I did it the way he asked me, the best I could…come to Harney County Oregon and participate in this wonderful thing that the Lord is about to accomplish.”
This is delusional propaganda in seeking sympathizers that are naïve enough to believe it simply due to blind faith. It is not the Mormon God or any god that prevented bloodshed; no it’s hesitancy of government officials in not confronting the seditious acts head-on and this fact strikes me as a bit strange.
It is a concluded specific that one unequivocally knows if this were to be black unarmed demonstrators instead of a heavily armed white militia seizing public property, the American Blacks would be put down in a hurry.
During the Ferguson demonstrations, not only were there fully armed local and state officers with fully automatic assault rifles, tanks were even assigned to duty.
In the unarmed ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests, cops lined the streets fully geared and itching for one protester to get out of line and pay the price. Demonstrators that blocked businesses were arrested.
The Baltimore, Maryland protesters wanting justice for Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody were met with tear gas and rubber bullets. Most of the protesters were peaceable high school students.
Now just imagine, as the Bundy militias in both the Nevada and Oregon cases had guns aimed right at officials, if these black protesters had done the same, why they’d have been blasted to Kingdom Come.
What’s sad is American blacks have every constitutional right to protest and demonstrate as most peaceably are, but still at best are arrested or worse…harmed. On the other hand with the militia groups who have illegally seized and taken over and abused public property, the most law enforcement officials have conducted is simply to plead in begging fashion to please leave. They’re not even telling them to disband, just leave the public land premises and all will be peachy. Instead of leaving, the militia groups only reinforce to remain and make their locally unwelcome presence felt.
|The Malheur Militia|
All the while, the Bundy boys are free to roam in and out of the refuge as they please reaching out their tough boy images by bullying towns folk and issuing death threats to the local town leaders leaving the town officials no choice but to send their families elsewhere for safe keeping. Schools have been closed for weeks for safety precautions.
One militant, Ryan Payne is convinced that the U.S. government uses regulations to deliberately undermine the average American. Along with some outrageous conspiracy theories he also believes that he has the legal authority to kill police officers if he feels they are unjustifiably arresting him. He also claims that slavery never existed in the U.S.
Harney County Judge, Steve Grasty has cancelled a community meeting at a senior center. The reason he moved the meeting away from the normal place at the high school was that militants were entering armed which violated the standing order of no weapons. The reason he cancelled the senior meeting was that militants were blocking access to the center in protest for moving the meeting where the elderly reside.
This ‘hands-off approach’ government officials are conducting with these white militia terrorist acts needs to stop. It is only encouraging this type of behavior. In its annual U.S. internal terrorist groups, the ‘Southern Poverty Law Center’ (SPLC) has identified a 37% increase just from 2014. In 2014, there were 202 terrorist militia groups, by the end of 2015 they reported 276. Once Obama had been elected president, militia groups exploded from just 42 in 2008 to 334 in 2011 before declining then rising back up again.
SPLCs director of ‘Intelligence Project’ Heidi Beirich adds to their statistics by stating, “We believe these armed extremists have been emboldened by what they saw as a clear victory at the Cliven Bundy ranch and the fact that no one was held accountable for taking up arms against agents of the federal government.”
This ‘Bundy Effect’ in illegal seizure of public property, terrorizing a community, threatening law officers, destroying fragile ecosystems, shuttering government services, bullying locals and provoking altercations needs to be put to bed. ‘Y’all Qaeda’ needs to quit behaving like the big boy with the little britches. They aren’t rescuing anyone from governmental abuse…they are the abuse. Seized land never belongs to the insurgents no matter how much they claim their ‘patriot’ hypocrisy.
Locals are frustrated, some even infuriated. Claiming tyranny against the U.S. government when actually being the one promoting tyranny against the locals is finally making some residents fed up. After failing to convince the militia he’d safely escort them out to leave these parts, Harney County Sheriff, David Ward was cheered when at a local town meeting where he stated to some of the militia members in attendance, “You don't get to come here from elsewhere and tell us how we're going to live our lives.”
Tim Puckett, the rancher who owns the private land abutted up to the refuge where the Bundy’s cut down the fence was incensed. He told reporters after he learned of the incident that he not only didn’t want or ask Bundy to tear down the fence (in which Bundy falsely claimed he did), he’s “very upset” because of it.
|Ammon taking down the fence|
Puckett continued, “They’re not coming onto my place no more. If they do, I’m gonna have to do something about it. I don’t want them going across my ground. I work with the BLM. I have no problem with them. The fence has not nor will ever affect my cattle operation. I am a good steward of the land. In no way do I feel that I am entitled to the refuge for grazing. Keeping cattle from walking over burial sites is immensely important.”
It’s unfortunate but other sheriffs aren’t as so inclined as Ward in hanging out the ‘go home sign’ and are actually cheering the militants on. Nearby Grant County Oregon Sheriff, Glenn Palmer favors the right-wing extremists and has had several rally meetings with them.
