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No OSHA Inspections at Texas Plant in 5 Years
#1

No OSHA Inspections at Texas Plant in 5 Years: Are We Doing Enough to Protect Workplace Safety?


Video here

In the wake of the deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant, reporter Mike Elk of In These Times magazine joins us to discuss the plant's safety record and the troubling regulatory environment for workplaces in Texas and nationwide. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has not inspected West Fertilizer Co. in five years, and the EPA fined the plant in 2006 for failing to have a risk management plan. Elk says OSHA is understaffed and underfunded nationwide, across all industries.

http://www.commondreams.org/video/2013/04/18-0
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#2
On the Chris Hayes MSNBC program tonight it was said that OSHA hasn't inspected the plant since 1985. Big government for the wealthy, serfdom for the bottom 97-99%. Wars and hands for "Mammon", crumbs & water for the rest of us.
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#3
Kenneth Kapel Wrote:On the Chris Hayes MSNBC program tonight it was said that OSHA hasn't inspected the plant since 1985. Big government for the wealthy, serfdom for the bottom 97-99%. Wars and hands for "Mammon", crumbs & water for the rest of us.

A fertilizer plant has very similar chemicals to some explosive plants [obvious, as many bombers have built their own fertilizer-bombs]. To NOT inspect such a plant every year, at minimum, is sheer stupidity and shows the complete upside-down priorities in America now. Having such a plant adjacent to an old-persons home is also stupidity of a high order! America was never even close to the perfection and #1 status of its own mythology and propaganda - but from being a reasonably liveable nation [with hope] to a total ruin [with no hope left] I have watched it fall in my lifetime. Yes, it is the 'overclass' IMHO which has driven this ruination while they have become even more powerful and thousands of times richer; the rest of us....flushed down the toilet.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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#4
Peter Lemkin Wrote:
Kenneth Kapel Wrote:On the Chris Hayes MSNBC program tonight it was said that OSHA hasn't inspected the plant since 1985. Big government for the wealthy, serfdom for the bottom 97-99%. Wars and hands for "Mammon", crumbs & water for the rest of us.

A fertilizer plant has very similar chemicals to some explosive plants [obvious, as many bombers have built their own fertilizer-bombs]. To NOT inspect such a plant every year, at minimum, is sheer stupidity and shows the complete upside-down priorities in America now. Having such a plant adjacent to an old-persons home is also stupidity of a high order! America was never even close to the perfection and #1 status of its own mythology and propaganda - but from being a reasonably liveable nation [with hope] to a total ruin [with no hope left] I have watched it fall in my lifetime. Yes, it is the 'overclass' IMHO which has driven this ruination while they have become even more powerful and thousands of times richer; the rest of us....flushed down the toilet.

From what I have read, they have had no complaints since 2006, when inspectors did visit and took care of the problem. I also read that besides the production of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer, there were large stockpiles of anhyrous ammonium (anhydrous means without water) which, when mixed with air forms an explosive compound. There was a fire which firemen were attending to before the explosion, and it is possible that heat from this fire might have set off the explosion.

Adele
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#5
Deregulation = markets will regulate themselves. Yes, that old hoary neo-liberal squeeze your eyes shut, place fingers in ears and whistle while you make more profit claptrap.

As we have seen in this instance, deregulation means kabooooom!

Will it be written off as an accident, or will those guilty for not responsibly taking care of the environment in what is a dangerous plant, be arrested and charged with manslaughter?
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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#6
David Guyatt Wrote:Deregulation = markets will regulate themselves. Yes, that old hoary neo-liberal squeeze your eyes shut, place fingers in ears and whistle while you make more profit claptrap.

As we have seen in this instance, deregulation means kabooooom!

Will it be written off as an accident, or will those guilty for not responsibly taking care of the environment in what is a dangerous plant, be arrested and charged with manslaughter?

The fundamentalist free market alternative to deregulation is "offshoring jobs" to nations with non-existest regulation, aka multinational colonisation.

That Chicago School wet dream gave us Bhopal.

The model reserved for north America and Europe gave us the Texan inferno.
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
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#7

