Campaign Lesson #1- Fling Cadavers Early and Often

One of the most shameless aspects of Hurrican Katrina and the aftermath were the shameless accusations leveled by the most partisan of the Bush critics, best witnessed by this now thoroughly debunked bit of nonsense by Red Dan. While it was irritating enough that people would level charges like this with no idea as to whether or not they were accurate (“The levees failed because Bush cut the budget!”), but because it was clearly just an attempt to fling bodies at the President. That the vast majority of the accusations turned out to be complete nonsense is one thing- that people would exploit the suffering of others WHILE ARE STILL SUFFERING for nothing more than political advantage is inexcusable.

And that takes us to today, where only the tragedy and the date has changed, but the playbook remains the same for left-wing hacks:

How Bush Failed the Sago 13 by Scott Shields

I haven’t seen much discussion of it in the blogosphere, but there are 13 coal miners trapped under 260 feet of dirt right now in West Virginia. It’s worthy of discussion here because, once upon a time, these guys were the bread and butter of the Democratic Party — industrial workers doing hard labor to support their families. Now, they’re just as likely to vote Republicans on social issues as they are Democrats on pocketbook issues. But none of that really matters now. What matters now is that air quality tests are indicating very high levels of carbon monoxide in the mine. What matters now is that rescuers heard no response when then tried to contact the miners. What matters now is their families back on the surface.

Undoubtedly, some will criticize me for placing blame on President Bush here. [ed.- Aren’t you bold for bravely venturing forward, then? ] The defense will be that Bush didn’t cause the explosion that collapsed the mine. My response will be that he didn’t do anything to prevent it. In fact, if anything, the actions of his administration made the situation worse.

***

This morning, it’s come to the media’s attention that the Sago Mine “was cited 208 times for alleged safety violations in 2005.” The Labor Department has said that a whopping 96 of those citations were “significant and substantial.” In fact, some of them may have been directly related to the situation at hand.

As the AFL-CIO points out in their analysis of the 2006 budget, the President continues to underfund the MSHA, effectively freezing their enforcement budget. International Coal Group, the owners of the Sago Mine, claim they would have closed the mine if it had been deemed unsafe. Obviously, with 208 citations, 96 of them “significant and substantial,” it was deemed unsafe. But MSHA has no teeth and they know it, so they had nothing to fear in keeping it open.

I hope like hell those guys get out alive. I’m praying that they do. But things are not looking good right now. No matter what happens, when all is said and done, one thing is certain. The President’s unwillingness to do what’s right in the face of incoming checks from mining executives has made coal miners in less safe, whether they’re in Pennsylvania, Montana, or in Tallmansville, West Virginia.

And there you have it. A mere 30 hours+ after the explosion, with no idea what happened, no understanding how the accident happened, no idea whether it could be prevented, and most shamelessly, NO IDEA WHETHER THESE POOR MEN WILL EVER SEE SUNLIGHT AGAIN, and the idiot left is already flinging the corpses of these men at the President, hoping for political gain.

An hour south of me, thirteen fellow West Virginians are either dead or in great danger, and all some people can think about is how to use this to their advantage. If that doesn’t disgust you, nothing will.

*** Update ***

Title edited- Associating Shields with the DNC was bullshit and wrong. Shields is still an unrepentant prick for his comments, but he has nothing to do with the DNC.






147 replies
  1. 1
    DougJ says:

    I don’t know about any of you, but I think the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Blanco, Nagell, and Broussard.

    And where the hell is Sean Penn in all of this? He had all that time for his photo-op “rescues” in New Orleans, but where he is he when the miners need him? And Al Gore had time to fly his fat cat friends out of New Orleans but he’s as AWOL on this as he was in Vietnam.

    And the worst part is the librul MSM lets Blanco, Nagell, Broussard, Penn, and Gore get way with all of this.

  2. 2
    DougJ says:

    John: I’m sure you’ll say I queered the thread but it pisses me off when you write posts like that. IMHO, it’s every bit as offensive a bit of politicization as what you’re accusing the Dems of doing. I’m sure you don’t see it that way — and you can get angry and say whatever you like.

  3. 3
    Jeff B. says:

    Doug, for once – for once, for god’s sake – shut the fuck up and get the fuck out of this thread with your “queering” idiocy. At this point it seems you really have a problem. You can’t help yourself anymore.

  4. 4
    Blue Neponset says:

    Scott Shields doesn’t speak for the Democratic Party. When Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid say something like this I will agree with you that the Democrats have gone over the line.

  5. 5
    Brian says:

    I am interested to see how certain commenters here respond to your post. That this reaction happens so often, and in such a consistently inappropriate and untimely manner, shows how politically manipulative the Left has become, and how little they think of the intellgence of the American people. It’s very desperate behavior. Very desperate.

    I’m keeping tuned to the news on the Sago Mine situation. Our focus should of course remain on the safety of these miners and their families.

  6. 6
    texas dem says:

    eh… I’m tending more towards Scott Shields’ line of thinking than Cole’s. (as befits my status as a dem, I guess.)

    IF it’s true that the Bush Administration has significantly undercut safety standards in coal mines, and IF you have a big accident like this, it seems fair to wonder aloud if A is connected to B. Although I imagine I’d feel differently if the shoe were on the other foot and my enemies were using premises that I didn’t really believe to accuse me of things. So maybe this is one of those rules of civil discourse with opponents that doesn’t become obvious and necessary until you’ve been on both sides of it a couple of times.

    I’m sure Gingrich could have attributed dead people to Clinton’s distraction from his duties due to Monicagate fallout, and thereby made an argument for his removal from office (ie, expanding the Monicagate fallout). That would drive me nuts. I feel like this is different, but I don’t have enough experience to really trust my intuition here.

  7. 7
    Chris Johnson says:

    Well, DID Bush work to strip the government oversight of the ability to police such things?

    Forgive me if it turns out the poor man has devoted his life and civil service to the cause of protecting the worker from the consequences of Gilded Age-style industrial greed and irresponsibility…

    On the other hand, if he’s been devoting his life to protecting the corporations from consequences, isn’t it simply a dramatic but fair thing to say, and why not now rather than later?

  8. 8
    Brian says:

    I see that DougJ beat me out of the gate with this doozie:

    it’s every bit as offensive a bit of politicization as what you’re accusing the Dems of doing

  9. 9
    DougJ says:

    Jeff, look, I’m sorry, but John’s reaction here really pisses me off. I’m sure we can find some on the right who are blaming environmental laws for this, but what would be the point of that?

    The point is: we all want the miners to get out safely. Pointing out that some yahoo is saying something you don’t like about brings you down to the same level as that yahoo.

  10. 10
    Pooh says:

    Brian,

    This tactic should look familiar to you. No facts all spin…

    if ppGaz is here, this is why I think “Kos as the future” is a bad thing. It may be that this turns out to be Bush’s fault to some degree, but for fucks sake at least wait til after the funerals and what not. “BOOOOSH SUX” is not good enough, and hogpiling on this issue is just that. (IMHO, would be much more effective to hold our fire and talk about all these things at once in a coordinated manner closer to, I dunno, an election…and make sure wer’re right…)

  11. 11
    Brian says:

    Well, DID Bush work to strip the government oversight of the ability to police such things?

    Your question sort of supports the point of John’s post. Lots of questions, plenty of time to get answers. But in the meantime, can we please focus on the miners and knock off the political rhetoric? It only demonstrates that people like Shields don’t give a shining shit about the miners and only want to use them to support their political agitation against Bush. Just like Hollywood using an opportunist like Tookie Williams to agitate aganst the death penalty; they didn’t really give a damn about Tookie, they just wanted to use him.

  12. 12
    Brian says:

    Brian,

    This tactic should look familiar to you. No facts all spin…

    What sort of response is that?

  13. 13
    Ancient Purple says:

    Lots of questions, plenty of time to get answers. But in the meantime, can we please focus on the miners and knock off the political rhetoric?

    Okay. So, when will it be appropriate to raise questions? Care to set a firm date?

  14. 14
    DougJ says:

    You can always find some nut on one side or the other doing something like this. They don’t speak for their side. Not on this, not when Pat Robertson says Dover, PA should be struck down by God for voting out the creationists.

    And it’s fun to make fun of the extremists on the other side. Lord knows I know that. But I don’t think this is the time for that. This is a time to recognize that the vast majority of us all want only the same thing: the safety of these miners.

    If you can’t see that, you’re the one with a problem.

  15. 15
    Paul L. says:

    Damn Rethuglicians.

    They will just nitpick this just like they nitpicked the Aaron Broussard story.
    They were not in New Orleans/the mine they have no right to criticize.
    Peace Out.

  16. 16
    Krista says:

    Yeah, why don’t we all just leave this one be for awhile, guys (and that includes John.) If others want to make political hay out of this horrible situation, let them. I think that for now, at Balloon-Juice, there should be a temporary moratorium on any mention of politics when it comes to this disaster.

    There’ll be plenty of time for armchair quarterbacking later on, after all of those miners are found and home safe.

    Okay? Please?

  17. 17
    Ancient Purple says:

    I wonder how long it will be before some unnamed “senior administration official” claims that the problem was that West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) never issued a State of Emergency declaration.

  18. 18
    Perry Como says:

    Okay. So, when will it be appropriate to raise questions? Care to set a firm date?

    It will coincide with the date that when we shouldn’t “focus on the past” and should “move things forward”. btw, who the hell is Scott Shields?

  19. 19
    DougJ says:

    What Krista said.

  20. 20
    Zifnab says:

    It only demonstrates that people like Shields don’t give a shining shit about the miners and only want to use them to support their political agitation against Bush. Just like Hollywood using an opportunist like Tookie Williams to agitate aganst the death penalty; they didn’t really give a damn about Tookie, they just wanted to use him.

    Classic reversalism. We all know that Democrats are just as soulless and cruel as their Republican counterparts. Therefore, any concern a Democrat has over, say, the working conditions of coal miners, the living conditions of the Katrina victims, or the inhumane use of the death penalty stems entirely from a desire to win more seats in ’06. Because, let’s face it. Social security reform, medicare, medicaid, welfare, and increased minimum wage are all platforms that stem from a selfish and heartless political movement.

    That said, “Thirteen coal miners are trapped, so Bush is as fault” is pretty shitty logic even with Bush’s abysmal track record on workers’ rights. But at least it’s on topic. Better than another “War on Christmas” or a tyraid about “Snowflakes” against human embryos. I’d much rather see pundits rip into the coal miners unions and state politicos for failing their constituencies. If anyone should be responsible for looking after West Va coal miners, it’s West Va politicians.

  21. 21
    Doug says:

    To the extent the Dems are flinging bodies early and often, perhaps it’s because they’ve been rolled by tragedies they didn’t pin on the Republicans quickly enough.

    Specifically, I’m thinking of 9/11. They held their fire on the fact that Bush didn’t have terrorism on the front burner pre-9/11 and didn’t provide much leadership in the first few days. That allowed the perception to take hold that Bush had been a “resolute leader” from the get go and that “nobody could have predicted” what happened on 9/11. From that point on, the Republicans were able to use 9/11 24/7 as a club with which to beat the Democrats over the head.

