The environmental catastrophe unfolding in East Palestine, Ohio has helped remove doubt about withdrawing misplaced faith in a failing system. The repeated bold-faced lying of officials, from EPA Administrator Regan to Ohio Governor DeWine and Transportation Secretary Buttigieg, has laid bare Democrats’ appalling indifference to the preservation of the natural world. All of the statements and actions by the industry and their puppets have made the indifference, contempt and hostility of the political class and their donors toward poor and working class Americans, not only perfectly obvious, but impossible to ignore. While God fearing, tax paying, rule following citizens continue obeying laws that are selectively enforced and naively asking their representatives to “do something about this,” the industrialists who own those politicians are slowly killing our children and laughing all the way to the bank.
Anyone remotely close to Ground Zero East Palestine knows that their loved ones are under attack, that the criminals responsible are lying right to their faces, and the responses predictably benefit those in power. Does anybody honestly expect daddy government to come and take care of them at this late stage of the game? Recent polls suggest that a majority are indeed savvy to the harsh reality that Daddy Government only caters to rich donors. Those in power can be depended upon to look the other way as long as they’re getting paid to. That means they’re complicit in helping these companies poison you and everyone you know.
Many Americans are beginning to discover that peaceful protest only works if your enemy has a conscience.
The people of East Palestine (and surrounding affected areas) are rightfully very pissed off right now, because they know they’re being lied to. They’re puking blood while bureaucrats tell them the air is clean. Jackals are swooping in with gaslight fairy tales written by criminal negligence. The locals are getting sicker and sicker and are well aware that the regulators and politicians are in the back pocket of big business.
When criminals write laws, people of conscience must stop cooperating. Lest they become criminals as well by aiding and abetting criminal activity through the implied consent of perpetual silence. The Nuremberg defense that “I was just following orders” has never been an adequate one and those who used it in the trial for which it is named were hung for their complacency. On the ethical question of who ultimately bears the karmic weight between the executioner and his political bosses who order the executions, courts have historically ruled against the former.
But what are we supposed to do about it?
Friedrich Nietzche famously observed that, “To predict the behavior of ordinary people in advance, you only have to assume that they will always try to escape a disagreeable situation with the smallest possible expenditure of intelligence.” The oligarchs running the country know this as well. And they test the obedience of their citizen subjects daily through our willingness to act against our own interests.
Anger is the appropriate response to violation. There is nothing more fearsome than a mother bear defending her young, but human society has become so inundated with propaganda messaging that we’ve actually been conditioned to feel shame and guilt for having an angry response to a violation. Our politically correct corral has cowed the surfs into thinking we aren’t “allowed” to get upset about injustice because that’s just unnecessary “negativity.” By this logic, poisoning entire regions isn’t considered negative, but calling out the fact that it happened is.
Americans’ pathological aversion to conflict has caused us to conflate cowardice with pacifism.
What are you supposed to do when your family are suffering and dying from untreatable illnesses that were deliberately imposed into the environment by greedy executives who then profit from the disaster? If someone comes into a house with a weapon and looking to rob and rape, are the residents of that home not allowed to defend themselves? And if so, what about when a corporation robs them of their health and finances and future?
MORE REGULATIONS WON’T SOLVE ANYTHING
The problem isn’t that there aren’t enough laws. The problem is they’re selectively enforced. Writing more laws disproportionately impacts small businesses and the non-wealthy. Mafioso oligarchs and corporate criminals have no respect for existing laws, and they aren’t about to obey new laws that don’t favor their interests. And when regulators have done their job and taken the maximum actions they’re allowed by law against the big companies responsible for horrible disasters and deliberate exploitation, nobody ever goes to jail. Instead, companies are given relatively inconsequential fines that amount to nothing more than a drop in the bucket – the cost of doing business – and the wheels of industry keep chugging right along. Since industry began infiltrating and capturing regulatory agencies, the revolving door policy corrupts regulatory power as a matter of standard policy.
The system isn’t broken. It’s fixed.
