Op ED Commentary –
Turning on C-Span and catching the congressional hearing on the Flint water crisis made this writer want to scream out loud! ‘You morons!’ I would have yelled to the bunch of them, ‘Why will no one there connect the dots?’ You had the former Mayor of Flint, the former EPA regional exec and the former Emergency City Mgr. all under the gun from those diligent bulldog congress people. The blame game was in full swing, and to some extent it was and is justified. The aforementioned group of bureaucrats did get early on information as to the harm the river water and the lead filled pipes was doing to the citizens of Flint. Yet, there is a much more diabolical aspect of this story, and it filters out to many other municipalities throughout America. Part A of this aspect was shared by Mr. Early, the former Emergency Mgr. of Flint when he told anyone who would listen that “We did not have the $ 18 million it would cost”. He was referring to the charges made by almost everyone at that hearing as to why he did not heed the complaints he was receiving and switch back to the Detroit Water Systems’ water for Flint. Early is no saint here, not at all. He, like the EPA exec and the Mayor, ignored the mountain of resident complaints and fears (and the whistleblower’s warnings) as to the lack of safety in the river water (and of course the lead in the pipes). Part B of this is why the governor did nothing to help out Flint with this horror. When push comes to shove, though, it was really about Da Money or lack of it. Why?
One of my Florida congress people on that committee, John Mica, really took the mantle and lashed into the group of bureaucrats for ignoring the warnings etc. Yet, as with I am sure most and most likely all of those others on the committee (and in the whole damn Congress) Mica has continued to support any military spending proposal that comes his way. It matters not, and it mattered not, whether it be under the Republican Bush Jr. or the Democrat Obama, Mica and the rest of those hypocrites allowed over 50% of your federal tax money to go towards military spending! They supported the illegal invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq and the illegal U.S. led NATO carpet bombing and regime change in Libya. Of course, they vote to support most, if not all, of the Pentagon’s new weapons systems, nuclear subs and attack aircraft which are, in plain English, Overkill on steroids! These hypocrites and phony patriots vote to support our 1000 + bases worldwide and finance to the tune of over $ one million dollars yearly to keep one soldier in Afghanistan (of course the cost of private mercenaries.. oh sorry .. private contractors is another add on to that cost). Imagine, if you would, that keeping 18 U.S. service people in Afghanistan for one year equals the $ 18 million Flint needed to stay with the clean water in the first place!
We have many more cities like Flint all over our great nation. We have bridges and roads that are in disrepair. Our train system pales in comparison to any other one in any other of the industrialized nations. This is just for starters. This writer belongs to a non partisan group nationwide that demands that 25% of our current military spending be cut and sent back to our states and cities for use on infrastructure and other local emergency needs. One would speculate that having safe and secure drinking water should be on top of any such list. Apparently, John Mica and his fellow hypocritical Two Party colleagues do not agree with that. No, they continue to allow this Military Industrial Empire to chug along over the worn out and wounded majority of us. Sad.
Philip A Farruggio is a semi retired baby boomer born and bred in blue collar Brooklyn NYC. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn longshoremen, and educated at ‘ free tuition ‘ Brooklyn College, class of ‘ 74. Philip has written over 300 columns since 2001 and his work is found on many fine progressive sites like World News Trust, Nation of Change, Information Clearinghouse, Intrepid Report, Sleuth Journal, Dandelion Salad, Counterpunch and Dissident Voice. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org