United States comedian Michelle Wolf and Flint poisoned water

This 2016 video about the USA says about itself:

Murky Waters of Flint. How a whole city was poisoned

The city of Flint in Michigan, US, has a water crisis. It’s been going on since 2014 when residents were switched to a cheaper supply but it took a year before the authorities admitted there was a problem. As a result, thousands were exposed to lead poisoning, carcinogenic chemicals and legionella bacteria.

Miguel Francis Santiago investigates what caused the problem, its dire consequences and why they tried to cover it up.

For 50 years the authorities of Flint in Michigan, US had bought the city’s water from a trusted source. In 2014 however, the corporation switched to a cheaper water supplier. The former industrial city was now getting its water from the local river.

Before long though, residents were complaining about the colour, taste and smell of the tap water but their concerns were dismissed. Even the local manufacturing giant, General Motors stated that Flint River water wasn’t even fit for making cars, but still, those in power adamantly insisted the water was safe.

Paediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha was the first doctor in Flint to recognise the problem. She conducted a study and proved that the number of local children with elevated levels of lead in their blood had doubled since the switch.

Dr. Marc Edwards of Virginia Tech spent more than $200,000 of his own money on analysing Flint’s water. When his initial and alarming findings were brushed off by the Environmental Protection Agency, he set up a website to tell the townsfolk about his research.

Thanks to their work, the Flint water crisis finally came to light and the city was forced to admit that the new water was unsafe. By then, thousands of residents had been exposed to lead poisoning, carcinogens and the deadly Legionnaires’ disease bacteria. RT Doc visits Flint to meet victims of the crisis, the heroes who helped expose it and former authority members who are now accused of a cover-up to understand how such wide scale poisoning of Americans happened to continue unchecked for so long and why it was allowed to happen at all.

By Jim Brewer in the USA:

Michelle Wolf’s Flint comment touches a nerve in Michigan’s capital

4 May 2018

As Michelle Wolf was leaving the podium at the end of her courageous and funny takedown of Trump, the Democrats and the press at the White House correspondents’ dinner last Saturday, she added, “…and Flint still doesn’t have clean water.” This is a statement with which a large majority of the city’s 100,000 residents would agree

From the office of [Republican] Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, however, it elicited an indignant rejoinder.

In an email to MLive/The Flint Journal, Snyder’s chief spokesperson, Anna Heaton, said, “Inaccurate comments from comedians will not help the city move forward.”

Snyder’s use of the phrase “move forward” means closing the book on Flint. A month ago, Snyder announced the termination of the last of the PODS, the state-funded distribution sites for bottled water and filters to Flint residents. Even though the city’s program for replacing lead and galvanized steel (which can also act as a repository of lead) service lines is only one-third finished and isn’t scheduled to be completed until 2020, the minimal assistance of providing bottled water to residents has been wound up.

The pipe replacement program does not even include the mains. There are no plans to replace the entire antiquated water infrastructure, which was built decades ago. Moreover, nothing has been done to address the damage done by corrosive Flint River water to the pipes inside residents’ homes.

The governor’s justification for cutting off bottled water distribution for Flint was laid out in Heaton’s comments: “All state scientists and independent scientists who have collected their own samples and data agree that Flint’s water system is testing well beneath the federal standards for lead and that the city’s water is in fact of better quality than many other US cities of similar size and age.”

For Flint’s populace, the vast majority of whom will not drink Flint water, this merely adds insult to injury.

In addition to being poisoned, losing unborn babies, enduring an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that killed at least 12 people, and having a generation of children who face lifelong neurological damage, the population as a whole has suffered immense trauma and stress, not to mention the collapse of their home values.

The crisis in Flint has brought to light a widespread state and national lead-in-water crisis. Because of media attention and state and federal hearings, it is now widely known that the federal standards cited by the governor are long outdated.

The “action level” set by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1991–only four years after lead pipe was outlawed in new construction–of 15 parts of lead to a billion parts of water, is long overdue for revision. There are no safe levels of lead exposure according to another government agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The state’s agenda is no different than it was when officials decided over five years ago to change Flint’s water source: privatize the water system in order to generate profits for investors, speculators and the ruling elite in general.

In February, a report issued by the University of Michigan School of Public Health said Snyder “bears significant legal responsibility for the (Flint water) crisis based on his supervisory role over state agencies,” adding, “But reports, interviews and released emails suggest that by October 2014, the governor’s staff was sufficiently aware… that several top aides were arguing that Flint should return to using water from (the city of Detroit).”

Yet Snyder has never been charged, let alone prosecuted, for any crime, and he remains in office.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, a Democrat elected on the promise of solving the city’s water crisis, issued a pathetic response to the exchange over Wolf’s comment, saying that the comedian was helping the city by “talking and thinking about Flint.” Her administration has taken nothing but palliative measures to address the crisis, concentrating her efforts on dissipating public anger and channeling protests into futile lobbying of the political representatives of the banks and corporations such as Nestlė Waters.

