|A very telling example is being set by the Coal Industry. It is well documented on our site and in other places the many deaths that have occurred in the coal industry relatively recently and the causes for that. Greedy, uncaring companies that put their precious profits over the lives of their workers and cut corners and spending in every conceivable way and daily risk the lives of the miners that work for them and the citizens in the communities where they are located.
And despite breaking the law to save money for safety and other industry regulations it appears as if Coal, like so many others in Corporate America have plenty of money to throw around to try and buy your government:
The coal industry, facing a host of new health and safety regulations, is spending millions of dollars in lobbying and campaign donations this year to influence the makeup of the next Congress in hopes of derailing what one industry official called an Obama administration "regulatory jihad."
"Regulatory Jihad"?? Really??
An industry leader went on:
"It certainly is critical," Michael J. Quillen, chairman of the board of Alpha Natural Resources, a major national coal producer, said of Tuesday's election. "We've got Congress in play. We need a Congress that can balance environmental issues with jobs and national security. We can't work in an environment where Congress and the administration are antibusiness."
Anti-Business?? Over the last several decades business has been given almost free-reign over labor and look what has happened. Wages stagnated, jobs were outsourced and the economy was hopelessly crashed. The very people who crashed it were bailed out and now the rest of us are left to suffer as Corporate facists buy themselves a new government that will allow them to do all the wonderful things they have done for so long.
What kind of things?? Well one company, Massey Energy provides a pretty keen insight as to the way these folks operate and how they feel about their workers and their communities:
When federal regulators sued Massey Energy in May 2007 for thousands of water pollution violations, the initial press coverage was a bit confusing. At first, the lawsuit was described as a major action: Massey operations across Southern West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky had violated their permitted water pollution limits more than 4,500 times over a roughly five-year period. The suit alleged nearly 70,000 days' worth of violations on dozens of Clean Water Act permits. One analyst estimated the potential fines at more than $2.4 billion. However, by early the following week, news reports had already begun to downplay the case, citing Massey's belief that the suit would ultimately have "no material impact" on the company's finances.
Even more telling is what the Coal companies consider "regulation". It is both shocking and insulting to consider what kind of value these folks put on human life and the penalties they pay for not investing in the safety of their own workers. It is insulting too when you consider how our government has enabled them to get away with it:
And what kinds of punishments were handed down for these renegade operators? For each miner killed, agency officials assessed a median fine of $4,250. But fines are lowered or thrown out by judges. MSHA settles for less to avoid legal fights. Companies go belly up and don't pay, or MSHA does not aggressively pursue payments. In some cases, appeals are still pending for deaths that occurred years before. In cases in which fines were issued and not appealed, I found that coal operators have paid a median fine per miner death of $6,200. But fines were not issued in nearly a quarter of the cases, and decisions on fines had not been made for a few deaths from 2005. If all of the 320 miners' deaths during this decade are counted, the median fine paid by coal operators is $250 per death.
Is this the kind of regulation they would protect from such a moderate "regulatory jihad" as offered by timid Democrats wanting to be "bi-partisan"?? The fact is the regulations in place are a joke and they are not enforced much of the time. The system these folks want to keep desperately needs to be reformed and regulated and the costs should be placed on the company, not the consumer.
But instead of addressing the problems within their own industry that can destroy so many lives these Coal companies would rather try and use their money to destroy our Democracy. I mean, to see how much they are spending to do this one would reasonably conclude that they have plenty of money to protect their workers and communities:
As of the beginning of October, coal mining companies had collectively contributed nearly $3 million to federal candidates, with three-quarters of the money going to Republicans, according to the campaign finance group. The companies spent about $3.5 million to influence the 2008 elections and it appeared likely that they would surpass that figure this year.
In addition, the industry has spent more than $24 million on lobbying since the beginning of 2009, nearly as much as it spent in 2007-8. Coal companies, in partnership with utilities and manufacturers under the banner of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, have spent more than $15 million on advertisements extolling the virtues of coal and seeking support for federal money for research into cleaner methods of burning it.
This is exactly how the Coal Industry highlights a modern American disgrace. Unfortunately there are many in our country who place the value of a human life at $250 a head while they place the value of brainwashing America into electing folks that will allow them to continue business as usual for business in the millions. They do not even want reasonable regulation or protection for anyone and only seek to regulate and protect all the money they are hording away from the very people who work for those profits.
It is equally disgraceful that the media enables them with such tools as talk radio and Fox News. Americans too are culpible in that many of them refuse to really find out themselves what is going on and too easily believe anything they hear or see no matter what the source. Often they are too wrapped up in vilifying those that they do not understand that they are easily whipped into fear over things that simply do not exist in reality.
Which brings me around to the saddest part and the ultimate disgrace. If Americans truly put a value of $250 on their own lives, and the lives of those that they love how are they ever going to care enough about anything to really demand the kind of change that will save this country from the fate it has chosen for itself in the last several decades??