As this system is currently structured, nobody in power has any obligation to follow any of the laws, whether its cops, judges, lawyers, politicians or corporations. If your neighbor decides to burn a pile of tires on their property, the enforcement boot of the state would show up instantly to stomp on their throat. But a railroad corporation is allowed to do something thousands of times as harmful and maybe pay a little fine later on down the line.
Why do the citizens of the “freest country in the world” continue to bear the brunt of such evident tyranny?
If a poor food service worker makes a mistake on their income taxes (which are unlawful to begin with), they’re smashed in the face with a sledgehammer and branded a “tax cheat” while huge companies like Verizon and General Electric don’t pay a cent into the same kitty. If citizens continue to remain calm and follow the rules of this rigged game while their children literally puke blood, the criminals have already won.
We cannot solve these problems politically. We got here by thinking that the citizen’s obligation to the management of their communities begins and ends in the voting booth. It doesn’t. Industry controls the outcome of every election by donating to both mainstream political parties. It’s not broken. It’s fixed. And we must stop voting ourselves further into tyranny.
Citizens must stop pretending we can solve our problems incrementally or by piecemeal reform when all the levers of democratic power have been seized by snakes in suits.
Cancer cells can only thrive in our bodies when our immune systems drop the ball and fail to identify and exterminate them. In exactly the same way, America’s metaphorical immune system of the warrior class has been severely weakened by decades of endless wars that have sent the defenders of our communities overseas to fight and die at the behest of the same corporate forces now attacking the midwest. Those who had the instinct to protect their homes and survived that effort came back so broken that huge numbers of them took their own lives. How can communities defend themselves now? The cancer of corporatism has completely taken over the country, just like Thomas Jefferson said it would.
Train workers have voiced concern for years and even predicted something like this would happen. And it doesn’t take an advanced degree in engineering to understand that heavier trains carrying longer loads with fewer employees on tracks that aren’t being maintained properly constitutes a perfect-storm recipe for disaster. When railroad workers planned a strike to get the word out about these concerns, the Biden Administration passed legislation to stop them.
According to Free West Media,
“US commentators also point to a possible link between the train disaster and the ongoing conflict between US railroad workers’ unions and the Biden administration. The unions have been on strike for months, one of the main reasons being rationalization measures associated with the acronym PSR: Precision Scheduled Railroading. According to railroad workers, PSR results in fewer staff, less maintenance, fewer vacation days, longer trains and questionable business practices, with railroad companies being forced to keep their trains moving as much as possible for profit reasons.”
But Biden is just the latest Wall Street puppet to sit ceremoniously in the Oval Office. Both corporate parties did this over a period of the past three decades at the behest of the unified engine of industry that has seized control of the government by paying off both sides. Both wall-street sponsored teams bear responsibility for the mushroom cloud of poison death, including Biden, Trump, and Obama. Administration after administration characterized by industry lobbying and deregulation. There used to be a law requiring the labeling and declaration of hazardous materials on transportation manifests, but the industry lobbied congress to get that law nixed. Train 32N that derailed in East Palestine, Ohio was carrying highly toxic chemicals that nobody in a position of power was aware of because it wasn’t declared; it wasn’t declared because the industry had successfully lobbied congress to remove the requirement. And these aren’t partisan decisions.
Norfolk Southern gave millions of dollars to dozens of politicians in key strategic locations to exert maximum and absolute influence over the governing policies. The result yielded mass layoffs amid share buybacks and executive bonuses. It’s also part of the reason Norfolk Southern exists as a regional monopoly. Nobody can compete with them. And while they bragged about electronic braking systems to excite their shareholders, they simultaneously fought against government regulations requiring them.
