Sunday, January 08, 2006

Distinctions And Assigning Blame

Chris Wage has a thoughtful post today on how blame is assigned after disasters like those at the Sago Mine.

To me this seems a matter of simple distinction: 1) there were natural or "freak" disasters; 2) there were grim and glaring social problems that the disasters publicly exposed that could have been solved before becoming exacaserbated. In the case of Hurricane Katina: government is not responsible for the hurricane; government is responsible for failing to address the levees, the strangling poverty, and the disaster response problems that Katrina exposed to the harsh light of day. In the case of the mine accident: government is not responsible for lightning; government is responsible for regulating mine operations to ensure worker safety so that accidental death and injuries are minimized and become truly "freakish" rather than the trend they seem to be at Sago.

George W. Bush has built his presidency on cronyism and appointing corporate insiders to be industry watchdogs ("Brownie" being symbolic of that). Cronies and insiders cannot regulate natural and "freak" disasters, but they are quite capable of regulating safety and welfare factors to minimize the tragedy that occurs when random disasters occur. They just choose not to. And Bush is culpable for the choices of those he chooses, regardless of the "heckuva-job" mentality conservative bloggers would have everyone parrot in these crises.

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