    In my opinion, the Democrats did the “right” thing by holding their fire on 9/11. The Republicans did the “wrong” thing by using 9/11 to their political advantage. But, right or wrong, it has been effective for the Republicans. Politically, the Democrats would have been in a better position had they been able to make 9/11 a political liability for Bush early on.

    To a lesser extent, the rolling blackouts in California are another example of failing to throw blame early enough. The Republicans were able to propogate the myth that the blackouts were being caused by environmental policies that resulted in too few pipelines being built in California. As it turned out, energy companies like Enron and Duke Energy were able to game the system and extort profits because of ineffective government oversight.

    So, while I agree that maintaining a respectful political silence while the emergencies are being resolved is the right thing to do, doing so can result in the issue being turned into a political liability for you. If the parties trusted each other to behave responsibly, we would all be better off. But there is no such trust, so we get blame being cast about early and often. It’s a prisoner’s dilemma situation.

  22. 22
    Nikki says:

    I do question why a mine that has been cited at least 50 times since October, some of those issued as late as December 21, was still allowed to operate. With that in mind, I’m not going to say “Blame Bush,” but as others have stated, John’s post as a slame against Democrats doesn’t pass the smell test.

  23. 23
    Brian says:

    Okay. So, when will it be appropriate to raise questions? Care to set a firm date?

    Seriously? You need me to answer such a basic, common-sense question? Okay, how about once the miners are recovered, dead or alive. What’s the hurry, unless there is some other purpose at hand by piling on Bush, of all people, at this time?

  24. 24
    Ancient Purple says:

    Seriously? You need me to answer such a basic, common-sense question? Okay, how about once the miners are recovered, dead or alive. What’s the hurry, unless there is some other purpose at hand by piling on Bush, of all people, at this time?

    Yes, Brian. Seriously.

    I ask because I know things like this get set aside to account for the emotionalism. First it is “wait until we find out if they are alive.” Then, it is “wait until they have had time to recover” or “wait until the families have had a chance to grieve.” Etc. Etc.

    No problem waiting. But a big problem waiting and waiting and waiting.

  25. 25
    Brian says:

    Classic reversalism. We all know that Democrats are just as soulless and cruel as their Republican counterparts. Therefore, any concern a Democrat has over, say, the working conditions of coal miners, the living conditions of the Katrina victims, or the inhumane use of the death penalty stems entirely from a desire to win more seats in ‘06. Because, let’s face it. Social security reform, medicare, medicaid, welfare, and increased minimum wage are all platforms that stem from a selfish and heartless political movement.

    Yes, we all know……the Democrats are the party that “feels everyone’s pain”. They are the sensitive party, while we conservatives are evil killers.

    You can have your time to crow about these things after this tragedy has played itself out. Can you wait until then? Have you no shame?

  26. 26
    Jim Allen says:

    John Cole, I’d be a bit more impressed at your outrage if one of your earlier posts, which listed in great detail the wonderful stats of WV’s victory in a football game, hadn’t ended with an oh-by-the-way, “And let’s get those miners out safely tonight or tomorrow”.

    Re: “[a]n hour south of me, thirteen fellow West Virginians are either dead or in great danger, and all some people can think about is how to use this to their advantage. If that doesn’t disgust you, nothing will”, making those miners a mere footnote to a football game probably disgusted me even more.

    However, I’m glad to see you’ve gotten past WV’s terrific accomplishments on the gridiron and gotten around to paying a bit more attention to this. Pity had to be your outrage at “Democratic Stupidity” that did it.

  27. 27
    Brian says:

    No problem waiting. But a big problem waiting and waiting and waiting.

    For cryin’ out loud, we’re not even at the end of phase one of this unfortunate event.

    I would add to my earlier post that you also wait until some facts come out about the event, and not create hypotheticals to further support the “Bush is responsible for this” meme. Ask questions, fine, but don’t draw assumptions until you have some evidence that answers those questions.

    Nuff said.

  28. 28
    Perry Como says:

    Have you no shame?

    Of course they don’t, they are Democrats. Republicans would never use dead or dying Americans as a political club.

  29. 29
    John Cole says:

    STFU, DOUGJ. If my response to Shields is what bothers you, you are no more a disillusioned republican than I am a rhinoceros.

    If this administration’s policies in any way helped to create this crisis, there should be hell to pay. but the time for that is after we at least get the fucking miners or their bodies out ofthe ground, and after we have an idea what happened.

  30. 30
    DougJ says:

    If this administration’s policies in any way helped to create this crisis, there should be hell to pay. but the time for that is after we at least get the fucking miners or their bodies out ofthe ground, and after we have an idea what happened.

    I agree with you on that.

  31. 31
    John Cole says:

    John Cole, I’d be a bit more impressed at your outrage if one of your earlier posts, which listed in great detail the wonderful stats of WV’s victory in a football game, hadn’t ended with an oh-by-the-way, “And let’s get those miners out safely tonight or tomorrow”.

    Re: “[a]n hour south of me, thirteen fellow West Virginians are either dead or in great danger, and all some people can think about is how to use this to their advantage. If that doesn’t disgust you, nothing will”, making those miners a mere footnote to a football game probably disgusted me even more.

    However, I’m glad to see you’ve gotten past WV’s terrific accomplishments on the gridiron and gotten around to paying a bit more attention to this. Pity had to be your outrage at “Democratic Stupidity” that did it.

    Give. Me. A. Fucking. Break.

    This may, despite Doug’s intentional trolling, be the dumbest comment ever.

  32. 32
    Andrew says:

    Our focus should of course remain on the safety of these miners and their families.

    You mean like enforcing safety regulations?

    Yeah, why don’t we all just leave this one be for awhile, guys (and that includes John.) If others want to make political hay out of this horrible situation, let them. I think that for now, at Balloon-Juice, there should be a temporary moratorium on any mention of politics when it comes to this disaster.

    Why? Because we’re going to spend our time thinking about mine safety in the future? I think we’ve seen how quickly everyone lost sight of the issues with Katrina, and that was orders of magnitude more significant.

    If we don’t discuss it NOW, it will NOT be discussed. But no, we’ll wait because it’s “distasteful” to discuss things like mine safety regulations and enforcement while a disaster unfolds. Regulations and enforcement are, you know, those things that might SAVE LIVES. But it’s distasteful to discuss things that might save lives, because lives are in danger.

    Is this the logical inverse of completing the mission in Iraq to honor the sacrifice of the troops?

  33. 33
    Jim Allen says:

    “Dumbest comment ever”? You get all worked up about someone’s reaction to this disaster, but all you can muster is “gee, I hope they get out all right” written at the end of a post about a fucking football game?

    Give me a fucking break, and I’ll consider giving you one in return.

  34. 34
    Steve says:

    How quickly we forget. When Katrina happened, all you heard from the right wing was “there will be plenty of time to blame people later.” Well, now it’s “later,” and you barely hear any talk at all about Katrina. What did the public get out of the Congressional hearings, other than a few instances of theater? And now once again, we’re being told we can’t talk about who is responsible until after people have stopped caring about the story.

    There are two possible outcomes to this terrible story: the miners make it out alive, in which case no one will care much about who was “responsible,” or they won’t, in which case it will be disrespectful to assess blame while the families are still grieving, etc. “Can’t you at least wait until the miners are out?” “Can’t you at least wait until the bodies are buried?” “Can’t you just wait until the families have their time to grieve?” And so on. Once it’s all out of the news, then you will all of a sudden be able to bring up the issue of responsibility out of the blue, and we promise everyone will listen and participate in a constructive discussion.

    The comments above about 9/11 were exactly correct. The Democrats did the right thing, rose above partisanship, didn’t say a word to blame it on Bush, and they got kicked in the teeth for it. If there were a terrorist attack during a John Kerry or Hillary Clinton administration, how many nanoseconds would it take before right-wingers started crowing about how it proves only Republicans can keep you safe? Get real if you think it would be otherwise.

  35. 35
    Ancient Purple says:

    I would add to my earlier post that you also wait until some facts come out about the event, and not create hypotheticals to further support the “Bush is responsible for this” meme. Ask questions, fine, but don’t draw assumptions until you have some evidence that answers those questions.

    Other than snark about the “senior administration official,” I haven’t said anything about whether Bush is responsible, etc. And I clearly said I am more than willing to wait.

    Now, back to you, Brian.

  36. 36
    Vlad says:

    “btw, who the hell is Scott Shields?”

    He’s a reliever for the Angels.

  37. 37
    John Cole says:

    How quickly we forget. When Katrina happened, all you heard from the right wing was “there will be plenty of time to blame people later.” Well, now it’s “later,” and you barely hear any talk at all about Katrina. What did the public get out of the Congressional hearings, other than a few instances of theater? And now once again, we’re being told we can’t talk about who is responsible until after people have stopped caring about the story.

    Considering damn near every accusation leveled about the funding of the levees, the racism, and likewise has turned out to be bullshit, you would think that you would be glad people were done talking about certain aspects of Katrina.

  38. 38
    Perry Como says:

    He’s a reliever for the Angels.

    Ahh, thanks. I forgot that MLB was using mind control satellites to disseminate the Democrat’s party message.

  39. 39
    Krista says:

    But no, we’ll wait because it’s “distasteful” to discuss things like mine safety regulations and enforcement while a disaster unfolds. Regulations and enforcement are, you know, those things that might SAVE LIVES. But it’s distasteful to discuss things that might save lives, because lives are in danger.

    Okay, now I’m getting cranky…
    What I suggested, was to not bring partisan politics into this while we still don’t know if those poor bastards are alive or dead. Not because it’s “distasteful”, but because it’s goddamned tacky and insensitive.

    Talk about mine safety regulations and enforcement all you want — that makes sense. But if anybody wants to try to score liberal/conservative/ Dem/Repub moonbat/wingnut political points off of this right now, they will not receive a warm reception.

    Fair ’nuff?

  40. 40
    Doug says:

    I forgot that MLB was using mind control satellites to disseminate the Democrat’s party message.

    Of *course* you forgot. It’s Mind Control. Duh.

  41. 41
    John Cole says:

    Okay, now I’m getting cranky…
    What I suggested, was to not bring partisan politics into this while we still don’t know if those poor bastards are alive or dead. Not because it’s “distasteful”, but because it’s goddamned tacky and insensitive.

    Talk about mine safety regulations and enforcement all you want—that makes sense. But if anybody wants to try to score liberal/conservative/ Dem/Repub moonbat/wingnut political points off of this right now, they will not receive a warm reception.

    Bingo.

  42. 42
    ppGaz says:

    After five years of these shitheads, all truth is now political and politics is truth.

    I don’t find that MyDD’s recitation of his view of the politics of this is any more obnoxious than your highlighting MyDD’s recitation as an example of daring to criticize Bush. They’re both obnoxious. You are in an obnoxious business. Grow up and get used to it.

    If there is a community out there …. press, bloggers, citizens, coroporations, pols …. any community at all … that is sincerely interested in a higher level of quality in politics and discourse, then let that community step forward and lead.

    In lieu of that leadership, all due resepct, STFU. You are just part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    “You” here is generic and unspecific. If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn’t, don’t yell at me for daring to shine a light on it.