Interestingly, the Bezos-owned Washington Post could not find “a single regulatory change made by the Trump administration [that] caused the derailment to happen.” Of the several administrative decisions analyzed by Glenn Kessler, the only one that’s even remotely relevant has to do with Electronically Controlled Pneumatic brakes (ECP). While it is true that the Trump Administration’s Department of Transportation found the costs of EPC brakes “outweighed the benefits,” the liberal WaPo shares the conclusions made by the current NTSB Chairwoman:
NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy said on Twitter that the repealed rule was not relevant to the accident. “The ECP braking rule would’ve applied ONLY to HIGH HAZARD FLAMMABLE TRAINS. The train that derailed in East Palestine was a MIXED FREIGHT TRAIN containing only 3 placarded Class 3 flammable liquids cars,” she wrote. “This means even if the rule had gone into effect, this train wouldn’t have had ECP brakes.”
And while it is certainly true that Trump bragged quite a bit to industry donors about his administration’s efforts to remove the pesky burden of regulations, it’s also true that his predecessor bragged about it too:
“Now there’s no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary or too costly. In fact I have approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my republican predecessor did in his. I’ve ordered every federal agency to eliminate rules that don’t make sense. We’ve already announced over 500 reforms and just a fraction of them will save business and citizens over ten billion dollars over the next five years.” ~President Obama
Even if these political players were conceivably honest, Buttigeig and the Biden Bros are powerless to regulate these companies because these companies have bought and sold the US government and all its puppet politicians 100 times over for countless years. The last time Biden was at the helm was after the Citibank memo, where bankers decided and directed every cabinet position within the Obama White House. Webster Tarpley observed in 2009 that never before in the history of the country had an administration been composed entirely of and exclusively from the Wall Street ilk.
VOTING HARDER DOESN’T WORK
Waving pom-poms for either side of the Coke/Pepsi dog-and-pony show is no longer acceptable for anyone sincerely interested in solving the problems of this failed state.
When the twin towers collapsed into their own footprint in 2001, George “Dubya” Bush was on the scene three days later. Yet, the worst ecological disaster in American history wasn’t worth a presidential visit in 2023. Instead, Biden went the other direction and left the country. Then later he couldn’t recall whether he’d spoken to the mayor of East Palestine or not.
Biden’s Administration have ignored the crisis in Ohio and daily make their priorities clear by not even mentioning it. In fact, when the crisis initially reared its ugly head, Joe Biden’s handlers got him out of the United States, launching his demented face to Ukraine, scuttling him as far away as humanly possible while the toxic dioxin cloud began to settle over the east coast. Biden arrived in Ukraine to midwife the exchange of billions of dollars in foreign aid that could otherwise be spent assisting with the domestic disaster. Meanwhile, the presidential tweets and statements seem to reveal that the official POTUS handlers may not have even let him become aware of the tragedy, as every single statement uttered from the White House drips with inconsequential nonsense.
The job of a politician used to involve lying and cajoling the masses on behalf of huge corporate donors; to screw the masses over while simultaneously making the hoi polloi fond of the chosen politician. And though seemingly of good intentions, this new savior’s hands are always tied by the inequities of yesteryear’s leaders and bad decisions made by previous administrations. To secure votes, the politician’s job was to make the voters at least feel like their owners care about them. Donald Trump seems to still understand this, as evidenced by his gesture of delivering truckloads of supplies to the recently traumatized people of East Palestine, Ohio including pallets of water emblazoned with the Trump logo followed by free meals at McDonalds. Whether Mr. Trump sincerely empathizes with the people of Ohio seems less relevant than the fact that he’s at least making the effort. So the former president is doing a better PR job than the current boss, meaning Biden and the democrats won’t even act like corrupt politicians anymore. They’ve somehow mutated into something even lower.
We cannot solve this problem with the same level of thinking that created it.
The belief that we can outsource the management of our communities by electing venal politicians who consistently deliver similar results has led our civilization down a blind alley where we are led by the least capable and most corrupt among us. Unless and until we put appropriate pressure on the captains of industry who own the politicians through the legalized bribery laundering program of campaign financing, nothing can ever get better for America’s poor and working class.
As was the case with Wal-Mart’s dead peasant insurance policies, the corporate state profits off of our death free of consequence by paying the watchdogs to look the other way. Norfolk Southern lobbied the 2022 midterm elections with $1.8 million. Shortly after the East Palestine disaster, Michigan Governor Whitmer announced plans to give $15 million of taxpayer dollars to Norfolk Southern, officially so they can expand their operations. Undoubtedly the company could sure use the cash right now to help pay off those fines they’ll be on the hook for soon.