Oregon State Representative Republican Dallas Heard, along with other Oregon Republican representatives met with that most world infamous Nevada State Representative, Republican Michele Fiore whom I spoke of in my last article, ‘Hallowed be Thy Shame’. Fiore is very open in supporting the militias and has proudly announced, “Everyone knows I’m a supporter of the Bundy family, our relationship is pretty well documented.”
One would think that any American going against our U.S. government and calling for war against the U.S. military would most certainly be an enemy of not only to the nation but to our liberties as well in imposing their warped conspiracy policies upon the rest of us. But not these Republicans, they feel the militia men/women are upstanding patriots.
This Republican group, although told not to by county law enforcement, a local judge and the FBI met anyway with the Bundy boys and as Fiore exhilarates, it is to “demonstrate that Republicans lean heavily on the side of American citizens against our federal government.” The very government that allows them to behave in this totally absurd way they however are against. This appears to me anyway to be a tad traitorous to the stars and stripes.
All this militant sedition of the ‘Malheur Wildlife Refuge’ has a cost attached to it and it may end more than just in monetary terms, but in life loss.
Judge Grasty says the refuge takeover is costing the county around $70,000.00/day. Visitors no longer are going to the wildlife facilities that bring in daily, community outside income. The judge realistically doesn’t seem too optimistic in recouping the lost income but has sent the Bundy boys a bill anyway.
Just recreational tourism catering to hunters, fishermen, birders and outdoorsmen was averaging $40,000.00/day to the county and its small businesses creating hundreds of jobs.
The American taxpayer is on the hook for $23,400.00/day. Along with the wildlife refuge, Harney County’s ‘Bureau of Land Management Office’ and forestry service can no longer operate so workers are on leave with pay stipends; the bulk of them are locals.
Overall with security costs and school closings adding an additional $70,000.00/day, the small Harney County communities have to absorb the costing of $133,400/day in lost revenue.
Breaking: As I’ve been writing this article, initial news is out that officials have finally responded in apprehending Bundy militia members. Thus far the way the news is developing, militant members yesterday evening (01/26/16) were on their way to a community meeting when on the street they were stopped by the FBI and Oregon state police. Ammon and Ryan Bundy were among the group. Shots were fired resulting in one militant, Robert ‘LaVoy’ Finicum being killed and another seriously wounded. The rest were arrested, including the Bundy brothers and charged with a federal felony in impeding, through force, U.S. officers to carry out their official duties. Impeding U.S. officers from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 372 has been going on at the ‘Malheur Wildlife Refuge’ almost for the full month of January and according to the Bundys was to continue on for years without end. Well it’s just now ending.
Militants still loitering at the refuge were told they could leave peacefully without fear of arrest, but if they decide to remain they will be arrested. As of yet there is no word on the remaining militants’ decision as to orderly file out and leave or to stay and fight.
Ryan Parker was indeed one of those arrested. He’s known for his aggression and could’ve quite possibly started the firing of weapons, but in the end he did not get to shoot and kill his arresting officer. John Ritzheimer, who was also among those arrested, but in Arizona as he was visiting his home, is also a semi-famous Islamophobic organizer among right-wing extremists.
Below is a video I just got showing a few of the militants freaking out while remaining on public property grounds and apparently digging in for their war bath. There will be a load of right-wing armed nationalist conspiracies coming out of this and Finicum’s death, but they had their chance and it was way past overdue.
Flint’s no Hint:
Flint, Michigan residents knew something was wrong with their water due to discoloration, foul smell, bad taste and developing skin rashes from bathing in it. Governor Rick Snyder (R-MI) knew also that something was wrong with Flint water for he was privy to reports and test analysis but gave no hints to the community of final results or impending major problems to health. Governor Snyder knew that Flint residents had been poisoned by lead contaminated water, but chose to keep mum until months later after news leaked out into the media.
Snyder should be charged and convicted with dire dereliction of duty in promoting the safety of his constituents. In fact, Snyder should’ve been charged a long time ago in implementing his unelected, but personally appointed ‘Emergency Financial Manager’ (EFM). As appropriated through Republican majority state legislation in 2010, Snyder’s emergency managers began moving into designated cities as unelected appointees to directly report to Snyder while firing all the duly elected city officials and school board members. The original intention given was to save money.
In my 2011 ‘Leaning Up Against the Cracker Barrel’ article under the last segment titled ‘Out Voting Voters’, I introduced Mr. Snyder and his EFM referring to the whole aspect as essentially imposed martial law, for that is exactly what it is minus the military quotient. Martial law by definition is the exercise of government and control by military authorities over the civilian population of a designated territory, whereby a head of state (in this case, not the military but Snyder) removes all power from the previous local, executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. This is precisely what Snyder invoked in his EPM program.
In the EPMs debut, Snyder sent his emergency manager, Joseph Harris to Benton Harbor, a Michigan town off the shore of Lake Michigan where immediately Harris fired all the locally elected officials and reported to no one in the town, but directly to Snyder. The main emphasis was to seize town land and sell it to a real estate developer to build a golf resort, in which Harris succeeded in doing.
