Thursday, March 09, 2023

Focus Blame

This is a bad discussion (short clip from it, below; full video, here)- telling, but bad. And as conservative David Urban would put it (though his target here is inappropriate, "there's plenty of blame to go around when these kinds of things happen."   This is short and incomplete:

Asked about the recent, infamous Norfolk Southern derailment, Nina Turner can be seen maintaining

And just one point. For the neo-liberals to say that the residents of that area deserve what they are getting because they voted for President Donald J. Trump is abhorrent. This is about poverty. This is about poor working class white people who are enduring some of the same things that working-class black people endure- whether it's Flint, Cleveland, or Jackson, Mississippi. . It's a sin and a shame that when people are suffering to this magnitude, you get people who will fix their mouths, to quote my grandmother, to say they are getting what they deserve.

Bash needed to challenge Turner on whom these "neo-liberals" are. I read multitudes of comments each day on Twitter, which is saturated with individuals whom Turner probably would classify as "neo-liberal" (though it's not completely clear exactly what she applies the label to). And the number of individuals I've seen stating or even implying that the residents of East Palestine have gotten what they deserve is between 1 and -1.

Though Bash continues the discussion, she does not ask Turner to name names but turns to Urban for his comments, which he begins with "there's plenty of blame to go around when these kinds of things happen."

Urban can suggest, reasonably, that none of the last three Presidents has clean hands, though Trump's are the dirtiest, Obama's the cleanest.  However, his remark is grossly misleading in an important way, with Vox's Jariel Arvin noting

Rail workers, government officials, and industry analysts have long warned that such disasters are an expected consequence of an industry that has aggressively cut costs, slashed its workforce, and resisted regulation for years....

Going back to shorter trains could also be beneficial, according to Ditmeyer. It would reduce internal forces and stresses within trains so derailments wouldn’t be as damaging. It would also effectively increase staffing per train car.

But the rail industry has been cutting its workforce for years despite turning record profits. Over the last six years, train companies cut 45,000 employees, 29 percent of their workforce. “In my view, all of this has directly contributed to where we are today — rail users experiencing serious deteriorations in rail service because, on too many parts of their networks, the railroads simply do not have a sufficient number of employees,” Martin Oberman, chair of the Surface Transportation Board, said in a statement last year.

Railroad companies are privately run and need regulations to fix their attention upon safety measures, sufficiency of employees, and even technological innovations  However, "free market" conservatives and their culturally conservative allies have worked tirelessly since the Reagan, if not the Carter, Administration to vilify the term "government regulation."  The failure of the regulatory regime is rooted in a lack of will and resources and the unwillingness of government officials and pundits to emphasize its importance.

While the GOP throughout the decades has aggressively pushed anti- government rhetoric which has encompassed a decided preference for deregulation, other politicians and pundits have failed to emphasize the importance of government regulation in a whole range of industries.

The mainstream media and even liberal media are not going to pick up on the importance of health and safety measures unless Democrats stress their value in the railroad industry and elsewhere.  With the decline over the generations of the labor movement, there has been little pressure to do so. Unfortunately, it appears that unless the LGBTQ+ community or the Congressional Black Caucus or its allies step up, there will remain little pressure on the Democratic Party to do what's necessary for consumers or the public.


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