Government Incompetence

Bitter Consequences

Scorched Earth Politics Isolates the Republican Establishment in Michigan

Mitt Romney Image 1Anyone who watched or listened to Mitt Romney’s lame assault on Donald Trump yesterday had to wince at the Obamacare architect and gun control proponent questioning the bona fides of the current Republican front runner. Hypocrisy at its finest. A blatant violation of Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment. A testament to the abject desperation coursing through the Republican establishment today. Stark evidence of how few friends the Republican establishment actually owns has.

Just how did the Republican establishment get themselves into this predicament?

What does their predicament portend in Michigan politics?

This year’s Presidential nomination process demonstrates convincingly that money is no longer a substitute for actual human support in a political process where the great unwashed get to vote. Money – and the TV advertising it bought – had a 40 year run buying elections, but this elixir of modern American politics is no longer working. ¡Jeb! is very expensive history. The great unwashed are in open revolt.

Ace over at the Ace of Spades HQ blog offered the very best analysis of the national Republican establishment’s current predicament, which compelled Mitt’s embarrassing performance yesterday. You should read it in its entirety, but in a nutshell:

The Republican establishment has no one credible to make their case against Donald Trump. Absolutely no one who has even a shred of credibility with Trump supporters. They sent Mitt Romney out on yesterday’s kamikaze mission because they had nothing better to offer. Then they will have to spend a mountain of wealth with no real prospects of success. And engage in strong arm tactics. Making an embarrassing spectacle of themselves.

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The Free Press Wants to Help Republicans

Really????

John Kasich Image 1The Detroit Free Press Editorial Board endorsed Ohio Governor John R. Kasich in the March 8th Republican Presidential Primary yesterday. Governor Kasich is a fine man with many worthwhile qualifications, but every poll and vote this year indicate that he is way out of step with the current political zeitgeist. Common Core, Medicaid expansion, and global warming are not Republican crowd pleasers. Even the Democratic Presidential candidates are soft peddling these losers.

Is there a single genuine Republican in Michigan stupid enough to believe that the Detroit Free Press Editorial Board would actually do anything of benefit to the Republican Party, nationally or in Michigan?

Remember that the Detroit Free Press Editorial Board endorsed our current “I know noooooothing” RINO Governor not just once, but twice. Governor Snyder and his merry band of brown-nosing bureaucrats have really boosted the fortunes of the Michigan Republican Party, haven’t they? Even the DeVos family – big Kasich contributors in Ohio Governor racesare not peddling him in Michigan.

So why would the Detroit Free Press Editorial Board endorse Governor John Kasich in the Republican Presidential Primary? Two possibilities: the arrogance of the witless, or another ploy to destroy the Michigan Republican Party.

You decide.

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Yet Another Government Triumph in Michigan

Rewarding Incompetence and Corruption With Your Tax Dollars

Snyder Duggan Orr Image aMayor Mike Duggan startled Michigan yesterday by disclosing that Detroit found the actuarial accrued liability (AAL) in their pension plans to be $ 491 million higher than that calculated in their U.S. Bankruptcy Court Plan of Adjustment. The very expensive Detroit bankruptcy consultants used an outdated version of the IRS Static Mortality Table when calculating Detroit’s future pension payments. Detroit’s unfunded actuarial accrued liability (UAAL) was not the $ 731 million stated in the Plan of Adjustment, rather it was $ 1.222 billion. Big money in a city whose total governmental revenues were $ 1.415 billion in FY 2014. Mayor Duggan blames erstwhile Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr for this little oversight, but others were also responsible.

GLWA Detroit Seal ImageNo word yet from the Great Lakes Water Authority whether all those Detroit Water & Sewerage Department employees they absorbed from the City of Detroit have the same AAL calculation error in their pension funding schedules. You can bet they did, and the suburban geniuses politicians who spent a year doing due diligence also missed it. The DW&SD pension funding schedules were determined by the same very expensive bunglers who wrote the Detroit Plan of Adjustment.

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Because

Just to be clear.

A while back this site left the rah-rah part of the neighborhood.

