Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Does the US Deserve Redemption?


Hey, I've got a smart idea: let's make laws that require corporations to act like sociopaths, pursuing profit without any consideration for morality or human well-being, then let's allow our entire civilization to be ruled by corporations.

Oh cool, we already did that, good thinking.
--Caitlin Johnstone, You Have To Be Trusted By The People That You Lie To


Does the US Deserve Redemption?

by C. A. Matthews

After that one millionth, “Oh, no, not again!” feeling, you begin to wonder “Why bother?” Why bother getting upset or angry or depressed or frustrated when you know that feeling will come again and again and again and again…

The United Nations Security Council on February 21 heard testimony from Professor Jeffrey Sachs and former CIA Intelligence Anaylyst Ray McGovern about the Nord Stream pipelines bombing. It’s obvious to everyone that the US (with the help of Norway) were the culprits, and it was an act of terrorism that should be punished. But nothing is going to be done about it. The UN refuses to condemn the bombers. They’ll pretend like it never happened, although it actually happened, and it destroyed several member nations’ property and caused the largest methane leak in history.

The United States is a Teflon-coated bully that can destroy the environment and drone bomb the world and nobody will ever stand up to the US because of fear of retaliation, probably. That “Oh, no, not again!” feeling never goes away when it comes to the amount bullshit the United Nations will allow the US to get away with, and all because we’re the only country to drop not one, but two atom bombs on another country.

I’ve had enough of it. I’m ready for somebody or somebodies to call us on our shit and take us out once and for all. It will come as a great surprise to some Americans that there are many countries who have been longing for the day when the United States of America is no more. It’s not like these folks necessarily nurse an irrational hatred of our people, our junk food cuisine, our insipid Hollywood movies and exported TV shows, or even our gas-guzzling, climate-changing cars. It’s that they’ve had enough of our imperialism. 

It’s our imperialism that makes the US a pariah around the world. The list of countries we’ve invaded, helped stage a coup d’etat, economically sanctioned, or simply bombed grows longer by the day. Here’s a list of the countries the US has attempted to overthrow since World War II:

(* indicates successful ouster of a government)

  • China 1949 to early 1960s

  • Albania 1949-53

  • East Germany 1950s

  • Iran 1953 *

  • Guatemala 1954 *

  • Costa Rica mid-1950s

  • Syria 1956-7

  • Egypt 1957

  • Indonesia 1957-8

  • British Guiana 1953-64 *

  • Iraq 1963 *

  • North Vietnam 1945-73

  • Cambodia 1955-70 *

  • Laos 1958 *, 1959 *, 1960 *

  • Ecuador 1960-63 *

  • Congo 1960 *

  • France 1965

  • Brazil 1962-64 *

  • Dominican Republic 1963 *

  • Cuba 1959 to present

  • Bolivia 1964 *

  • Indonesia 1965 *

  • Ghana 1966 *

  • Chile 1964-73 *

  • Greece 1967 *

  • Costa Rica 1970-71

  • Bolivia 1971 *

  • Australia 1973-75 *

  • Angola 1975, 1980s

  • Zaire 1975

  • Portugal 1974-76 *

  • Jamaica 1976-80 *

  • Seychelles 1979-81

  • Chad 1981-82 *

  • Grenada 1983 *

  • South Yemen 1982-84

  • Suriname 1982-84

  • Fiji 1987 *

  • Libya 1980s

  • Nicaragua 1981-90 *

  • Panama 1989 *

  • Bulgaria 1990 *

  • Albania 1991 *

  • Iraq 1991

  • Afghanistan 1980s *

  • Somalia 1993

  • Yugoslavia 1999-2000 *

  • Ecuador 2000 *

  • Afghanistan 2001 *

  • Venezuela 2002 *

  • Iraq 2003 *

  • Haiti 2004 *

  • Somalia 2007 to present

  • Honduras 2009 *

  • Libya 2011 *

  • Syria 2012

  • Ukraine 2014 *

And the US continues to get away with these sordid kinds of things. We actually don’t get sanctioned, boycotted, bombed or nuked in return. We love to claim certain “baddies” are out to get us with their “spy-surveillance-lost-weather-balloons,” but no, that’s more of our own paranoia reflecting back at us. Luckily, most other nations are wise and mature enough not to fall for the US provoking hostilities and ignore Americans slurs made against them as a people. 

So, what if one day the US actually did get “caught in the act”? (We’ve been caught red-handed before and nothing happened, but what if?) What if one day the United Nations actually doled out an ample punishment for our imperialistic ways? Not a slap on the wrist, but an actual penalty to drive the point home that nobody likes a bully? What would that be like?

I, for one, would love to see the most polluting, most corrupt, and most violent American military machine put out of business. Forever. The UN could confiscate their facilities and re-tool them to do more productive and peaceful activities. At the end of the day, there would be no more military-industrial-Congressional complex. Good-bye Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, General Dynamics, Boeing… Total death to the War Machine! It's time to end the most polluting, environmentally damaging organization in the world, the US military! 

