Notes on Ohio
Walter, you are a national treasure. Be well.
Great piece as I previously noted... Smoke on the water and fire in the sky. Our government is ....deplorable.
Your rage is fully warranted. After printing trillions ostensibly for infrastructure, this happens (because they wasted it on their boutique causes), and now they think they can get away blaming it on Trump. Won't even declare emergency. Parasitic government.
Wow. What a spectacular piece of writing. I share your mood, Mr. Kirn.
Remember when we were promised “unity”? The federal government certainly seems unified - but against the out-of-favor public.
It took over a week for the secretary of transportation to make any relevant comment let alone take any action. The "left" was once the proponent of environmental protection. Now it seems to ignore disasters like this one and the destruction of the Nordstream pipeline which released untold amounts of methane as a byproduct of foreign policy (which you noted in your podcast with Matt Taibbi). When Fox News takes the lead, unexpectedly, on this episode one is more and more convinced that "right" and "left" are terms which have completely lost definitional reliability, which appears to be the corporatist intention. One's terror is the result of deliberate confusion and obfuscation.
Let's get my politics up front . I'm a Trump Republican. However; I'm also a retired civil engineer who has a lot of experience with USG agencies and the railroads.
The Federal Railroad Administration is one of the worst of the agencies. It's "oversight" is a joke, irrespective of the party in power. I rwas that; in the Trump Administration, the FRA failed to enforce a requirement for improved braking technology. The absence of such technology may have contributed to the disaster
Trump's Transportation Secretary, Mitchell McConnell's wife, is not responsible for that decision. She probably never knew it was made. A permanent civil servant putting in his/her time toward his/her pension made the decision. I had the misfortune of dealing with dozens of such civil servants in my career as a private sector engineer. So neither Trump and Chao, nor Biden and Buttigieg are personally responsible. The bloated, personally unaccountable bureaucracy is responsible
So are the railroads. I lived near a large Pennstlvania Rail Road yard as a boy; and have worked on or near rail properties throughout my professional career. Spills of solid and
liquid hazardous materials have been routine as long as there gave been railroads, polluting surface water and groundwater. They usually are not as spectacular as East Palestine was
In order to increase their profitability to make themselves attractive to corporate and institutional investors (some of NS's largest investors are Bkackrock; Goldman Sachs; and JPMorgan Chase), railroads nationwide have reduced staffing in their Maintenance of Way Departments. The results are reduced track inspections; reduced track maintenance; reduced reconstruction of substandard trackage, and deraikments such as that in East Palestine and at other locations in the US over the past 10 days.
Maybe the rubes in East Palestine, Ohio can hire Zelenskyy to lobby Congress and the Brandon Administration for some aid. He's done a pretty good job getting regular multi-billion-dollar aid packages for Ukraine. Maybe he can get them a few million or so. I know they're mostly Trump-voting deplorables and all, but the Azov Battalion being literal Nazis hasn't hurt the fundraising for Ukraine. Or if that fails, maybe they can get some illegal aliens bussed into their town, which should get them some DEI money to rebuild with (since "equity" requires that white people be left to their fate in the face of disasters, but with some brown faces in the mix, they'll be sure to garner more sympathy).
Mr. Kirn, I'm delighted to become a paid subscriber. This piece brought me in -- we live in Bozeman, I'm a former journalist, preoccupied with the media's abandonment of "the dimension of earthly occurrences" as you aptly put it. But I also follow Matt Taibbi, and America This Week is a favorite. Thank you for all you do.
East Palestine detracts from The Narrative.
Therefore, it does not merit coverage.
I was there today. Frequent trains came rumbling through; I assume trying to get caught up. Most of the coverage is just noise establishing political positions. It makes me wonder how long it's been this bad without us really noticing. I wonder if anyone from any side with a corporate megaphone cares anything about the people they serve.
As you mentioned a couple of weeks ago on America this Week, who cares if the The NY Times, WaPo, etc. recant about Russiagate and have a “come to Jesus” moment.
They are all incapable of admitting their biases, and, frankly, I will NEVER believe another thing they say. EVER.
So their lack of coverage (or more accurately, their turning any criticism of the response/event into a Right-wing conspiracy) is exactly how they operate now. I expect nothing else from these rags. ZERO credibility.
FYI: El Gato Malo and Doomberg (both on Substack) each have pretty good pieces on the spill not being as rare, or catastrophic, as many are proclaiming.
One ominous observation I heard is that the large number of people who voted Trump in the region may account for the media silence. While cynical, it makes sense. Certain policy approaches and lots of rhetoric are openly used to otherize those who did not vote for the current "administration." Once the otherization reaches a certain potency, then some environmental disasters become more equal than others in the eyes of the corrupt media.
Ron and I stayed at the Murray in the 4th floor corner room. We thought of exactly what you wrote about concerning Livingston and the trains that rumble through the night.
As usual you have nailed the crux of this event.
We the people are still here. We are sitting at home calculating the deliberate harms done and wondering who is going to stop them. They seem unstoppable.
Molecules are molecules and words are words and just so. But to be clear, the federal government and the deep state, deep pocket interests behind the federal government don't give a damn about the people.