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‘Slap in the face to the people of Flint’ as former Michigan Governor Snyder appointed to Harvard Fellowship

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A fellowship at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government for former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder sparked outrage over the weekend, though the school seemed set on keeping the disgraced former executive, who was partially responsible for the Flint water crisis, in the school even in the face of an email campaign demanding his ouster.

“Snyder oversaw the poisoning of thousands of people in Flint.”
—Mariame Kaba

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The appointment to the school of Snyder, a Republican, which begins today, was first announced Friday. By Sunday, as news of the fellowship spread, Flint advocates and environmental activists expressed outrage over the appointment, especially given Snyder’s role in the Flint crisis.

In a statement, Food and Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter said Snyder’s appointment was “a slap in the face to the people of Flint by one of the most elite institutions in America.”

“Snyder is a leader, alright,” said Hauter, “he led Flint straight into one of the nation’s most notorious disasters in recent memory. His appointment of an emergency manager set the stage for the lead and bacterial contamination that resulted in unnecessary deaths and the lead poisoning of children. The timeline of events shows that his administration knew more about the events early on than what they disclosed to the public. This is criminal, and he must be held accountable.”

Activist Mariame Kaba told Common Dreams that she was “appalled” to learn about the appointment given that “Snyder oversaw the poisoning of thousands of people in Flint.”

“His policies through pushing an emergency manager law led to one of the largest examples of environmental racism in this country’s history,” said Kaba. “The crisis continues to this day.”

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The decision was “disgusting,” tweeted activist Jordan Uhl, who shared a brief video detailing Snyder’s involvement in the water crisis.

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In a statement, Snyder praised the school and welcomed the opportunity at Harvard. He did not mention his role in the Flint crisis.

“Shame on Harvard for giving this failed Governor a national platform and calling it leadership.”
—Wenonah Hauter

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“I’m excited to join the talented faculty and staff there who are on the leading edge in improving public policy, civic engagement, and innovations in state and local government,” said Snyder. “I look forward to sharing my experiences in helping take Michigan to national leadership in job creation, improved government performance, and civility.”

Kaba, in her comments to Common Dreams, said she was floored that Harvard would reward Snyder after his role in the Flint “travesty.”

“Snyder hasn’t taken accountability for the harm that he caused,” said Kaba. “What a complete and utter insult to the people of Flint!”

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“The Kennedy School needs to rescind this fellowship immediately and apologize to the people who were poisoned in Flint for their callousness and their insult,” Kaba added.

Food and Water Watch’s Hauter agreed.

“Shame on Harvard for giving this failed Governor a national platform and calling it leadership,” said Hauter. “While Flint waits for justice, Harvard is rubbing salt in a fresh wound.”

A number of people concerned about the appointment began an email campaign on Sunday aimed at professor Jeffrey Liebman, director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government at the Kennedy School at Harvard, where Snyder will be working, asking that the fellowship be rescinded.

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template to help in writing the email was posted online.

The draft letter says that “Snyder’s biggest achievement during his administration was not expanding Michigan’s workforce, or backing self driving car legislation,” but rather his involvement in poisoning Flint’s water.

On your own website, it is written that the Harvard Kennedy School believes “that smart public policy and inspired public leadership can make people’s lives safer, freer, and more prosperous.” The decisions that Snyder made in office were nothing short of racism, classism, and a complete disposal of those with less privilege than his own. He has refused to take any responsibility for his egregious and violent actions. If Harvard is holding true to your mission of smart public policy and making people’s lives safer, Snyder has no place there.

On Monday, Liebman wrote back to at least some of the critics, claiming that Snyder “will undoubtedly face hard questions from students and others about his actions and inactions regarding the situation in Flint.”

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Journalist Talia Lavin, however, was not convinced of that assertion.

“I was a Harvard student once,” tweeted Lavin. “He will not.”

Flint has not had clean water for 1,897 days.


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Activism

Nevada GOP activist reveals how he ‘caucused for Bernie’ to help Trump win: ‘It would be a dream election’

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Conservative activist Chuck Muth said that he temporarily switched parties to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in the Nevada caucuses.

Muth, who spoke to the Las Vegas Journal-Review while wearing a red Keep America Great hat, explained that he had crossed over to “vote for the weakest candidate possible of the Democrats.”

“It was kind of a way of demonstrating how absurd I think it is to have same-day registration as well as early voting for a caucus,” Muth explained. “So my wife and I last Sunday went to an early voting site, we changed parties right there on the spot. We caucused for Bernie.”

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Soledad O’Brien shames 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ hockey team for photo-op with Trump while wearing MAGA hats

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In an early Sunday morning tweet, award-winning journalist Soledad O'Brien expressed her dismay with members of the 1980 Gold Medal-winning Olympic hockey team for celebrating their historic win over the then-Soviet Union -- dubbed the "Miracle on Ice" -- with Donald Trump while wearing "Make America Great Again" hats.

According to O'Brien, seeing them hand Trump a photo-op filled her with "disappointment."

Taking to Twitter, she wrote, " Ugh.... so disappointed by the @1980MiracleTeam . I loved watching that game as a kid with my dad. Loved watching the movie with my kids. To see them on a stage, in maga hats—kinda crushing I have to say."

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2020 Election

‘Nice deflection, Mr President’: Adam Schiff busts Trump for trying to blame him for his leaky administration

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) took a shot at President Donald Trump on Sunday morning after the president tried to blame him for the leak describing a classified meeting lawmakers had with an intelligence official who warned the bipartisan group that the Kremlin is trying to help the president get re-elected.

As the president prepared to leave the White House for India, he told reporters that Schiff was to blame for the leaked meeting story, with the president insisting he personally had not been briefed on the report explosive report.

Responding to a 'Meet the Press" clip of the president making his accusation, Schiff tweeted back: "Nice deflection, Mr. President. But your false claims fool no one. You welcomed Russian help in 2016, tried to coerce Ukraine’s help in 2019, and won’t protect our elections in 2020. Now you fired your intel chief for briefing Congress about it. You’ve betrayed America. Again."

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