  43. 43
    Faux News says:

    We here at Faux News are far more interested in winning thte War Against Christmas rather than some boring mine story.

  44. 44
    Jim Allen says:

    OK, if Krista gets a “Bingo” for saying that trying to score political points off this is out of line, does that mean this will be taken out of the “Democratic Stupidity” category?

  45. 45
    Mr Furious says:

    Full disclosure: I sent John the link on this story. I knew he’d find it “interesting.”

    I agree with others upthread that gratuitous (and undeserved) piling on Bush can be unseemly, especially at times when a tragedy is still unfolding.

    During Katrina I NEVER typed any words at my blog or elsewhere that blamed Bush for anything related to Katrina except for the two-legged fiasco that answers to “Brownie” and Bush’s guitar-inhibited response after the fact.

    And I agree with Krista that this situation should be allowed to unfold with some dignity.

    But I also recognize that politicization is a one way street these days. Bush got plenty of mileage out of the last trapped miner incident, and he has been granted extensive grace periods on a whole host of issues over the years (if it were up to him, we couldn’t talk about the War, ya know, it’s still going on…). In today’s news environment this week’s miner story is long forgotten next week, replaced by Jessica Simpson or the next missing girl in Aruba.

    So, sometimes that means talking about issues that make people uncomfortable. At times when they may be less than comfortable.

    When is a good time to bring these things up? There is a narrow window of public attention on mine safety, and it only occurs at moments like this. Do you think voters walk around thinking about it every November? Of course not. If pressure is to be applied on these issues, it has to happen when the public is focused. We had a dramatic mine incident a few years back. What happened when no one was looking? Bush appointed a former coal lobbyist to oversee mine safety and promptly gutted safety regulations.

    No, we don’t know what happened yet, and Bush shouldn’t be blamed for anything, but some tragedies are preventable or at least minimized because of good accountible oversight and regulation. And no one will trip over those issues in this White House.

    No I don’t blame Bush. Period. Neither does Shields for that matter. But an environment where major industries, with dangerous and hazardous conditions like coal mining. or chem plant, etc are allowed and encouraged to police themselves as they see fit is, quite literally, a recipe for disaster.

    I know that this might be hitting close to home for John, being in WV and all, but he needs to keep that in mind.

  46. 46
    feral1 says:

    DNC Campaign Lesson #1- Fling Cadavers Early and Often

    Is Scott Shields a DNC spokesperson?

    No?

    Then your post is both misleading and a hypocritical politicization of this tragedy.

  47. 47
    Ancient Purple says:

    Talk about mine safety regulations and enforcement all you want—that makes sense.

    Okay. Fair enough.

    Can someone please explain to me how a mining operation that has been cited 50 times in three months is allowed to continue to operate? For the love of God, Maricopa County perma-yanked the business license of a Quizno’s near my home because they had four bad health inspections in a row.

    Can anyone give some justification for the mine not being closed down until a thorough review is held?

  48. 48
    ppGaz says:

    Addendum: Nobody on the right has a sturdy soapbox here. When the right wing noise machine stops using language like “remember the lessons of 911” and using the corpses of 911 as stepping stones to rhetorical advantage for their own purposes, then and only then can they start to preaching to me about “using” anything for political purposes. You have a government here that wants to wrap itself in the WTC shredded flag, but then hide flag-covered caskets from photographers. This government wants to manage the use of corpses to its own advantage. It does not dare preach to me about how and when to “fling” corpses. This government has degraded America. Let it lead the way to a more honorable America by example, and not by complaining to me about somebody else’s behavior, otherwise it can go fuck itself.

  49. 49
    ppGaz says:

    DougJ has not “queered” the thread. The thread is based on a false premise and false piety, and Doug’s satire is simply a way to expose that. Anyone who complains about it is obviously being disingenuous. I’m not buying the faux — er, I mean Fox — outrage here at all.

  50. 50
    Shygetz says:

    Oh John, please. As soon as you start popping a blood vessel every time any Republican official uses “the thousands dead on 9-11” as an excuse for something (not to mention the multitudes of right-wing commenters), then I will start to pay attention to (and agree with) these apoplexies. Until then, get over it. This obscure commenter says something you don’t like. You should be used to it by now.

  51. 51
    John Cole says:

    feral1- Fair enough. post edited.

  52. 52
    Zifnab says:

    Considering damn near every accusation leveled about the funding of the levees, the racism, and likewise has turned out to be bullshit, you would think that you would be glad people were done talking about certain aspects of Katrina.

    Funny you should mention “bullshit” John. Last I checked, refugees are still homeless and the city is still unlivable. Bush did cut funding to the levees (regardless of whether that lack of funding caused the breaks). Thousands were locked in the Superdome for days as FEMA dragged its feet. Refugees were prevented from crossing the bridges to exit New Orleans and locked in camps without food or water for days simply because neighboring wealthy suburbs didn’t want the influx of poverty. Supplies did get mismanaged and delayed as they came in from other states. Micheal Brown was an incompetent flop even after doing “a hellava job”. Unemployement in the region still remains high. Extreme poverty in the region still remains high. And the only motions I’ve seen by the Republican party to improve the situation have been attempts at slashing hourly wages of repair workers to save money on the repair bill and sinking millions into Carribean Cruise Lines to house refugees in a deal that many acknowledge as a bit dodgy.

    Katrina was a disaster of Republican mismanagement. I’m shocked if it still doesn’t linger in the news even months after the disaster.

  53. 53
    Kimmitt says:

    When Katrina happened, all you heard from the right wing was “there will be plenty of time to blame people later.” Well, now it’s “later,” and you barely hear any talk at all about Katrina.

    Ding. We can talk “later” when the Party in power shows an even vague interest in governing.

  54. 54
    Mr Furious says:

    Check that. Not a coal lobbyist, but a former coal company executive. Now in charge of mine safety.

    Here’s what John replaced with three asterisks in his post:

    A New York Times article dated August 9, 2004 detailed the Bush administration’s close relationship with the coal mining industry. While the piece largely focused on environmental issues, it still makes it clear that administration’s concern for the health and safety of coal miners took a back seat to their concern for the bank accounts of their allies at the mining companies.

    In 1997, as a top executive of a Utah mining company, David Lauriski proposed a measure that could allow some operators to let coal-dust levels rise substantially in mines. The plan went nowhere in the government.
    Last year, it found enthusiastic backing from one government official – Mr. Lauriski himself. Now head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, he revived the proposal despite objections by union officials and health experts that it could put miners at greater risk of black-lung disease….

    Safety and environmental regulations often shift with control of the White House, but the Bush administration’s approach to coal mining has been a particularly potent example of the blend of politics and policy.

    In addition to Mr. Lauriski, who spent 30 years in the coal industry, Mr. Bush tapped a handful of other industry executives and lobbyists to help oversee safety and environmental regulations.

    In all, the mine safety agency has rescinded more than a half-dozen proposals intended to make coal miners’ jobs safer, including steps to limit miners’ exposure to toxic chemicals. One rule pushed by the agency would make it easier for companies to use diesel generators underground, which miners say could increase the risk of fire.

    In an interview, Mr. Lauriski said that the proposals that were canceled were unnecessary. He said the agency had instead concentrated on other measures “we believed were important to pursue.”…

    Over the last six years, coal companies have donated $9 million to federal political candidates and party organizations, and 90 percent has gone to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

    More to the point, one of the “unnecessary” proposals canceled by the mining executive Bush appointed to head the MSHA was a Clinton-era rule titled “Escapeways and Refuges.” It dealt specifically with “methane ignition” and “entrapment deaths.” (Emphasis mine.)

    “This standard would revise and clarify an existing standard that requires underground metal and nonmetal mines to have at least two separate exits to the surface. Because of the physical limits in underground mines, fire, massive ground fall, methane ignition, inundation, for example, could result in multiple entrapment deaths. A second escapeway increases the likelihood that miners will not be trapped underground during an emergency if one escape route is cut off.”

    In December of 2001, under the leadership of Lauriski, it was withdrawn from the agenda due to “changing safety and health regulatory priorities.” In other words, increased regulation of the mining industry was seen as a roadblock to increased profits.
    It’s not a pretty picture.

    I would say the exact same thing if Al Gore were President! It’s not about Bush, he’s just the face. This is bigger than him. He didn’t do this, and I don’t blame him. But I hold his style of government responsible. If not in this case of this particular incident, than for putting miners at greater risk than necessary every OTHER day they go to work.

    I’m sure somebody here is going to tear me a new one for “Bush-hatred.” Fine. I don’t actually hate or blame him for this, but fine. I can take my lumps.

    But remember that “free market solutions” and “self-regulation” come at a price. you are in all likelihood looking at it.

  55. 55
    Andrew says:

    What I suggested, was to not bring partisan politics into this while we still don’t know if those poor bastards are alive or dead. Not because it’s “distasteful”, but because it’s goddamned tacky and insensitive.

    Talk about mine safety regulations and enforcement all you want—that makes sense. But if anybody wants to try to score liberal/conservative/ Dem/Repub moonbat/wingnut political points off of this right now, they will not receive a warm reception.

    Fair ‘nuff?

    No, not fair at all.

    You have to be purposefully obtuse to not see the connection between “conservative”/Republican politics and regulatory enforcement. If you want to discuss mine safety, you have to discuss regulations and enforcement, and in this case, the external conditions that lead to lack of enforcement.

    Scoring political points, for one side or the other, shows the will to actually make change, rather than simply get upset and hold hands and talk about it. Either you score political points and get your boys elected and make the changes that will make a difference.

    If you’re so upset by mine safety issues, you will try your damnest to get Democrats elected, and you will bring it up now because this is the only time this issue will ever be in the spotlight. Say what you will about the Republicans, but they have the balls to bother getting elected and implement their agenda.

    But no, the Democrats will say, “It’s not the appropriate time for political discussion,” or maybe one will gin up the courage to say “Kowtowing to monied interests make things like this happen,” but then a Republican will say, “How dare you politicize the lives of these men!” and the Democrats will shut their cowardly traps.

  56. 56
    The Other Steve says:

    Kind of reminds me of the Republicans who claimed if we didn’t support the invasion of Iraq we would personally be held responsible for the thousands who would die from the Nuclear weapon Saddam dropped.

    Oh yeah, that’s right… Cole supported that argument.

  57. 57
    Mr Furious says:

    Clarification of above comment. In Preview the blockquoting nested properly. The only parts I wrote were this:

    Check that. Not a coal lobbyist, but a former coal company executive. Now in charge of mine safety.

    Here’s what John replaced with three asterisks in his post:

    and this:

    I would say the exact same thing if Al Gore were President! It’s not about Bush, he’s just the face. This is bigger than him. He didn’t do this, and I don’t blame him. But I hold his style of government responsible. If not in this case of this particular incident, than for putting miners at greater risk than necessary every OTHER day they go to work.

    I’m sure somebody here is going to tear me a new one for “Bush-hatred.” Fine. I don’t actually hate or blame him for this, but fine. I can take my lumps.

    But remember that “free market solutions” and “self-regulation” come at a price. you are in all likelihood looking at it.

