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The Chemical Plant Explosion in Texas Is Not an Accident. It's the Result of Specific Choices


#1

The Chemical Plant Explosion in Texas Is Not an Accident. It's the Result of Specific Choices.

Charles P. Pierce

So, conservative ideas have triumphed in Texas. A business-friendly environment has been created, based on free-market principles, deregulation, and a return to 10th amendment freedoms just as the Founders designed them, because the best government is the one that is closest to the people.

Basic chemistry doesn't care, via NBC News:


#2

Notably, corporate capture of all the putatively protective agencies: EPA, OSHA, FDA, FEMA, ETCA (etcetera agencies) was nearly complete under Obama. Trump is just the toxic icing on the huuuge cake of environmental injustice.

Obama’s handling of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe displayed utter corruption early in his first term: establishing a new benchmark in the tradition of never holding elite predators accountable by handing over all recovery and retribution responsibilities to the malefactor BP.

And if you think Democratic California sets a good example compared to Republican Texas, take a hard look at our polluter-colluding Cap ‘n’ Trade travesty, and think again. The USA’s war against Life on Earth is bipartisan. How extreme does it have to get before the revolt is triggered? Maybe a hurricane twice as destructive, accompanied by a domestic Bhopal and Fukushima. But that’s probably too optimistic.


#3

Texas: Poster child for regressive politics!


#4

I get so annoyed when an author, such as Pierce, writes a stupid statement that a business-friendly environment, such as he supposes for Texas, is based on “free market” principles. Such a statement displays Pierce’s utter ignorance of basic economics.

Below is an explanation from a videotaped interview of Prof. Micheal Hudson of how “…the original free market thinking of its founders Adam Smith and J.S. Mill…” were inverted (by Milton Friedman and the University of Chicago), resulting in the current rentier class of predators who control the financial services industry.

The idea of ‘free market’ to classical economics was to bring prices in line with the actual technologically necessary costs of production… Monopolies were either to be regulated to keep their prices in line with the actual costs – like America regulates the bills that electrical utilities can charge – or, that most monopolies would be, as in Europe, kept in the public domain and operated as public utilities. And if there was something basic like education, or roads, these should be provided freely in order to minimise the economy’s cost of production, and make it more competitive. This was the whole philosophy of the industrial revolution, and it was the ‘free market’ idea that the Classical economists had. […]

But [the modern] idea of a ‘free market’ was free for predators. Free for monopolists. Free for landlords to gouge whatever rents they could get, and to free themselves from taxation, so that the government had to tax labour and to tax industry. And the result is that the American economy today under the so-called ‘free market’ has such a high cost of living, and a high cost of production, that labour can’t compete internationally. That’s why America’s balance of trade has moved so far into deficit.

So ‘free market’ is what is killing the American economy and it’s not free at all… not the kind of ‘free market’ that Adam Smith talked about.


#5

Most of the gas and chemical business in Texas is multi-national companies. The largest oil refinery in Texas is owned by Saudi Arabia. None of them give a thought about the people of Texas or the environment.


#6

Found this on facebook:

John Wallach This is way worse than just one chemical plant explosion. And this one may be my favorite, which is to say, the one that pushes me under the bed the furthest. On Galveston Island, there is the Galveston National Laboratory, which is part of the University of Texas Medical Branch. This laboratory contains some of the most deadly biological agents found in the known world, many of them of the airborne variety. It contain several Bio-Safety Level 4 labs, which are basically the places where plagues are studied. And here’s the thing, as HuffPost explains—nobody knows what’s going on there at the moment:

There has been almost no news from Galveston as journalists have reported being blocked from reaching the island because of severe flooding. There has been no reporting at all on the condition of the lab. A call to the laboratory on Tuesday immediately went to voicemail.
Here’s a professor with some happy news.

But the generators run on fuel that would have to be replenished. It is not known if the lab is accessible to emergency crews to refuel the generators, which are stored on the roof, according to the 2008 Times piece. “As I see it the existential problem is this: What happens if and when the fuel for the back-up generators runs out?” asked University of Illinois professor Francis Boyle, an expert in biological weapons. “The negative air pressure that keeps (the) bugs in there ends. And (the) bugs can then escape.”


#7

I have worked in the corporate world long enough (30+ years) to state credibly the following:

To Businesses: Regulations = Non-Free-Market Costs which impedes executive or owner greed
To the Public: Regulations = Prevention and Protection from higher risks of harm.
To the State of Texas: Regulations = Damper on business and tax revenue, increased monitoring costs.

Fact: Without regulations, you will always be dealing with nasty (and often deadly) after-effects, including clean-up, human tragedy, and suffering, whether the unregulated risk was product, public health, environmental or financial. And many times the after-effects are irreversible over the length of the average person’s lifespan. Rivers are killed, people are sickened and diseased, families are bankrupted and destroyed.

The Akema plant is another example, like the West fertilizer plant, or, on a larger and different scale the financial collapse of 2008 of unregulated but quite preventable disasters.


#8

Excellent piece, as usual
"…They could be hoarding nerve gas in that place, and be perfectly within the law not to tell anybody about it…". After the fertilizer plant in West, Texas exploded 4 years ago, the Texas A.G. (now, of course, governor) gave petrochemical and related operations the right to NOT disclose the contents of their facilities.


#9

yeah, he should be saying “laissez-faire.”


#10

“It’s the result of specific choices,” and "…not an accident…"
Precisely.
Specific choices are made easy ones by ZERO f*cking regulation, all over the country.


#11

I don’t disagree with what you say, but this is what the libertarians call it, a free market. Which it is for them, they don’t pay for the harm they cause others. To them there should be no rules or laws regulating businesses, a market completely free from any restraint.
The author is merely using their term.