It also would put an end to all the well paid lobbyists and the kickbacks they give to the Congressional part of that MIC complex. No more huge piles of money buying off the loyalties of American politician-puppets. The idiots in Washington DC and our state houses would have to actually work for We the People and live only on the wages they’re given as an office holder. (Watch the current crop of politicians abandon ship like rats when the corporate money dries up.)

I hope the UN will enact sanctions against our “Death Industry” as well. Sanctions would put an end to the Big Pharma/Big Health Insurance cartel that has caused more unnecessary American deaths than every war we’ve legitimately taken a part in. Imagine every American having access to health care when they need it, not when or if they can afford to purchase it. Imagine! No more tricking young men and women into joining the military simply to gain health care coverage, either. People poisoned by a chemical spill and burn caused by a private corporation will have one less worry when it comes to treating their chronic illnesses.

The UN could also hold the US accountable to follow all the treaties we’ve ever signed that recognize human rights for all people. These human rights would include not locking up persons of color for decades and slapping life sentences/death sentences on them for the same crimes a rich white person with money might commit and receive only a slap on the wrist. This would mean allowing asylum seekers into the country who are searching for safety, instead of kicking them back into the dangerous border region of northern Mexico. This would mean the US government would have to follow all the treaties they've broken with Native American tribes.

So many good things would come about if the corrupt socioeconomic system of capitalism, the thing that drives American imperialism, was wiped off the map. Completely. Forever. 

But what would replace it? And, more perplexing still, do Americans as a people, a country, a nation, even deserve redemption?

Can a country whose Constitution holds that enslaved African Americans were worth 3/5 of a person for census purposes ever be absolved of that sin? Can a nation that committed outright genocide against its indigenous population ever be forgiven for their inhumanity? What reparations have we made to persons of color? What land have we given back to Native Americans without strings attached? Have we really wiped away the taint of “otherness” from those of Japanese descent whose grandparents we locked up in concentration camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor? If so, why are hate crimes against Asian Americans on the rise? 

I could go on here about other minorities who have been treated poorly both in the past and in the present day, but you get my meaning. What is worthy of redemption in a country that treats/have treated persons of color, the migrant, the indigenous, the working poor, the sick and disabled, the differently gendered with such scorn and contempt? 

As Black History Month comes to a close, it’s time to take account of all the ways Americans have caused harm to the human beings on this planet. A massive methane leak caused by a terrorist act on a Russian/German LNG pipeline only exacerbates the climate emergency and will only hurt ourselves in the long run. Destroying our neighbors' property is not a positive action, and it doesn’t encourage mutual cooperation and peace among the nations. Why do We the People allow sociopaths to become our political leaders and make such heinous decisions for both the US and the world?

So many Americans claim they follow the “Golden Rule,” but do they? Do they love their neighbors as themselves? We seem to hold back our love and wish evil upon them, but why? Fear? Greed? Selfishness? Laziness? 

Americans need to take a good look around at all the war, violence, and chaos we've caused and are still causing. If we wish to be deemed worthy of redemption, then we need to start putting things right and fix the wrongs that we've done. Today. 

It's simple: Shut down the War Machine. Start peace talks. Stop taking advantage of the economically oppressed and lock up the sociopathic oligarchs for their crimes against humanity. We the People know, deep down, these are the right things to do. We can’t keep kidding ourselves with all this “freedom and democracy nonsense if we don’t practice what we preach. 

Related Links:

UPDATE: Hungary Calls for a UN Investigation into the Nord Stream pipeline attack: https://popularresistance.org/hungary-demands-un-investigation-into-nord-stream-pipeline-attack/

Jeffrey Sachs and Ray McGovern at the UN on the Nordstream 2 Sabotage https://popularresistance.org/jeffery-sachs-and-ray-mcgovern-at-the-u-n-on-the-nord-stream-2-sabotage/ 

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs and Ray McGovern Address the UN Security Council on the Nord Stream Investigations (video) https://youtu.be/R_EX-VwKjng 

Ray McGovern Interview - The Nord Stream Pipeline Attack (video) https://www.youtube.com/live/LsjcVv2l8wU

You Have To Be Trusted By The People That You Lie To https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/you-have-to-be-trusted-by-the-people 
Overthrowing Other Peoples' Governments: The Master List
How Many Countries Has the US Invaded https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/how-many-countries-has-the-us-invaded
US Wars and Hostile Actions: A List  https://davidswanson.org/warlist/

China Report Excoriates ‘US Hegemony’, War Crimes, CIA Coups, 400 Foreign Interventions https://geopoliticaleconomy.com/2023/02/22/china-report-us-hegemony-wars-coups-intervention/

Why and How to End the War in Ukraine https://popularresistance.org/why-and-how-to-end-the-war-in-ukraine/

More Evidence Emerges that US Wanted Russia to Invade https://popularresistance.org/more-evidence-emerges-that-us-wanted-russia-to-invade/

