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The Flint water crisis is a perfect example of environmental racism

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Environmental racism is often an afterthought, even for those who want to fix our race-based ills and protect black and brown lives. Now, the water crisis gripping Flint, Michigan is shining a bright light on how structural racism is found in our environmental resources and is costing people their lives across the nation.

Flint, Michigan is experiencing a well-documented crisis as a result of a contaminated water supply. A study dating back to 2011, showed the Flint River water supply needed to be treated with an anti-corrosive agent in order to be fit for human consumption, as required by federal law. This study and law was ignored when officials decided to use the river as the primary water source for the city.

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Potentially large numbers of children in Flint will have to cope with the neurological damage caused by lead poisoning for the remainder of their lives as a result.

Related: US authorities distorting tests to downplay lead content of water

Filmmaker Michael Moore, a native of the city, posited that the reason state of Michigan officials were willing to switch the water supply from Lake Huron to the notoriously polluted and foul-smelling Flint River was largely to do with race and class. He pointed out the obvious fact that Flint’s population is majority black and economically depressed.

Governor Snyder’s denial that this is environmental racism is deplorable and infuriating. Institutional and structural racism is often based upon neglect and valuing money or assets over human life and well-being. Such is the case in Flint, where not only did the officials switch the water supply to a dangerous source, but according to residents, they are still being billed for water that poisoned their children and qualifies as toxic waste according to the EPA’s own standards.

Yet Flint is not the only place where environmental racism and neglect are damaging the health and quality of life of large numbers of poor people of color. According to a Tufts University report , “hazardous sites, municipal landfills, incinerators and other hazardous facilities are disproportionally located in poor minority neighborhoods”. Black children have high rates of asthma which could very well be attributed to exposure to toxins and “pesticides during the first year of life”.

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Related: Michigan governor says environmental racism not to blame for Flint water crisis

African Americans are also more likely to live in close proximity to industrial pig farms in North Carolina, which have been linked to groundwater nitrates that lead to heart defects and hydrogen sulfate, which is said to cause “respiratory ailments”. According to the Huffington Post, oil trains emit dangerous diesel gas fumes in black and brown communities in California. Even in the cities and towns widely considered environmentally safe and clean, “ Blacks breath a poorer quality of air ”.

African Americans are also not the only communities of color that suffer from environmental racism. The Natural Resources Defense Council f ound that Latinos, particularly communities close the US/Mexico border, “lack potable water and adequate wastewater treatment”. Lead poisoning is also prevalent in Latino communities. Latino children comprised 77% of those diagnose with lead poisoning in Arizona, despite only making up 25% of the population in 2002. And pesticides continue to put Latino farmworkers at risk for miscarriages, certain cancers and birth defects.

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There are certain human needs that are so basic and fundamental that they are often not mentioned when we speak of human rights. Every man, woman and child needs clean water to drink and bathe in, air to breath and decent shelter. The white supremacy that manifests as environmental racism robs us of those inalienable human rights. If you want people of color to drink the post-racial Kool-aid, mix it with clean water.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2016

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2020 Election

Ana Navarro goes off on Ivanka after Trump defender tries to drag Hunter Biden into debate discussion

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During a CNN panel discussion on tonight's debate between Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, a former adviser to the president suggested Biden's son, Hunter, should be fair game for attacks which led fellow panelist Ana Navarro to give him a lesson in the first daughter's corruption and the president's possible legal problems.

With "New Day" hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota looking on, David Urban said he expected Hunter Biden would be used against his father during the debate.

"If the president brings up Hunter Biden as we have heard some suggest he will repeatedly, how do you think Joe Biden should respond?" Urban challenged Navarro.

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Rudy Giuliani flooded reporter’s phone with texts about Biden being ‘senile’ and taking ‘ADD drugs’

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Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani this week has been on a tear trying to convince Americans that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is senile.

During an appearance on "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday, the former New York City mayor claimed that he had "talked to doctors" who told him that Biden "has dementia."

He then accused Biden of taking performance-enhancing drugs to be able to speak coherently.

"The president's quite right to say maybe he's taken Adderall," Giuliani said.

Daily Beast reporter Asawin Suebsaeng subsequently revealed on Twitter that Giuliani's attacks on Biden's mental faculties have been something of an obsession for him.

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2020 Election

Michael Cohen drops tip on possible fraud Trump committed against the government

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Appearing on CNN on Tuesday morning to talk about Donald Trump's problems since the New York Times exposed his avoidance of paying taxes, the president's former attorney, Michael Cohen, said there is plenty for investigators to look at if they're looking for fraud.

He then dropped a tip on financial fraud that may have been committed by the president against the U.S. government.

Speaking with host Alisyn Camerota, Cohen detailed some of the president's financial woes -- saying he is likely headed to personal bankruptcy and even jail ("for a century") because of the massive amount of debt he is carrying -- if he is not re-elected.

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