Governor DeWine too must act in the interests of Norfolk Southern, but so many people are afraid of having their reputation ridiculed by notions of “conspiracy theory.” The sobering fact remains that Governor DeWine is obligated to serve his donors. Industry captains bribe politicians to squash worker strikes. The system isn’t broken. It’s fixed.
There are no political solutions.
Railroad Workers United had planned a strike at the beginning of this year to protest this very problem, but the Biden Administration declared the strike illegal. More than ever our collective survival requires people of conscience disobey unjust laws written by irrational authorities.
It is the duty and obligation of relevant workers to stop this from happening anymore and to cease working until reforms are made. Resign your office. Abandon your post.
If employees know that showing up to work might cost thousands of innocent lives, it is their duty to stop the potential of further harm, and it is the responsibility of their colleagues to support them. If rail workers are armed with the knowledge that clocking in will permanently poison an entire ecosystem as well as the drinking water of millions of people, it would be inconceivable to show up for work until drastic changes occur, no matter what the legal consequences may be. Those in power made the general strike illegal for a reason. It remains the obligation of freedom loving people to defy unjust laws.
Communities can and ought to adopt local ordinances that make this kind of corporate pillaging impossible. East Palestine could adopt a temporary injunction on the rail, shutting it down until the cleanup has been completed and verified by third party companies lacking industry ties. They could supplant industry preemption clauses by implementing community ordinances with force that’s exerted by residents who are deputized to enforce the anti-corporate laws. There’s also been talk of nationalizing the rail in a similar way to the US Highway system.
But none of the good ideas can ever take root unless the barriers to reform are forcibly removed, and that’s never going to happen in the voting booth. Waiting for the world to get better every four years has consistently resulted in more corruption, more pollution, and more tyranny.
Status Coup News interviewed an East Palestine grandmother named Stella who told them the railroad is worth $58 billion:
“And they’ve already bought and paid for the government. They are the government. You know the billions of dollars that their lobbyists have spent buying our officials? … There is nobody to save us from this. We are going to be buried under a rock just like every other place that this ever happened to. And the ramifications from it are going to go way further than East Palestine. … We’re just another sacrifice that they’re willing to make.”
And now after nearly two months of ongoing reports from Ground Zero Ohio, the corporate media have stepped up the damage control efforts into full overdrive mode with a new round of Russiaphobia.
The Associated Press further minimize the situation by accusing anyone reporting the truth as an anti-American propaganda stooge attempting to destabilize the country through fear. If someone opposes the regime publicly the corporate media push their damage control operations into overdrive with ad hominem attacks accusing the disloyal sympathizer of betraying their country to America’s officially declared enemies, whether they be communists or terrorists or Russians. Even Bernie Sanders was accused of colluding with Russian interests and Rachel Maddow’s broadcast of fear made Russian attacks on North Dakotan infrastructure seem imminent: “What would happen if Russia killed the power in Fargo today?” When backed into a corner, corporate sociopaths triple down on their lies with easily disprovable logical fallacies, transparent political attacks and feeble misdirection. Among the most truly pathetic responses is the McCarthyite tendency.
Given the present late-stage of America’s infrastructural decay, and given the out-of-control greed exhibited by the captains of late-stage capitalism, and given the impotence of our bought-and-paid-for bureaucrats helpless to respond in the face of a crisis that was created by their campaign donors, this latest chapter in America’s ongoing disaster saga seems like a canary in the proverbial coal mine that if we choose to ignore, we do so at our peril. The people making the world worse have names and addresses. Since they own the mechanisms of enforcement, different kinds of incentives will be required if their behavior is ever to be adjusted.
In the context of bomb trains, it’s ultimately up to rail workers to defend the lives of their neighbors’ children and strike. Because the next toxic contamination could very easily happen in your back yard, and then it will be too late to protect your loved ones from exposure. Go on strike, for the love of God.