Monday, January 25, 2016

Wet Boy

Liar - Three Dog Night

Slimy Snyder and the Water Crisis, Part Two

“For over 18 months, the people of Flint, Michigan, complained that their water was contaminated, but their voices fell on deaf ears. Redacted emails released under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act have since revealed that Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration was aware of Flint’s water problems almost a year ago but neglected to act or even inform the public until it was too late.”

~ Marlow Stern, The Daily Beast

I remember when I was proud to live in Michigan.

I used to attend workshops and conferences in other states and I was always eager to identify with this Great Lake State, to talk about how we have 3,288 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, how the Great Lakes represent 20 percent of the world’s surface freshwater, how we’re comprised of two distinct peninsulas and are the home of Motown and the Motor City.

I was proud to grow up in the state that was home to two of the best governors ever, G. Mennen “Soapy” Williams, a Democrat, and William G. Milliken, a Republican. Tom Selleck came from here, I’d point out, and Bob Seger and Diana Ross and Lily Tomlin. (I never mentioned Ted Nugent.) We have four seasons and friendly people, Mackinac Island and the “Mighty Mac” bridge, the Tigers and the Red Wings (I never mentioned the Lions), and a tunnel that actually goes under the Detroit River to Canada.

I used to happily identify as a Michigander. Not anymore. My state is now an embarrassment, a laughingstock, the latest and clearest example of what can happen when disingenuous politicians insist on running state governments like unethical businesses.

GOP Governor Rick Snyder, who likes to call himself a “nerd” but is being called other things that aren’t so nice, is presiding over (and lying about) one of the worst public health crises in the history of this nation. Flint, Michigan – the seventh largest city in Michigan, home of General Motors, the subject of Michael Moore’s Roger and Me, a place that’s now known for having seen better days – is now infamous around the world as the place where 100,000 largely low-income people of color have been drinking lead-poisoned water for almost two years. And Snyder's minions made it happen.

Hurley Medical Center’s Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha repeatedly sounded the alarm, stating that the proportion of infants and children with above-average levels of lead in their blood had nearly doubled since the city switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River. But state officials ignored her, and then attacked the messenger when she wouldn’t be silenced.

This is the same Flint River that’s suffered decades of industrial pollution – General Motors stopped using Flint River water because chloride levels were so high that the water was causing engine parts to rust – and which corrodes lead pipes at 19 times the rate of Lake Huron water.

Snyder’s busy blaming everybody else – from “career civil servants” to local officials – but this document proves that it was HIS appointed emergency manager who signed off on the switch:

The city switched back to water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department last October but the damage continues. Celebrities like Cher, Matt Damon and Michael Moore are calling for Snyder’s resignation. Pearl Jam, Anheuser-Busch, Ticketmaster, Eminem, Meek Mill, Big Sean, Mark Wahlberg, P. Diddy, Jimmy Fallon and Wiz Khalifa are among those sending money or water to Flint. Churches and businesses all over the state are collecting water and President Obama has allocated $80 million in federal aid to help repair Flint’s infrastructure and address the crisis; click here for information on how you can help.

This won’t be as long as my last post on the topic because at this point, most people have heard or read about the crisis. (This includes the U.S. Congress, which has summoned Snyder to testify about what actions led up to this calamity, and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who’s covered the story extensively and is coming to Flint this week to host a town hall.) My intention is mainly to share the above document proving that Rick Snyder is a lying prick who should heed the call to resign immediately.

His lieutenant governor and probable successor, Brian Calley, doesn’t impress me much but to my knowledge, he didn’t let 100,000 people drink poison and then blame career civil servants for his own appointee’s shameful error.

Click here to read, “The Political Coup Behind the Flint Water Crisis.”

Click here to read, “Jeb Bush Praises Michigan Governor for Post-Flint Leadership.”

Click here to read, “Gov. Snyder Lied: Flint Water Switch Was Not About Saving Money, Records Show.”