How US and Ukraine's Far-Right Made Pro-Peace Zelensky a 'No Peace' President https://mate.substack.com/p/how-us-and-ukraines-far-right-made
How Can the Peace Movement Be More Effective?
There Has Never in History Been A Greater Need for a Large Anti-War Movement  https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/there-has-never-in-history-been-a
Pay For Your Own Wars, Big Oil! https://continuousrev.blogspot.com/2023/02/pay-for-your-own-wars-big-oil.html
Poisoning America For Profit: A Brief History of Norfolk Southern's Greed https://popularresistance.org/poisoning-america-for-profit-a-brief-history-of-norfolk-southerns-greed/
American Chernobyl  https://continuousrev.blogspot.com/2023/02/american-chernobyl.html

Seen on Twitter:

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

American Chernobyl


American Chernobyl

by C. A. Matthews

"A society that prohibits the capacity to speak in truth extinguishes the capacity to live in justice." --Chris Hedges

I didn’t hear about the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, until the day after it occurred. Little was mentioned on our local news stations, located on the opposite side of the same state. Even then, there was just a brief account: “A train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in a small town near the Pennsylvania state line.” My husband and I watched  the mainstream TV news story and didn’t think it could be too bad since no deaths or injuries were reported. Ohio has thousands of small towns. It has thousands of miles of railroad tracks crisscrossing it. We used to live in a small Ohio town with a “triangle” of railroad crossings. These things happen.

Three days later, the railroad owners, Norfolk Southern, decided to burn off the hazardous chemicals that had leaked from some of the derailed cars. These cars carried vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, ethylhexyl acrylate, and ethylene glycol monobutyl. When vinyl chloride burns, it attaches itself to the water molecules in the air and creates hydrochloric acid. It then rains down on everything and everyone in its path. You might be familiar with its common name, acid rain. Burning vinyl chloride also creates phosgene, a toxic colorless gas that killed many soldiers in World War I.

Mainstream media didn't tell us about how the townspeople were harmed by the chemicals burning, but independent journalists on the ground told  a grim story. They paint a very frightening picture of how toxic chemicals are affecting the air, water, and soil. They inform us of wildlife, fish, pets, and livestock that are sick or dead. Townspeople describe on camera how their lungs felt like they were on fire, how they became nauseous and vomited or suffered from diarrhea, headaches, severe nose bleeds, difficulty breathing, and skin rashes after authorities told them there was nothing to fear from the chemicals being burned, their drinking water supply was fine, and they all could safely return to their homes

Some have described what they’ve seen in East Palestine, Ohio as an “American Chernobyl.” Nuclear radiation lasts for millennia, but hazardous wastes pollution can last just as long through many human lifetimes in the forms of cancers and gene mutations passed on from one generation to another. “They chemically nuked East Palestine,” said one observer. Yes, they really did.

The most important thing mainstream media didn’t tell us is that the derailed chemical cars set on fire weren’t a “controlled burn.” There’s no such term as a “controlled burn” according to a hazmat worker interviewed on a Youngstown area TV news station. They’re called “prescribed burns” by professionals because they know fire can never be totally controlled. No government official or agency gave Norfolk Southern permission to do a prescribed burn of the chemicals anyway.  

The railroad CEOs should have hired tanker trucks to siphon off the remaining chemicals, none of which had caught on fire after the derailment. But that would have taken time and no small amount of money hiring enough tanker trucks and hazmat workers to do the job. Norfolk Southern chose the burning method because it was the cheapest and fastest way to clean up the mess and get the train cars out of the way so the rail line could open again and generate profits.

In other words, the railroad went with the quickest, least expensive, most environmentally unfriendly to all living things method possible. Why? Because it could.

US Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigeig kept quiet about the derailment incident for over a week, but told reporters, “Derailments happen every day.” He still won’t answer questions as to why the Biden Administration hasn’t reinstated air braking safety procedures that were deregulated under the Trump Administration. Two years on and the safety precautions rail workers have demanded still haven't been put into place. These are the same rail workers who where denied the right to strike and have paid sick days by Congress this past December.

Also, a very hush-hush upcoming court case could have very well played into the federal government's non-response to the train derailment:  

In the case against Norfolk Southern, the Biden administration is siding with the railroad in its conflict with a cancer-stricken former rail worker. A high court ruling for Norfolk Southern could create a national precedent limiting where workers and consumers can bring cases against corporations. From Biden DOJ Backing Norfolk Southern’s Bid To Block Lawsuits

With the Biden Administration's backing of this case to block lawsuits, the people harmed in East Palestine and elsewhere might not even be able to sue Norfolk Southern for damages. It seems like the federal government was expecting a disaster like this one to occur and wanted to protect corporations like Norfolk Southern more than seek justice for injured working class people. Never forget that.

At the end of the day, who pays the price for this unfortunate derailment and consequent “prescribed burn” of hazardous chemicals? Not the CEO of Norfolk Southern, a corporation that made record profits last year and even boosted shareholder payouts of 4,500%. Norfolk Southern also cut their rail employees by 33%, and smaller crews and less maintenance could have led to this train being derailed. But we’re supposed to feel sympathy for poor ol' Norfolk Southern, a corporation that pledged to give the entire town of East Palestine a measly $25,000, or $5 a person, for the “inconvenience” of breathing in toxic chemicals and having their water supply tainted with even more hazardous wastes from the burn.

