Relish The Tort

Don't look now, Bill, but it seems that my war can kick your war's ass. I'm talking about the war on hard working men and women that watch your show but for whom your elitist mojo can't seem to get erect. Blue collar people, Bill! Know any? Hard working people. Perhaps they've handled your balls. On the golf course.
Yes, the Republicons have made it hip to declare a war on everything nowadays! But wouldn't it be nice if they actually threw some of their divisive cheer in the direction of something a bit more repugnant than saying "Happy Holidays"? (Imagine, fury from the right for saying Happy HOLY days. Unreal in its disproportionate pathos.)
By now we are all aware of the mine tragedy, and certainly the behaviors of both the company and the media can be deemed, at best, reprehensible. But to reiterate my sentiments from that morning, the 'story' behind the tragedy is tragic as well. Some media outlets have, in disputable fairness, covered the numerous violations and egregious patterns of deceit and indifference toward the workers there in recent years. And let's hope they continue to do so. For those that have not, what else is new? More balls. Dropping.
But like most American 'tragedies', the horror will quickly fade and we will permit business to resume, as usual. What is business as usual?
According to the AFL, business "as usual' amounts to over six thousand deaths per year from industrial and work related accidents, as cited on Alternet's "Give Miners Justice, Not The Shaft." Information obtained from the AFL is based on their report of Workers' Safety and Health entitled "Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect". (copy can be downloaded as PDF via AFL) It is an important read because the report makes clear how industries:
-Are not being held accountable for worker safety and scoff at the human cost of cutting corners. And we could do a whole post just on the racial/ethnic stats on injury and death.
- Are fined at levels that are absurd- often the fines are a mere percentage of one work day's profts, and the stocks quickly recoup the imperceptible losses.
- Are passing on the costs of work related occupational injuries to the public and ratepayers through the coverage policies of the companies that provide benefits/comp for these workers. To the tune of over ONE BILLION per week. Two to Three Billion per year.
A free 'get out of homicide' card???? Priceless.
See, here's the thing. We know the Bush adminstration has been the enemy of working people, and we know that his administration has done little to remedy these stats and in fact by respective measures, safety conditions have declined while enforcement remains laughable. We know from many examples of undustrial 'mishaps' that what happened in West Virginia is not atypical. We know that the scenario for subsequent accountability is grim. Law remains the only viable remedy, and here's hoping those families get theirs.
Why, for the love of Laura, would anyone in these industries vote Republican?
And who stands in vigil, or demonstrates on their behalf?

If government fails us in areas where the public compels it to perform, when it balks at disaster, and fails in its most primary endeavor to 'provide for the public welfare', it indeed begs the question on my mind, at least: What the fuck good are they? Thanks for listening. Lily


Mary said...

I agree...if the reason why we all entered into that ungodly boring and non-glamourous social contract construct, the least the government can do is ensure the basic safety of hard working men and women everywhere....

Lily said...

Accountability, thats the gist of my point. Not making a mockery of endangering people.

enigma4ever said...

Really well written post Lily, and aptly said...

and yes, if our infrastructure is shot to shit we are in deep trouble....Accoutability is going to keep being ground into this administration over and over at this point...Katrina was just the first piece to hit the fan...it such a hard lesson to watch....but it is good that people like you are paying attention and writing about it...Blog on sister...

lily said...

Aw thanks Enigma. As you know I read your post as well- and appreciated that you put time into the subject.
The frustration has alot to do with the way nothing ever seems to change, the public rants on about the outrage or the horror but then NOTHING. Thats what I don't get.
Do people take the time to write letters to the editor, or to call their elected officials that serve on committees, or meet with them...or just flip the channel to the latest stupid show?

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