Friday, January 29, 2016

Michael Moore Misstates a few facts - again

flint michigan
Michael Moore
Michael Moore has no problem misstating facts and causing undue stress to the people of his hometown.  He's been doing it for weeks and now he is doubling down on the rhetoric.

According to this Flint area realtor:
"It's perfectly legal to sell in the city of Flint," said Chris Theodoroff, president of the East Central Association of Realtors, which serves Flint and Genesee County. "Nobody is restricting lending. Business is open and we're doing business as usual."
Look, Moore does documentaries, he has a team who do nothing but check facts for those documentaries, yet he chose to either a) ignore the facts or b) forgo asking his team to check the facts before tweeting, and worse, before writing this letter on his website. After Roger & Me, I am going with "a".
Moore: General Motors Was Given a Special Hookup to the Clean Water. A few months after Governor Snyder removed Flint from the clean fresh water we had been drinking for decades, the brass from General Motors went to him and complained that the Flint River water was causing their car parts to corrode when being washed on the assembly line. 
Fact: "Shortly after the city switched from purchasing treated Lake Huron water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department system to drawing its own from the Flint River in April 2014, the Detroit automaker raised concerns with city officials: The new water was corroding engine parts at GM’s Flint Engine Operations. The problem was the amount of chlorine in the water that had been treated by the city, Wickham said. The corrosion was not directly caused by the quality of water coming from the river — which state officials said in October had excessive levels of lead." [1]
Moore: The Governor was appalled to hear that GM property was being damaged, so he jumped through a number of hoops and quietly spent $440,000 to hook GM back up to the Lake Huron water 
FACT: Due to the plant’s location on the Flint city limits, the switch was relatively easy, but reportedly would cost the city upward of $400,000 a year in lost revenue. The switchover was widely reported by local media. GM paid an undisclosed amount to connect to the township’s system. [1]

It should be noted that GM employs 7,000 Flint residents - if the cars parts were not in any condition to be assembled, the state would have to pay much more than $400,000 in unemployment and other benefits until the water issue for GM was resolved, which at the time was not known to be a lead or copper issue.
Moore: For Just $100 a Day, This Crisis Could’ve Been Prevented. Federal law requires that water systems which are sent through lead pipes must contain an additive that seals the lead into the pipe and prevents it from leaching into the water. Someone at the beginning suggested to the Governor that they add this anti-corrosive element to the water coming out of the Flint River. “How much would that cost?” came the question. “$100 a day for three months,” was the answer. I guess that was too much, so, in order to save $9,000, the state government said f*** it — and as a result the State may now end up having to pay upwards of $1.5 billion to fix the mess.
FACT: The state Department of Environmental Quality wasn't treating the Flint River water with an anti-corrosive agent, in violation of federal law. Therefore, the water was eroding the iron water mains, turning water brown.

If Moore is saying the DEQ was violating federal law to benefit Flint's budget, his statement is ludicrous on its face. Worse, the conversation Moore is quoting between Governor Snyder and someone else (not specified), never actually took place, this quote was taken, almost verbatim, from: "Why didn’t the state add the anti-corrosive agent? Because it would have cost $100 a day for three months, and the American fascist governor was all about saving money.And now, thanks to saving all that money, it is estimated that to repair the damaged water system in Flint it will cost at least $1.5 billion."
 Moore: The number of cases in Flint of Legionnaires Disease has increased tenfold since the switch to the river water. Eighty-seven people have come down with it, and at least ten have died. In the five years before the river water, not a single person in Flint had died of Legionnaires Disease.
FACT: "But the increase (in legionaires) cannot be directly attributed to the switch, said Nick Lyon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Not all the people who got Legionnaires' were exposed to Flint water, he said.  From June 2014 to November 2015, at least 87 county residents developed Legionnaires' disease, compared to between six and 13 cases in the four preceding years, Lyon said. Ten patients died, he said." [2]

The above statistics should concern everyone - that I will give you, but it should concern everyone everywhere when there is a Legionaires outbreak.  Click here for recent outbreaks of legionaires disease around the country.
Moore: People’s Homes in Flint Are Now Worth Nothing Because They Cant Be Sold 
FACT:  Yes, they can sell their homes with disclosure and current test results, which will likely show little to no lead contamination at this point.

In fact, the latest sampling show that in 853 samples of water drawn from Flint homes between Sept. 29 and Jan. 15, 785 samples — 92%  samples registered below the federal limit, including 674 — 79% — that registered below 5 ppb. [3]
Moore: While They Were Being Poisoned, They Were Also Being Bombed. Here’s a story which has received little or no coverage outside of Flint. During these two years of water contamination, residents in Flint have had to contend with a decision made by the Pentagon to use Flint for target practice. Literally. Actual unannounced military exercises – complete with live ammo and explosives – were conducted last year inside the city of Flint. The army decided to practice urban warfare on Flint, making use of the thousands of abandoned homes which they could drop bombs on. Streets with dilapidated homes had rocket-propelled grenades fired upon them.
FACT:  I can't.  Here is the video of the "bombings" in Flint. Here's an entertaining video of a conspiracy wingnut questioning army personnel onsite (abandoned Jr. High School). No houses were blown up and the exercises went on for days, not weeks. The army agreed before the exercises to pay for any damage caused to the abandoned buildings.  This was hardly "abusive" to a city that continues to win the very competitive number one spot in the top five most dangerous cities in the US to live in (In 2014 Flint ranked #1).
Moore: The Wife of the Governor’s Chief of Staff Is a Spokeswoman for Nestle, Michigan’s Largest Owner of Private Water Reserves. As Deep Throat told Woodward and Bernstein: “Follow the money.” Snyder’s chief of staff throughout the two years of Flint’s poisoning, Dennis Muchmore, was intimately involved in all the decisions regarding Flint. His wife is Deb Muchmore, who just happens to be the spokesperson in Michigan for the Nestle Company
FACT: "Dennis Muchmore, Gov. Rick Snyder’s chief of staff, was quoted in a July 22 Department of Health and Human Services email expressing concern about the handling of the water crisis, according to documents obtained by Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards through open records requests. Two days after Muchmore’s communication, he received a response from DEQ spokesman Brad Wurfel indicating the concerns were unfounded.