    Everything in between is from the original article.

  58. 58
    John Cole says:

    Furious- Missing the point.

    We don’t even know if these folks are dead or alive, we don’t know how this happened or what caused it or whether it could have been avoided or whether any regulations in the world could have helped to avoid this disaster, and yet Scott is already flinging bodies.

    And I am sick of it.

  59. 59
    Steve says:

    From my perspective, Republican policies tend to have bad consequences for working people, but they don’t like to acknowledge it, so when you bring up those bad consequences you tend to get accused of politicizing the tragedies of working people. Or you get accused of secretly cheering for tragedies to happen to working people. There’s really not a lot of other cards for the Republicans to play in their defense.

    Now, there are plenty who believe that Democratic policies have bad consequences as well. For example, some people think that affirmative action has created a culture of dependency which has been harmful to minorities overall. The difference being, I might disagree with the conclusion of that argument, but I wouldn’t dispute anyone’s right to make it in the first place.

    But it seems like there is just no good time to debate Republican policies, notwithstanding John’s assurances that we can talk about this one just as soon as the miners are out of the ground. Heck, the war has been going on for three years now, and we’re still not “allowed” to debate it because we’ll undermine the morale of the troops, blah blah blah.

  60. 60
    Mike S says:

    I think it’s a fair point to ask that the accusations wait until after the rescue is completed. But there better be some questions asked because the current government has been tearing apart oversight and regulations for quite some time.

    The question should not stop at this mine but look into every program that has been cut and what the overall effects have been. It is something that can wait until tomorrow but it is something that must be done.

  61. 61
    moflicky says:

    In today’s news environment this week’s miner story is long forgotten next week, replaced by Jessica Simpson or the next missing girl in Aruba.

    if the story has legs, the msn will cover it. it’s got everything they like. innocent victims, corporate greed, government as demon/saviour.

    count on it.

  62. 62
    Krista says:

    Andrew, you make some good points. Unfortunately, what often happens in cases like these is a recycling of the same old talking points, instead of a serious discussion of where things went wrong and how they can be fixed. The same thing happened with Katrina. A lot of people felt that Bush’s policies had had a detrimental effect on the levees and on the recovery operations. But they leapt on it too soon, guns a’blazing, and by the time the dust settled and people had some idea as to what was going on, nobody wanted to listen to the critics anymore because they had engaged in too much hyperbole, too early on.

    I agree that mine safety has long been ignored, and is likely to not be this prominent again, unless another disaster of this scale occurs again (God forbid). So those who would seek to make changes, and those who would seek to hold people accountable, need to be smart about this and choose their timing well: too early, and nobody will hear them above the chaos; too late, and well…too late.

    Right now is too early.

  63. 63
    Mr Furious says:

    No, John, I’m not missing the point. Fingering Shields for fingering Bush is just as bad.

    Your entire point is to claim the Democrats are politicizing the issue. That is politicizing the issue more. Now it is a two-way slinging. If you waited til the miners were out, and THEN put this up, you’d have ground to stand on. You didn’t and you don’t.

    That might sound funny to you from a guy who sent you the story, but that’s the fact.

    I sent you the link, because I was curious what your opinion on the content of the post is. You chose to deal only with what you believe is the motive.

    Who’s politicizing?

  64. 64
    Andrew says:

    I think it’s a fair point to ask that the accusations wait until after the rescue is completed.

    So we can be accused of using the dead bodies of miners for political gain/denigrating the heroic success of the rescuers?

  65. 65
    Mr Furious says:

    if the story has legs, the msn will cover it. it’s got everything they like. innocent victims, corporate greed, government as demon/saviour.

    A story on 60 Minutes in fifteen months will do everybody a fucking fat lot of good.

    Count on it.

  66. 66
    Mike S says:

    So we can be accused of using the dead bodies of miners for political gain/denigrating the heroic success of the rescuers?

    No. So the families of the trapped can have a moment of peace while they wait for the best possible outcome.

    If the GOP wants to try that argument I’ll take it head on. The country is finally seeing through it.

  67. 67
    Andrew says:

    But they leapt on it too soon, guns a’blazing, and by the time the dust settled and people had some idea as to what was going on, nobody wanted to listen to the critics anymore because they had engaged in too much hyperbole, too early on.

    I agree that there may be practical issues in driving people away with hyperbole leading to pushback. Compassion fatigue and all. But the past five years are a strong indication that staying on message and attack, attack, attack are quite effective. It is no coincidence that the party of minimally more tasteful restraint (yes, the Democrats) are portrayed as wishy washy flip floppers.

    Everyone finds negative campaign ads distasteful, but they work.

    I too think it is distasteful to use dead bodies as a political prop. But it is far more distasteful to not do everything in one’s own power to try to save lives in the future. So, if that takes putting the corpses of dead miners next to the list of Republican anti-regulation campaign donors, you do it.

  68. 68
    BumperStickerist says:

    Sure – Bush sucks.

    Rethuglicans suck.

    Those local and state elected officials seem to suck too.

    http://www.wvminesafety.org/

    Mission Statement: The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety & Training is responsible for the supervision of the execution and enforcement of the provisions of the state’s mining laws and rules.

    Prime consideration is given to the protection of the safety and health of persons employed within or at the mines of the state. In addition, the agency protects and preserves mining property and property used in connection with mining activities.

    The agency pursues this mandate by impartially executing and enforcing the state’s mining laws and administrative rules in a co-operative spirit through a comprehensive approach that includes not only inspection, enforcement, and investigative activities, but also, and perhaps more importantly, by aggressively conducting timely and functional training activities focused on all segments of the mining industry.

    These duties include regular inspections of all mining related sites and the certification/training of mine employees. All serious mining accidents are investigated and statistics are maintained with regard to health and safety related concerns. Currently the office has 110 employees.

    But, hey, let’s not look at local aspects at the expense of focusing our OUTRAGE on the Feds.

  69. 69
    John Cole says:

    Your entire point is to claim the Democrats are politicizing the issue. That is politicizing the issue more.

    Nonsense. Pointing out that the Democrats are politicizing this issue is not further politicizing the issue, it is point out that the Democrats are politicizing the issue.

    Is pointing out that Rove was politicizing the war effort by calling all liberals traitors FURTHER politiczing the issue? I think I know your answer.

    I sent you the link, because I was curious what your opinion on the content of the post is. You chose to deal only with what you believe is the motive.

    If it turns out that something this administration did led to this mess, they should beheld accountable.

    As to what I ‘believe’ the motivation behind the post was, I don’t think I have to guess much. Shields was pretty straightforward:

    Undoubtedly, some will criticize me for placing blame on President Bush here. The defense will be that Bush didn’t cause the explosion that collapsed the mine. My response will be that he didn’t do anything to prevent it. In fact, if anything, the actions of his administration made the situation worse.

    It doesn’t take a whole lot of guesswork to figure out what Shields is doing…

  70. 70
    Steve says:

    I really doubt that the families of the trapped miners are sitting around reading Daily Kos or MyDD while they wait for news. It would be one thing if political leaders were out there politicizing it in either direction on the evening news, but for us drones sitting here chatting around the Internet water cooler, I don’t see how we’re being rude to the families in any way when they don’t even know we exist.

  71. 71
    Mike S says:

    But, hey, let’s not look at local aspects at the expense of focusing our OUTRAGE on the Feds.

    link

    Federal regulators’ allegations against the Sago Mine included failure to dilute coal dust, which can lead to explosions, and failure to properly operate and maintain machinery, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

    Ninety-six of the citations were considered “significant and substantial” by inspectors.

    An official with the International Coal Group, which has owned the mine since March, said the Labor Department could have closed the mine if it were deemed unsafe.

    “We think that we were operating a safe mine. We have no real clue about what triggered this explosion or whatever happened today,” said ICG Senior Vice President Gene Kitts.

  72. 72
    Lines says:

    So wait, a group or individual that uses a tragedy to point out failures and potential dangers that need to be fixed, whether or not they apply directly to the issue at hand are ethically corrupt?

    Holy fucking shit, John. 9/11 and Iraq, baby. If you want to be disgusted at some peon of a blogger that uses this tragedy to point out that safety regulations and enforcement have been reduced by direct actions of the Bush administration, you just wanted to be disgusted. Holy shit, man, take a step back and breathe a little and stop this holier than thou crap.

    I actually applaud the blogger that pointed this out. Its an astute observation that I’m interested in now. How much have safety regulatations been cut? Are they cut to the point where workers in coal mines are in greater danger in other mines? What if this accident causes a small surge in funding that allows enforcement of regulations to occur and saves lives? Of course, you never hear about the good that regulations do, you only hear about how regulations wern’t followed, because people DIED.

    If Bush is responsible, when will it be ok to talk about it? Will we talk about it? Or will you beat us over the head with how fucking disgusted you were?

    I don’t see you researching the actual fundings and trying to challenge his observations, John. Why not? Maybe because you have no answer? Why even post? Will this cause you to keep voting Republican?

  73. 73
    Brian says:

    Other than snark about the “senior administration official,” I haven’t said anything about whether Bush is responsible, etc. And I clearly said I am more than willing to wait.

    Now, back to you, Brian.

    You asked me how long you should wait. So I answered you.

  74. 74
    Cyrus says:

    The idea that politics should be and for that matter can be seperate from daily life is a ridiculous and anti-democratic fiction which, whether intentionally or not, purely benefits the side that tells you “government is the problem.” It isn’t. Apathy to government is the problem. The Department of Education is the local school board with a bigger district. The Kelo case everyone was ranting about a few months ago began with a local chamber of commerce. And while I agree that it’s too soon to claim to have pinpointed the single most important cause of this particular incident, this particular type of disaster probably, usually occurs because to some politicians, no regulation or safety guideline is too important to be sacrificed for the sake of the almighty Bottom Line. Rude to point fingers for this tragedy so soon? Hell, it’s anti-democratic not to do it at all. Government had something to do with this incident; was that role good or not?

    And if someone were blaming this on Democrats, I wouldn’t be offended. I’d probably disagree, but I wouldn’t be offended. This isn’t like shamelessly grubbing for a photo op with people who themselves barely survived or didn’t survive some ordeal with no care for their actual well-being and no interest but self-promotion, this is one guy offering his opinion that certain policies made things worse.

  75. 75
    BumperStickerist says:

    in point of fact – the blogger at MyDD included a ‘screw ’em’ comment about the likelihood that the trapped miners voted for Bush and, thus, got what they deserved.

    So there is that.

    Also, the Left continues to forget the role the local and state agencies play in mine safety. I did a quick check for West Virginia to see if they had the authority to close mines based on their inspectors reports. Nothing came up immediately and I figured that calling them might be a bit out of place.

    However, the closure of mines for safety violations is not restricted to the Feds. For example, Kentucky closed a mine for safety violations a couple of months ago.

    http://www.chron.com/disp/stor.....97206.html

    .

  76. 76
    Steve says:

    To paraphrase a famous quote, getting outraged at someone’s statements in the blogosphere is equivalent to looking into a crowd and picking out your enemies.