I shall repeat what I said in the previous article for it still holds…this isn’t democracy; it is dictatorial by design in eliminating the democratic function of checks and balance. What Snyder and his emergency manager agree on goes with no input or impetus from local authorities or citizens. This is exactly the route taken at Flint, Michigan. The only difference…instead of one, there was a rotation of emergency managers.
There’s a tail of a tale to tell here, so let’s see if we can string it together.
After Snyder’s first emergency manager, Michael Brown (12/2011-08/2012) fires several city hall employees and cuts out pay for others, he leaves in 2012. To save $5 million during the financial management term, the second emergency manager, Ed Kurtz (08/2012-7/2013) reviews the motive in preparation to begin taking influent water from Flint River, but after discussions with Michigan’s EPA, advises against switching from Detroit’s Lake Huron water to pipe into the Flint River. The Flint is a river that is so polluted, primarily from GM using it as a sludge and waste dump since the early 1900s.
There is some consternation here as far as Kurtz’ decision goes. Kurtz’ handpicked Flint chief financial officer, Jerry Ambrose. Ambrose in a 2014 civil deposition over severe employee income cuts testified under oath that Kurtz indeed did reject consideration in using Flint River water after discussions with the EPA.
Ambrose continued his statement in saying, “There was brief evaluation of whether the city would be better off to simply use the Flint River as its primary source of water over the long term. That was determined not to be feasible.”
The lawyer, Alec Gibbs who was questioning Ambrose further asked, “Who determined it wasn’t feasible?” Where Ambrose replied, “It was a collective decision of the emergency management team based on conversations with the MDEQ (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality) that indicated they would not be supportive of the use of the Flint River on a long-term basis as a primary source of water.”
Gibbs finally asks, “What was the reason they gave?” Appearing to not know, Ambrose responded, “You’ll have to ask them.”
Now remember, the Ambrose/Gibbs court discussion occurred in 2014, a year before it was revealed Flint folks were being poisoned by lead. Also, the discussion concerned a decision made way back in 2012 by emergency manager Kurtz, who after being informed by an environmental entity the MDEQ, an entity having nothing to add to “feasibility” on an economic aspect, only environmental.
If Ambrose is really telling the truth and Kurtz indeed turned down the Flint River proposal, then who reinstituted it? How did the river water become the bathing, cooking and drinking water for Flint a mere sixteen months after Kurtz’ rejection?
Resigning in November 2015, former director of Flint public works, Howard Croft asserts that to go forth in using the polluted and corrosive river water ultimately came from the Snyder administration. In the videotaped interview conducted by the ACLU, Croft alleges the decision went all the way up the state ranks to Snyder’s office and was based on financial reasoning in saving money.
To verify, Croft is quizzed, “All the way up to the governor’s office,” where Croft confirms in repeating, “All the way up to the governor’s office.”
Once the Snyder administration was apprised of Croft’s confession, Sara Wurfel, Snyder’s spokeswoman had some serious damage control in covering for the governor. She falsely claimed that Snyder could not have made the decision to switch to the river water for the city of Flint had already been kicked off Detroit’s water lines.
This past October 2015, when confronted with Croft’s statement, Wurfel publicly and brazenly said, “The Detroit Water and Sewer Department at the time, back last spring, said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna cut you off.”
Well that is simply downright lying on her part. After Michael Brown came back to replace Kurtz as Flint emergency manager for a few months stint between July-October 2013, Darnell Earley then replaced him. Earley was Snyder’s handpicked emergency manager for Flint from October 2013-January 2015.
Here’s where the tale turns its pointed finger right at Governor Snyder and his emergency boys. In a March 2014 letter written to the ‘Detroit Water & Sewerage Department’ Earley writes:
Thank you for the correspondence [...] which provides Flint with the option of continuing to purchase water from DWSD… The City of Flint has actively pursued using the Flint River as a temporary water source… There will be no need for Flint to continue purchasing water to serve its residents and businesses after April 17, 2014.
This Earley letter confirms DWSD did not decide to discontinue service, but actually had offered to continue serving Flint with water from Lake Huron whereupon Earley states thanks but no thanks…there is no need for the decision from his end had already decided to begin pulling water from the river in April.
Sure enough, in April of 2014, under unelected Earley management, Flint residents began receiving hazardous exposure from Flint River’s heavily polluted and corrosive waters.
It’s a good thing that the DWSD keeps letters, for the Snyder administration conveniently has misplaced its copy and when Snyder recently gave his ‘State to the State Speech’, he mentioned nothing about Earley’s letter to the DWSD.
There is a twist in this tale’s tail as well. As in all things Republican, when they have their way and disastrous results are the outcome, they always lay blame on anyone else but where it should be…themselves. The greatest recession ever unfolded due to Republican deregulation financial policies, they blame Democrats. The government shutdown, they blame Democrats and just like that Republicans are blaming Democrats for the Flint poisonings.
Except for Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, GOP presidential candidates are keeping a sealed tight lip, but all Jeb offered up was that Rick Snyder is a good friend and is doing everything he can to correct the problem. As for Rubio when questioned about the stark lead poisoning tragedy, he said no comment, because he’s not updated on the topic enough to speak about it. Hmm, a presidential contender seeking the throne of the White House and he hasn’t kept abreast of what’s happening to his would be constituents. Kind of odd don’t ya think?
