Two Disturbing News Stories

Personally, I'm sick and tired of people stating that government is bad and that government doesn't know how to run anything and big business is efficient and magically does everything so much better. That's bullshit. Another thing I'm sick of? Hearing how government regulation is terrible and awful and should die. Here are two very fine examples of why.

Unsafe Lead Levels in Tap Water Not Limited to Flint. I have to admit that the instant I heard about the abuses of Michigan's governor, Rick Snyder, I've been waiting to hear how he isn't the only one. Look, we've been hearing about how we need to cut back on 'entitlements' for years. The GOP have had a position of power in most states for some time. It's inevitable that eventually the wear and tear put upon the system will start to show. This is just the first story. There will be more. No. This isn't the fault of government. This is the fault of greedy opportunists who saw a healthy system and got fat off trimming off pieces for themselves and their closest friends. I keep thinking of this video:

What happens when you're pushed off the chart? You die. That's what happens.

From the article: "The Environmental Protection Agency says streams tapped by water utilities serving a third of the population are not yet covered by clean-water laws that limit levels of toxic pollutants. Even purified water often travels to homes through pipes that are in stunning disrepair, potentially open to disease and pollutants." and "Both researchers and industry officials say problems extend well beyond lead. Many potentially harmful contaminants have yet to be evaluated, much less regulated. Efforts to address shortcomings often encounter pushback from industries like agriculture and mining that fear cost increases, and from politicians ideologically opposed to regulation." What is even more disturbing? The 'safe levels of lead' determination isn't based upon how safe the level of lead is. It's based upon "...a calculation that water in at least nine in 10 homes susceptible to lead contamination will fall below that standard." Most importantly:

"As Flint’s water crisis surfaced last fall, Congress was considering the E.P.A.’s effort to clarify its regulatory powers over tributaries and wetlands — the streams that supply water to a third of Americans.

Both houses passed legislation to block a new Clean Water Act regulation, the Waters of the United States rule, that aims to assert authority over those waters, which the Supreme Court had questioned in 2001 and 2006 rulings.

And Senator James M. Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who is chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, denounced the rule as a federal power grab.

President Obama vetoed that legislation last month, but more than two dozen states have sued to block the rule. Among their arguments: It would hurt business."

And we haven't even discussed the problem of unregulated chemicals in our water. "So, I'll use bottled water. No sweat." Think again. In any case, do you really want an "multinational" corporation which owes no allegiance to any country--there are no "multinational" laws and certainly no "multinational" force with actual teeth to restrict its greed-seeking behavior--to control assets as vital to human life as our nation's water? I think not. Governmental Protection Agencies exist for a reason. Stop pretending that they don't. Stop pretending that polution and climate change isn't a problem. It is. Above all, don't kid yourself that whatever happens to the poorest among us isn't going to affect you, Average American. That chart isn't merely a curve. It's a slide into oblivion.

Another disturbing link I happened upon was this: Leaked police files contain guarantees disciplinary records will be kept secret. From the article:

"At least as recently as 2007, if an officer in Independence, Missouri, was “involved in a shooting incident”, that officer could not be interrogated for at least 12 hours nor be “treated a suspect” unless local authorities thought there was reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a crime had been committed. This protocol was mandated in the local police union’s contract in a clause specifically designed for “officer-involved shooting investigations”.

In recent years, Independence has made headlines for cases of police brutality and police shootings."

The police need consequences for their actions. They have a great deal of power. Americans place a great deal of trust in their police force. But without any substantive consequence for abuses of power, our police have become a danger to the public that they are charged to serve and protect. Repeat after me: Power corrupts. You know the rest.