Click here to read, “8 Things You Don’t Know About Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law.”

Sources:,, Detroit News, Occupy Democrats, Detroit Free Press, Los Angeles Times,, Motor City Muckraker, The Daily Beast, Virginia Tech Professor Mark Edwards,

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Enjoying Clean Water

Courtesy Nature Conservancy of Illinois

Ain't No Sunshine - Bill Withers

'Pure Michigan' My Ass

No golden brown water in Snyder's pitcher

Regular “What’s the Diehl?” readers know that I do not like Michigan GOP Governor Rick Snyder. Not one iota. I’ve been sharing my intense disdain for the man here and in Facebook practically since the day he was first elected to office in 2010. I didn’t need another reason to despise this nasally, incompetent former venture capitalist and CEO of Gateway Computers but I’ve got one. And it’s a doozy.

As almost everyone knows (except, perhaps, the smelly, bearded man who mumbles to himself and lives in the forest near my home), the residents of Flint, Michigan, have been poisoned. In a move that makes the Reverend Jim Jones – whose cyanide-laced Flavor-Aid killed 909 of his followers at his commune in Guyana in 1978 – look like a rank amateur, state officials caused the poisoning of the city’s water supply and then lied about it, minimizing its significance, attacking the local messengers and throwing one of the most dedicated public servants I’ve ever met, Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant, under the bus in a useless effort to put a lid on the burgeoning crisis.

Although everyone from Flint’s mayor and City Council members to low-level DEQ staffers have been blamed for this debacle by state and national media outlets – as if we needed more proof that our media are lazy if not complicit – I’ve said from the beginning that Governor Snyder’s appointed “emergency manager,” and therefore Governor Snyder, deserves the lion’s share of responsibility for poisoning an entire municipality. (Who expected emergency managers to cause their own emergencies?)

Yes, it was a good thing that DEQ spokesman Brad Wurfel – a bumbling idiot if there ever was one – lost his job as well. Yes, a case can be made that the head of the agency charged with overseeing these things, if he or she has integrity like Wyant does, ought to step down (as Wyant did late last month). But contrary to the findings of the Snyder-appointed task force members who tried to deflect blame away from the Big Guy, the buck is supposed to stop on Rick Snyder’s desk. The politician who frequently opines about “transparency” and “efficiency” in state government should be chastised not only for the actions that led to this calamity (appointing an emergency manager who tried to save a few bucks by jeopardizing the health of one hundred thousand men, women and children) but by his inaction after the emergency was disclosed.

Here’s a quick summary in case the man in the forest reads my blog:

From 2011 to 2015, Snyder appointed several individuals as emergency managers for Flint. In 2014, emergency manager Darnell Earley was responsible for changing the source of drinking water for the city to the Flint River, which has nasty chemicals known as trihalomethanes in it. Turns out this water was too corrosive and it leached lead out of the service lines which was ingested by the city’s largely poor, black residents. (As a result of emergency manager appointments under Snyder's watch, over half of the state's black population lives in cities where the local government was appointed rather than elected by the voters.)

This is real.
A study by Hurley Medical Center last fall found that Flint’s kids were being poisoned by the lead. Although Flint went back to getting its water from the City of Detroit at around that time, lead levels in the city's water remain significant. Now people around the country are asking who knew about this, when, and why didn’t they do anything about it? (Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities and at high levels may lead to seizures, coma and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

The you-know-what has finally hit the proverbial fan. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has been covering this issue like no other. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders publicly demanded Snyder’s resignation. Facebook is chock full of posts and memes (see below) regarding the disaster. And former Flint resident and gadfly Michael Moore released a 14-paragraph petition in which he advocated for Snyder’s arrest.

