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Gibson writes: "Both aren't above killing people to attain their goals."

Up to 75 homes, a large apartment complex, a middle school and a nursing home suffered major damage in West, Texas. (photo: NBC36TV/Twitter)
Up to 75 homes, a large apartment complex, a middle school and a nursing home suffered major damage in West, Texas. (photo: NBC36TV/Twitter)

What Do the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Al-Qaeda Have in Common?

By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News

04 May 13


Answer: Both aren't above killing people to attain their goals.

n 2009, Congress considered a bill that would have strengthened safety standards at fertilizer plants like the one that recently exploded in West, Texas, killing dozens of first responders and leveling a nearby middle school and a nursing home 500 yards away. The 2009 safety regulations were staunchly opposed by the US Chamber of Commerce, multinational corporations' lobbying arm in Washington. The lobby spent millions to defeat it and labeled it a "key vote" that year. Even though it passed the House, the bill died in the Senate before even getting a vote.

Had those new regulations passed, the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, could have been prevented. But even though the plant dealt in highly-explosive materials like ammonium nitrate, it was only inspected once in its entire history, in 1985. Corporate lobbies like the US Chamber of Commerce prioritize profits and stock prices above safety of the surrounding community, and vehemently oppose environmental and safety regulations in all instances by spending millions of dollars to influence Congress and support candidates who promise to deregulate anything and everything.

The only problem with deregulating environmental and safety laws for corporations is that it opens the floodgates for environmental disasters and fatal catastrophes. Corporations successfully lobbied to deregulate offshore oil drilling in 2002 and 2003, successfully gaining an exemption from the Bush administration on having to install acoustic switches that would activate blowout preventers on oil rigs. Oil companies have to abide by that law in every country where they drill, except for the United States. The acoustic switch shuts off oil blowouts at the source, plugging the well before the blowout becomes too large to contain.

Even though it would only cost an additional $500,000 to install, business groups opposed the idea of oil companies posting record profits that year having to pay an extra cost for even such a basic safety measure. Yet after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf Coast, BP has had to pay out billions of dollars in fines and settlements. Clearly, the business model of hyper-deregulation is costlier not only in terms of dollars spent, but in lives lost, habitats ruined, and entire economies upended.

The explosion in Boston was defined as a terrorist attack, as Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev's actions were done with malicious intent and claimed 3 lives while seriously injuring hundreds of others. The two men selfishly chose to end the live of others to make whatever petty point they wanted to make. But the explosion in West, Texas, was also done with malicious intent.

Anyone with half a brain knows that it's incredibly dangerous for a place that manufactures explosive materials to operate under safety standards that are decades out of date. The wanton deregulation that inevitably led to that explosion was also done with selfish intent, as the US Chamber of Commerce chose to allow corporations to make more money rather than keep the community safe from harm. By that definition the explosion in West, Texas, was also a terrorist attack.

Corporate terrorists should be pursued just as much as religious extremists who commit terrorist acts. And since the US Chamber of Commerce hasn't released a statement apologizing to the community of West for their reckless behavior that led to the deaths of dozens, it can be said that they will continue to commit acts of terror for selfish economic gain until they're indicted for their complicity in manslaughter, if not murder.

Carl Gibson, 25, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary "We're Not Broke," which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin. You can contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and follow him on twitter at @uncutCG.

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+48 # barbaratodish 2013-05-04 10:46
The US Chamber of Commerce is everything it's name says it is and more, it's as it's name implies: a CHAMBER (POT) of
+3 # 2013-05-04 18:37
Yep and the article points out some home truths Yankees should hear before it is too late. But they wont at 250 years age the babies still try teaching grannie nations to suck eggs. UK is but 1,000 years some 4 times older than USA and you don't even hear their soundly grounded economic theories, you opt for 20 to 70 year theory bases.
+85 # Trueblue Democrat 2013-05-04 10:47
Relax. Our good ole boy State government here in Texas has already had a hearing on the "incident" at West, and state leaders concluded that they don’t foresee dramatic changes to the way Texas regulates similar chemical facilities.