Anyway, no matter Snyder’s Truman copied comment that “The buck stops here,” the Snyder administration is attempting to lay all blame elsewhere.
Originally, emergency management proposed to Democrat city officials that they were to receive DWSD water until a two year Karegondi Water Authority (KWA) pipeline project could be completed.
In Kurtz’ March 29, 2013 signed order it said so in stating that the city of Flint would eventually purchase water from KWA, but said nothing about using Flint River water in the interim. So city officials assumed water would still be temporarily supplied by DWSD until KWAs pipeline was completed.
But in a letter dated June 2013 to the professional engineering services, ‘Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam (no it’s not Newman, the m and n are indeed reversed) Inc. as private contractors, Kurtz did mention using Flint River water. That letter states, “Using the Flint River as a primary drinking water source for approximately two years and then converting to KWA delivered lake water when available.”
During his short term, Michael Brown in September 2013 as well ordered a contract among Flint and Genesee County with the KWA without stating water that was to be temporarily pulled from the Flint River as addressed to city officials.
Former Flint Mayor Dan Walling has said, “No resolution brought before myself or the City Council by any emergency manager (made) the Flint River the temporary source.” Besides, there is no record of the council choosing to use Flint River as a water source. That decision fell directly to Earley while blessed by Snyder.
Earley is now attempting to lay blame squarely on Flint’s city council stating it is they who voted 7-1 to stop using the DWSD. Now, remember they voted on a resolution to switch from DWSD water sources to KWA and knew nothing of Flint River usage decisions. Besides, local officials had no final say in any final decision making; that was all up to Snyder’s emergency managers and himself.
The emergency manager who replaced Earley was Jerry Ambrose. On January 29, 2015 when concerns about the poor quality of Flint River water was being exposed and complained about, Ambrose stated that there are two big reasons why he would not revert back to DWSD water supplies and away from Flint River water.
Ambrose emphatically said at the January meeting that, “Detroit is not in our plans at this time.” The reason he said this is number one…cost and secondly he said there no longer is a connection to the city and Detroit’s pipeline. This though is halfway false as much as it is true, for physically there is a full connection, but because Earley earlier had sold a nine mile section to the county for $3.9 million, it no longer was fully under control by the city. Of course Ambrose could have bought it back.
With Ambrose’s power of unchecked authority, he could have simply overridden any protests from the county in resale back to the city. He did not entertain that lifesaving idea because the whole decision was based on an austerity financial measure in scrimping money and not over health issues.
So, when did the Snyder administration become aware of the incredible health problems cast upon a city’s residents in being exposed to lead laden poisonous water?
Actually from the beginning by the hordes of citizen complaints in that the water smelled, was discolored like diarrhea, tainted food, children were becoming sick, was causing skin rashes and eye irritations. The Snyder administration remained mum and did nothing.
GM immediately noted that the Flint River city water was corroding their engines so did what Michigan’s governance should have done and switched water sources in the earlier half of 2014 for their own water system.
Due to inaction from the state government, Marc Edwards, an environmental engineering professor from Virginia Tech took it upon himself to test the water and found it was almost 600 times over the limit. Out of 252 homes he tested, Edwards found 90% of them had lead levels above the EPAs allowable level of 15 ppb (parts per billion). One sampling, even after 45 seconds of flushing, exceeded 1000 ppb. This was brought to the attention of the Snyder administration, but they still remained mute.
Even after official high level lead test results had been verified in February 2015, Snyder’s government officials were telling residents that publicly there was no threat. Well, all except for one.
Edwards, through a ‘Michigan Freedom of Information’ request obtained a Muchmore internal e-mail correspondence to a health department head. Six months ago before Snyder finally acted in October 2015, then Chief of Staff to Governor Snyder, Dennis Muchmore e-mailed, “I'm frustrated by the water issue in Flint. 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. 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).
So, without any doubts the Snyder administration knew of the lead perils since February 2015, but did nothing. As early as May of 2014, as noted in a deeply reported feature by the esteemed ‘Atlantic’ reporter Alana Samuels in a July 2015 published documented report of hers that officials were aware of the toxic effects.
Because Governor Snyder was acting as a third world country dictator, in 2014 a UN Special Rapporteur gave a scathing account of cutting off water from Detroit citizens who couldn’t afford the high water bills. Yes Detroit was cash strapped due largely in part to Snyder’s corporate tax credits not coming in as revenue, but so too were the citizens…they too weren’t paying their bills because just like the city, they were also cash strapped.
The report stated, “Without water, people cannot live a life with dignity. Denial of access to sufficient quantity of water threatens the rights to adequate housing, life, health, adequate food, integrity of the family. It exacerbates inequalities, stigmatizes people and renders the most vulnerable even more helpless.”