Sadly, Snyder’s resignation or removal, while necessary and justified, won’t lead to state officials and politicians suddenly seeing the light and putting the public’s interests above their own. The largely African-American population of Flint won’t suddenly be un-contaminated and side effect-free. The tendency of those in power to blame scapegoats and emphasize the needs of the rich over the rights of the rest of us will not disappear. But a disingenuous, shameless, out-of-touch laughingstock who’s charged with ensuring public safety and has in fact presided over the most outrageous failure to do so since the PBB contamination of the early 1970s will be forced to return to his gated community as the disgraced politician that he has become.

I remember when state employees were prohibited from using state resources for political or personal activities. If Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat – former state legislators who were raked over the coals and essentially booted out of office because of a sex scandal – deserve to be pilloried for misusing state funds and impacting few, why are Rick Snyder et al above reproach for far more reckless, egregious behavior impacting 99,000 Flint residents and future generations?

On a related note, state employees regularly receive taxpayer-funded e-mails from the Executive Office in which Snyder is touted as the best thing since sliced bread who’s “getting things done,” whatever that means. (Didn’t Ted Kaczynski get things done? Didn’t Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer and Osama bin Laden get things done? I’m not saying Snyder is a cannibalistic serial killer who builds bombs and resided in a cave in Afghanistan but it’s a stupid slogan.) If our former U.S. Secretary of State can get in hot water over e-mails, why can’t Michigan’s incompetent chief executive?

It’s ironic that the tourism slogan for Michigan, adopted by the state travel bureau in 2006, is “Pure Michigan.” This gubernatorial administration and its cronies are about as pure as the water in Flint.

Click here to read, “Obama To Gov Snyder: Water Poisoning Is No ‘Natural Disaster,’ You Knew About It A Year Ago.”

Click here to read, “Flint Water Report Prompts Apologies, Resignations.”

Click here to read, “Obama Signs Emergency Order over Flint Water.”

Click here to read, “Muslims Just Donated 30,000 Bottles of Water to Victims of Michigan Poisoning.”

Click here to read, “Gov. Rick Snyder Still Doesn’t Get It When It Comes to Flint Water Crisis.”

Click here to read, “Water Woes in Flint and Beyond” by my friend Lisa Wozniak.

Click here to read, “First Republican Candidate Asked About Flint Crisis Says He Doesn’t Know Much About It.”

Click here to read, “How Tap Water Became Toxic in Flint, Michigan.”

Sources: NBC News,, Lon Johnson for U.S. Congress,,,, Ruger Rell, Stephanie Rachal‎, Detroit News,,, Michigan State University, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Everything Must Change - Oleta Adams

There is Nothing Worse

It’s difficult to write this. The girl who spurred this post is gone and unable to approve. Her parents, my friends, are not public people and this is certainly a private and unsettling time. And as the parent of four daughters, I can’t stop crying.

I didn’t know my friends’ daughter, really. I remember when her mom was pregnant with her back in 2000 but I don’t remember if I even met her. I might have. And because everything must change, her parents and I drifted apart. They got divorced. The mutual friends who introduced us got divorced and stopped hosting awesome parties. Our relationship was relegated to Facebook posts. But I always liked them and hoped they and theirs were happy and healthy. (They have – had – two daughters.)

One of them was not happy at all.

The daughter to whom I’m referring died last Wednesday by her own hand. She was found by her mother. Those are all the details that I’ll share here. But I feel a need to write about her, about this. I feel obligated to. So here goes:

She came into the world on December 12, 2000. She attended a magnet school through eighth grade and transferred to a local high school (which, I’ve heard, has a problem with bullying although I don’t know if bullying was a factor in this case). She was a YMCA counselor, was known for her artistic talent and was in charge of a natural playscape project at the local nature center where she volunteered extensively – the same nature center, it turns out, where my own 16-year-old volunteers. She attended her first winter formal at her high school just last month.

And now she’s gone. I don’t know why. And I can’t even write more than a single paragraph about her.

