30 June 2011

The Names Have Changed

The report on the “Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster” (the WV mine “accident” in which 29 miners died) has been released. The list of violations found is long, but more telling was the discovery that the company has kept a second set of books, hidden from regulators, that listed all of the various issues. Of course, this tragedy is a legacy of the corporate welfare mentality of the previous administration. Like all welfare recipients, those corporations are screaming at the possible recision of those goodies. Exemption from safe workplace and environmental regulations is simply another handout to those producers, and thus their shareholders.

Meanwhile, back at the mine, the almost comic director of Massey (the mine owner) Don Blankenship, has resigned, much to the dismay of those who try to leaven these deadly topics. And Massey, in the great tradition of corporate 'Amerikan' escape from liability, has been acquired but another company. Of course, Blankenship and other execs have refused to testify, so as not to incriminate themselves.

And we go about our daily affairs, most of us not even aware of the Upper Big Branch and the 29 people that died in the underworld to bring us that black gold that powers our computers. Try to remember their loved ones and turn off the lights when you leave the room. And unplug the TV and cable box while you are at it, one of the largest electricity hogs in your house.

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