Comedian Michelle Wolf exposes Trump, corporate media

This 28 April 2018 video from the USA is called Michelle Wolf’s Uncensored White House Correspondents’ Dinner Speech (Full) | NBC News.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

Comedian Michelle Wolf exposes a cynical and hypocritical media

1 May 2018

On Saturday, comedian Michelle Wolf did the unpardonable: she told the truth. As the entertainer for the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner—typically the occasion for backslapping and self-congratulation by an incestuous and corrupt press—she delivered a ferocious, entirely well-deserved and hilarious lampoon of the Trump administration, the Democrats and the press.

In response, Wolf was denounced not only by Trump and his flunkies, but by the leading lights of the print and broadcast media, as well as by White House Correspondents Association President Margaret Talev.

Much of the feigned outrage over Wolf’s remarks centered on her takedown of the Trump administration’s thuggish female media flacks, Kellyanne Conway (“Man, she has the perfect last name for what she does: Conway… All she does is lie”) and Sarah Huckabee Sanders (“She burns facts, and then she uses the ash to create a perfect smoky eye”).

After Wolf’s remarks, leading members of the White House press corps rushed to offer their support and condolences to a woman who shamelessly lies to and bullies them every day.

“Apology is owed to @PressSec and others grossly insulted ny (sic) Michelle Wolf at White House Correspondents Assoc dinner”, NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell tweeted.

Mitchell, married to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, is a notorious warmonger, who this year called “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” a “trap” and famously referred to rural Virginia as “redneck country.”

Another defense of Sanders’ honor was launched by Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, the New York Times’ duo, whose names almost never appear on the front page of the paper without being accompanied by the statements of unnamed “intelligence sources” warning about Russian subversion.

Haberman tapped out on Twitter, “That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive.”

CBS News’s “This Morning” program included a segment on the speech consisting of a panel of four people denouncing Wolf. One of the panelists, Norah O’Donnell, declared, “They need to look clearly at the spirit of what the White House Correspondents Association is, and I think part of it includes civility.”

And Mika Brzezinski, the daughter of imperialist strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski, declared on Twitter, “Watching from home, I hurt for Sarah, her husband and her children.” She added, “All women have a duty to unite when these attacks happen and the WHCA owes Sarah an apology.”

This is all nonsense. Wolf said nothing about Sanders’ appearance, and only called her, correctly, a liar.

What really set these well-heeled “journalists” off was that Wolf called out them out for what they are: a bunch of ignorant, reactionary scandalmongers, ignoring every genuine social and political issue to prattle endlessly about their hobbyhorses.

As Wolf put it, “We have all these 24-hour news networks, and we could be covering everything. But, instead, we’re covering like three topics. Every hour, it’s Trump, Russia, Hillary and a panel of four people who remind you why you don’t go home for Thanksgiving.”

Speaking to the print and broadcast press, she poignantly observed:

‘You guys are obsessed with Trump. Did you used to date him? Because you pretend like you hate him, but I think you love him. I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you. He couldn’t sell steaks or vodka or water or college or ties or Eric, but he has helped you. He’s helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster, and now you’re profiting off of him.’

Trump is the creature of a hysterical, reactionary, right-wing and ignorant media climate. His foibles and scandals give these phony journalists the opportunity to spew their bile, while obscuring the fact that they agree with him on almost everything that matters: lowering taxes on the rich, slashing social services, attacking democratic rights, and waging war abroad.

White House Correspondents Association president Margaret Talev also denounced Wolf, declaring her remarks were “not in the spirit of” the “mission” of the event”, which was “meant to offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility, great reporting and scholarship winners, not to divide people.”

Talev’s statement expresses far more than its author intended. While the aim of war propaganda is to “offer a unifying message”, that is certainly not the function of serious journalists, whose aim should be—at least in theory—to question and criticize those in positions of authority, sometimes revealing the social divisions that exist in reality, and thus “widening” them in the public mind.

The reactions to Wolf’s poignant critique expose those demanding her apology as propagandists, not journalists.

And to the extent that the WHCA dinner expresses “unity” between the press and the White House, this is a testament to the corruption of the media, which sees itself as political insiders, protecting the secrets of the state.

Wolf’s speech tore up the cardboard cutout concepts—“sexual misconduct”, “Russian meddling”, and the like—employed by the press to shape the political discourse. These fell by the wayside, and reality emerged:

‘Now, I’ve worked in a lot of male-dominated fields. Before comedy, I worked at a tech company and, before that, I worked on Wall Street. And, honestly, I’ve never really been sexually harassed. That being said, I did work at Bear Stearns in 2008. So, although I haven’t been sexually harassed, I’ve definitely been fucked. Yeah, that whole company went down on me without my consent. And no men got in trouble for that one either.’

