Jim Hightower's Lowdown
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
How Corporate Lobbyists Can Engineer a Train Wreck
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How Corporate Lobbyists Can Engineer a Train Wreck

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“Corporate crises consultants” (yes, there are such creatures) have patented a formula allowing their wrongdoing clients to champion reform while simultaneously killing it.

A classic case is now unfolding around last year’s derailment of a 2-mile-long Norfolk Southern freight train in East Palestine, Ohio. The community’s air, soil, water, and people suffered a massive spill of toxic chemicals.

So, following the corporate crisis script, Step One was for the CEO to offer “thoughts and prayers” for victims. Step Two: Reject corporate blame, but promise a “thorough investigation.” Three: Magnanimously pledge to work with lawmakers to prevent future disasters. And Four: Quietly unleash your pack of lobbyists to gut any effective change in the law.

Norfolk honchos are now pushing hard on Point Four. CEO Alan Shaw recently reiterated the corporation’s promise of reform, but – shhhh—he quietly orchestrated a $17 million increase in the rail industry’s Congressional lobbying to kill or drastically weaken safety proposals that Norfolk had publicly embraced after the wreck. But he keeps talking reform, slyly assuring locals that Norfolk would be “continuing our engagement” with lawmakers.

“Engagement” is a euphemism for payments. Rail executives have poured beaucoup bucks into such compliant congress critters as Troy Nehls, the Republican chair of a rail safety subcommittee. He recently wailed that Congress must not impose “more burdensome regulations and all this other stuff” on the poor multibillion-dollar giants. Also, Sen. John Thune, an industry-financed asset who formerly was a lobbyist for railroads (!), has tried to derail even modest safety proposals following last year’s derailment, callously calling them a “stalking horse for onerous regulatory mandates and union giveaways.”

May I just say the obvious? These people are disgusting excuses for human beings.

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Jim Hightower's Lowdown
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
Author, agitator and activist Jim Hightower spreads the good word of true populism, under the simple notion that "everybody does better, when everybody does better."