Thursday, February 21, 2008

Great , Bad Times

Welcome to third anniversary cabdrollery.

Thanks for your attention, and thanks for telling Diane and me you have appreciated our points. It's great to have such an audience, and I hope to never waste your time.

Of course, with a full complement of criminals in high office, we never lack for atrocities to expose, but I am sincerely hoping for a change in that regard soon. We really don't mind if we have to wrack our brains for something that is begging to be brought to your attention, and needing to be changed.

It being an anniversary, I especially want to say how comfy I was to come aboard here, after having read Diane's posts for a long while, so it was sure that I would be proud of the association. Her post yesterday was a fine example. It also took a lot of the wind out of my sails, since it wrapped up so much of what I want to say, too.

Then I found out how bankruptcy, which our financial industry portrayed as the resort of scoundrels in order to get laws passed making it so hard for a strapped individual to use - actually was the resort of a scoundrel copper mining company.

ASARCO declared bankruptcy and avoided cleaning up a massive environmental mess that it has made. Now having wiped its books - or slate - clean, the company wants to resume operations in this more profitable time. Needless to say, the ASARCO that wants to mine considers that it's not going to have to go clean up its mess since it was bankrupt back then.

.... Asarco holds the trump card: It declared bankruptcy in the summer of 2005. Now, as Piñón says with a slight tinge of disgust, "the company can just walk away without cleaning up."

More precisely, it can walk away and then come back. Reorganization under the Bankruptcy Code's Chapter 11 helps companies wipe the slate clean of environmental liabilities, giving them a fresh start. In the United States--a country that has based its keystone environmental laws on the principle that polluters, not taxpayers, should pay to clean up the poisons they spew--Asarco is just one example of how corporations use Chapter 11 to slough off massive environmental liabilities, reorganize, and then emerge leaner and meaner to operate another day.

Asarco's parent company, Grupo México, is benefiting too. A few months after Asarco filed for bankruptcy, Grupo México announced that net profits had doubled--largely because Asarco's environmental liabilities had been removed from its books. Of course, the liabilities remain, but now they are borne by U.S. taxpayers.

Last year, Congress cracked down on personal bankruptcy, making it harder for consumers to erase their debts. But legislators have done nothing to get tougher with the approximately 38,500 businesses that declare bankruptcy each year. A 2005 report to Congress spelled out steps the EPA could take to ensure such companies fulfill their environmental obligations. But as that study sits on a shelf, Asarco and an untold number of other polluting enterprises are getting a free pass. (Emphasis added.)

Hearings are being held this week in El Paso on re-opening the smelting operation there.

Sometimes it seems like the criminals in office in the U.S. are the gift that keeps on giving - if you want to out the crimes. Believe me, as most of our readers know by their own experience, this isn't fun.

When peace breaks out, we at cabdrollery will be happier than clams to have nothing to cry over there, and the same is true in finally achieving that badly needed good government, hopefully beginning January 20, 2009. We want it to be so great that we will have nothing to post but cheesy stuff.

However, as Avedon Carol noted yesterday at The Sideshow, we know we'll have to join in the push to make sure our next leaders don't go right down the road the present gang that can't shoot straight has chosen. Thanks for your help in keeping those noses - that are supposed to do the public's business - to the grindstone.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy anniversary to a fine blog, and here's wishing for many more.


1:26 PM  

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