We now know the results of this disastrous and criminal decision. From infant’s and children’s skin rashes being bathed in it to children having lead levels in their blood as high as 33mg/dL. 5 micrograms per deciliter is the upper threshold limit to safe lead blood levels. There are now 200 Flint children above that threshold.
Elevated lead blood levels in Flint children came only after the Flint River switch as according to Michigan State’s own data collecting concluded in June 2015. It doubled. Still, Snyder’s Michigan EPA state agency spokesman, Brad Wurfel proclaimed on ‘Michigan Radio’ in July 2015, “Let me start here – anyone who is concerned about lead in the drinking water in Flint can relax. It does not look like there is any broad problem with the water supply freeing up lead as it goes to homes.”
Elevated lead blood levels in Flint children came only after the Flint River switch as according to Michigan State’s own data collecting concluded in June 2015. It doubled. Still, Snyder’s Michigan EPA state agency spokesman, Brad Wurfel proclaimed on ‘Michigan Radio’ in July 2015, “Let me start here – anyone who is concerned about lead in the drinking water in Flint can relax. It does not look like there is any broad problem with the water supply freeing up lead as it goes to homes.”
Let me assure ya…there is no pill to take for lead poisoning; it is permanent and irreversible in its host of developmental and behavioral problems.
All this would not have happened if Snyder’s governance was not so liberal to wealthy tax cuts and so cinchy in trying to save a few million dollars off the backs of poorer citizens. Now, the total cost is going to be around a staggering $1.5 billion to truly approach and fix the Flint problem.
Under intense public pressure and under the advice of his crisis management officials, this January Snyder made an attempt to come clean and appear transparent in announcing he would release all his internal e-mails. He released only a few and none of his officials’ internal memos concerning the Flint crisis. The e-mails he did release were highly redacted and amounted to nothing in who is responsible. The three pages above show how redacted they are with one page totally redacted.
Michigan’s economy is growing, but shortsighted tax cut policy decisions by state Republican lawmakers created budget shortfalls in excess of $300 million this year and $500 million in the upcoming fiscal year. This shortfall is the direct result of deep cuts in business taxes that were approved by the Republican majority Legislature back in 2011. These corporate tax breaks from outstanding business tax credits are expected to be a drain on the budget for many years to come.
Now, Snyder wants to add another $95 million to the state’s rainy day fund bringing the balance to nearly $616 million by the end of the 2016 fiscal year. But, he says there is no money to replace the damaged and corroded lead pipes poisoning Flint residents. It will cost an estimated $625 million. Now ain’t that something? Snyder insists on maintaining the slush pile for a rainy day emergency. If permanent neural and brain damage to a generation of children isn’t an immediate and long term emergency…what is?
On replacing the lead pipes that are permanently damaged from the Flint River’s exposure, Snyder insists he cannot allow anyone to draw from the slush fund for long term priorities as he feels the pipes are short term. He uses short term all the time as if it is some kind of political sound byte, but it just doesn’t make any sense much less common.
No matter if the pipes are flushed or phosphate coated they are beyond repair and will continue to leach out lead from the contaminated corrosive exposure effects. Not only that, the piping’s iron portions are leaching out as well binding with the disinfectant free chlorine allowing germ causing diseases to survive. In addition, bacteria feed on the free iron and as free access to an iron nutrient, bacteria will proliferate. The piping has to be replaced.
At a recent speech delivered to Detroit’s ‘UAW-GM Center for Human Resources’, Obama had this to say in relating to Flint, “I know that if I was a parent up there, I would be beside myself that my kids’ health could be at risk. It is a reminder of why you can’t shortchange basic services that we provide to our people and that we, together, provide as a government to make sure that the public health and safety is preserved.”
Since the federal government is setting up an exploratory investigation into the Flint fiasco, Michigan Republican attorney general, Bill Schuette has appointed Todd Flood as special counsel to investigate any wrong doings. Never mind that Flood has donated $10,200.00 to Schuette’s election campaigns and $3,000.00 to Snyder’s.
Schuette boasted in the introduction to Flood as chief investigator that “let the chips fall where they may.” Flood claims, although he won’t mention any names that he has donated to Democrats too. But that’s not the point; are any of these Democrats under investigation like Snyder? He says he’s impartial, but is he?
This may appear that the Snyder administration is attempting to get to the bottom of things, but is it all a smoke and cover front? Stay tuned for Mr. Flood’s conclusion.
I cannot understand the creeping slowness in the response much less the focus in this visceral tragedy occurring on a world power nation’s shores.
My take on all this criminality…if a small café owner had unknowingly, much less knowingly poisoned just a few of his/her patrons with tainted water, he would be shuttered down, arrested, charged and indicted in a heartbeat for not providing safe drinking water to the public.
This doesn’t even include making a mockery of U.S. democracy by putting citizens in harm’s way through unilaterally demolishing democratic self-destiny freedoms by firing all the local and elected officials.
