Flint watch: Concerning those criminal charges!


What you have and haven't been told about what happened in Flint:
For the record, we're pretty much never happy to hear that people have gotten in trouble.

We don't root for people to be harmed. We leave that to our massively overpaid, corporate "cable news" stars.

That said, the first criminal charges have now been filed concerning events in Flint. As we read about these charges, we thought about what you have and haven't heard about what happened in Flint.

For ourselves, we don't know what happened in Flint. In large part, we don't know what happened in Flint because we've watched the pseudo-reporting of cable's own Rachel Maddow.

Because we don't know what happened, we don't know if these charges are justified. That said, this is from Monica Davey's initial report for the New York Times:
DAVEY (4/20/16): The first criminal charges stemming from the Flint, Mich., water crisis were filed on Wednesday, as two state officials and a city employee were accused of offenses including covering up evidence of lead contamination.

Michael Prysby, a district engineer with the state Department of Environmental Quality; Stephen Busch, a district supervisor in the same department; and Michael Glasgow, the city’s utilities manager, face a mix of felony and misdemeanor charges.
The charges are linked both to the handling of a change in the city’s water supply in 2014 and to months of official denials that the change had led to a dangerous level of lead flowing into residents’ homes.

The charges were brought by the state attorney general, Bill Schuette, and authorized by Judge Tracy Collier-Nix of Genesee District Court. They were announced at a news conference in Flint on Wednesday.
Those charges could be justified—or it could be a big cover-up! We'll only say this:

When we read about those charges, we thought about Professor Marc Edwards' congressional testimony back on February 3. We also thought this:

If you get your news from Rachel Maddow, you don't know what Professor Edwards testified to that House committee. Questioned by Reps. Cummings and Chaffetz, he explained who he thought was mainly to blame.

It started with some state environmental officials, he said. A cover-up followed from there:
CUMMINGS (2/3/16): I want you to be clear, and I'll say it 50 million times and I mean it. I want the EPA to be held responsible for addressing the things that they're supposed to address. But it seems—

Help me with this, OK, because I'm just listening to you. You don't seem to put too much blame on the state. Why is that? Or am I missing something?...

EDWARDS: My perspective on this is the fact that these are the agencies paid to protect us, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and Susan Hedman at EPA is the top environmental cop in the region.

I have said repeatedly that the primary blame for this rests with a few people at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, without question. But in terms of other people in the state, those core professionals misled them throughout this whole thing. [Former mayor] Walling in Flint, for example, reached out after reading Miguel's memo, as a considerate mayor would, to Susan Hedman [of the EPA]. Said, "Is this something I should take seriously?"

And she told him, the top environmental policeman in the region told him, "I am sorry this memo ever took place and I'll get back to you after I edit and vet it." So I—

One hundred percent of the responsibility lies with these employees at MDEQ, there's no question. But the EPA had the chance, because of Miguel Del Toro, to be the hero here and Ms. Hedman snatched defeat for EPA from the jaws of victory by discrediting his memo and standing by silently as she knew that federal law was not protecting Flint's children.


CHAFFETZ: I just to follow up on what Mr. Cummings was talking about, Mr. Edwards.

These people at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, do you feel that they were misleading people? Were they providing false information? What were they doing? And who were they doing it to?

EDWARDS: I think it probably started innocently. I think someone forgot to follow the law [about corrosion control], but they ignored warning sign after warning sign...And gradually, step by step, they just felt like they were covering this up. There's no question about it.

You read the e-mails. They were—

They lied in writing to the EPA, and it was only after [Flint parent LeeAnne Walters] figured out that they were not using corrosion control that they started this new story that we don't know if we have to have corrosion control. So I think the written record is quite clear on this.

CHAFFETZ: They were telling that to the EPA. What about to the governor's office and other state officials?

EDWARDS: It's very clear to me that they misled the epidemiologists who were looking at that. The very first thing that they did was to reach out to these MDEQ employees and say, "Is there something wrong with the water?" And the talking points, the notes from that memo used by the epidemiologists, basically repeated one lie after another after another about the actual situation in Flint.

And when you're a scientist and you have been misled so fundamentally by someone in a position of trust, that skews your interpretation. So I have criticized what the Health Department did, and the fact that they never told the governor about the spike in elevated lead that was occurring. And I have, I have talked about their unethical behavior in the month of September, when they refused to share data with me and Dr. Mona about the lead poisoned children. But you have to—

When you look at the ethics of this, you have to look at what they were told and put yourself in their position and I fault them, but the blame lies with these three or four employees who were actively misleading everyone.
Edwards' impressions could be wrong. But his main impression was this:

The whole thing started as a mistake by a handful of state environmental officials. Once they realized that they'd bungled badly, they began lying to cover up their blunders.

He said they lied to the EPA and to Governor Snyder's staff. That may not be what happened here, but it seems to fall in line with today's criminal charges. (Edwards was also very critical of the EPA's Susan Hedman.)

Professor Edwards' impressions could always be wrong. That said, you've never been told about his testimony if you watch Rachel Maddow.

Everyone regards Edwards as one of the heroes of this matter, and as the leading expert who got involved in this mess. Why has Maddow kept you from hearing what Edwards said at two House hearings?

We can't answer that question. A cynic would say the answer is obvious:

Maddow has always treated this story as a cartoon in which Snyder, one of her (many) favorite demons, has been cartoonishly demonized. According to Professor Edwards, the principal demons were elsewhere.