Railroad lines are owned by private corporations in the US. That concept is difficult for people in many other countries to understand. Even in the United States, highways and bridges are generally considered public infrastructure paid for and maintained with our tax dollars, but railroad tracks are privately owned and operated. What the railroads do with the freight they haul and how they maintain their tracks are their business. It’s all a private concern of Norfolk Southern even if their preferred clean up method has put the health and safety of all life in the Ohio River watershed at risk. 

Cincinnati-area water intake has been shut off, exposing the less than truthful statement made by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine that Ohio River water is safe to drink:

The presence of chemicals from the spill in the Ohio River at any level is a worrying development. The Ohio River basin drains an area where approximately 25 million people live, and several cities lie along its course, including Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky, with metro populations of 2.3 million and 1.4 million, respectively.  

It is also one of the largest tributaries of the Mississippi River. Major cities downriver from where the Ohio River empties into the lower Mississippi include Memphis, Tennessee (metro population of 1.3 million); Baton Rouge (870,000) and New Orleans (1.3 million), Louisiana. Cincinnati-area Water Districts Shut Off Intake from the Ohio River Due to Contamination from East Palestine Derailment

Capitalism says, “Privatize the profits and socialize the costs.” The costs will be "rare forms of liver cancer (hepatic angiosarcoma), primary liver, brain and lung cancer, which are designated as solid organ tumors. However, it can also lead to leukemia and lymphomas" for the people living in East Palestine and even further downstream as toxins drain into creeks and rivers and fall onto livestock and farm fields. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources estimates 3,500 fish have been killed so far by the contaminated runoff after the derailment. But hey! Norfolk Southern made $3.2 billion in profits this past year and are on track to make even more for its shareholders. Rich people get richer, a whole lot richer. Who really cares if millions of Rust Belters potentially have had their lives and livelihoods cut short?

If not for the dogged independent journalists, the rest of us might never have known how many of our fellow human beings have been harmed, or will be harmed, by this toxic chemical burn by Norfolk Southern. We might never have known how the chemicals traveled through the air as acid rain and then fell onto productive farmland and into the water supply for millions. We might never have known why so many cancers popped up in eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia. Without “indie journos” interviewing the people harmed by the chemical burn, we would have never known the extent of this entirely man-made, preventable disaster, now known to be the largest of its kind in US history.

Railroad companies have one of the biggest lobbyist groups in Washington DC. Private corporations such as Norfolk Southern shouldn’t be dictating public policy to US government officials, but they do. The finger-pointing has begun and heads should roll for not changing the unsafe regulations in regard to train car maintenance, train length, and air braking, but never fear! Railroad profits will reign supreme over the public’s safety. They always do. 

Without independent journalists we’d never know why so many suffer because of capitalism’s dictate:

Privatize the profits and socialize the costs. Keep the public in the dark.

But We the People can fight back.

This story is ongoing, and here’s your assignment as a citizen journalist/activist: Keep an eye out in the mainstream media for how much (or how little) this train derailment and consequent chemical burn in East Palestine, Ohio, is mentioned. Search for stories about the environmental fallout throughout the eastern US.  If very few or only “positive” statements about how Norfolk Southern is handling the situation are made, check out who is buying commercial time on the network, program, magazine and/or website. If they’re broadcasting ads for Norfolk Southern and related concerns such as Big Oil (think diesel engines), then realize that anything these so-call news anchors are telling the public is suspect. 

Always follow the money and consider who has the most to gain or lose by the truth being told or not told. Just last night on a local TV newscast I caught a "positive" story of how "sorry" the CEO of Norfolk Southern felt about the disaster in East Palestine. Nothing mentioned about the health concerns of the public, just how sorry Mr. Moneybags felt. Mainstream media does a great job covering up for our government's lack of concern for our health and safety, doesn't it?

I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and check out indie podcasters and blogs to see what else you can learn about unfolding events. Even now class action suits are starting to form against Norfolk Southern, so keep an ear open to how the current court case blocking such lawsuits against the railroad is going. How are the people hurt directly by the toxic chemical burn fighting back? Can you help them? Can you spread their message to others? Be creative.

After this piece I’ll list article and video links on this topic and well as a couple of others. Compare and contrast what “indie journos” are saying against what the well-paid and well-coiffed “newsreaders” of the mainstream media outlets (especially TV) say on a particular topic. Ask yourself about what is being said. More importantly, ask what is being left unsaid.

Remember: “Derailments happen every day.” The next one could happen near your home. It could involve train cars full of hazardous chemicals. Would you like it if they were burned and transformed into a dark cloud of carcinogens and acid rain that rains down on you and your neighbors?

Here’s another story that doesn't makes much sense in the mainstream media, the “UFO/Spy Balloon” fiasco: https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/what-we-know-about-the-us-air-forces Compare and contrast what you hear in the mainstream media. Have they come clean about their warmongering hype?

