Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Miners vs. Profits

The West Virginia mining tragedy should not be turned into a political football. BUT, coal mines in general, (and this one in particular) have a pisspoor Godawful safety record.

This particular mine was cited 273 (two hundred and seventy-three!) times for safety violations in the past two years. Some of the infractions include: roofs that tend to collapse with no warning; inadequate tunnel supports; and dangerous buildups of flammable coal dust.

In the past eight months, this mine was cited for sixteen violations that were listed as “unwarrantable failures.” This means a safety violation that the owner has already been warned about, and/or the owner showed “indifference or extreme lack of care.”

This is just another example of the complete unaccountability that’s been rampant for the past five years. Safety violations, environmental destruction, price gouging, you name it — anything goes. Government agencies that are supposed to protect us (FEMA anyone?) have been hollowed out — gutted — so that we have more money to spend on foreign invasions and tax cuts.

Several years ago in Kentucky, a coal mining company was prosecuted after too many safety violations and fatal accidents. The mine was owned by a large corporation, and their “punishment” was that they couldn’t purchase any more coal mines for six months. OOOHHHH!! That’s tellin’ ‘em!

We’ve turned into a CEOs’ paradise. This time five years ago, Enron was creating power blackouts and stealing billions of dollars from ratepayers. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission just sat there with their thumbs up their asses. And it's gone downhill from there.

Countless environmental laws have been “modified” every time a CEO or developer bribes Congress. Corporations have hidden behind bankruptcy so they can get out of paying pensions and medical benefits. Meanwhile, individuals who declare bankruptcy are thrown to the wolves.

While CEOs and senior executives are getting away with murder (literally), millions of people are thrown in jail for victimless “crimes.”

Our “leaders” have a sick, twisted set of values and priorities. I think we’ve had enough.

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