How could state leaders learn anything from a disaster? They are a disaster.

Another question that begs for an answer: How can a roomful of deaf legislators -- deaf, that is, to anything not spoken by a deep-pockets "lobbyist" -- hold a hearing?
+49 # kalpal 2013-05-04 12:29
None so deaf as those who refuse to hear. Money gets you into office and keeps you there. Employees who are not unionized can't afford to bribe legislators.
+38 # Texas Aggie 2013-05-04 19:49
In addition to the lack of safety regulations, it now turns out that the plant only carried $1 million in liability, which doesn't even begin to cover anything. But Goodhair is asking for federal aid to cover the damage. Slime bucket has a new definition.
+64 # jwb110 2013-05-04 11:14
I lived in a little town in PA. The members of the Chamber of Commerce were bastards there and they are bastards on a National level and not a one of them lives near a fertilizer plant.
+41 # kalpal 2013-05-04 12:28
The Rich never live near places likely to blow up in a workplace "accident." That would be like living on the banks of a heavily polluted stream they bribed someone to ignore or declare not really polluted. All those dead fish committed suicide and were not poisoned.
-39 # Unicorn144 2013-05-04 12:23
Well; here is my take on this and all that is to shortly come...Revelati on 11:18

"....11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

11:16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,

11:17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth....."

READ the last line: yes, THAT'S the ONE children...NOW
+46 # kalpal 2013-05-04 12:24
You have to have priorities. The C of C has never bothered to value human lives over and above profits. It has never seen any reason to do so. Lots of humans keep being produced but money is so much more valuable than humans.