I remember being depressed as a kid. (I rely on antidepressants to this day.) I was small and slight and lacked athletic ability. I didn’t have many friends and knew how it felt to be bullied. I didn’t do well in school, had braces and pimples and wasn’t receptive to my loving parents’ efforts to help me navigate the rough waters of youth. But I made it through. I can remember wanting to run away and start over and even to hurt my tormenters but I can’t remember thinking about ending my own life. I can’t remember being in such unrelenting pain. I don’t know why some kids see this as their only way out, the solution to their problems. It’s so….permanent.

I know my friends are loving, intelligent, attentive people. I’m sure they didn’t see this coming or they would have done everything possible, pulled out all the stops to make sure that their little girl didn’t stop living at the so-damn-young age of 15. They, like all parents, probably assumed there would be a high school graduation and college and marriage and maybe grandchildren. I would bet that they never, ever thought it could come to this, that their beloved firstborn could be with us for just a decade and a half. Most loved ones who experience this probably didn’t. I know I didn’t – until I learned what happened last Wednesday. Now I’m not so sure, so insulated and cocky and closed to the possibility that this could happen in my family.

Maybe that’s my friends’ daughter’s legacy. I know I’m going to think twice about how firm and impatient I am with my kids, including – and perhaps especially – the one who raises my blood pressure and gives me sleepless nights. In the whole scheme of things, my friends’ daughter made me realize, it’s not important if my kids sneak food upstairs or argue with each other or leave their backpacks on the floor of the foyer or neglect to say “please” or fail to put their dishes in the sink when they’re finished. Maybe their happiness is what matters, their mood, their frame of mind, whether they feel loved or alone, confident or confused. Maybe I need to think more about what’s important to them, how they’re feeling, what they’re experiencing when they’re not under my roof.

No, not maybe. Definitely.

I’m sorrier than I can express for what happened. I know my friends are in more pain than I can imagine (and I’m a pretty imaginative guy) and it’s actually frustrating that I don’t know what to do for them. I do know this happens all over, every day, and now I have a slightly better understanding of how terrible that is. I just didn’t expect it to happen to any of my friends, and to such a beautiful girl who had so much potential and so much to offer and her whole life in front of her. The words “staggeringly awful” and “devastatingly unfair” were invented for just this occurrence.

Thanks for the lesson, SEZ. I wish you peace. I’ll keep an eye on your parents – and my kids.


We play with sticks treating them as swords
And we train with them when we are bored
We listen to the soft cool breeze
There is no going back so the world is ignored.

I feel the bark on one of the trees
And sigh because I'm now at ease
The place that I will forever protect
I cherish all the amazing memories.

When I sing, I care not if the words are correct
For this is where the lines connect
A happy place where I'm free to fly
And bullies haven't any effect.

A place where no one tells a lie
A place just for she and I
A place where peace will come and stay
A place where my soul will never die.

~ By Sydney E. Zaban ~
Dedicated to The Whole World

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

President Barack Obama

This Will Be - Natalie Cole

Pieter J. Van Niel on POTUS and Guns

“People who say Obama fake-cried are essentially accusing him of being as indifferent to mass killings as they are. ‪#‎StopGunViolence‬”
~ John Fugelsang

The following was shared in Facebook on the same day that President Barack Obama announced his gun safety proposal (see clip below). In just the first three days of 2016, according to a group called “Occupy Democrats,” 97 people died and 219 were injured as a result of gun violence.

Today, we were privileged to witness an extremely intelligent, deeply human, profoundly decent, gently witty, brilliantly far sighted and visionary POTUS, Barak Hussein Obama – a real man – define, promulgate, and demand needed change in gun laws and practices.