An Explosion the Media Ignores: The Texas Fertilizer Plant Disaster Cannot Be Forgotten


by Mike Elk

[Image: texas_west.jpg]The remains of an apartment complex next to the fertilizer plant that exploded yesterday afternoon on April 18, 2013 in West, Texas. According to West Mayor Tommy Muska, around 14 people, including 10 first responders, were killed and more than 150 people were injured when the fertilizer company caught fire and exploded, leaving damaged buildings for blocks in every direction. (Photo: Getty Images)On Friday, as cable news networks sought desperately to fill airtime while waiting for the latest news in the aftermath of the Boston bombings, a friend asked me, "How come there's no manhunt for the owner of the Texas factory, which did far more damage than the Boston bombers?" He was right to wonder.
The explosion of the West Fertilizer Company plant on April 17 in West, Tex., killed 14 people, injured more than 160 and destroyed dozens of buildings. Yet unlike its fellow tragedy in Boston, the Texas plant explosion began to vanish from cable TV less than 36 hours after it occurred. Marquee correspondents like Anderson Cooper were pulled out of West and sent back to Boston, and little airtime was spared for updates from Texas, even as many nearby residents remained unaccounted for. The networks seemed to decide covering two big stories was covering one too many, as if we journalists can't chew gum and walk at the same time. The media's neglect has greatly increased the danger that the explosion will quickly be forgotten, to the detriment of U.S. workers.
The coverage so far of the Texas disaster is a far cry from the gold bar of workplace safety reporting, set by Walter Cronkite in 1968 following the Farmington mine explosion, in which 78 miners were killed. Then, Cronkite camped out for four days in a field in the middle of winter and provided in-depth stories on the mine explosion and its aftermath. Cronkite's impassioned journalism is widely credited by workplace safety advocates as inspiring the passage of the first federal mine safety legislation: the 1969 Coal Mine Health and Safety Act. Since the legislation was enacted, fatal coal mining accidents have plummeted from 311 deaths in 1968 to just 19 deaths in 2012.
Over the years, though, the media have not kept up Cronkite's dogged reporting on workplace safety or workers at all. Indeed, a recent study by Texas State University's journalism school found that labor reporting accounted for less than 0.3 percent of all pieces aired collectively by ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC in 2008, 2009 and 2011. The decline in coverage has created a media environment in which companies feel like they can get away with massive safety violations because there will be little scrutiny from the media and the public. For instance, in 2010, an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia killed 29 miners. In the year leading up to the explosion, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the mine was cited 458 times for safety violations, with 50 of those violations being "for willful or gross negligence" a rate nearly five times the national average for a single mine. But after the disaster, this information and the story of the mine disaster vanished from the national discourse, and new mine safety legislation failed to pass even a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
For those of us who covered the Upper Big Branch explosion and have continued to report its investigation three years later, many of us fear that once again knowledge of why a massive workplace disaster occurred knowledge that could save lives in the future will be kept out of the public discourse because the media simply won't cover it. Has a single worker employed at the fertilizer plant been interviewed on cable TV? Where are the crowds of reporters trying to find the owner of the plant? And what about experts being rolled out to discuss what caused the explosion and how those responsible for this disaster will face justice?
After all, while it remains difficult to deduce what may have been the motives of the alleged Boston bombers, it is not so difficult to postulate what was behind the explosion at the West Fertilizer Company's plant: the failure to follow the science of workplace safety. The plant had 1,350 times the legally allowed amount of highly explosive ammonium nitrate, yet hadn't informed the Department of Homeland Security of the danger. Likewise, the fertilizer plant did not have sprinklers, shut-off valves, fire alarms or legally required blast walls, all of which could have prevented the catastrophic damage done. And there was little chance regulators would learn about the problems without the company reporting them: Not only had the Occupation Safety and Health Administration not inspected the plant since 1985, but also, due to underfunding, OSHA can only inspect plants like the one in West on average once every 129 years.
So why is it that the media choose to cover around the clock a terrorist bombing that killed fewer people and is extremely rare, while all but ignoring an industrial explosion that killed more people, is far more common and is far easier to prevent? Aaron Albright, who worked on failed mine safety legislation in the wake of the Upper Big Branch mine as an aide to Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), joked on Twitter that the media opted to focus almost exclusively on the Boston bombings because the two stories were like "CSI/Mission Impossible vs.[a] PBS documentary." The story of alleged terrorists with Chechen links seems far more exotic and threatening than the story of a workplace disaster that would have been preventable if the company followed the rules.
Yet, death in the workplace is a much more real possibility for almost all Americans than death at the hands of a terrorist. In 2011, 4,609 Americans were killed in workplace accidents while only 17 Americans died at the hands of terrorists about the same number as were crushed to death by their televisions or furniture. One could argue that terrorists get more attention because they intentionally aim to kill people, but disasters like at Upper Big Branch are also the result of companies violating workplace safety laws.
With so many lives at stake, it is the duty of the media to, at the very least, dedicate as much reporting to West, Tex., as we do Boston. Indeed, the imbalanced coverage, some would argue, could have negative consequences across the board. As Ken Ward Jr., of the Charleston Gazette, who has covered the Upper Big Branch mine explosion more than other than any other reporter, tweeted "Terrorists want media attention, so we give it to them. Unsafe industries don't want media attention so we give that to them."
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/04/23-11
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#8

Amy Goodman: Texas Blast a Form of Industrial Terrorism

Why is it that when it comes to Texas, we know so little?'