Rightmi.com stopped being the default cheerleader for the Michigan GOP as a matter of principle.  Particularly since the primary part of the MiGOP has all but abandoned its tenets and reason to exist.  What exists now is a shell of pseudo conservatism, and a mockery of the platform under which the party pretends to exist.  Arguably, we still prefer the Republicans who run on conservative platforms but the party mechanism makes it tougher to sort them out.

There is some seriously spoiled fruit in the party.  Snyder is no ‘Republican,’ yet his ‘purchasing’ of, and carrying the flag as one, is enough to fool the soft stupid on both sides of the aisle.  The machinery in place to keep Republicans in majority has corrupted the ability to recruit and retain true conservative leadership as well.  Ronna Romney does her part to keep those crazy doctrinaire Republicans in check using party money and resources.

In fact, its one of the reasons I am changing my phone service to a different carrier.  It allows me to block solicitations for the MiGOP, and these calls usually come from outside the state anyhow.

Having said all that, I still believe today’s loyalist Democrats are the bane of intellectual development.  Even more so than the blind loyalist Republicans who still support bad apples no matter what..  Flint, Detroit, etc..  The inability to look at the results of generational liberal rule and deduce the higher incompetency rate is beyond mind blowing.

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The Dismal Science Confutes Emergency Management in Flint

The entire world now knows what crass bureaucratic stupidity, feeble political direction, and witless press coverage did to Flint. We have demonstrated that Flint’s politicians and financial managers made terrible decisions in an effort to replace plunging tax revenue, which had reached statutory and constitutional rate limitations.

Flint Water Bill 1The foremost source of revenue expanded was Flint’s water & sewerage charges. Annual free cash flow from water & sewerage charges was increased from nil to $ 28.7 million (bottoms of page 3-13) over the decade from 2004 [FY2005 CAFR, large file] to 2014 [FY2015 CAFR, large file]. The big jump in free cash flow from water & sewerage charges occurred in 2014 as a consequence of Flint River sourcing. Flint only had to pay the DW&SD pirates for water up to April 25th in 2014. Annual free cash flow from water & sewerage charges in 2013 [FY 2014 CAFR, large file] was only $ 9.4 million when they paid DW&SD all year. Why Flint resourced to the Flint River in one number: $ 19.3 million more in cash flow. And most of this $ 19.3 million is now gone with the return to DW&SD water. We will know how much gone later this year.

That $ 28.7 million in free cash flow during 2014 was a 77% markup on actual Flint water & sewerage costs. Only $ 7 million of it was used for infrastructure, mostly to prepare for the now abandoned Flint River sourcing. Only $ 2 million of it was used to pay off water & sewerage debt. The remaining $ 18.5 million was used by other Flint city departments and applied to other Flint obligations. That $ 18.5 million dollars became 22% of all Flint City revenues. Greater than any other source of revenue, greater than income tax revenue, greater than property tax revenue, greater than State revenue sharing, greater than Federal revenue sharing. That $ 28.7 million dollars was the only reason Flint was able to exit emergency management. That and a $ 65.3 million theft from restatement of Flint’s water and sewerage enterprise fund net positions, from their 2014 CAFR to their 2015 CAFR (compare ending 2014 to beginning 2015 net positions on the bottom of pages 3-13).

Let’s consider a counterfactual. Suppose that Michigan’s bureaucrats and political leaders were actually competent and, under the unrelenting scrutiny of a watchful press, arranged for proper chemistry controls of Flint River sourced water. No Flint residents were exposed to lead, no one died from legionella pneumophila, and Flint residents sang the praises of their new water. Its tough to ignore recent history, but do so for a moment so we can explore a very important question:

Would the financial reorganization of Flint under its popularly elected politicians and emergency managers have worked?

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The Case for Strategic Bipartisanship to Dump Rick Snyder

In lieu of the Flint water crisis, our very own Governerd, Rick Snyder, has become the focal point of national fury. While grassroots patriots have hated him for many years for his Medicaid expanding, Common Core pushing, tax hiking, socialism-loving ways, the rest of the country is following suit! But what has dismayed me is to see many conservative Republicans defending this turkey. What gives?

