After the Sept. 11 attacks, Congress passed a law requiring plants that use or store explosives or high-risk chemicals to file reports with the Homeland Security Department so it can increase security at such facilities. That requirement includes any plant with more than 400 pounds of ammonium nitrate, but a Homeland Security official said that West Fertilizer had not filed such a report, even though it had 1,350 times that amount. The plant is not on the department’s list of 4,000 facilities with high-risk chemicals, and one official said it might have been placed on that list if it had filed a report....But the Tea Party has no problem with this. After all, we don't want to do anything to inhibit the "rights" of a faceless corporation to make as much money as possible--and send it to Congress to grease the wheels. As pointed out by Robert Reich,
OSHA officials, meanwhile, acknowledged that they had last inspected the plant 28 years ago. Agency officials said the plant did not fall into its priority categories based on prior inspections, a lack of worker complaints and because it was not classified as high risk by the E.P.A.
Paul Orum, a consultant on chemical safety, said a major shortcoming in the system of regulating chemical plants is the reliance on self-reporting. If a company like West Fertilizer fails to file a required report or misreports the risks it faces, it is often hard for agencies, with their budgetary constraints and overstretched staffs, to catch such errors. In its 2011 Risk Management Plan filed with the E.P.A., West Fertilizer did not check the box saying the plant might face a risk of fire or explosion.
When regressives have wanted to repeal a law, they reduce or eliminate funding to enforce it -- not only OSHA, but the Securities and Exchange Commission (which lacks funding to enforce the new Dodd-Frank law and other securities regulations), and the Affordable Care Act (which lacks funding even to implement it). It's also a regressive means of demonstrating the government's alleged incompetence, since Washington is incapable of doing what it is supposed to do because it lacks the personnel to implement and enforce the law.The anti-government "regressives", as Reich has dubbed them, also substantially overlap with the Christian right. They wrap themselves in the flag and carry a cross while blaming the poor for being poor. Here's an excellent essay on their fundamental hypocrisy
I guess because I'm a philosophical Christian rather than a theological one, I may have a different slant on this, but I find it particularly reprehensible and hypocritical when people who claim to be religious don't simply fail to satisfy one of the basic tenets of their professed belief system but actively denigrate it.(H/T co-blogger Ann).
And if I ever become famous enough to merit it, I hereby give cartoonists permission to draw me at the Pearly Gates, with a bunch of these heartless "Christians" approaching, saying to St. Peter, "No, no, wait a minute. I wanna watch this."
Because I want to be there when they say, "When did we see you hungry, Lord, and yet told you it was your own damn fault and gave you a kick in the ass?"
Compassion, charity and empathy with the less fortunate are keys to every major organized religion. Every one. Without exception.
I don't know the Greek or the Aramaic or whatever, but, however it is translated, it comes down to the fact that God gives us ample opportunities to behave with decency, that he puts before us example after example, and that, if you believe all this stuff, he's not going to accept "I didn't see it" as an excuse.
And if it is okay for people to live next to a fertilizer plant, if it is okay for them to work two jobs and still not be able to clothe and feed and house their families, if it is okay for them to be without health care, if it is okay for them to be isolated, malnourished and alone in their old age, then it should also be okay for the middleclass to live that way, and for the wealthy.
But, of course, we never saw it, Lord.
Not our fault.
Not our responsibility.