Professor Edwards could be wrong, but Maddow has kept you from hearing his views. Simply put, Maddow shouldn't be on the air. She simply seems to be too unbalanced for the important role she's been given.

Judging from her downward spiral, the wealth and the fame haven't helped. As in The Emperor's New Clothes, no one can see her horrible work for what it so plainly is.


  1. More Maddow delusion from Old white conservative southerner Bob. How sad!

  2. Is it possible that the professor was wrong? That the real blame does lie with state officials?

    Of course not. Doesn't fit Somerby's preferred narrative. By golly, that's Bob's story and he's sticking with it.

    By the way, any news yet about whether Gov. Ultrasound got indicted? After all, all he did was take a few bribes. Nothing egregious about that.

    And I sure bet you breathed a sigh of relief it all turned out to be a "legitimate traffic study" after all.

    Poor Chris Christie. Mean ol' Rachel beating up on him over nothing.

    1. If you read the excerpts, Edwards goes back and blames the state officials (members of the Dept of Environmental Quality) repeatedly. The prosecutions are consistent with Edwards testimony. Somerby hasn't disagreed with that at all.

      Maddow has disagreed with it. She consistently blames Gov Snyder. Others have blamed the EPA (the feds) and various elected officials, but Edwards says these people were all misled by those state officials now being prosecuted.

      Are you perhaps saying that the real blame lies with the EPA or the governor or the mayor of Flint or who? It is hard to see how that could be true without the state officials also being guilty for their coverup. Somerby has acknowledged there may be additional blame. He blames Maddow for not talking about the original lying and cover up of the state officials in the Environmental Quality Dept. So, I think you are confused about (1) what happened, (2) what Edwards testified to, and (3) what Somerby said about Maddow.

      The rest of your comment is just the usual Somerby-bashing. This gets pretty old and it undermines whatever other complaint you might have raised by making it appear you have no other motive than to attack Somerby, once again, in the same tired old way.

    2. Somerby, in his inimitable weasly style, says everything so his sycophants can come on board to claim he really said nothing.

      But if you watched Maddow's extensive coverage of this issue, she has always laid the blame at the feet of state officials.

      And contrary to Somerby's claim, she has had Edwards on her show to make the very points he made to Congress.

      But Somerby says it didn't happen, and you believe him. Because, after all, he's Somerby!

      And his hatred of Maddow is so deep that he'll automatically take the opposite view, even after faceplant after faceplant after faceplant.

      He long ago reached buffoon status.

    3. If Somerby lied, please list the dates when Edwards appeared on her show and made the points. You are accusing Somerby so the burden of proof is on you.

    4. Jan. 25, Jan. 26, Jan. 27, Jan. 28, Feb. 11.

      Not that the truth will make much difference to you.

    5. Oh, and here's a nice picture for you:


      But don't believe your lyin' eyes. Believe Somerby instead.

    6. I went to the MSNBC transcript of the Rachel Maddow Show for Jan 25 and Marc Edwards was not on the show and wasn't mentioned on the show. I then did a search and found that he had not been on or been mentioned on any show transcript.

      So you are a liar @5:27. You don't think anyone will check your lies or you get off on running other people around, either way you are a troll and don't belong here.

      I won't bother checking anything you put here again. The truth does matter to me and it bothers me that someone would so blatantly lie like this, but there are people like you in the world.

    7. " ... there are people like you in the world."

      Yeah, they're called Republicans.

    8. Rachel Maddow's Ministry of Truth disappeared Dr. Edwards' testimony.

  3. Major Cable Star did a nice segment on the criminal charges brought today. She had Edwards on her Town Hall meeting broadcast live in Flint, not on her regular evening show.

    Minor Blogger wrote his post today to make it seem Major Cable Star is somehow keeping Edwards from her viewers. He also wrote a post making it seem like major cable star even fudged information to make Edwards seem a bigger her than he was, when in fact that information came from Edwards. Minor blogger in fact was keeping that from his readers.

    Minor Blogger keeps siding with crooked or inept Republicans just because Major Cable Star says bad things about them. He is batting at a very low average.

    Major Cable Star has in fact never had Edwards on her regularly scheduled show. So what? Minor Blogger has never been right about any issue involving a Republican Governor in which he challenged Major Cable Star.

    Major Cable Star may not deserve her prominence. Major Cable Star may even be something of a clown as Minor Blogger alleges. Minor Blogger is a joke. And as bad as the ones he told when he was a Minor Stand Up Comedian. Which is how he came to be a Minor Blogger.

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    1. Somebody needs to give Bob Somerby a gift certificate for a week's worth of 1 hour love spells at 9 pm with Dr happy.

  5. Bob Blog: A Lead Pipe Cinch!


  6. Today the NY Times is calling Hillary a hawk. Easy to look like a pacifist when you have no foreign policy experience whatsoever, like Bernie.

    1. Every post a whine about Hillary. Every post an attack on Bernie. But deservedly so.

      She has had to ovecome so much in life after yers in public housing. Being broke and in debt. Having to find a work after giving her career and having her husband lose his paid job. Having sought a deserved promotion twice only to be snubbed by underqualified men who should not have even competed since she was such and odds on favorite for the new job.

    2. This was a whine about the NY Times.

      Bernie has lost. Get over it.