“In terms of near-future issues, the bottom line is that residents of Flint do not need to worry about lead in their water supply, and DEQ’s recent sampling does not indicate an eminent health threat from lead or copper,” Wurfel wrote. More

Also, as far as Nestle's involvement, see Great Lakes Compact agreement - they use a loophole in this agreement to legally divert water from Michigan lakes.  And why is Marc Edwards doing open records requests?  Is that in the scope of his research for which he received a $50,000 Federal grant at the Virginia Tech?
Moore: In Michigan, from Flint water, to Crime and Murder, to GM Ignition Switches, It’s a Culture of Death - There are many things that happen in Flint that would give one the impression that there is a low value placed on human life.
FACT: Damn right Michigan has a "crime and murder" problem - 2nd most dangerous city in America to live in.  When an 87 year old woman is raped in front of her home in broad daylight - one has to talk about low values placed on human life.  There are 924 registered sex offenders in Flint....that would probably worry me more than my drinking water, at this point.

FACT:  GM ignition switches, Moore is exactly right, and for once isn't blatantly lying about General Motors!  GM did, indeed, hide the fact that their ignition switches were faulty and 124 people died as a result - heads should have rolled, but instead, the company paid the Federal government $900 million.  How does this have anything to do with the water in Flint?
Moore: Lead enters the body and does it’s damage to the brain immediately. It doesn’t stay in the blood stream for longer than a few days and you can’t detect it after a month. So when you hear “47 children”, that’s just those with an exposure in the last 48 hours.
FACT: "Lead stays in the body for different periods of time, depending on where it is. Half of the lead in the blood will be excreted in 25 days (this is called the "half-life"). In soft tissues, it takes 40 days for half of the lead to be excreted. In bones and teeth it takes much longer, up to 10 years or longer." [4]
Moore: This Was Done, Like So Many Things These Days, So the Rich Could Get a Big Tax Break. When Governor Snyder took office in 2011, one of the first things he did was to get a multi-billion dollar tax break passed by the Republican legislature for the wealthy and for corporations. But with less tax revenues, that meant he had to start cutting costs. So, many things – schools, pensions, welfare, safe drinking water – were slashed. 
FACT:  And the rubber finally meets the road - political motivation.  The tax cuts are explained here. The rest is just Moore being hysterical - think about it, why wouldn't Snyder poison all of his constituents?  Why just Flint?  As far as safe drinking water - this is from the CDC website - Michigan's water contained higher levels of lead five out of seven years -- the three highest being before Snyder was elected Governor.

Michigan - historical chart of lead found in blood tests of children 
Flint’s CITY government is run by Democrats and this case should be focused on the local officials who drove the decision to make the switch - local city government.
Residents started complaining about the taste and color of the water right after the switch in April 2014. The city denied anything was wrong, but later discovered that the water contained a higher-than-recommended concentration of TTHM (trihalomethanes) — a byproduct that is generated when too much chlorine is required to disinfect the water. This, along with some other issues, prompted General Motors to quit the Flint water system after its auto parts started corroding. Yet Democratic Flint Mayor Dayne Walling was still telling residents the water was safe, even advising them that buying bottled water would be “wasting their precious money.” More
Another jewel from Moore:
What was the level of anger toward the murderer of this store owner less than six months ago?

Slain Flint market owner 'didn't deserve that,' neighbor says
FLINT, MI -- Those who live near Stanley's Market in Flint knew the store's owner simply as George or Mr. George, but say the man killed in an apparent robbery Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 22, was a friendly man who was always willing to help.

"He was a good guy. This was such a tragedy because (he) really didn't deserve that. He really didn't," said Frank Triplett who lives across the street from the market, which, despite a sign that boasts the market being open 24/7, was padlocked Wednesday. "It's crazy."

Police confirmed Thursday morning, Sept. 24, the victim was 66-year-old George Assaf."

I believe the Flint water crisis is over-blown, but only because if one looks at the lead levels in children across the country, one would find levels much higher in cities like Chicago and Ohio.  The selective outrage seems 100% political to me.  Where is the outrage for the hundreds of thousands of other children being "poisoned"?

[1] GM’s rejection of Flint water could have been red flag - Detroit News
[2] Flint hospital reports finding Legionnaires' bacteria in water - CNN 
[3] Flint levels appear to be dropping - Detroit Free Press
[4]  The Health Hazards of Lead -

See also New Mayor of Flint Wants Reparations