    Am I supposed to know who Scott Shields is? If Harry Reid or Howard Dean or someone were on the airwaves today blasting the Bush Administration, I’d agree that it’s poor form. But the fact that you can find one or two bloggers out there to blame something on Bush at any given moment, this is supposed to be worthy of outrage? Are there really zero right-wing bloggers pointing out that West Virginia is a traditionally Democratic state, or whatever the pushback line will be?

    Why point out the actual issue, I suppose, when somewhere out there a couple is making out during Schindler’s List. Outrageous!

  77. 77

    Republican theory of the workplace suggests that when enough workers are martyred people will choose not to do that kind of work until the benefits or safety are increased. Or, as a matter of personal freedom, if they don’t like working in the mines, they should go into another line of work.

    Every Republican President and Congress over the last 25 years has fought against workplace safety. Bush is no exception.

    Mr. Cole would like us to believe that you can cut money going to build levees and when the levees fail it has nothing to do with it. He believes that a political party can be opposed to workplace safety if it trumps the right to obscene profits, and when people die the damned Dems are politicizing tragedy.

    It is my fascination with exactly this kind of self-denial in the face of the murderous consequences of reactionary capitalism that attracts my interest in the otherwise reasonable Mr. Cole. It’s as if the switch flicks on in his head, the anger and bile flows, and he becomes incapable of thinking straight.

    Anyone else here read Wilhelm Reich’s THE MASS PSYCHOLOGY OF FASCISM?

  78. 78
    Lines says:

    Wow, nice lie, BumperStickerAss. Nowhere in the entire posting did the blogger at MyDD claim the “screw them” comment you attributed.

    oh, and as an update posted by the blogger himself:

    UPDATE: Welcome Cornerites and Malkin readers. If you’ve gotten this far, you likely know that this piece most certainly does not blame Bush for the Sago Mine disaster. Now ask yourselves why the conservative pundits want you think that’s what I was writing. Here’s a clue: Bush’s indefensible fealty to corporate power undercuts the health and safety of workers at every level of the economy. Corporations understandably want to save money any way they can. Sometimes government has to step in to remind them that there are some corners that just should not be cut. And that’s what offends the punditocracy so much — God forbid you should actually see this issue from the side of the workers.

    Yeah, this guy is an asshole for thinking about all workers and their conditions. Socialist prick.

  79. 79
    John Cole says:

    Mr. Cole would like us to believe that you can cut money going to build levees and when the levees fail it has nothing to do with it

    And this is why they make the charges so early- so they hope they stick even when they have been proven to be false.

    The levees did not fail because ‘Bush cut funding’ as the mouthbreathers on the left would like to continue to pretend. They failed because they were inadequately designed, something that has been testified before congress, and because even with the inadequate design, there was inadequate construction and failure of local oversight to identify and correct inadequate construction.

    You simply don’t know what you are talking about.

  80. 80
    capelza says:

    BumperStickerist Says:

    in point of fact – the blogger at MyDD included a ‘screw ‘em’ comment about the likelihood that the trapped miners voted for Bush and, thus, got what they deserved.

    You referring to this?

    Now, they’re just as likely to vote Republicans on social issues as they are Democrats on pocketbook issues. But none of that really matters now

    Yeah, I read “screw ’em”..sure. You’re reaching. If he does indeed say “screw ’em” somewhere in a piece written to other Dem stratgists, then show me please.

    Me, I’d’ve waited a few days. He didn’t and now it’s got everone’s panties in a wad. Meanwhile instead of ignoring the guy, as he shows in his update, the Malkin and Conerites (and I’m sure every other RW blog)are all over him. Why didn’t THEY wait until the trapped men were rescued or recovered? Instead the guy get’s all the attention.

  81. 81

    And here’s a shameless accusation. At some point early in the New Orleans crisis the Rovians in DC decided that scattering the poor blacks of New Orleans to the winds would be a political benefit, ensuring that Louisiana would be pushed more firmly into Republican camp with New Orleans permanently decimated. Not unlike Stain sending troublesome populations to Siberia to further secure his regime.

    I do believe that there was a Republican congressman from the state who couched it terms of divine urban renewal.

    Ah, but those West Virginians, they’re the salt of the earth. Repubs cozy up to the mine owners, let the poor folk go down underground to die down there for profit, and as long as Bush et al tell the poor fuckers that the Dems will take away their Bibles and unleash Queer Eye For the Red State the good people keep voting for all kinds of reactionary bastards.

  82. 82
    The Other Steve says:

    If Harry Reid or Howard Dean or someone were on the airwaves today blasting the Bush Administration, I’d agree that it’s poor form. But the fact that you can find one or two bloggers out there to blame something on Bush at any given moment, this is supposed to be worthy of outrage?

    This is a really good point. I am at a complete loss to understand why Cole brought this whole thing up. It’s like he’s searching for Ward Churchill of the Coal Mining World, just so he can make an argument against it.

    If I read Malkin or Coulter I could probably do the same, but what would be the point? To prove how much smarter I am? Whatever.

  83. 83
    ppGaz says:

    the blogger at MyDD included a ‘screw ‘em’ comment about the likelihood that the trapped miners voted for Bush and, thus, got what they deserved.

    So far this is the only aspect of the MyDd material I’ve seen that is worthy of reproach.

    Other than that, this whole thread is, as I said earlier, faux outrage ginned up for political purposes. Which is supposedly what the threat is “about”, only it isn’t. It isn’t, because we are not allowed to question whether the thread itself is guilty of the crime it indicts others for. That is off the table. Just as the Iraq caskets are off the table while the 911 corpses are on the table.

    It’s not a question of whether corpses will be used as political symbols, of course they will … and should. It’s a question of who gets to control that process.

    It’s a legitimate question, but the outrage is as phony as a three dollar bill.

  84. 84
    The Other Steve says:

    BTW… I would like to point out, once again to Mr. Cole, that at this moment, right now… Republicans are trying to figure out how to blame Democrats for this.

    Yep, right now there little heads are trying to blame this on Robert “KKK” Byrd(They like to add that KKK in there, because they think it’s clever and it proves they aren’t racists), and Jay Rockefeller, and probably the Governor too.

    Just like they did with Katrina, when John Cole spent most of his blog posts trying to figure out a way to blame the Governor for the lack of response from FEMA.

    DOH!

  85. 85
    Mike S says:

    in point of fact – the blogger at MyDD included a ‘screw ‘em’ comment about the likelihood that the trapped miners voted for Bush and, thus, got what they deserved.

    So there is that.

    In point of fact you are either an idiot or a liar. But thanks for doing that because it pointed to a NYT article from 2004 with this tidbit.

    In 1997, as a top executive of a Utah mining company, David Lauriski proposed a measure that could allow some operators to let coal-dust levels rise substantially in mines. The plan went nowhere in the government.

    Last year, it found enthusiastic backing from one government official – Mr. Lauriski himself. Now head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, he revived the proposal despite objections by union officials and health experts that it could put miners at greater risk of black-lung disease….

    Safety and environmental regulations often shift with control of the White House, but the Bush administration’s approach to coal mining has been a particularly potent example of the blend of politics and policy.

    In addition to Mr. Lauriski, who spent 30 years in the coal industry, Mr. Bush tapped a handful of other industry executives and lobbyists to help oversee safety and environmental regulations.

    In all, the mine safety agency has rescinded more than a half-dozen proposals intended to make coal miners’ jobs safer, including steps to limit miners’ exposure to toxic chemicals. One rule pushed by the agency would make it easier for companies to use diesel generators underground, which miners say could increase the risk of fire.

    In an interview, Mr. Lauriski said that the proposals that were canceled were unnecessary. He said the agency had instead concentrated on other measures “we believed were important to pursue.”…

    Over the last six years, coal companies have donated $9 million to federal political candidates and party organizations, and 90 percent has gone to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

    Gotta love that last graf. I’m sure some idiot will look at that 10% and say “see, the dems do it too.”

  86. 86

    John, if I’m a mouthbreather I guess that makes you a nostril-flairer. Don’t bother trying to prove ANYTHING by any congressional hearings with this bunch of whores and thieves.

    And you can gandy-dance as long as you want but when you have a problem (New Orleans’ levees), when you take money away from that problem and then the problem explodes in your face you have NO STANDING.

    You have a bunch of crooks who believe that government can’t solve problems and they’ve tried their hardest over the last five years to prove just that, all the while filling up their own pockets and the pockets of their friends.

    If you get drunk and get into an accident and it’s not immediately apparent who was responsible, guess who still spends the night in jail?

    Let’s try it again, Professor. Take away money from rebuilding the levees for four years. The levees fail. If you take money away from rebuilding the levees it doesn’t make them better. As the President, you have not made the people of New Orleans safer by underfunding repair work on the levees. Taking away money doesn’t solve any existing problem. It’s just an excuse. A pathetic excuse.

    And Republicans constantly attacking workplace safety is not the direct cause of the mine collapse. But there is something in the Republican rhetoric that is responsible for your mind collapse.

  87. 87
    The Other Steve says:

    Actually it’s interesting. I went to technorati, and the Rightwing nuts are all over the place publicizing the mydd.com article. I gotta agree with the person above who said it’s the Republicans politicizing this.

    Why? Why on earth would so many people find this link to be worth commenting on? The only thing I can think of is damage control. You know, when you might be weak to attacks that you are undermining OSHA, the first thing to do is accuse attackers of being sick fucks.

    This is low, even for you John.

  88. 88
    Justin says:

    A friend was wondering on her blog whether it hit West Virginians particularly hard, and I mentioned that it hit home for me in KY as well. I noted that part of the reason is because I know these coal companies don’t take adequate safety precautions (the slurry pond in KY that collapsed into an abandoned mine, for example); the point is that oftentimes these things are easily preventable.

    I don’t think that for someone to take that one step further, and blame Bush for what they perceive as giving coal companies carte blanche, is as bad as you make it out to be John.

  89. 89
    The Other Steve says:

    Oh, and it turns out this political attack is being spread by Michelle “I am OUTRAGED! OUTRAGED I TELL YOU!” Malkin.

    This is starting to look like a major hissy fit from the right.

  90. 90

    Bush cut funds for levees. Levees break. Unfortunate coincidence.

    Republicans fight for 25 years against workplace safety. People die in the workplace. Unfortunate coincidence.

  91. 91

    Oh, and Professor, there wouldn’t be any cadavers to fling if people weren’t being killed. Ask Cindy Sheehan.

  92. 92
    Lines says:

    I’m sure we’ll hear “Democrats let people die in accidents so the deaths can be used to slander Republicans later” from some quarter.

  93. 93
    capelza says:

    Bob In Pacifica Says:

    Oh, and Professor, there wouldn’t be any cadavers to fling if people weren’t being killed. Ask Cindy Sheehan.

    Oh man, you just HAD to bring her into a topic when John Cole is already breathing fire…talk about a perfect storm…

  94. 94
    Mr Furious says:

    Bush cut funds for levees. Levees break. Unfortunate coincidence.

    I’ll handle this one. that WAS an unfortunate coincidence. The levees that failed had nothing to do with the cuts and would have failed one way or the other.