With professorial Iogic and clarity, our President outlined necessary and appropriate steps to improve dealer licensing practices, background check and registration procedures, expanded attention to mental health issues, and the like. He asserted his authority as an esteemed constitutional scholar, as well as our President, to take these initially mild executive actions on the part of our citizens; he utilized specific and undeniable examples, anecdote and testimony in order to buttress his well developed argument; he revealed, with the tears of a compassionate, deeply Christian and moral leader, the depth and intensity of his anger, his sadness, his frustration, and his disgust vis-a-vis this difficult issue of gun control; he carefully confronted Second Amendment hyperbolic and illogical rhetoric and underlined that our declared guarantees of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness do not allow anarchy and trumped-up and over-exaggerated individual rights false arguments to subvert the declared rights upon which our nation was founded and by which we must continue to be guided.

In sharp contradiction, the cold and bullying comments from the NRA-owned Republican party, its incompetent, unqualified, and criminal clown car of pretenders to the presidency, and the bribed and over-lobbied Teapub-dominated Congress emphasized the morally bankrupt, cruel, venal and hate-filled essence of the far right bagger and Repub party of Nazism, white supremacism, misogyny, Randism, anarchistic stupidity and off-target politics of racism, hatred and greed.

The contrast between our POTUS and the Teapublican Party of nothing – with its low, white trash, bullying, insulting, fourth grade talking Trumpitler; crazy Christofascist, illegal alien Cruz; criminal Rubio; treasonous and grotesque bus of hypocritical, greedy and stupid State Governors like Abbot, Scott, Brownbeck, Walker and the rest of the Teapub gerrymandered state legislative bodies – resounded at every level as our POTUS forwarded his presently modest, ameliorative measures combined with an open-ended invitation and demand for long term gun control action at every level from local to state to national.

President Obama has gained a seat at the table of our greatest Presidents like FDR, TR, Ike, Lincoln, Washington. Despite the braying of the far right, this President of ours has profoundly altered the political and ethical milieu and landscape of our nation. He has righted an upside down ship of Republican greed and elitism; yanked us out of a depression; pulled us out of wars for profit; established a verifiably successful health care system; paid down the massive debt caused by Repub voodoo trickle-down economics and Cheney/Bush war profiteering; worked to articulate and institute his 21st Century national and world vision; supported our military like it has not been supported before; expanded human and civil rights; confronted the obstruction of the racist and arrogantly cold far right....

That so many of the American sheepublic continue to accept the fallacious positions of the Goebbels-like, dumb, propagandized vomitus of the Teapublicans; that so much racial hatred continues to infect local, state, national and world politics; that the extreme and limiting actions of fundamentalist Christofascists and an incompetent far right majority of the SCOTUS have inflicted real damage to our nation; that the unforgivable obstructionism and treason of the Teapublican party legislatures has denied infrastructure repair and growth, tax fairness, needed appointments, gun control, and on and on – in short, that we continue to be forced to struggle against false rhetoric and appeals to fear, ignorance, and cliché – all this and more will be seen as a despicable and embarrassing era of decades-old Republican greed, elitism, cynicism, selfish and grotesque über capitalism, fascism, misogyny, racism and Birchism and the like.

I am so deeply grateful for our chess master POTUS. President Obama has my deepest respect and profound admiration. The preordained reactionary response that spewed forth from the far right shills and idiots even before POTUS' speech demonstrated and highlighted the feckless, disgusting venality of the ruined Teapub Repugnicant party of pathetic jackassery. 2016 must elect democratic and reasonable leaders and regain our government bodies from local to state and national political venues.

History will show the truth of the matter – not the lying Nazi Fox Faux News, nor the corporate- dominated far right media, nor the compromised and bribed Congress of treason and obstruction, nor the seditionist and greedy actions of bagger Governors, nor the pompous braggadocio, bullying and bloviating grotesqueries of Trumpitler and the Teapub clown train of stupid.

2016. Then 2018, 2020 and 2022. I am an American, and I want my country back from the hands of the evil baggerism, Randism, Nazism, Christofascism and Repugnicant stubborn stupidity that is hindering and destroying our egalitarian democratic principles. I intend for America to continue the vision, integrity, decency and morality of President Barack Obama.

