Government Incompetence

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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Bureaucratic Capture In The Flint Water Fiasco, An Echo Of Proposal 1

Snyder's Email Dump Is Most Notable for What It Doesn't Show: Management

Snyder Steudle Image 1Governor Snyder went way out on a political limb supporting Proposal 2015-01. By the time this limb broke off at the polls on May 5th, his only remaining allies were MDoT, MITA, and Michigan’s nitwit media.

MDoT’s Director, Kirk T. Steudle, P.E. received lavish, flattering coverage in our nitwit media throughout the road funding proposal campaign. The Transportation Asset Management Council, an MDoT tool, packaged an avalanche of lies in glossy pamphlets for public consumption. An entirely fictitious Washington think tank, TRIP, used inside MDoT information to issue even more incredulous lies. Governor Snyder parroted these titillating lies thoughout his Proposal 1 media campaign. He was entirely comfortable promoting the agenda of his ‘technical experts’.

Pre SB 571 campaign finance law allowed us to watch MITA spend $ 5.4 million supporting this turkey, more than half the total spent by Safe Roads Yes! The Michigan Infrastructure and Transporatation Association is ostensibly a bunch of independent, competitive contractors. Somehow a fractious bunch of competitors planned and executed a well coordinated – if entirely devious – political campaign.

How did they coordinate?

How did this presage the Flint water fiasco?

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Headlee Evasion Caused Flint’s Water Quality Fiasco

Water Has A Very Special Attribute In Southeast Michigan

Water is Money Image 6You probably think the water which comes out of the taps in your house is for drinking and washing. You would be wrong. Michigan drinking water is first and foremost a mechanism for Michigan politicians to evade limits imposed upon them by the Headlee Amendment. You probably think Michigan water systems have quality as their top concern. You would be wrong. Michigan water departments are directed to maximize revenue by their political masters. These unfortunate facts are the genesis of Flint’s sorry water quality.

Michigan’s lefties and the ignorati in our media have fabricated a popular history of the Flint water situation which begins with Governor Snyder and his emergency managers on 25 April 2014, the date Flint started drawing its drinking water from the Flint River. Craven emergency managers appointed by Governor Snyder plotted to poison Flint residents to save a few bucks. The truth is rather different.

The history of this calamity actually begins in 1978, when the Headlee Amendment to Michigan’s Constitution was passed by outraged Michigan voters.

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Legionella Pneumophila

Legionella Pneumophila Image 1aDo you remember reading any stories about a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Genesee County during 2014 or 2015, or this year before last Wednesday? I don’t, and neither does Google. Nor do companies which specialize in tracking Legionnaires’ Disease. It was a real shock when Governor Snyder announced Wednesday that Genesee County had recently experienced 87 cases of this disease, 10 of which were fatal.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services quickly put up a ‘FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE’ web page describing two sequential Genesee County Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks. A first outbreak from June 2014 to March 2015, followed by a second from May 2015 to November 2015. This web page provides a dead link to a June 2015 preliminary report and a live link to a May 29, 2015 dated summary of the report created by Susan Bohm of the MDHHS Communicable Disease Division on June 4 2015. The Bohm summary was then modified by someone on Wednesday January 13, 2016 at 3:21:26 PM. The Bohm summary only covers the first, June 2014 to March 2015 outbreak, not the subsequent May 2015 to November 2015 outbreak which was developing as her summary was being written.

Governor Snyder said on Wednesday that he had just become aware of this outbreak. You are expected to believe that functionaries deep in the bowels of MDHHS were not communicating with either the Governor or their own superiors, for six months. The Bohm summary specifically and painstakingly categorizes those victims of the first Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak who were exposed to Flint water. Flint water quality was a blazing issue at the beginning of June 2015. This report and the Bohm summary didn’t make it to the Governor’s office at the speed of light? No one in the Michigan government would lie to the public, would they?

The fundamental question here is whether the Genesee County Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks are related to the coincidental Flint drinking water quality – or lack thereof. Governor Snyder and MDHHS say such a connection has yet to be made scientifically, but they are investigating. Marc Edwards, a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech said “that it’s not 100% sure” that the outbreak of Legionnaires’ is tied to the change to Flint River water, but the association “looks very strong.”

