Fri Sep 10th, 2010 at 01:01:16 PM EST
The only thing beautiful about the internet mainstream 'news', aside from the visuals, are the subversive anti-corporate-rule comment sections. The gas line explosion catastrophe near San Francisco provides an excellent example. Though distracted by the beauty of the images emerging from the U.S.'s latest man-made tragedy, I did manage to find perfectly well-informed anonymous speculation in a comment section, on our industry-controlled regulatory nightmare and why things too often go boom in the night:
[Reuter's] Four dead in San Francisco suburb gas line inferno
THE ONLY COMMENT SO FAR:
An industry that is self regulated or largely gets to write its own regulations and provide its own oversight thanks to generously funded lobbying efforts.
aging infrastructure with maintenance/replacement cycles driven by profit considerations
things that go boom in the night.
Over the past decade there has been a flow of reports and articles written independent of the gas industry that chronicle the increasing obsolescence of transportation (pipeline) infrastructure. So this and future deadly accidents should not come as a surprise.
. . .
And yes, it is still too early to be certain as to the cause of this explosion, but given past history of the gas industry and pipeline accidents, I'll go with the odds for now.
"What the hell's going on, this guy/gal some kind of TROLL?!"
Here are some links (not from the mainstream press) to support the comment's main point:
Critics fume over lack of natural gas pipeline oversight
This week [of July 30, 2010], a fracture in an Enbridge Energy pipeline released nearly a million gallons of oil into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River in Battle Creek, Mich. The accident is drawing attention to the obscure Department of Transportation agency responsible for the regulation and oversight of the country's 2.3 million miles of natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines: the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA.
A review of PHMSA records shows familiar ties between industry and regulators. A former legal counsel for the company responsible for the spill currently heads the oversight agency. In the last year, PHMSA has granted more than a dozen safety waivers to the companies it regulates. These waivers, industry observers say, have saved companies millions of dollars, but might have put people and property at risk.
Spills and explosions reveal lax regulation of powerful industry
But, yeah, it is still too early to speculate, I suppose. But no, the ecstacy of self-regulation and a submissive mainstream press, this is our permanent fate imposed by our now permanent government. Will the mainstream press even engage in speculation such as that above? Well, it may, but when it does it is temporary and therefore ineffectual, and must be forgotten - `Don't dwell on the free market's imperfections or you're fired!' - in the next mainstream 'news' distraction.
We, the peons, had better just accept our lot in life - whether it's to die in a preventable man-made inferno or to strike it rich in a million-to-one chance lottery - in a wealth-rules new feudalism.