And last week’s TRC posting discussed how an award-winning independent journalist uncovered the who, how, what, when, where and why of the Nordstream 2 pipeline explosions: Pay For Your Own Wars, Big Oil! Compare and contrast the mainstream media coverage of the pipelines’ sabotage. What did the MSM journalists originally leave out of their stories about the NordStream? Why did they avoid investigating deeply into who had the strongest motive to take out the pipeline and lessen the competition for liquefied natural gas in Europe? Why did they continually repeat the US government’s propaganda? What was in it for them to turn a blind eye?

Citizen journalists never stop questioning!

Related Links: 

UPDATE: Poison and Private Police: Norfolk Southern Destroys East Palestine https://odysee.com/@TheGrayzone:c/poison-and-private-police-norfolk:a 

A Norfolk Southern Policy Lets Officials Order Crews To Ignore Safety Alerts https://scheerpost.com/2023/02/23/a-norfolk-southern-policy-lets-officials-order-crews-to-ignore-safety-alerts/ 

Cincinnati-area Water Districts Shut Off Intake from the Ohio River Due to Contamination from East Palestine Derailment  https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2023/02/20/eubz-f20.html

Organizations Across Ohio Mobilize to Provide Mutual Aid to Residents of East Palestine, Ohio https://popularresistance.org/organizations-across-ohio-mobilize-to-provide-mutual-aid-to-residents-of-east-palestine-ohio/

IN FULL DETAIL: They Won’t Tell You This About Ohio Train Derailment (Video) Caution: contains images of dead chickens. Richard Medhurst as a Brit gives us good insights into how American capitalism so readily puts corporate profits before people’s safety.  https://youtu.be/HDFXHYGF7T0
The Toxic Rail Disaster in Ohio: The Homicidal Indifference of the Ruling Class Laid Bare https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2023/02/15/zbrv-f15.html
Biden DOJ Backing Norfolk Southern’s Bid To Block Lawsuits https://www.levernews.com/bidens-doj-backing-norfolk-southern-case-to-block-lawsuits/
Rail Company Claims East Palestine Water Is Safe After Funding Sloppy Testing https://truthout.org/articles/rail-company-claims-east-palestine-water-is-safe-after-funding-sloppy-testing
Worried About Toxins in East Palestine Water?
East Palestine: The Place You Don't Want to Be! https://www.thebrockovichreport.com/p/east-palestine-the-place-you-dont
The East Palestine rail disaster and the case for workers’ power https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2023/02/18/pers-f18.html
The Chemical Disaster in East Palestine, Ohio (Video from the indie journos of Unicorn Riot) https://youtu.be/nCqu5oMxTZg
Capitalism's Solution to the Toxic Ohio Train Derailment is, "Figure it out Yourselves MF'ers" (video)  https://youtu.be/uMn9n521ono
Ohio Train Disaster: How Corruption and Greed Created Catastrophe, w/ David Sirota | SYSTEM UPDATE (video)  https://youtu.be/WjUmg5Gn6Bk

An excerpt from The East Palestine Rail Disaster and the Case for Workers’ Power https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2023/02/18/pers-f18.html

Every year, there are more than 1,000 derailments in the United States, an average of around three per day. In only the short time since the disaster in East Palestine, a derailment occurred in Houston, Texas, which led to one death, and another in Van Buren Township, Michigan, which involved the derailment of another chemical car.

The reasons for this high rate of accidents are well-known to 120,000 railroaders in the US. The locomotives, railroads and workforce have been driven into the ground by years of cost-cutting by management. Trains have been lengthened to up to three miles long, controlled by only two people. Because of Precision Scheduled Railroading and similar attendance policies, workers are often forced to operate these massive machines with only a couple of hours of sleep.

The train involved in the derailment in East Palestine, known as 32N or “32 Nasty” among train crews, was long known to be particularly dangerous.

This has not only endangered railroad workers, but the public as a whole. But the more the railroads have been driven to the brink of collapse and the more communities along the railroads are endangered, the higher the railroads’ profits go up.

The railroad industry is the most profitable industry in America. Last year, Norfolk Southern reported profits of $3.2 billion, a record for the company. Rather than investing in infrastructure, let alone improving the conditions for workers, the company has spent $18 billion over the past five years in stock buybacks and dividends, that is, handouts to investors. The same pattern is present in all the major rail companies.

* * *

A deadly toxic spill could pollute the water supply of millions. Let’s make sure the reckless company responsible for this disaster, Norfolk Southern, foots the bill for the clean up!

 Sign the petition 

Last week a toxin-filled freight train slid off the rails spilling poisonous chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio. But the rail operator responsible, Norfolk Southern, is already trying to dodge responsibility for cleaning up this toxic mess.

The derailed train was carrying five train-car loads of a cancer-causing chemical called vinyl chloride, which is linked to an increased risk of rare brain and liver cancers. 

Yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed the chemical has seeped into the Ohio river basin - which supplies water to millions. Thousands of fish have been found dead.