This is how it kind of is. Ya see, Cruz is a bit perturbed on account of his thinking that Obama is honing in on his turf. This past January 25, 2015, Cruz went over to the ‘Christian Broadcasting Network’ to speak to Christian journalist David Brody. Cruz lodged his Obama complaint that “for seven years, we’ve had a president in the White House who has had a messiah complex.”
|The holier than thou anointed one|
My, my…this most atrocious accusation coming from one who feels he is the reincarnate of John the Baptist come back as the anointed Messiah. How dare Obama hone in on his turf.
How he comes to this suspicion though, who knows, for Obama has been very private with his religious practices; right where they should be. As far as religious freedoms goes, Obama has ensured that all religions are not attacked, but protected from other religions just as the founding fathers writing the constitution proposed.
Of course Cruz holds the Messiah title, for even his daddy says so and who else to know better concerning a son than his daddy. On August 26, 2012 at the megachurch, ‘New Beginnings’ in Irving, Texas, Dad Cruz delivered the goods in proclaiming his son as the ‘Dominionist Messiah’. His son is the anointed “King” that will “bring the spoils of war to priests” in “the greatest transfer of wealth.”
Subsequently, Teddy has been anointed as the King by several pastors convening at a 07/19-20/2013 special blessing ceremony in a Des Moines, Iowa Marriot hotel.
Cruz’ actions also prove how Messiahcal (my word) he really is. He’s rallied all the moral majority pastors and leaders to demand their congregants caucus for him in preparation for the End Times.
Cruz has ensured us that his messianic prophecies are in good order by reining in fanatics as false Christians unto his fold. The endorsements to name a few are …Preacher Mike Bickle who claims “Adolf Hitler was doing God’s work” and “Oprah Winfrey is a forerunner of the Anti-Christ.”
Why, along with Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal, Cruz even attended Pastor Kevin Swanson’s ‘Kill the Gays’ rally. Swanson preaches that all gays should be executed.
Pastor Kevin Swanson also expressed his delight in Dr. George Tiller’s (who performed abortions) murder, “I believe, I am convicted of the fact that there is a God in the heavens and He is sovereign over everything that happens, including the fact that George Tiller the Killer is dead.” He was also quite delighted that some Tiller family members, including children died in a plane crash over Montana in expressing, “By the way, a couple of months ago out in Montana there was a plane crash out there where 14 family members of the owner of one of the largest abortion clinic franchises in the country died in that particular plane crash. Now, George Tiller the Killer is dead too. Is there a God in the heavens? Is He involved in the affairs of men? That’s what the word of God says. So God’s providence is all over all of these things, we have to believe that God is in the heavens and He rules.”
Then there is the Pilgrim’s Pride poultry giant, Lindy M. ‘Buddy’ Pilgrim who, besides owning a chicken slaughterhouse is also an ordained minister. In Buddy’s endorsement, while complaining about lack of “religious freedoms” from Obama’s administration, he divinely foretells, “Now, more than ever, we must pick the one person who will most unwaveringly and fearlessly take a stand to protect our Judeo-Christian conservative values. That one person is Ted Cruz.”
All in all there are over 200 fundamentalist preachers rigged for Cruz. These are the very ones who interpret so called “religious freedoms” or “Judeo-Christian” as expressions of their brand of religion only to force it upon all else against the will of all else. As far as the term ‘Judeo-Christian’ goes, not a one of them knows quite exactly what that means.
Now any common sense good ol’ Christian soul would think that their anointed one wouldn’t lie to them while leading ‘em down the righteous path. Surely they would pick one that is pure of mouth in the words spewed, or have they overlooked that? They might want to take a closer look in thinking again.
Cruz quite often states he literally hates the lies that come out of the White House and Washington D.C., but he is usually stating that with a lie, because he is the biggest main course dish in being the serving plate of outright lies.
His most recent lie was leveled at the last GOP presidential candidacy debate. It is so tiring and boring that most Republicans are currently laying off in attacking Obamacare, excepting Cruz.
At the debate where Cruz so proudly stood at the main podium in Trump’s absence, with planted smirk speaks in heavenly tones that, “We have seen now in six years of Obamacare that it has been a disaster. It is the biggest job-killer in this country. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, have been forced into part-time work, have lost their health insurance, have lost their doctors, have seen their premiums skyrocket.”
Lost jobs huh, now let’s be factual. Since the ACA was signed into law in 2010, U.S. unemployment rates have dropped from 9.9% to 5%. No matter on the heels of the biggest financial recession, the nation has added more than ten million private sector jobs with December 2015 as the 69th consecutive month of job growth. Now compare that to W. Bush’s ‘trickledown effect’ years of 2007, 2008 and 2009 where throughout the W. two terms, job creation was a dismal 0.24%.
On the uninsured, it is at an all-time historic low of just 9% compared to 16.3% before Obama’s inauguration. More than 18 million folks are now insured thanks to Obamacare. Those who lost healthcare insurance chose to, for there were alternatives to be had if they wanted that were of more quality in premiums and service than their former plans.
Oh and by the way, the numerous times Cruz falsely proclaimed he lost his health insurance to Obamacare, he was lying. His campaign even inadvertently said so, since insurers, like Charles Gaba at Healthinsurance.org have stated insurers cannot just drop someone due to the new ACA laws. To mislead and continue fear mongering voters is bald face deceit.