    Now, if they had held on a few more years or if Bush’s cuts had been allowed to continue, inevitably a failure could be blamed on Bush, but not in the case of Katrina. At least not as far as anthing I’ve read.

    As for the mines. We don’t know what the hell happened yet, for all we know somebody lit a cigarette, and none of the federal safety regs in the world would have made a difference. What is irrefutable is that the Bush/Republican government model is one that encourages corporate profit at the expense of workplace safety and increasing the risk of an already extremely dangerous job, and sooner or later, we could clearly point to an example.

    All of John’s huffing and puffing doesn’t blow that away. He knows it, and so does everyone else here.

    Putting a bunch of coal industry lackeys and yesmen in charge of regulating their own industry is actually WORSE than putting an incompetant boob like Brownie in charge of FEMA. These guys will actively do damage. They are hired specifically to deregulate, and then return to industry to reap the rewards.

    It’s fucking criminal. Or it should be.

  95. 95
    LITBMueller says:

    [My first post here! I really enjoy this site, John!]

    While I don’t think it is fair to simply say something like, “the Dems are flinging bodies” based on one guys post, I definitely think the Democratic Party would be a much much much more effective opposition party right now if they would have the discipline to have a sober-sounding leader make a statement like this:

    “Our hearts and our prayers, on both sides of the aisle, go out to the families of the trapped miners, and, like them, we have not given up hope that they will be rescued soon.

    “I want those families to also know that we will be taking a hard look at the safety of American mines here on Capitol Hill. Considering that the images of miners being rescued in 2002 after a mine accident in Somerset, Pennsylvania, are still fresh in everyone’s minds, and considering the controversy surrounding the Massey Energy slurry spill, it would be a serious mistake to not make sure that the Mine Health and Safety Academy is doing everything it can to keep our miners safe and that all the needed regulations are in place and being enforced. It is our responsibility to be sure that we are doing all we can to prevent families from having to go through ordeals such as the one in West Virginia.”

    Much better than just saying “Bush did it!,” right? It took me one minute to write that. Yet, too many people give in to knee-jerk reactions.

  96. 96
    John Cole says:

    As for the mines. We don’t know what the hell happened yet, for all we know somebody lit a cigarette, and none of the federal safety regs in the world would have made a difference.

    Exactly. A discussion of mine safety regulations would seem appropriate in the aftermath of a tragic mining accident. But one would assume that the discussion would include at least a cursory understanding of what happened to cause the accident.

    Simply blaming this accident on Bush is, at this point, little more than flinging cadavers for political gain (or as it is, attempted political gain, because if any politician tries this, they will get pilloried).

    Additionally, Furious brings up a good point- we can discuss the relative merits of weakening/dergulating certain aspects of mine safety regulations and come to our own conclusions, but it may very well be that this accident would have happened no matter what regulations were in place. I would recommend the appropriate thing to do is to sit back, cross your fingers and hope these guys get out. Later on, when the investigations show what happened, make your political statements then.

  97. 97
    Steve says:

    LITB, I’m sure many Democratic leaders are making statements like the one you suggested, probably without even delving into the territory of the second paragraph. The thing is that such statements never really get media exposure unless something controversial gets said. I mean, where is the news value in saying “Bill Frist hopes all the miners get out safely, and Harry Reid does too”?

  98. 98

    Color me incredulous

    Fellow Pajamahadeen-ster John Cole of Balloon Juice brings us this piece of political hackery that makes Michael Moore look like Mother Angelica:I haven’t seen much discussion of it in the blogosphere, but there are 13 coal miners trapped under 260

  99. 99
    Stormy70 says:

    I am too tired to read this thread, but the blogger in question may just be trying to troll for hits based on the outrage generated by his post. Sorry if someone else has made this point.

    I just pray for the miners and their families, who are facing a harrowing time.

  100. 100
    Dave Ruddell says:

    Title edited- Associating Shields with the DNC was bullshit and wrong.

    How many other bloggers do you know of who would admit something like this?

  101. 101
    DougJ says:

    Title edited- Associating Shields with the DNC was bullshit and wrong.

    Thank you, John. That was put me off about the post originally.

    And, no, not many other bloggers would be honest enough to do this.

  102. 102

    Mr. Furious, This is the problem with saying the cut in levee repair funds made no difference but it could have in the future:

    You can’t say, because the alternative reality didn’t happen. Unless you can absolutely guarantee that nothing in any proposal for levee reconstruction would have in any way alleviated any strain put on the levee, it’s all bullshit. You can’t prove what would have happened if Bush had fully funded the levee reparations, or heaven forbid, suggested an even greater funding for rebuilding levees. It’s only conjecture. The best you can say is that it probably wouldn’t have made a difference, but even there you are on shaky ground because probably not help is certainly more of a chance than what actually happened.

    What you do have is Bush taking away funds from rebuilding levees that then broke because they weren’t sufficiently strengthened. I am not wedded to any alternative theory of failure analysis here.

    Another analogy: If you need to get the brakes on your car fixed and your car skids and crashes in a rainstorm, it may have been the brakes and it may have been the slick road surfaces. But you are responsible for the car’s brakes, and if you didn’t do anything to fix the problem, don’t presume it wasn’t your fault.

    Or another: If you’ve got a lousy football team you don’t go into a game without preparation because you know you’re gonna lose anyway. Because you don’t know.

    Republicans’ theory of governance is to keep ’em nervous during election season and then deny any connection to consequences of their governance. It’s amazing how in the wake of New Orleans the Professor needs to cling to this one particular log. Since this year’s hurricane season was in no way connected to global warming, and since the levee failures had nothing to do with not repairing them, then maybe the mine collapse was really the fault of gravity.

    Oh, and Mr. F, good luck in your search.

  103. 103
    ppGaz says:

    A discussion of mine safety regulations would seem appropriate in the aftermath of a tragic mining accident.

    Ah, that would explain why you started one, then.

  104. 104

    Earlier along the trail, texas dem talked about how Gingrich may have reacted if the shoe had been on the other foot.

    In fact, Gingrich used the Susan Smith case (in 1994 she drowned her two little boys in a lake to free herself for her boyfriend) as a sign of the moral decay of America based on Clinton. Of course, it turned out that Susan Smith’s stepfather, who was an official with the South Carolina REPUBLICAN Party, had been molesting her as a girl DURING the Reagan/Bush years, and that history of molestation played heavily into her murderous behavior.

    In fact, the woman in Washington State who kept getting pregnant by her student and ended up going to prison for child molestation was the daughter of a Republican Congressman from Orange County. I his name was Schmidt. Schmidt used to play German marching music on loudspeakers when he house was picketed by minorities and others offended by his racist rants. I think one of his sons was in the current Bush Administration and has a job at one of the security firms doing business in Iraq.

    Small world.

  105. 105
    matty says:

    john,

    i’m from upshur county, and i understand your anger at people trying to exploit a tragic situation. that said, most of the american media has turned its eye on rural wv. i’m sure that fox & cnn are spending some money on gas and food while they’re in town, but this disaster porn isn’t doing much good for the families who are being expoloited for ratings.

    i’ll agree that casting blame isn’t called for until evidence is in, but i think it is absolutely proper to use this brief national attention to force as much sunshine in as possible. if this isn’t done, the cameras will go away, and things are likely back to business as usual. digging hard now won’t change the situation for the miners in this case one way or the other, but it may make the situation less likely to happen again.

  106. 106
    RTGthe3RD says:

    Surprise, surprise! The Blame Bush First crowd has already started squawking about how this is all Bush’s fault just like the blamed him for the levees breaking in NO. These people are probably hoping the miners die so they can blame that on Bush too.

    This is nothing but an exercise is sheer moonbatiness. How anyone can take these people serious is beyond me. Let’s hope the miners make it, even if that DNC rat, Scott Sheilds, hopes they die.

  107. 107
    The Other Steve says:

    Honestly, the more I think about this blog entry the more pised off I get. It’s fucking Gotcha politics, where some asswipe goes looking for the most outrageous thing anybody has said, and then tries to paint a whole group of people with the statement.

    The thing is. I just finished reading the whole thing, and I just don’t see it. He’s highlighting the failures of mine safety inspections and the loosening of regulations under the Bush administration.

    Yep, fucking Gotcha politics… via Michell Malkin of all people. Thank you John for lowering the Signal to Noise ratio here by sinking into that filth.

  108. 108
    John Cole says:

    No, he isn’t Steve. He is blaming Bush for the changing policies and the accident without any evidence that the policy changes had ANY impact on the event.

    In other words, he is simply flinging cadavers at Bush with no evidence, and hoping it sticks.

    if it turns out that the changes in policy had any impact on the events, by all means, Bush and those who changedthe policies should be held accountable. But right now you nor any one else has any idea.

    And oh yeah- those guys are still trapped/missing. It is classles and tasteless.

  109. 109
    Mr Furious says:

    Come on, John, you are sensationalizing what he said. Right off the bat he declares that he is not blaming Bush, but pointing out that the Bush Administration has done nothing at all to help mine safety, only to appoint cronies to de-regulate the industry and weaken safety. That is true.

    If there is implicit blame in that, it’s probably well-deserved. Nowhere does he “Blame” Bush for what hapened, and he acknowledges that we don’t yet know what happened. His update expands on this.

    I know I am not convincing you of anything you don’t already know. ou are willlfully ignoring what Shields said, or willfuly misrepresenting it. and I will point it out every time you do it. (Actually this is the last time, but you get the idea…)

  110. 110
    p.lukasiak says:

    Okay. So, when will it be appropriate to raise questions? Care to set a firm date?

    More importantly, care to guarantee that when we do get answers, and they turn out to be “This probably would never have happened if the Bush administration hadn’t cut funding for mine safety” that the report will get the kind of obsessive blanket coverage on cable its getting now? That there will 24/7 outrage from all the cable anchors for three days.

    That John Cole won’t ignore the answers completely — unless they exonerate the Bush regime?

    Here’s a clue Cole. You NEVER want us to hold Bush responsible for anything until all the bodies are buried, and people have moved on to the next tragedy that we can’t assign blame to until all the bodies have been long buried.

    FACT: Bush has cut funding for enforcement of mine safety

    FACT: This mine was obviously unsafe, because not only was there an accident, but it doesn’t appear that the conditions in the mine would allow the miners to survive the accident long enough to be rescued.

    FACT: THIS IS NOT A FUCKING TSUNAMI. This is a workplace that is subject to federal safety regulations that were NOT ENFORCED by the Bush administration.

  111. 111
    p.lukasiak says:

    BTW…..

    I don’t remember John ever complaining about how the right wing was practically dancing in the streets when the Tsunami occurred, because it was an environmental disaster that couldn’t possibly be blamed on Bush….

    and they were doing so while people were still dying.

  112. 112
    p.lukasiak says:

    No, he isn’t Steve. He is blaming Bush for the changing policies and the accident without any evidence that the policy changes had ANY impact on the event.

    And you are making this claim in the face of clear evidence that the mine was unsafe, and that the Bush administration has cut enforcement of mine safety.

    He HAS evidence that the “policy changes” had an impact. He has the safety violation citations — and the fact that Bush has cut enforcement of mine safety.