To a certain extent, I understand the inclination to defend him. It’s not like Democrats have been fair with their attacks. They have made it into a racial issue, of course. The fat idiot Michael Moore interjected himself into the mess, and everybody hates that guy. They have shirked the blame from the corrupt and incompetent local Democratic city officials, and made Snyder the fall guy. By doing so, they have given grassroots patriots a golden ticket.

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Michigan’s Two Trillion Dollar Budget

Governor Rick Snyder takes the budget to nerd year six.

SnyderSnorkelOK, not really 2 Trillion.

Likely more than last year however (a given since it’s never been less).  Its that time again, when Rick Snyder rolls out his revenue projections and planning on how to spend it down.  He’ll pop it out there, and the race horses in the legislature will lap it up like a milkshake at post time. From the Michigan office of Propaganda:

“Governor Rick Snyder presents his FY 2017 budget today at 11 am.

In the budget, the Governor proposes strategic investments to tackle challenges head on.”

Wow.

And if you think that was exciting, watch him live at 11 this morning by clicking on the link above.

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First Do No Harm…..

First Do No Harm ImageThe most disturbing aspect of the Flint water quality fiasco was the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Genesee County and its concealment from the public. Eighty-seven people fell ill and ten died, nine if you want to be fussy about one victim lingering more than a month after diagnosis. By MDHHS’ definition, it isn’t Legionnaires’ Disease if you linger longer than 30 days after your hospital stay. So one of the ten Legionnaires’ Disease deaths got scrubbed from the statistics.

Harvey Hollins III

Harvey Hollins III

AP is reporting that Governor Snyder’s immediate subordinates were discussing whether the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak was related to Flint water quality by March 13, 2015   Harvey Hollins III, Governor Snyder’s Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives Director, received an eMail from former MDEQ Communications Director Brad Wurfel referring to the Genesee County Legionnaires’ Disease cluster.

Far earlier, in 2014, Jim Henry in the Genesee County Health Department was emailing Flint city leaders, the Flint emergency financial managers, MDEQ, and MDHHS. MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Eden V. Wells said the June 2015 [Bohm] report on the first outbreak was shared with officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well. No one in this vast chain of communications felt compelled to inform the public.

Dr. Eden Wells

Dr. Eden Wells

Dr. Eden Wells replaced Dr. Matthew Davis as MDHHS’ Chief Medical Executive at the end of March, 2015. One has to wonder why Dr. Davis suddenly returned to U of M after only two years as the MDHHS Chief Medical Executive, in the midst of the first Genesee County Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak. Did he jump, or was he pushed?  Perhaps MDHHS Director Nick Lyon found the career MDHHS bureaucrat Dr. Wells more accommodating than Dr. Davis? It was four months after Governor Snyder consolidated MDCH into the new MDHHS.  However, nothing in the U of M faculty manual suggests that Dr. Davis would have had to return to U of M to maintain his status there.

Dr. Matthew Davis

Dr. Matthew Davis

The public was not informed until Governor Snyder’s startling statement on January 13, 2016. Snyder said he himself was not informed of the Legionnaires’ Disease cluster in Genesee County until “days before” his public announcement. Michigan’s lefties have pounced on this 10 month delay, insinuating that Governor Snyder knew well before his announcement. This may or may not be true, and people will draw conclusions according to their political predilections.  Facts no longer matter on this question, even if you could penetrate the wall of obfuscation.

Director Hollins now says there was not enough information to take the issue to the Governor. Essentially, he is saying that no one could prove the source of the Genesee County Legionnaires’ Disease cluster, so there was no reason to disclose it to his superior. The other bureaucrats in this chain of communications also stayed mum, apparently following the same line of reasoning as Director Hollins.

There is a much bigger story here. One without any ‘he said, she said’ doubt.

It is now indisputable that a lot of CDC, MDEQ, MDHHS, and Genesee County Health Department bureaucrats knew of the first Genesee County Legionnaires’ Disease cluster by March 2015 and concealed it from the Michigan public for over 10 months.  Throughout the entire second Genesee County Legionnaires’ Disease cluster .