Cruz and his healthcare actually makes a certifiable good case for the ACA. He wasn’t deleted from coverage as would’ve happened to millions of average Americans in the former healthcare system, no, just like everyone else now he cannot be dropped without insurers offering him an alternative and most likely cheaper and better plan.
Cruz claims Obama’s not arming the Kurds to fight ISIL. You know what, oh yes he is. Since the Iraqi government is the proper and recognized authority of Iraq, munitions are sent directly to the government and from there indirectly to the Kurds. Just this past October 2015, the U.S. directly dropped via aircraft, fifty tons of ammunition to the Kurds in Syria.
In defending his stance to defend his carpet bombing ISIS and everyone else into a glowing oblivion he falsely stated, “It's what we did in the first Persian Gulf War.”
The Iraqi Gulf War of 1991 was a good chance to test out the military’s precision bombing. Which as successful with the new the F117 stealth fighter, precision bombing was intensified while indiscriminate carpet bombing was substantially taken off military strategies.
Of course for a right-wing Republican, lie or no lie…it’s all good.
Cruz has been campaigning that he would immediately downsize the government by getting rid of five governmental departments, which are the ‘Department of Energy’, the ‘Internal Revenue Service’ (IRS), ‘Housing and Urban Development’, the ‘Department of Commerce’ and ‘Department of Education’ while creating scores of jobs at the same time on day one. He figures he’d save $500 billion, but even if he did, federal debt would still increase.
Let’s just take a look at a couple of the departments that will be axed by the Cruz hatchet. He claims he could save $55 billion by deleting the ‘Department of Commerce’. Really, the department’s total budget for 2014 was $27,940,428 billion. That’s nowhere close to $55 billion and as far as the 13,341 federal employees that would be laid off, where would the waiting jobs come from?
As far as the IRS, great no more tax collectors, but who would be there to verify tax returns as legitimate? Tax evasion would become rampant, so where would governmental income sources come from, certainly not from the Kochs and the likes he cozies up to.
Cruz who condemns America’s public education goes totally against what the founding fathers felt; they wholeheartedly believed in it. The early fathers shunned becoming like England where rich aristocrats opposed educating the masses in not wanting enlightened employees and critical thinking by the common man.
On the House floor in 1792, James Madison said, “The education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union [are] provisions for the general welfare.”
John Adams in 1776 once wrote in his ‘Thoughts on Government’, “Laws for the liberal education of youth, especially of the lower class of people, are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant.”
Later in 1786 in defense of the constitution for education Adams wrote, “The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”
So, is Cruz for our founding fathers and the constitution or against?
Cruz as of late has been burned and he hasn’t as of yet gone toe-to-toe with the ‘Berne’ yet. He did however, in attempts to look bad-ass to his gullible right-wing potential voters, issue a challenge to Obama.
When Obama was in Turkey getting informed on Syrian issues, he announced that it was “shameful” of those trying to bar Syrian refugees from entering the states. Obama did scold and finished with a Republican note in saying, “At first they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of three-year old orphans.”
Tough boy Cruz didn’t take kindly to that. No he did not. So Cruz replies on TV, “If you want to insult me, you can do it overseas, you can do it in Turkey. Come back and insult me to my face.” Obama totally ignored the daring jest, but I do wander just how far Cruz would run if Obama had taken him up on it.
In getting back to Cruz getting burned, his staunch anti-immigration stance has backfired right back on him, compliments of Trump erupting the birther situation.
Aside from the right-wing birthers’ hypocrisy in condemning Obama of being foreign born, but race to line up and vote for Cruz, all the while still falsely proclaiming Obama’s presidency as invalid due to right-wig fantasy Barack foreign birthplaces, Cruz’ real status is what writers of the U.S. Constitution were concerned about.
The founding fathers inserted ‘natural born citizen’ because they did not want the British Empire having the ability to send hordes of Canadians south of the U.S./Canadian border to infiltrate and corrupt the structure of American governance. Guess who was born a Canadian spending his first eight years as a Canadian?
Cruz is indeed the exact epitome of what the founding fathers feared most. Cruz’ constant condemnation of American establishment, shutting down the government (something terrorists can only dream of), along with his attempting to turn the nation into a fundamentalist theocracy absolving separation of religion from state is exactly why the fathers included that ‘natural born citizen’ clause.
Cruz maintains that marriage equality is a direct assault on religious freedoms and has urged states to go against the Supreme Court’s same sex marriage ruling, calling it “fundamentally illegitimate, lawless and unconstitutional.”
Actually he is the one acting unconstitutional by placing religious beliefs over the constitution and constitutionally protected individual freedoms. He said this to look tough, for he should know that the U.S. Constitution forbids states from acting on their own in overriding a Supreme Court decision; only congress can.
Cruz failed to disclose a six figure loan he took out with his wife’s then employer, ‘Goldman Sachs’ for his U.S. senate campaign. He also failed to report a ‘Citi Bank’ loan. Cruz received $1.2 million form G.S. and another $500,000.00 from ‘Citi Bank’.
