SAGO: Republican Leadership = Less
If you don't remember Bush's upset in West Virginia in 2000, it's
likely you didn't work for the Al Gore campaign. Part of it was because the
coal industry favored Bush's hands off attitude opposed to Gore's green
stance. So, the coal industry backed Bush with big bucks. That's the way the
political wheel turns.
This is the foundation and legacy of Rove and Delay's K-Street project, of which
Jack Abramoff was the biggest shark in the tank. One of the things big business
pays Republicans for is fewer regulations on their businesses. Rush Limbaugh
and right-wing radio champion this hands off capitalism every day across America.
One of the ironies of blue collar America voting Republican is that it's actually against their own interests. The coal miners and their families learned it the hard way in Sago, as military families are learning it in Iraq. Let's just call it the great American awakening.
There's quite a ruckus between the blogs over the
Sago Mine calamity. But with all the knee jerk defensesiveness on the liberal side, against the obvious knee jerk
defensiveness on the right, everyone seems to be missing the obvious. It's really
simple, people. Republican
leadership, especially at the federal level, means less regulations, period.
ABRAMOFF AND SAGO: Maybe
there's a budding connection. What happens when coal executives spend lots
of money on Republican politicians? A looser regulatory and safety regime?
Kevin Drum lays out the potential political impact of this tragic story, and
my old friend, Clara Bingham, exposed the background last year. You want to
wean working class whites off the GOP? This horrible story might be of some
Shields over at MyDD has been under attack by Malkin, RedState & Co.,
which has caused him to become very defensive about a very reasoned argument
he made as the Sago tragedy unfolded. Shields explains over at RedState that he does “election/political
analysis,” though I'm not an expert on his postings, frankly. But
I must say that Shields did exactly what the wingnuts wanted him to do, he retreated.
Reacting and uncomfortable with being attacked, Shields said he is absolutely not blaming Bush for the Sago Mine collapse,
because he'd have to be a “paranoid lunatic” to write something like
that in a post.
Democrats need to quit recoiling at criticism, especially when
we are right. We do not need to be defensive about placing blame where it belongs.
Because if you don't think George W. Bush could have affected the regulations
in the coal mines then you just don't belong in the game of politics and you
simply haven't been paying attention.
Michelle Malkin, RedState & Co. can scream all they want,
but the fact remains that regulations are in place to save lives, but companies
like those in the coal industry don't like regulations. So, the coal industry lobbies,
elects Republicans, then gets the regulations nuked. Leon
over at RedState huffs and puffs, but only musters a belch, though his very
mention that a Dem blog is attacking Bush over Sago seems to be enough to send
everyone running for cover. In words these Republicans can understand, bring it on.
Nearly half of the 208 safety citations
levied in 2005 against the Sago coal mine where 12 men died this week were
“serious and substantial.”
Federal inspectors found 20 dangerous roof-falls, 14
power wire insulation problems, and three cases of inadequate ventilation
plans, among the 96 major violations.
Sago's “S&S” violations, which
rose fourfold in 2005 over 2004, form a pattern that worries safety experts,
who say it raises serious questions about mine management – and the efficacy
of government inspections.
Despite major safety strides in recent decades, mining
remains one of the nation's most dangerous jobs. And it's not unusual for
mines to be cited for violations of the 1977 Mine Safety Act. But Sago's record,
some say, should have raised red flags.
“If you have a widespread practice of
S&S violations over an extended period of time like we have here, it suggests
that you've got much more serious problems than just paperwork violations,”
says J. Davitt McAteer, a former official in the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
The reason Malkin, RedState & Co. are coming out so viciously,
attacking the modest Shields of MyDD, is that the Republicans cannot afford
the working class to get the message. That voting for Bush and other Republicans
means a vote for the corporation over the little guy. Voting Republican means
a vote for less regulations, less conservation, while certainly not meaning
less government or more effective government. It means handing corporations
windfall profits, while the working class and the poor, like those left to drown
during Katrina, are left holding the bag because the government can't respond
when only cronies and incompetents are left in charge.