Video here


Current TV's John Fugelsang talks with "Democracy Now!" journalist Amy Goodman about the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, that has killed at least 14 people and injured more than 200. Goodman says the media has paid more attention to the Boston bombing than the Texas tragedy.
"We are talking about a case, in a sense, of industrial terrorism. Not a bomb put at a corporation, but a corporation that so undervalued the lives of the people who work there and the community, that we're talking about what? more than four times the number of people died in West, Texas," she says.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#9

Texas responder to fertilizer blast arrested on pipe bomb charge




By Lisa Maria Garza
DALLAS | Fri May 10, 2013 6:38pm EDT

(Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors charged a paramedic, one of the first to respond to a deadly explosion last month in the Texas town of West, with unlawful possession of pipe bomb components, but authorities said no evidence linked the charge to the fertilizer plant disaster.
Bryce Reed, 31, appeared at federal court in Waco, Texas, on Friday, where he faced one count of unlawfully possessing an unregistered destructive device. He did not enter a plea, said Daryl Fields, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in the Western District of Texas.
Local police said there was no known connection between Reed's charges and the April 17 explosion that killed 14 people and injured about 200 others.
Friday's developments brought no clarity as to what exactly happened the day of the blast that gutted an apartment complex, damaged a nursing home and demolished dozens of homes.
"No evidence has been uncovered to indicate any connection to the events surrounding the fire and subsequent explosion at the West fertilizer plant and the arrest," the McLennan County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
The paramedic, whose home was one of many destroyed by the blast, had recounted afterward in interviews with Reuters how he helped people evacuate the area and went on to respond as a volunteer at the disaster scene until he learned a close friend was among the dead.
He emerged as one of the better-known faces of the tiny Texas town and spoke by video at an April 25 memorial service in Waco attended by President Barack Obama.
A call to Reed's cellphone went unanswered on Friday and Reed's wife, Brittany, said in a text message she could not comment. His attorney did not respond to requests for comment.
Reed, who was arrested Thursday, is being held without bail and is due in court on May 15, according to court papers.
Federal prosecutors said in court papers they had responded to a home in Abbott, Texas, where they found a section of pipe 3-1/2 inches long and 1-1/2 inches in diameter, end caps, fuses and explosive powder. The resident of that home, whom they did not identify, told police the components came from Reed.
If convicted, Reed faces up to 10 years in prison.
CAUSE OF BLAST STILL UNCLEAR
The state fire marshal's office has said that ammonium nitrate stored at the plant detonated in the explosion but it has not been able to pin down the cause of the fire and blast.
State officials on Friday ordered the Texas Rangers to join McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara in a criminal investigation into the blast.
"This disaster has severely impacted the community of West, and we want to ensure that no stone goes unturned and that all the facts related to this incident are uncovered," said Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Reed told Reuters last month that he had been a paramedic for 13 years and that he had worked in combat zones overseas as a contract paramedic.
He had been employed as a paramedic at Children's Medical Center of Dallas since January 7, hospital spokeswoman Kay Jackson said on Friday. She said he had been on leave from the hospital since April 3, before the plant fire and explosion.
On the night of the explosion, Reed and his wife were listening to music at their home when they heard the town's siren and jumped into their truck to warn people nearby, they said in a later interview.
"Get your kids and go!" the couple said they yelled at residents of an apartment complex near the plant. They said they were about 50 to 75 yards from the plant when the blast rocked their vehicle.
The force of the destructive blast blew the doors off their home and filled their two-year-old daughter's bedroom with shards of glass, Reed said.
"Had she been in there, she'd be dead," he said. "We've lost everything. But my family is alive and that's enough for me."
But Reed lost his closest friend, volunteer firefighter Cyrus Reed, in the incident. The two were not related.
"I can think of no better way to allow my brother to pass on than to take comfort[Image: icon1.png] in knowing that he died doing what he loved," Reed said in the video played at the April 25 memorial.
But it appears the losses wrought by the blast and criticism Reed had faced after giving a number of media interviews took a toll on him in recent weeks.
In a series of Facebook posts this week, Reed insisted he had not profited off the tragedy.
"I am broken inside and out and can't take this," he said in a post on Monday. A day later, he followed with, "People I am doing my BEST to hold myself together, but please for the love of God quit picking me apart."
(Additional reporting by Corrie MacLaggan, Colleen Jenkins and David Ingram.; Editing by Scott Malone, Grant McCool and Philip Barbara)
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/1...LH20130510
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#10
There's something odd and strange about this whole thing. The explosion itself and the arrest of the first responder. There's just a feeling tone that somethings not right...
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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