Barely anyone knows that Norfolk Southern is responsible for this terrible disaster - but if we put the public spotlight on the company and demand it covers the clean up bill, the company won’t be able to walk away scot free.

Tell Norfolk Southern to foot the bill for this toxic spill

Behind the scenes, panicking Norfolk Southern execs know that they could be facing eye watering fines and massive lawsuits - which is why they’re trying to buy off residents with $1000 ‘inconvenience’ checks in return for residents waiving any future claim against the company.

These shady tactics are true to form for a company that for years has put profit over safety. Norfolk Southern has slashed jobs and lobbied against better safety measures on the railways, all the while paying out millions to shareholders. Railroad Workers United said last week’s tragedy was a disaster years in the making.

In 2012 a train crashed in Paulsboro, New Jersey spilling tens of thousands of gallons of vinyl chloride - two years later over half the residents reported health problems. Five times that amount of vinyl chloride was spilled in East Palestine.

We won’t know the true impact of this catastrophe for some time but we do know that Norfolk Southern must publicly commit to covering the full cost.

Tell Norfolk Southern to foot the bill for this toxic spill

We’ve taken on some of the biggest corporate criminals before and won. When Bangladeshi workers lost their lives at the Rana Plaza garment factory, the Ekō community held global fashion giant H&M to account.

Now let’s do it again and force this billion-dollar company to pay up.

 Sign the petition 

Thanks for all that you do,
Vicky and the team at Ekō

More information: 


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Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Pay For Your Own Wars, Big Oil!

Pay For Your Own Wars, Big Oil!

by C.A. Matthews

Did you get a chance to read Pulitzer Prize-winner Seymour Hersh’s excellent exposé on who and how and when the Nord Stream LNG pipelines were blown up? If you haven’t read his article yet, you really owe it to yourself to do so now. Go on, click on the blue link. We’ll wait. 

Here’s a quick excerpt from it for those in a rush:

Last June, the Navy divers, operating under the cover of a widely publicized mid-summer NATO exercise known as BALTOPS22, planted the remotely triggered explosives that, three months later, destroyed three of the four Nord Stream pipelines, according to a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning.

Two of the pipelines, which were known collectively as Nord Stream 1, had been providing Germany and much of Western Europe with cheap Russian natural gas for more than a decade. A second pair of pipelines, called Nord Stream 2, had been built but were not yet operational. (…)

Biden’s decision to sabotage the pipelines came after more than nine months of highly secret back and forth debate inside Washington’s national security community about how to best achieve that goal. For much of that time, the issue was not whether to do the mission, but how to get it done with no overt clue as to who was responsible. – Seymour Hersch, How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline

And for clarification, in case you've come across persons attempting to besmirch Mr. Hersh’s distinguished career:

[Hersh] went to Vietnam and covered the war as a freelance reporter. In 1969, he heard about an Army lieutenant, William Calley, who had been secretly court martialed for his role in a massacre of Vietnamese civilians, and, after investigating it as a freelance reporter, he broke the news of what became widely known as the My Lai massacre, in which he wrote, “The Army says Lieutenant Calley deliberately murdered at least 109 Vietnamese civilians during a search and destroy mission in March 1968, in a Viet Cong stronghold known as Painesville.” Hersh 's story was picked up by 33 newspapers through the wire service. He was working as a freelance reporter when he revealed that. 

That incident took place in March 1968. It involved the deliberate killing by company Sea First Battalion, 20th Infantry, of South Vietnamese civilians. The U.S. Army originally denied all of his claims, insisting that they were all made up and were all fiction but they ultimately ended up admitting most of his revelations, including the fact that Lieutenant Calley was convicted of murder of 22 civilians and was sentenced to life in prison, though he was pardoned in 1974. For that reporting, which prompted not mean tweets, but threats of all kinds of violence from many serious sectors, Hersh won the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.Glenn Greenwald, Who Blew Up the Nord Stream Pipeline? System Update #39 (February 10, 2023)

Seymour Hersh is one of the most highly respected journalists in the world. He won the Pulitzer Prize, the top award in Western journalism, for his reporting on US war crimes in Vietnam.

He has spent decades building up sources inside the US government. Hersh has also earned accolades for exposing US atrocities and cover-ups targeting Iraq, Iran, and Syria. Ben Norton, US blew up Nord Stream pipelines connecting Russia to Germany, journalist Seymour Hersh reports

Things are making a whole lot more sense now—at least they should to those who have been watching and/or reading mainstream media outlets and fell for the “Russia blew up its own pipeline!” nonsense. The rest of us who regularly follow independent journalists online and nurse a healthy sense of skepticism toward anything coming out of the mouths of US government spokespersons weren’t surprised at all by Hersh’s reporting. But I realize that there is still a lot of head scratching in the “Vote Blue No Matter Who” crowd. Some of these heavily propagandized folks are willing to admit that they couldn’t fathom why any country would destroy its own profitable pipeline, even if they are ruled by “Bad Man (not Orange) Putin,” a man portrayed in the mainstream media as a combination of Trump and Stalin.