Professor Edwards agrees with Governor Snyder and MDHHS that, even if the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak is associated with Flint River water sourcing, the risk is over now that Flint has returned to Detroit water. However Ms. Bohm’s summary declared the first June 2014 to March 2015 outbreak over, just as the subsequent May 2015 to November 2015 outbreak was developing.

Are outbreaks of Legionnaires’ Disease in Genesee County now history?

Did Flint’s October switch to Detroit water end the possibility of another outbreak?

Will corrosion control measures really suppress Legionella pneumophila in Flint water?

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Chemistry, The Problem is C-H-E-M-I-S-T-R-Y

Flint Water Quality is Now a Presidential Campaign Issue

Lab Rat Image 4Governor Snyder’s many attempts to deflect responsibility and and tamp down adverse media coverage of the Flint water situation are failing miserably. Snyder cannot make a public appearance without getting peppered with antagonistic questions about the circumstances behind the Flint water sourcing change. National International media are now all over this story, and their coverage is ugly. Democrats are having a field day promoting the ‘uncaring Republican’ meme. This story is going to really hurt the Republican Party’s 2016 Presidential nominee unless it is spiked quickly. Hillary Clinton is already using it.

Snyder’s ineptitude at handling the Flint situation, plunging from a deep hole into the abyss, also creates great risks for taxpayers across Michigan. We have already pointed out that skilled, predatory legal vultures are circling the Michigan Treasury. The torrent of adverse publicity will predispose any jury they impanel to hammer the State of Michigan financially. Now a variety of self-interested parties within and without Flint are proposing an avalanche of new, State-paid goodies for the citizens of Flint. These acts of contrition will be paid for by Michigan taxpayers who played no role in the Flint water situation and will not receive any benefit from a lavish expenditure of their hard earned dollars.

Snyder’s political career is over, but he will enjoy his remaining days living in well earned obscurity akin to his mentor Bill Milliken. You can safely bet that our accountant-in-chief will use his single real world skill to avoid paying the penance for his decisions. Michigan taxpayers, Republicans, and conservatives will take the big hit here.

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Gordie Howe Bridge On A Slow Roll to Oblivion

Canadian Economic Collapse and Extravagant Liberal Party Campaign Promises Doom Governor Snyder's Bridge

The estimated cost of constructing the NITC DRIC Gordie Howe Bridge between Detroit and Windsor has now more than tripled since the Canada agreed to fund the entire cost back in June 2012. Its total cost, including interest payments, is now over four times the 2012 estimate. The recent, sharp collapse in the value of the Loonie – the Canadian currency – is being blamed. But it appears that deliberate lying cost underestimation in 2012 and project creep over the last 30 months play a much bigger role in the eyepopping new cost estimates.USDCAD

Financial markets trade the U.S. Dollar and the Canadian Dollar back and forth as ‘USDCAD‘, which is the equal value ratio of Loonies per greenback. The higher USDCAD is, the weaker the Loonie. USDCAD is now quoted around 1.40 (1.4 Loonies per greenback). The Loonie was 37% stronger back in June 2012 when Governor Snyder and then Canadian Prime Minister Harper worked out their agreement; USDCAD was then about 1.02.

Direct construction costs are now estimated to be C$ 2 billion ($ 1.43 billion USD) higher than the C$ 973 million ($ 950 million USD) estimate touted back in 2012. A 37% increase due to currency adjustments would be only $ 360 million (USD), so we know the 2012 deliberate lie underestimation was in the vicinity of $ 1.64 billion (USD). Additionally, the collapse of the Loonie now requires the establishment of a C$ 1.5 billion ($ 1.07 billion USD) reserve to offset the expected rise in Canadian dollar denominated bond interest rates. The Canadian government bond yield curve has doubled at its short end since the middle of September 2015 in response to the collapse of the Loonie. The Gordie Howe Bridge will be financed at those higher Canadian bond interest rates. The total Canadian government cost estimate is now C$ 4.8 billion ($ 3.43 billion USD).Snyder Harper Image

Harper’s Conservative government was defeated in October of last year after NDP voters abandoned their own party for the elysian promises of Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party. Virtually the same promises our Dear Leader made in 2008 – ‘Hope and Change’ recycled for a northern audience. Harsh reality is already wrecking the promises Trudeau made to win the October election, so will the Canadian government continue to throw money at an unneeded bridge?

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