Pieter J. Van Niel
This essay was authored by Pieter J. Van Niel of Redlands, California, and was reposted with permission.

Thank You, Mr. President, for Executive Actions to Prevent Gun Violence,” January 4, 2016.

"Will Obama's New Gun Proposals Make a Difference?," January 5, 2016.

"Fact Checkers Say the Facts are on Obama's Side When It Comes to Guns," January 5, 2016.

Sources: PBS, Lonnie and Sandy Phillips (parents of Jessica Ghawi, a victim of the 2012 mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado),

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Peace from Gaza

Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones

The Real Identity of Israel

I'm not able - obviously - to devote as much time to "What's the Diehl?" as I would like. If any of my readers is interested in writing a guest essay or forwarding a piece worthy of reposting, please send it to my e-mail address. I can't pay you and I reserve the right to edit but I welcome the chance to help other writers share your talent. Now, for your consideration, here's a compelling script/video about the Israel/Palestine fiasco (the author is unknown):

I am Israel. I came to a land without a people for a people without a land. Those people who happened to be here, had no right to be here, and my people showed them they had to leave or die, razing 480 Palestinian villages to the ground, erasing their history.

I am Israel. Some of my people committed massacres and later became Prime Ministers to represent me. In 1948, Menachem Begin was in charge of the unit that slaughtered the inhabitants of Deir Yassin, including 100 men, women and children. In 1953, Ariel Sharon led the slaughter of the inhabitants of Qibya, and in 1982 arranged for our allies to butcher around 2,000 in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.

I am Israel. Carved in 1948 out of 78% of the land of Palestine, dispossessing its inhabitants and replacing them with Jews from Europe and other parts of the world. While the natives whose families lived on this land for thousands of years are not allowed to return, Jews from all over the world are welcome to instant citizenship.

I am Israel. In 1967, I swallowed the remaining lands of Palestine - the West Bank and Gaza - and placed their inhabitants under an oppressive military rule, controlling and humiliating every aspect of their daily lives. Eventually, they should get the message that they are not welcome to stay and join the millions of Palestinian refugees in the shanty camps of Lebanon and Jordan.

I am Israel. I have the power to control American policy. My American Israel Public Affairs Committee can make or break any politician of its choosing, and as you see, they all compete to please me. All the forces of the world are powerless against me, including the UN as I have the American veto to block any condemnation of my war crimes. As Sharon so eloquently phrased it, "We control America."

I am Israel. I influence American mainstream media too, and you will always find the news tailored to my favor. I have invested millions of dollars into PR representation, and CNN, the New York Times and others have been doing an excellent job of promoting my propaganda. Look at other international news sources and you will see the difference.

I am Israel. You Palestinians want to negotiate “peace!?” But you are not as smart as me; I will negotiate, but will only let you have your municipalities while I control your borders, your water, your airspace and anything else of importance. While we “negotiate,” I will swallow your hilltops and fill them with settlements populated by the most extremist of my extremists, armed to the teeth. These settlements will be connected with roads you cannot use, and you will be imprisoned in your little Bantustans between them, surrounded by checkpoints in every direction.

I am Israel. I have the fourth strongest army in the world, possessing nuclear weapons. How dare your children confront my oppression with stones. Don’t you know my soldiers won’t hesitate to blow their heads off? In 17 months, I have killed 900 of you and injured 17,000, mostly civilians, and have the mandate to continue since the international community remains silent. Ignore, as I do, the hundreds of Israeli reserve officers who are now refusing to carry out my control over your lands and people; their voices of conscience will not protect you.

I am Israel. You want freedom? I have bullets, tanks, missiles, Apaches and F-16s to obliterate you. I have placed your towns under siege, confiscated your lands, uprooted your trees, demolished your homes, and you still demand freedom? Don’t you get the message? You will never have peace or freedom, because I am Israel.