The most surprising thing to me in Hersh's article was the Norwegians’ uncontained enthusiasm for the sabotage plan. They were happy to go along with planting the concrete-covered C4 explosives on the Nord Stream liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipelines. No one had to twist the Norwegians’ arms to drop the sea buoy that boosted the signal from the US to detonate the bombs three months after they were planted. The bombs then exploded and destroyed three out of four of the pipelines. (Hey, nobody’s perfect, and the surviving pipeline has since been turned off. Mission accomplished!)

I wonder if the Norwegians realized that by helping the United States destroy property belonging to oil companies from the EU, Germany, France, and several others (49%), and Russia (51%) that they were, to all intents and purposes, participating in an act of war. Think about it. Blowing up a liquefied natural gas pipeline that doesn’t belong to you is a very aggressive act. It’s not something one country should do to another without expecting to experience some serious consequences in return.

In the past, as soon as one country discovered their property had been destroyed by another country, a call for war was issued and fighting ensued. Perhaps we should count ourselves lucky that nowadays the Big Oil companies sit down at the boardroom table and discuss how they’ll proceed from this point onward before they come to blows.

Big Oil companies? Did you actually think I meant to type “the US, Germany, Russia, and Norway need to sit down and talk things over” in regard to blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines? No, I meant to type Big Oil, and you'll see why in a moment.

We’re intelligent adults here, so I feel I can speak frankly with you about this matter. We both know that the US government wasn't ultimately in charge of this pipeline sabotage operation. Oh no. Whenever human beings are discussing anything to do with the largest multinational corporations on the planet like Big Oil, we have to admit that they, the corporations, are the ones exercising all the power. Simply put, it is the corporations who are calling all the shots. Big Oil is our ultimate ruler.

In short, Joe Biden wasn’t the first to express a long-held desire to blow up Russia's profitable LNG pipeline. It was the Western Big Oil companies that have wanted the Nord Stream put out of commission for some time now. Chevron signed a deal and made some comments about cornering the market in Ukraine’s fossil fuel industry back in 2013, right before the US overthrew Ukraine's popularly elected president, Viktor Vanukovych, in the Maidan Coup of 2014. Unfortunately for Mr. Vanukovych, he expressed an interest in doing business with a Russian oil company over Chevron, a US oil company. (Interesting coincidence, the timing of the Maidan Coup, don’t you think? Well, it did get then Vice President Biden's son, Hunter Biden, a cushy job at Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company. Nothing to see here, move along, please.)

 Investigative journalist Ben Norton points out:

Just hours after Nord Stream was sabotaged, NATO members Norway, Denmark, and Poland announced the official opening of a new natural gas pipeline, the Baltic Pipe. (...)

Since the Nord Stream pipelines were blown up, Norway has replaced Russia as Europe’s largest supplier of pipeline gas.

Norwegian gas shipments to Germany in particular have reached record highs. In 2021, Norway had provided Germany with less then 20% of its gas supply. By 2022, that figure had shot up to 33%.

Meanwhile, the United States has also become the world’s largest liquified natural gas (LNG) exporter (tied with Qatar).

European imports made up the “lion’s share” of US LNG exports in 2022, quickly replacing Asia as the new top market.  US blew up Nord Stream pipelines connecting Russia to Germany, journalist Seymour Hersh reports

Putting competitor oil corporations and pipelines out of business is how capitalism works. You didn’t think it was all about “sharing the market” and “friendly competition” among these mega-billion dollar corporations, did you? Competition is for suckers! Building a monopoly in a commodity market is where it’s at in the sick and twisted socioeconomic system of capitalism.

 Getting rid of your competitors forever is a good enough reason to have your favorite puppet government sabotage and blow up an LNG pipeline and risk a nuclear war by doing so. These psychopathic/sociopathic Big Oil CEOs don't seem to worry very much about the fate of humanity. If they ever did, would they have covered up fossil fuel's part in causing greenhouse gases and exacerbating the climate catastrophe for the past half century?

Helping out your fellow CEOs at Raytheon, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, and the rest of the military-industrial complex to make mega-profits is a good idea, too. Military equipment uses a lot of fossil fuels to run and be maintained. So helping them sell more and more armaments will help Big Oil's bottom line. And it's always a great idea to cooperate with the War Machine, that is, if we haven’t nuked the entire planet into a cinder before then.

Trillions of dollars in profit for Big Oil CEOs and their shareholders is worth the political fall out from causing what could be the largest methane leak in human history. (You didn't think blowing up the Nord Stream wouldn't have a massive environmental impact, did you?) Really, it was worth it. It’s not like the oil companies themselves deal much with the press, the irate public, the environment, and the maligned pipeline owners. That’s what their bought-off politician-puppets are for. 

That’s right. That’s why Big Oil lobbyists give so much money to politicians worldwide. Politicians are tasked with creating the circumstances where capitalists can do what capitalists do best: Create monopolies and make themselves evermore increasing profits. And if it takes a war and causing an environmental disaster... then so be it.