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Emergency Managers, Emergency Management

Synonyms for Headlee Evasion

Darnell Early

Darnell Early

La victoria trova cento padri, a nessuno vuole riconoscere l’insuccesso
A victory finds 100 fathers, nobody claims credit for a failure.
Galezzo Ciano, 2o Conte di Cortellazzo e Buccari, Diary (1942)

The left wing meme on the Flint Water fiasco is that Governor Snyder seized absolute control of Flint and installed doctrinaire Republican viceroys who ruthlessly slashed Flint’s payroll and expenditures without any regard for the residents.

If only this were so.

Michael Brown

Michael Brown

The Flint emergency managers had only one common thread in their backgrounds, long records of administration in government and the nonprofit sectors. No productive experience. Experts at spending other people’s money. Well paid experts.  Outright Democrats or chameleons politically; typical politics of the bureaucratic class. Look at the backgrounds of the Flint emergency managers:

Edward Kurtz

Michael K. Brown

Edward Kurtz, again

Michael K. Brown, again

Darnell Early

Gerald (Jerry) Ambrose

Emergency managers are not viceroys with absolute powers. The evolution of emergency management in Michigan was frustrated by public union opposition. Five successive laws, one repealed by referendum. The law in force during the critical Flint water fiasco decisions is PA 436 of 2012. The powers it confers upon emergency managers are:

MCL 141.1549, Section 9

(2) Upon appointment, an emergency manager shall act for and in the place and stead of the governing body and the office of chief administrative officer of the local government. The emergency manager shall have broad powers in receivership to rectify the financial emergency and to assure the fiscal accountability of the local government and the local government’s capacity to provide or cause to be provided necessary governmental services essential to the public health, safety, and welfare. Following appointment of an emergency manager and during the pendency of receivership, the governing body and the chief administrative officer of the local government shall not exercise any of the powers of those offices except as may be specifically authorized in writing by the emergency manager or as otherwise provided by this act and are subject to any conditions required by the emergency manager.

The emergency managers replace the mayors, council, and chief administrative officers of the municipal governments. While this does indeed give them extraordinary powers of control, their control is anything but absolute. The municipal charter continues in effect and continues to protect the prerogatives of lesser bureaucrats. The vague statutory powers of emergency managers beyond replacing the mayor, council, and chief administrative officer poses unremitting legal jeopardy to emergency managers. Encourages timidity and bureaucratic subterfuge. Not absolute control.

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No Chemists!

Governor Snyder Continues to Demonstrate The Finesse Which Made Gateway Great

Snyder Flint Press Conference 27 January 2016Governor Snyder announced the remaining members of the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee today. No chemists. Not one person with a chemistry degree. Undoubtedly, a fine collection of worthy government officials. Four ‘field experts’, none of whom are chemists. Medical doctors are not chemists. Public health administrators are not chemists. Civil engineers are not chemists. Materials scientists are not chemists. Chemists are chemists. Chemists know things:

Thermodynamics
Kinetics
pH
Equilibrium
Redox

The lead in Flint drinking water is, at its core, an issue of water chemistry. Water chemistry was allowed to go completely berserk at the Flint Water Treatment Plant for 18 months. Flint’s distribution system has been severely damaged. Fixing that damaged distribution piping is a venture into uncharted territory. Only an inorganic chemist with a command of thermodynamics, kinetics, pH, ICP-OES analysis, and the equilibrium of redox reactions will successfully navigate this uncharted territory. Not another lying MDEQ clown, either. They had their shot and blew it. Why the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee is necessary in the first place.

Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev Дми́трий Ива́нович Менделе́ев 1834 – 1907

Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev
Дми́трий Ива́нович Менделе́ев
1834 – 1907

No one will trust Flint water until its chemistry is brought under control and that will require adult supervision – a genuine chemist. Detroit Water & Sewerage water is not a magic bullet. Detroit’s water works in Detroit’s distribution system. Detroit’s distribution system has not been damaged by 18 months of reckless water chemistry.

Flint’s water chemistry needs to be fixed, yesterday. New lawsuits against the State of Michigan are being filed every day. The latest filed this morning by the ACLU and a host of liberal pressure groups takes a new tack, alleging violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Suffice it to say, Michigan has no viable legal defense against this suit.

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