Wolf dealt with the real facts of American life: Wall Street looted the country and no one was punished, immigrant children are being rounded up and deported</a>, teachers don’t have supplies for their students, and, as she concluded, “Flint still doesn’t have clean water.”

For all the media’s stifling, incestuous and vulgar flattery, its endless promotion of right-wing nonsense, Wolf’s monologue was a reminder that not only does there exist a world outside of the Washington bubble, there exists a public opinion—one that increasingly sees the media courtiers for the liars and sycophants they are.

FOR HUCK’S SAKE Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has demonstrably lied on behalf of the White House, says it bothers her when people call her a liar. “One of the few things you have are your integrity and reputation,” she told The New York Times. “Had,” Sarah … [HuffPost]

British Conservative Windrush scandal, parody music

This 26 April 2018 parody music video from Britain is called Rudd Hot Chili Peppers – “Under the Cosh“.

It is about the Windrush scandal of the British Conservative government, including Home Secretary Amber Rudd, deporting Caribbean British citizens.

‘Home Secretary Amber Rudd laments her involvement in the Windrush generation scandal with her Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute band.’

The song is a parody of the Red Hot Chili Peppers song – “Under the Bridge“.

The lyrics are:

Sometimes I feel like I don’t have a partner
Sometimes I feel like my only friends
Are the Home Office staff and Good Mother Theresa
Fuck Yvette Cooper, I’ll deport her next

I drive through the streets of my hostile environment
Constantly searching for low-hanging fruit
Okay, I confess there were net removal targets
I said I didn’t know, but that was a lie

I don’t ever want to feel like I did today
I was only following orders, like Nazis used to say
I don’t ever want to feel like I did today
Why is this select committee not for Theresa May?

Under the cosh downtown
For Windrush questioning
Under the cosh downtown
My final reckoning
Under the cosh downtown
Where is Theresa May?
Under the cosh downtown
As my job slips away

Amber Rudd summoned back to parliament for questioning as calls grow for resignation. Home secretary apologises for being ‘unaware’ of her department’s use of deportation targets – but MPs demand further answers: here.

Belgian action against militarism

This 9 April 2018 satiric video from Belgium is about the 69th birthday of NATO. It says about itself (translated):

On Wednesday, April 4, 2018, NATO blew out 69 candles. NATO is responsible for an annual military budget of 919 billion dollars, of which 70 percent is from the United States.

This enormous amount benefits US American arms corporations and increases the threat of new major conflicts. More and more spending on ‘defense’. That is what NATO requests from its member states, and therefore also from Belgium.

The (manipulated) choice of the replacement for the Belgian F-16 must therefore be seen in that context. With 10 illegal missions as its record and many dead people, we think it is high time for NATO to retire! If you ask us:

Nuclear weapons away from Kleine Brogel

– Belgium must sign the UN treaty against nuclear weapons

No new fighter planes

– Belgium out of NATO and NATO out of Belgium

We are preparing for a NATO summit [probably including Donald Trump] in Brussels in July. Want to join us? Contact gmo@intal.be.

Anti-warplanes demonstration, 22 April

Translated from Belgian peace movement intal today:

Together with the other organizations of the platform “No fighter planes” we call again to immediately stop the procedure of replacing the F-16s, and to enter into a broad public debate about whether or not the F-16 fighter planes have to be replaced. Join us in action on Sunday 22 April! #f16gate #geengevechtsvliegtuigen

Can our F-16s fly longer or not? Was Minister of Defense Vandeput aware of the information of the army top brass or not? Does our government want to procure at any price aircraft that can drop nuclear bombs?

A dangerous game is played with our tax money, while:

16% of the population in Belgium live below the poverty threshold
Belgium does not achieve its objectives in the fight against climate disruption
The ‘defense’ budget is double that of Justice
Our government practices austerity for billions on public transport, despite the gigantic traffic jams and air pollution
Our government has not yet made a balance sheet of 40 years of use of the F-16s

The platform “No fighter planes”, of which intal is a part, calls again to IMMEDIATELY stop the procedure of replacing the F-16s, and to enter into a broad public debate about whether or not the F-16 fighter planes have to be replaced.

Do you also want to see your tax money invested rather in the needs of the population and the planet instead of expensive and superfluous war gear? Then join us in action on Sunday 22 April!

Appointment: Sunday, April 22, 14h Cinquantenaire, Brussels (metro Merode). Dress code: black.

Saudi Arabia heads the UN human rights panel, cartoon

Cartoon, Saudi Arabia heads the UN human rights panel, by Skelf

This cartoon, by Skelf in Britain, is called Saudi Arabia heads the UN human rights panel.