Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pondering Dumpster Politics

Each day the news brings more corruption, abuse of power, greed, hypocrisy, racism, (feel free to add your own words to the list) and political bullshit to the attention of an overloaded public's eyes and ears. So much contradictory information, that after a while, much of it ceases to excite much. I've come to think of it as a political dumpster. You are all familiar with what a dumpster is, a garbage container. Each time I reflect and ponder over each new news item, I'm reminded of an ancient joke. Two hunters are out hunting when one accidentally shoots the other. He takes his buddy to the hospital and begs the doctor to save him. The doc does his best, but to no avail. When the hunter asks why the doctor couldn't save him, the doctor replies, "well, it might have been possible if you hadn't already gutted and dressed him out before you brought him to me!" That, in a nutshell is what has been done to our country over the last 30+ years. Any safety regulation, bank and insurance regulation, business regulation, food safety regulation, indeed, any regulation that protected the public interest and not that of corporations, has been gutted and dressed out, like that hunter's buddy. Blow-job Bill Clinton and Dubya Bush de-regulated any and every industry law that had the teeth to bite the hand of their corporate benefactors, and the whistle-blowers were prosecuted instead of the real offenders. Miners are blown-up in a methane explosion, oh well, that's a dangerous job! Mexican-Americans in Arizona have to be able to prove their citizenship to walk down the street, oh well, we're not being racist, this is America! Breast cancer patients are thrown off insurance rolls at the first sign of diagnosis, oh well, that's just good business not to pay for their care! Diabetes type 2 has become epidemic because of the awful practices of the fast food industry, oh well, people just need to watch their diet! Home foreclosures are rampant because of sub-prime mortgages sold by corporations who knew they would be unaffordable for homeowners, oh well, we were just following the same business practices as the other mortgage sellers! People are getting poisoned by the "wholesome" food being sold at the supermarket because food producers have the Congress in their pocket, oh well, let the buyer beware! This is just a peek at what is in the political dumpster. I'm sure you could add many more stories to the mix.
The only way to fix this mess made by our political forebears it to regulate all financial transactions, and prosecute any offenders. It would do my old heart good to see some higher ups from Goldman Sachs and the CEO of Massey Energy, for instance, serve some stiff jail sentances for their greedy fraud and downright murder, respectively. Government can be a power for good if it's done appropriately. It can start by making corporations take responsibility for their crimes. They are crimes, not merely misdeeds. They have been deliberate, with malice and forethought. The public has suffered enough, it's time for the corporations who have brought our economy to its demise to do some jail time! Our elected officials on all levels need to do their jobs to protect the public from these leeches. Yes, we the public need to push them until they do, and if they don't do their jobs, we should vote them out until we finally clean out our political dumpster! Then, maybe, we can be proud of ourselves again. I will, and so can you! Let the jail sentences begin!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Coal Mine Deaths Not Accidental, Corporate Murder

My heart goes out to the families of those 25 men who died in a methane explosion in a coal mine owned by Massey Energy. As the daughter of a coal miner, I fully understand their grief. My father was different in that his job was covered by a union agreement by the United Mineworkers of America. This kind of work is always dirty and difficult, but thanks to the UMWA, at least the workers had pretty safe work conditions. These men, on the other hand, worked for a non-union company and not one that cared much about their safety. Last year they had 458 safety violations just in that mine alone. That's an average of 38 safety violations a month, more than one a day!
We are in the year 2010, and there is no excuse for having people working in unsafe conditions. There are plenty of technological advances available that can make working underground as safe as working above ground. Massey Energy obviously cares little about the people who work for them, their profits are much more important to them than the safety and lives of their employees. That is why I can't understand why this is being reported by the media as an accident. Due to the fact that there are safe ways for this work to be performed, Massey Energy has made a conscious decision not to implement such safety measures, so these deaths are an act of deliberate murder. Their profits are more important than the lives of the people whose labor helps them reap those same profits. To call this an accident makes no sense to me. Each of those 25 miners (and possibly the other miners still missing) was an act of murder and should be prosecuted as such! Furthermore, any and all coal mines owned and operated by these murderers should be closed down (with the miners being paid their weekly wages) until Massey Energy brings them up to code to be safe to work in. These miners lives were snuffed out, Massey Energy should be made to pay for these crimes of murder, both in money and jailtime. A perfect punishment for them would be for them to work in one of their own mines. The families of these miners deserve justice. May their faces haunt the management of this company forever!