He did this in order to be deceptive. Loading the money into unspecified personal funds while claiming he and his wife had “liquidated our entire net worth” in support of his running for the U.S. senate. This would aid him in his constant railing against Wall Street, but conceal the fact from his voters he was doing business with the boys on that street.
What he did, Former FEC lawyer, Kenneth Gross affirms was serious by explaining, “They’re two different reporting regimes. The law says if you get a loan for the purpose of funding a campaign, you have to show the original source of the loan, the terms of the loan, and you even have to provide a copy of the loan document to the Federal Election Commission.”
In one of the wealthy donors meetings, Cruz was revealed as one slick D.C. politician. A leaked audio of the encounter had Cruz squirming like a worm on a fish hook.
During the Q & A portion, a donor stated gay marriage was a main topic he and Cruz differed on. He further questioned Cruz, “So would you say it’s like a top-three priority for you — fighting gay marriage?” Cruz replies, “No, I would say defending the Constitution is a top priority. And that cuts across the whole spectrum — whether it’s defending [the] First Amendment, defending religious liberty.”
Cruz even takes the liberty in further soothing the donor by adding. “People of New York may well resolve the marriage question differently than the people of Florida or Texas or Ohio. That’s why we have 50 states — to allow a diversity of views. And so that is a core commitment.”
Holy mackerel there…that means a total contradiction on his LGBT, Common Core and abortion outward stances to the public. He should’ve had heck to pay with the right-wing religious.
Another one who truly feels she was divinely ordained is Sarah Palin, as insinuated in her Jesus mountain prayer retreats. But Poor Palin, for her divine debut has passed, as she has been cast aside by the extremely right religious. These fundamentalists, who formerly anointed her as Esther, the greatest woman held in the Torah and Old Testament have cast Palin aside. Apparently her ‘Huge’ (huge as in Trump terms) loss to Obama in battling for the redeeming souls of America cost her the ranking rights in brownie points, ‘so sad’ (so sad…a proper Trump Twitter ending). Of course all of this religical (another one of my words) mojo mumbo jumbo nonsense is utter fallacy, utter fantasy.
Here in the states, right-wing fundamentalists call a false prophet the Anointed One. Over in the Middle East they call the false prophet the ISIL Caliphate, but both are the same.
Well, as the naivety of the blind right-wing Christian souls allows themselves to fast and pray for their newly anointed Dominionist Messiah, here’s hoping that the sights on their trip to Hades are eventful.
My advice to the right-wing religious…if ya want to avoid yourself some Hades, back away trembling from your false prophet and be scared, be very fearful.
A prediction is nothing else, but that…a prediction. But, if there is a base to it, it does warrant merit for evaluation.
For my prediction, Bernie Sanders will win the 2016 presidential election. This may be an early call, but Eric Zuesse, an investigative historian predicted a Bernie win way back in June 2015.
Bernie is the purest politician this nation has had in a long while and while being involved in politics since 1972 there is very little that can be pulled up as negative on him.
Where Obama cut short hope on his campaign shout, Bernie reenergizes it and makes one feel a true change in politics with Bernie. Sanders is non-corruptible and is sincere in what he says. He truly is for the average American in so many ways that he is captivating audiences.
Tied to no Super PAC, or corporate dark money, or wealthy donor his campaign has been funded almost totally by $3.00 individual donations. He answers to no one but the American people.
For sure if elected his progressive policies would hit a brick wall with a Republican congress, perhaps even with a few Democrats, so I see the valid ‘point’ made that, although his ideas are noble, he could never push any of his legislation through congress. So why vote for him.
But the word ‘point’ has multiple definitions and in using a second one from the first just said, the distinguishing vote of a voter is the voter’s strongest ‘point’. If one truly feels the Berne, vote your conscious.
We’ve had ‘mad as hell’ electoral campaigns for years now and it is getting monotonous in its appeal to make political adults set the example on how to scorn, fear monger, mislead and deceive just to win. Is Bernie angry? Yes he is, but his energy is to transform in inspirational ways, not to condemn but to reveal.
Just as his political ad below, Bernie is inspirational. Not one attack portion in the ad, just encouragement and motivation in what real Americana is in its diversity and natural beauty of land and people.
Bernie has done something no other politician would ever dream of…running on a socialist platform. If anyone can deliver this to an American audience as appealing, it is only Bernie. He has galvanized the energy from the left to the center and is pushing the spectrum even closer to the centrist right.
Sanders has been a surging force where most, myself included, felt he had little chance in the beginning. Poll after poll now shows Bernie would beat any Republican candidate hats off.
Bernie is the symbolism of progressisvism and if elected will be the first ideological president since FDR. If he’s not elected then he will have planted Hillary Clinton more to a nested progressive position. Either way, he will draw all colors of Democrats and Independents to the polls.
As all the GOP candidates are edging their party closer to extinction, all the Trumps and Cruz’ will fade away, while Bernie ushers in a new era for the American with a fundamental shift back to the common man’s priorities where the founding fathers intended it to be and stay. Feel the Berne…