If you want more evidence, just look at the Myers appointment
to protect our borders. It's a joke. Our current border crisis is Bush's fault
today, because he has a majority in Congress and can do something about it but
all he does is talk-talk-talk. It's pathetic. It is endangering us. It is wholly and completely irresponsible and a dereliction of duty by a commander in chief who is leaving the homeland vulnerable so he can wage war in Iraq. It is indefensible.
Rush and his crew like to wax philosophical about how the little
guy votes Republican because of the values, because even the little guy believes
he or she will be that rich entrepreneur some day. It's the American dream,
right? Hah! That's the bait, baby, now here's the switch. Your cheap, non union
labor will keep The Man in money, while you pay his bills and never get out
from under your own. The working class may vote Republican because they want
to be like Bush and the other big boys, hoping to cash in one day. But to cash
in you have to be alive, healthy and in good enough shape to enjoy it. If you're
working 100 hour weeks, doing back breaking work, with no regulations or benefits
to help you sustain your health, well, you aren't going to meet up with The
Man. You'll just be another poor schlub who bought into the bull and voted for the guy who was making your life harder, as you worked more hours for less pay, fewer benefits and a pension that was capped or went kaput.
Do you think Rush Limbaugh cares about working class coal miners?
Do you think Ken doll Sean cares about the conditions the coal miners work in or their safety? Did you read the
emails from Abramoff about the Indians? “Troglodytes” and “morons”
he called them.
So, Malkin, RedState, you want the truth? You can't handle the
truth, but here it is anyway, compliments of Crooks and Liars.
COLMES: You're saying this mine should
not have been open?
SPADARO: This mine should have been closed.
And there were too many serious violations. And the record is very clear.
COLMES: Why was it open then? If you, as a safety
expert, feels it should not have been, why was it open?
SPADARO: I think it's because of the current
Bush administration's policies toward mine operators and their reluctance
to take the strong enforcement action that's sometimes necessary. And that
often involves closing a mine.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Jack, let's not politicize
this! I mean, already, what do you want, to blame George Bush with this? Is
that where you're headed with this political question? I don't think this
is the time to go into that.
There certainly are issues. This mine was cited for
over 200 violations, 46 during an 11-week period late in the year. They've
been fined thousands of dollars. But I can't see an instance where it was
recommended that they close it.
SPADARO: Well, actually, there were three
orders to close portions of the mine that were issued in the October to the
December period. And there has been a significant change since the Bush administration
took over, the enforcement of mine safety and health.
And I can speak to that, because I worked
in the agency, and I talk with people every day who tell me that, in recent
years, and particularly in recent months, there's been a reluctance on the
part of the top management at the Mine Safety and Health Administration…
HANNITY: All right, you've got a political…
SPADARO: … to enforce the law.
HANNITY: We don't have time tonight to get into this,
nor do I think it's appropriate. But you clearly have a political agenda that,
if I had enough time, I'm sure I…
SPADARO: No. You called me and asked me to
make a comment.
HANNITY: I know, but I'm sure…
SPADARO: And I'm telling you what's…
HANNITY: You want to turn this into a political thing…
SPADARO: No, I'm telling you what the truth
HANNITY: … and we have families that are suffering
SPADARO: And that's the truth is that there
were 180 violations…
HANNITY: You want to blame George Bush…
SPADARO: … that were serious.
HANNITY: … like a lot of extreme left-wingers. All
right. Go ahead. You got your point out.
COLMES: Mr. Spadaro, I'm not sure that you have a
political point of view, but I do thank you very much for coming on the show
tonight. Thank you for your time.
Sean Hannity talking about not politicizing something? Puh-leaze.
Anytime you get Ken doll Sean in such a tizzy, you're on to something.
The truth is simple and we don't need to be defensive about it: Republican
leadership = less regulations. Could the Sago Mine disaster been prevented?
I have no idea. Was it a disaster waiting to happen? What do you think? Were
the Republicans who hold a monopoly on all branches of government that control
regulations going to put more controls in place to safeguard the miners? Absolutely
George W. Bush will have to live with Sago and pray over it. Added to the prayers he's already saying for his monumental screw up over Katrina, well, that should keep him busy and out of trouble for a while. And I hope Malkin, RedState & Co. finally get the message. I think it's clear enough for even them to understand.