    You, on the other hand, have suddenly become Mr. Compassion — a compassion that is NOWHERE to be found when children are being fried alive by white phosphorus in Fallujah.

    Get off your high horse, John. We’ve all seen this act before, and it practically qualifies for Social Security at this point….

  113. 113
    DougJ says:

    right wing was practically dancing in the streets when the Tsunami occurred, because it was an environmental disaster that couldn’t possibly be blamed on Bush

    I hope you’re kidding.

  114. 114
    Pb says:

    Re: Katrina and this mine failure: shouldn’t we have already been doing everything we could have to see that these sorts of tragedies can be averted? You know, like funding levees, rescuing people, answering the fucking phone, and practicing workplace safety…

    Instead of fingerpointing and nitpicking and blame-gaming and saying things like “but look, the Republicans might not be guilty of *that* specific charge (but rather a far longer and uglier list of general charges) and therefore YOU’RE ALL LIARS!”? Or is that sort of vigilance only reserved for fighting terror in between bouts of fearmongerin and accusations of treason? Inquiring minds want to know, John…

  115. 115
    ppGaz says:

    And oh yeah- those guys are still trapped/missing. It is classles and tasteless.

    But putting up this thread …. that was all class.

  116. 116
    p.lukasiak says:

    hope you’re kidding.

    no, I’m not. The wingnut-o-sphere was full of people saving crap like “see! you can’t blame this on global warming!”

    nor is it terribly hard to find “conservatives” who, when they found out that the Tsunami hit an area where al Qaeda was popular, were positively gleeful.

    …and just this year, much of the response to the horribly tragic earthquakes in Pakistan (where people are STILL dying because roads have been cut off) was concentrated on hoping that the quake killed lots of “terrorists”, and thinking of ways that the US could use its relief efforts for political gain.

    Believe me Doug, when it comes to “flinging bodies” for political gain, the conservatives do it with abandon — and Cole never notices.

  117. 117
    John Cole says:

    When P. Lukasiak shows up with his ‘facts’ whining for Bush’s head, it is a general indication I am on the rightside of something. Let’s look at some of his ‘facts’

    Lukasiak’s Fact #1: Bush has cut funding for enforcement of mine safety

    Real fact:

    The cut would reduce MSHA’s coal enforcement budget from $124 million to $117 million. At the same time, MSHA will increase assessed violations from 126,000 a year to 132,000, the Bush budget proposes. Last year, the number of coal miners killed on the job nationwide increased from 38 to 42. Thirteen miners died in one explosion at an underground mine in Alabama.

    In budget documents, the administration projects a drop in coal mining fatalities to 25 this year and 21 next year. “The enforcement strategy in 2003 will be an integrated approach that links all actions to preventing occupational injuries and illnesses,” the budget proposal says. “The desired outcome of these enforcement efforts is to lower fatality and injury rates.”

    The idea, I would presume, was to make the assessments pay for the enforcement. Additionally, the budget has actually increased each year:

    The Bush administration is asking Congress to spend $461.6 million on OSHA in fiscal year 2005, an increase of $4.1 million – or less than one percent – in the agency’s recently enacted 2004 budget.

    Details of the president’s budget were released at a series of press conferences on Feb. 2 in Washington, D.C.

    The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) fared somewhat better than OSHA, winning a proposed increase of $6.8 million, or 2.5 percent. For the first time since assuming office, the Bush administration is proposing to increase the budget of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: from the current $277 million to $279 million.

    Again, if I am misreading things, my apologies, but it looks like these cuts are not as devastating as first stated. but then again, I am not the one who wants to have this fucking debate now, and would prefer until some basic things are known- like how the fucking explosion happened in the first place, or whether all these poor men are dead, or whether the company was currently in violation of any standards that may have led to the explosion, before I start assessing blame. From my reading, Shield’s never actually alleges budget cuts, but instead implies cronyism.

    Lukasiak ‘Fact’ #2: This mine was obviously unsafe because not only was there an accident, but it doesn’t appear that the conditions in the mine would allow the miners to survive the accident long enough to be rescued.

    All mines are ‘obviously unsafe.’ Mining is an inherently UNSAFE undertaking. That is why whe have OHSA and MSHA- too make them SAFER. They are in place to avoid corporate perfidy that leads to unnecessary disasters, and to avoid employee carelessness that leads to the same. But that does not make these mines safe. it merely makes them safer than before. Under the tightest of regulation, accidents still happen. IN FACT, even in the glory days before the Bush and his careless crew made every mine ‘obviously unsafe,’ there will still mining accidents.

    There is a reason they are called ‘accidents.’ The rest of the blather in this ‘fact’ is simply baseless speculation at this point, as WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HAPPENED.

    Lukasiak fact #3: THIS IS NOT A FUCKING TSUNAMI. This is a workplace that is subject to federal safety regulations that were NOT ENFORCED by the Bush administration.

    No screaming eagle shit. Which is why we are even having this debate to begin with, isn’t it? Right now, though, you have NOTHING to offer as evidence that there was any human error, human negligence, or perfidy on the part of Bush and this administration and fat cat corporations. All we know is that there was an explosion, one man is dead, and there are twelve more men trapped down there or dead. But we have NO idea why this happened.

    Why? BECAUSE WE DON’T KNOW WHAT FUCKING HAPPENED, SO ANY BLAME, IMPLICT OR OTHERWISE, IS UNWARRANTED.

    As to this bullshit:

    You NEVER want us to hold Bush responsible for anything until all the bodies are buried, and people have moved on to the next tragedy that we can’t assign blame to until all the bodies have been long buried.

    I am sick and tired of you simply pinning shit on Bush with no evidence whatsoever. You want me to dig up all the crap you were wrong about regarding Katrina? I will put my track record against yours regarding the levee failure and what happened. Hint- I wasn’t the one claiming ‘BUSH IS TO BLAME” 24 hours into the disaster.

    You, on the other hand, have suddenly become Mr. Compassion—a compassion that is NOWHERE to be found when children are being fried alive by white phosphorus in Fallujah.

    You are a lunatic. If any children were killed by WP in Fallujah (or elsewhere, for that matter), I think it is horrible. or any other weapon, for that matter. The difference between you and me though is I am not going to relabel a conventional weapon a chemical weapon because I hate Bush, I am not going to call our troops war criminals for using legal weaponry, and I am not going to pretend that our troops intentionally were gunning down or ‘frying alive’ innocents.

    You, of course, will.

  118. 118
    ppGaz says:

    Believe me Doug, when it comes to “flinging bodies” for political gain, the conservatives do it with abandon—and Cole never notices.

    That is quite true, but on the other hand, the “he does it too” defense is tedious when your kids do it in the back seat of the car, and it’s tedious here as well.

    Meanwhile, visit the mhsa.gov website and find your way to the long list of actionable citations that this mine has been hit with in the last couple years, and then wonder whether $60 fines for things like ventilation violations, combustible materials violations and electrical equipment violations …. pages of them at this mine …. are really the best way to prevent people from getting killed in mines.

    And then ask whether or not those $60 fines constitute a political issue. I think, if you are reasonable, that you will conclude that they do, and that serious, serious questions need to be raised.

    If you want to be outraged about something besides John Cole’s manipulations here, try being outraged about the sorry state of occupational safety and health in this country after ten years of having a Republican congress and a government that sucks corporate dick at every opportunity.

    There are a lot of things to be outraged about in this world, and the ones you choose say a lot about a person, don’t you think?

  119. 119
    John Cole says:

    PPGAZ- When hacks post crap blaming Bush or anyone else for deaths with no idea what has actually happened yet, I will respond.

    Deal with it. If you really think his statement that “Bush is responsible for these deaths” is on par with my statement that “It is shameless to use these men as political weapons right now,” then there is never going to be any agreement between the two of us on this issue.

  120. 120
    John Cole says:

    If you want to be outraged about something besides John Cole’s manipulations here

    What have I manipulated? I have made a basic statement- using these men as political weapons is tasteless, and knock it the fuck off.

    Sorry that is too ‘manipulative’ for you.

  121. 121
    ppGaz says:

    Deal with it.

    No, you deal with it. My post does not name Bush.

    Read the mhsa history on this mine and then decide whether there’s a story here. I think there is, and I think the story is going to look a lot worse than it does today.

    Nobody need take my word for it. The list is on the public website and you can judge for yourself whether those $60 fines saved any lives this weekend.

  122. 122
    ppGaz says:

    I have made a basic statement- using these men as political weapons is tasteless, and knock it the fuck off

    Well hooray for you. As luck would have it a lot of people, myself among them, disagree with you.

  123. 123
    John Cole says:

    Read the mhsa history on this mine and then decide whether there’s a story here. I think there is, and I think the story is going to look a lot worse than it does today.

    I think the mine was probably in violation of a shitload of things, too. But I am not going to claim anything until I know what I am talking about. Right now, NO ONE KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED.

    Blaming this accident, at this point, on failed safety regulations, or Bush, or whatever, is just stupid and political hackery. more than likely, the mine was flawed in one way or another- but no one knows yet.

    Additionally, it may just be that it was a tragic accident that was unavoidable. What is so wrong about waiting until we know something before assigning blame?

  124. 124
    ppGaz says:

    Right now, NO ONE KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED.

    Well, your point is taken, although I think it’s a gross overstatement. I reckon if you sat down with the men who work in that mine tonight, you’d get a pretty good idea what happened. I’ll wager that a lot of those men think the place was a deathtrap. I will wager that in time people will be asking, rightly, what the HELL anyone was doing sending men down into that mine yesterday in the condition it was in.

    You have a minor point here. But this ain’t the WP story. IIWY, I’d let it go.

  125. 125
    John Cole says:

    I’ll wager that a lot of those men think the place was a deathtrap.

    I am so claustrophobic, I wak up in near heart attack state if my legs get tangled in the covers and I can;t move. I am of the opinion ALL mines are a death trap. I don;t begrudge those guys ONE PENNY of what they earn.

    I am sure there would be a range of opinions from the men who were there. But those don’t matter. What matters is what the investigation shows, and that hopefully will be an explanation of what happened, why it happened, and whether it can be prevented in the future.

    As a matter of fact, I know that some of the employees children mentioned that some of the men who are trapped are there because they were switched from another mine on the other side of Buckhannon, because they needed experienced hands working. Of course the mine was dangerous, but was it criminally so, and was it avoidable. We simply don’t know yet.

  126. 126
    ppGaz says:

    You are correct. I retract the shitty parts of my complaints to this thread. As you know, I am the grand master of shitty when I want to be.

    But anyway, we should probably all take a breather from this thing. Soon there is going to be a bunch of bad news from down there in all liklihood and we’d do just as well to think about the families and let our rhetoric cool for another day.

  127. 127
    p.lukasiak says:

    I am not going to call our troops war criminals for using legal weaponry, and I am not going to pretend that our troops intentionally were gunning down or ‘frying alive’ innocents.