As the great Ralph Nader says:

No other institutions consistently Rule over as Much in the World as the Giant Global Corporations – not governments, not armies, not religions and certainly not trade unions. These fictional corporate entities have largely achieved transcendent imperial status, as they amass coordinated control over capital, labor, technology and governments because they have secured the rights bestowed upon human beings. In a confrontation or a conflict or even a contract, it is no contest: mere people don’t have a chance.

As Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis warned in 1933, we have created a “Frankenstein monster” in our midst, whose unifying lust for power and control on behalf of their profits know few limits. From How to Rescue Our Democratic Society: Constitutionally Render Corporations Unequal to Humans

I’ll venture to say that Big Oil knows zero limits on their power. These avaricious corporations dictate both domestic and foreign policy for the US government. And our paid-for politician-puppets obediently do as they're told.

There was never any question about who blew up the Nord Stream pipelines. The half-owners, Gazprom of Russia, could have just turned off a valve on the pipeline and shut it down. There was no need for them to waste expensive and dangerous explosives to stop the flow of liquefied natural gas. Any rational adult could reason that the Russians had no motive to blow up the Nord Stream. It was highly profitable. Only the owners of the new Baltic Pipe (built by Poland, Denmark, and Norway) and the US-aligned oil companies had the motive. And they're all making money hand over fist, charging four times last year's cost for LNG to heat homes in Europe.

Their motive here is greed, pure and simplethe greed of the US and EU oil companies who didn't like cheap Russian natural gas flooding the market. And who suffers? Just the people in both the Europe and the US this winter who can't afford to heat their homes. Just the people of Ukraine caught in the middle of a shooting match. Nobody really in the eyes of the multinational corporations.

It's the greedy oil corporations who are the "bad guys” in this story. They ordered their puppet, the US government, to destroy a pipeline belonging to Russia, a fellow nuclear power. The saddest thing is that sabotaging another country's pipeline (or even shooting down another country's weather balloons) could lead to a grave misunderstanding, spark World War III, and get us all killed.

You know what? Big Oil can pay for its own wars from now on. They can afford it—they make trillions of dollars in profits, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be without money anytime soon. Since they are so good at buying politicians, they can go ahead and buy mercenaries (which make up a good percentage of those fighting for Ukraine currently) to do the warring for them. Better yet, let’s tell Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to use their private spaceships to transport all the CEOS and their mercenaries to the moon or Mars where they can fight over who gets to rule the LNG market without interruptions. We’ll all be much safer and happier here on Earth if none of them ever come back.


Related Links:

How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline

US blew up Nord Stream pipelines connecting Russia to Germany, journalist Seymour Hersh reports

My Sources Corroborate Sy Hersh's Nord Stream Report

Seymour Hersh’s exposure of the Nord Stream bombing: A lesson and a warning https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2023/02/10/pers-f10.html

Sen. Mike Lee ‘Can’t Rule Out’ That the US Blew Up Nord Stream

Glenn Greenwald: Who Blew Up the Nord Stream Pipeline? System Update, Episode #39 https://rumble.com/v291nvo-system-update-show-39.html

INSANE: US Confirmed to Be Behind Nordstream Pipeline Attacks: Seymour Hersh  https://www.youtube.com/live/DUwfPWJQ7Pc

Nord Stream pipeline & sabotaging peace w/Jeffrey Sachs

Here's How US Blew Up Nordstream Pipeline (NEW PROOF)

Seymour Hersh reveals how the US blew up Nord Stream 2 https://mate.substack.com/p/seymour-hersh-reveals-how-the-us

How The United States Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline https://youtu.be/A68z2iQHUhE

Sy Hersh and the Way We Live Now https://popularresistance.org/sy-hersh-the-way-we-live-now/

Ukraine Signs $10 Billion Shale Gas Deal with Chevron https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-chevron/ukraine-signs-10-billion-shale-gas-deal-with-chevron-idUSBRE9A40ML20131105

Sitting in the Dock at the Hague (Ukraine War Series) https://bernie2016.blogspot.com/2022/03/sitting-in-dock-at-hague.html 

Biden covers up plans for US shooting war against Russia in State of the Union address https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2023/02/09/pers-f09.html

How to Rescue Our Democratic Society: Constitutionally Render Corporations Unequal to Humans https://scheerpost.com/2023/02/11/how-to-rescue-our-democratic-society-constitutionally-render-corporations-unequal-to-humans/

How A Pipeline Company Paid Minnesota Millions To Police Protests https://popularresistance.org/how-a-pipeline-company-paid-minnesota-millions-to-police-protests/

Zelensky Admits He Refused to Implement Minsk Peace Deal https://popularresistance.org/zelensky-admits-he-refused-to-implement-minsk

Former Israeli PM Bennett Says US ‘Blocked’ His Attempts at a Russia-Ukraine Peace Deal https://scheerpost.com/2023/02/08/former-israeli-pm-bennett-says-us-blocked-his-attempts-at-a-russia-ukraine-peace-deal/

Why Are We Repeating History? https://continuousrev.blogspot.com/2023/02/why-are-we-repeating-history.html

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