    You, of course, will.

    well, John, I’m glad you used the future tense, because I never called the troops war criminals, or accused the troops of “intentionally frying innocents”

    Oh, and John….trust me, they have a pretty good idea of what happened in the mine–and it wasn’t the spontaneous combustion of canary crap.

    there was an explosion, and now there are toxic fumes comprised primarily of carbon monoxide — which experience tells us means that this was a methane explosion, since methane is a very flammable gas that will convert available oxygen into carbon monoxide when it ignites. The only real question is how did it ignite….AND WHY WASN’T THE BUILD-UP OF METHANE DETECTED?

    This was a two mile long mine … and there were supposed to be working methane detectors throughout the mine. Of course, when it only costs $60 to NOT ensure that methane detectors are installed and operating at all times, and a lot more to ensure that they are all installed and operating properly at all times, “conservative” dicta demands that the cheaper alternative be followed.

    *********************

    That is quite true, but on the other hand, the “he does it too” defense is tedious when your kids do it in the back seat of the car, and it’s tedious here as well.

    The point was not to say “they do it too” (although I’m curious, since you are a progressive, how many times you’ve had the cadavers of the 3000 victims of 9-11 thrown at you when you criticize Bush…). It was Cole’s partisan and utterly tasteless hypocrisy.

  128. 128
    demimondian says:

    ppG —

    Back in the day, when I was in grad school, one of my friends was from Slidell, La., which was the refinery capital of the United States back then. He told a story about the first time his (then girlfriend, now wife) visited his parents with him. She got out of the car, sniffed, and asked Carl “What’s the odd smell?”

    Her mother-in-law-to-be replied “That is the smell of bread and butter.”

    People get used to the most amazing things if they’re a part of daily life. You can’t boil a frog by raising the temperature gradually. People aren’t that smart.

  129. 129
    John Cole says:

    there was an explosion, and now there are toxic fumes comprised primarily of carbon monoxide—- which experience tells us means that this was a methane explosion, since methane is a very flammable gas that will convert available oxygen into carbon monoxide when it ignites. The only real question is how did it ignite….AND WHY WASN’T THE BUILD-UP OF METHANE DETECTED?

    And we also know that methane builds up in cold weather,m and that the mine wass inoperable for two days prior to the explosion. I also know that someone is supposed to manually walk the line to make sure it is safe prior to opening.

    So what went wrong? Why did this blow up? I want to know before I start screaming for people to be blamed.

  130. 130

    I have made a basic statement- using these men as political weapons is tasteless, and knock it the fuck off.

    And using Scott Shield’s comments about this issue as your own political weapon–which is exactly you did–is also tasteless.

    The hypocrisy of your post is that you attempted to use Scott Shield’s statements as an attack on the DNC at first and then, in the end, an attack on the Democrats as whole.

    While I don’t share most people’s anger about your post, I do think they have very valid criticisms about it.

  131. 131

    Oh and just to let you all know, they have just found 12 of the miners alive.

    Amazing stuff!

    Rest in Piece to that one miner that died though. This is still a horrible event.

  132. 132
    ppGaz says:

    although I’m curious, since you are a progressive, how many times you’ve had the cadavers of the 3000 victims of 9-11 thrown at you when you criticize Bush

    Well, I mentioned that very point upthread. I personally have not had the experience. You know, in everyday personal life, the face to face stuff is compelling.

    I work with a woman whose son was killed in the first weekend of the Iraq invasion. This woman doted on the boy, and she is now a broken human being. She can hardly function, and no longer tries to come back to work. Her husband still works with us. Around him, as far as he knows, I am the biggest hawk on earth. I would rather fall into a flaming volcano and burn alive than do anything to take away from the pride this guy has in his kid by saying something anti-war in his presence or even in the building. His family has given everything, so keeping my big mouth shut is the least I can do, I figure.

  133. 133
    ppGaz says:

    although I’m curious, since you are a progressive, how many times you’ve had the cadavers of the 3000 victims of 9-11 thrown at you when you criticize Bush

    Well, I mentioned that very point upthread. I personally have not had the experience. You know, in everyday personal life, the face to face stuff is compelling.

    I work with a woman whose son was killed in the first weekend of the Iraq invasion. This woman doted on the boy, and she is now a broken human being. She can hardly function, and no longer tries to come back to work. Her husband still works with us. Around him, as far as he knows, I am the biggest hawk on earth. I would rather fall into a flaming volcano and burn alive than do anything to take away from the pride this guy has in his kid by saying something anti-war in his presence or even in the building. His family has given everything, so keeping my big mouth shut is the least I can do, I figure.

    HOLY SHIT I JUST HEARD THE MINERS ARE ALIVE

  134. 134
    p.lukasiak says:

    I also know that someone is supposed to manually walk the line to make sure it is safe prior to opening.

    ….and yet we don’t seem to know whether someone actually did walk the line manually?

    oh, btw, here is a tidbit from a just posted news article…

    The mine was cited for hundreds of violations of federal safety rules in 2005. Federal inspectors cited the Sago mine for 46 alleged violations of federal mine health and safety rules during an 11-week review that ended late last month.

    The more serious citations involved steps for safeguarding against roof falls and the mine’s plan to control methane and breathable dust.

    The mine received a total of 208 citations last year — up from just 68 in 2004.

    I find the last paragraph interesting, because it leads to lots of questions. Like…

    “did the Bush regime suddenly start taking mine safety seriously, and as a result citations against sago tripled?” or

    “did the new owners of Sago pretty much ignore the safety rules, and did the Bush administration ignore the tripling of violations of safety rules?”

    my guess is that the latter is the real explanation.

  135. 135
    Ancient Purple says:

    The Blame Bush First crowd has already started squawking about how this is all Bush’s fault just like the blamed him for the levees breaking in NO.

    Your statement is incredibly flawed.

    I don’t blame Bush first. I blame the people who voted for him first. Then, Bush, a close second.

  136. 136
    ppGaz says:

    my guess is that the latter is the real explanation.

    The startling thing to me was the miniscule size of the fines imposed. I doubt that all of them added up to more than a few thousand dollars. If I worked in a mine and the place was cited for a ventilation problem, I’d like to see a $60k fine, not a $60 fine.

  137. 137
    p.lukasiak says:

    I am the biggest hawk on earth. I would rather fall into a flaming volcano and burn alive than do anything to take away from the pride this guy has in his kid by saying something anti-war in his presence or even in the building. His family has given everything, so keeping my big mouth shut is the least I can do, I figure.

    first, I want to say that your impulse is admirable and understandable.

    secondly, I want to say….

    AAARRRRRGGGHHHHHHH!!!!

    C’mon gaz, what you are doing here is feeding directly into the GOP myth that you cannot simultaneously oppose the war and respect and honor the troops and the sacrifice that each of them makes individually in service to their country.

    Is it possible that one of the reason’s the mother cannot come to terms with the death of her son is that she actually feels angry/confused/conflicted about the war, and she is surrounded by people who support the war — and people like you who out of “respect” for her wind up telling her that her doubts and anger are disrespectful toward her son?

  138. 138
    ppGaz says:

    C’mon gaz, what you are doing here is feeding directly into the GOP myth that you cannot simultaneously oppose the war and respect and honor the troops and the sacrifice that each of them makes individually in service to their country.

    Well, that was sorta my point. When you are face to face with someone who has given everything, the politics of it don’t matter.

    Is it possible that one of the reason’s the mother cannot come to terms with the death of her son is that she actually feels angry/confused/conflicted about the war, and she is surrounded by people who support the war—and people like you who out of “respect” for her wind up telling her that her doubts and anger are disrespectful toward her son?

    The woman is heartbroken. I wouldn’t waste my time trying to analyze it. The lad was the light of her life.

  139. 139
    p.lukasiak says:

    The woman is heartbroken. I wouldn’t waste my time trying to analyze it. The lad was the light of her life.

    I’m not asking you to analyze it. I’m asking you to stop assuming that being honest about your feelings about the war would make her feel worse.

  140. 140
    ppGaz says:

    I’m asking you to stop assuming that being honest about your feelings about the war would make her feel worse.

    Well then, fuck you. It’s my decision to make, and it’s long ago been made.

  141. 141
    Mike S says:

    RTGthe3RD Says:

    Surprise, surprise! The Blame Bush First crowd has already started squawking about how this is all Bush’s fault just like the blamed him for the levees breaking in NO. These people are probably hoping the miners die so they can blame that on Bush too.

    My only hope is that stupid fuckers like you will say that to my face just once. But as with all pussies in your vein I expect you’re only tough behind a screen name.

  142. 142
    kl says:

    “As you know, I am the grand master of shitty when I want to be.”

    And even when you don’t, according to the orderly who has to change your sheets.

  143. 143
    Steve says:

    Fact is, someone like Michelle Malkin could have simply made an informative post about the tragedy, but chose to send all her readers to check out the latest liberal outrage, some blog post that no one would have seen otherwise. Just like the blog post itself, that’s introducing politics into a moment that ought to be above politics.

    Both sides try and “score points” in their own way. I’d like to see them both criticized in this instance.

  144. 144
    BIRDZILLA says:

    The vultures continue to gather in New Orleans what a disgracful bunch or wretched scavengers they are

  145. 145

    There are reports that the company who owns the mine bought it after the old owners went bankrupt and the miners lost their union protection. As someone who worked in a blue-collar job overseen by OSHA, federal oversight of job safety immediately and precipitously declined after Bush’s first inauguration. OSHA has become worthless. It used to send inspectors to examine complaints about workplace safety. It used to act. Now it’s nothing. Without a union presence there would be no force arguing about safety. I cannot believe that any agency overseeing mine safety has in any way improved its work over the last five years. As we have seen, areas where the federal budget increases under Bush show boodle boy activity, not any increased service to the American public.

    It sounds like the status quo, paying fines, is just the old “price of doing business” thing. My guess is that the miners’ families’ rights to redress in court have been abridged and their option will be to send their sons to follow their fathers down the hole or starve.

    When will the meek inherit the earth?

  146. 146

    Fact is, someone like Michelle Malkin could have simply made an informative post about the tragedy, but chose to send all her readers to check out the latest liberal outrage, some blog post that no one would have seen otherwise. Just like the blog post itself, that’s introducing politics into a moment that ought to be above politics.

    Both sides try and “score points” in their own way. I’d like to see them both criticized in this instance.

    What he said.

  147. 147

    […] Several of you have written to me linking to one story or another, saying to the effect “I know this pisses you off to be pointing fingers in the face of tragedy.” No. Not at all. What pisses me off is what Scott Shields did the other day- pointing fingers and chucking bodies at people without any facts, and, worse still, while the miners were still in harms way. These poor men weren’t even dead yet, and these hacks were using their deaths as ammunition for their little political crusade against Bush. […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Several of you have written to me linking to one story or another, saying to the effect “I know this pisses you off to be pointing fingers in the face of tragedy.” No. Not at all. What pisses me off is what Scott Shields did the other day- pointing fingers and chucking bodies at people without any facts, and, worse still, while the miners were still in harms way. These poor men weren’t even dead yet, and these hacks were using their deaths as ammunition for their little political crusade against Bush. […]

  2. Color me incredulous

    Fellow Pajamahadeen-ster John Cole of Balloon Juice brings us this piece of political hackery that makes Michael Moore look like Mother Angelica:I haven’t seen much discussion of it in the blogosphere, but there are 13 coal miners trapped under 260

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