One of the reasons the Chamber has fought so hard to eradicate unions is that unions insist on workplace safety and that is totally counter to profit making. Safe work places tend to restrict profit potential so no safety is the best kind of safety. Insurance will cover payments to families of those killed in the work place and will pay to restore whatever is destroyed so why worry about how many lives need to be sacrificied? Surely yoy have seen how safe our coal mines are and how the owners pay lip service to safety and so bitterly resent any demands to spend money to avoid explosions and lives lost.
+30 # ladypyrates 2013-05-04 14:05
While pretending to be local business friendly for years, the Chamber has advocated for economic changes in the way the American system functions. Those changes have gutted "Main Street" and impoverished whole communities while enriching the multi-national corporations... this is not America as was intended by the founders.
+19 # Texas Aggie 2013-05-04 19:52
There is a reason that statesmen have been warning about the dangers associated with letting the uberwealthy to gain power over the government since the before the Constitution was written. This is just one result. Slow motion disasters are and have been occurring for a long time next to refineries along the Gulf coast in all major TX cities.
+3 # Jack Gibson 2013-05-04 14:08
What they have in common: They're both controlled by the CIA, aka "al CIAduh(!)", just as "al CIAduh(!)" has front companies all over the U.S.; is completely taking over the telecom industry, and controlling more and more of the computer industry, so they can more effectively spy on all of of us; and they all, and increasingly, make up a massive panopticon control network seeking to control us more and more by influencing what we think, keeping us from thinking freely, and seeking to increasingly get us to only act in ways that they want us to act, and not in ways that they don't want us to act; i.e./e.g., controlling our own government and lives, dissenting against greater and greater government control, and keeping the mass-murderous global corporate-fasci sts from eradicating our liberty(ies) and freedom(s), and subjugating and enslaving us to an ever-increasing extent. That is what "al CIAduh(!)" and its front organizations and corporations are, among other things, all about. And again I say, duh! Or is it more accurately, "doh(!)"? Well, people, don't let these control freaks dictate how you live and don't live. Be Truly Free, and nothing but Truly Free; the antithesis of what the powers-that-be want. After all, that's what the U.S. is supposed to be about, and is ONLY supposed to be about, being Truly Free and not controlled by government, any government, and a country where only We the People control the government. Again, be nothing but Truly Free! ONLY TRUE FREEDOM!
+25 # MainStreetMentor 2013-05-04 14:29
One dictionary defines “commerce” as: 1. an interchange of goods or commodities, trade; business. So one must conclude a “chamber” of commerce must be a consortium dedicated to makin’ money. Nothing else. To he11 with you, me, safety, nostalgia, tradition, community – if those things don’t forward the cause of makin’ cash for the coffers of the greedy avarice lovers – then they don’t count. And … it’s not just the US Chamber of Commerce – it’s ALL such chambers anywhere in the country. Money is God to them – and they let NOTHING come between those chambers and the garnering of a dollar bill.
+16 # flippancy 2013-05-04 14:43
A lot of the local chambers have left the national chamber, so there is some small amount of hope.
+14 # Douglas Jack 2013-05-04 15:01
Carl, Considering the legislative impasse fed by massive hidden campaign donations to corrupt politicians, its important to come up with strategies which do not start with the present political system. People should consider Economic Democracy whereby they join together to collectively invest & participate as part of multi-stakehold er strategies in their workplaces & multihome dwellings. Ownership is best 'progressive' one-share / one-vote grouped among stakeholder associations versus one-member / one-vote co-ops. Companies & co-ops typically don't recognize all stakeholders nor the contributions of each person & hence don't develop collective intelligence. Collective intelligence comes from recognizing & distinguishing the contributions which each participant makes over a lifetime.
+21 # Kathymoi 2013-05-04 15:42
I think we're at the point where we understand the problem. It's finding a solution that is still very much in the dark. How do we get from our current plutocracy to a country governed by the people for the people? I think most (am I wrong about that) people today realize that we need to think of the welfare of people and the environment around the world, our world. But we have a plutocracy that only considers the welfare of the richest, around the world. How to change that?
+14 # tm7devils 2013-05-04 17:55
There is only one way...cut the heads off the Hydra that is running the show...literally!!
When our government, that group that is supposed to take care of the American people, can't or won't do its job; when your vote doesn't count due to ballot rigging and a right leaning SCOTUS; when the justice system is in the hands of the 1%; when only 5 or, at the most, 10 % of the voters know what's going on...and are willing to put forth some effort to change the system(that's not enough by the way - by far); when the media - for the most part - sides with the broken government and the 1%; when...oh, hell...I could go on for way more than the 850 symbols I have left...but what would be the point...I'm preaching to the choir - and there's not enough choir to get the job that's needed done.
Me thinketh we be beyond the point of no return.
+5 # Kumari 2013-05-04 16:33
shows how useless OSHA is too
+3 # angelfish 2013-05-04 17:52
This Country is owned Lock, Stock and Barrel by the Profiteers. It is no longer the Land of the Free. Sadly, God is the ONLY one we CAN Trust when it comes to trusting anybody or anything! In our Congress, if they are NOT deaf, and Blind they are CERTAINLY dumb not to see the handwriting on the wall these days. How much longer will they be serving those who DON'T need it at the expense of those who DO?
+8 # Texas Aggie 2013-05-04 19:55
God hasn't been doing such a hot job recently, n'est pas?
+3 # angelfish 2013-05-05 12:01
Quoting Texas Aggie:
God hasn't been doing such a hot job recently, n'est pas?

WHY is it God's fault? It's NOT God's Job to provide decent, sane, and reasonable Senators and Representatives in our Congress. THAT is OUR job and we have been falling down on the job of late. However, it is VERY difficult when your competition (Corporate America) has been given the SAME rights as individual people. We are the finger in the dike trying to hold back an Ocean of wealthy, GREEDY ME Firsters who care ONLY for themselves.
+10 # Mrcead 2013-05-04 19:24
The infrastructure is being liquidated slowly but surely. Once this is complete, working hard and making a fortune from it will become a faded memory. There is definitely a movement in place to build a wall to keep insiders in and outsiders out. This is American culture. If you don't believe me just look at how popular gated communities are. The desire to exclude is ingrained.
+3 # tm7devils 2013-05-04 20:58
He hasn't been doing his job(whatever that is) for over 4.3 + bn years.
0 # tm7devils 2013-05-04 22:08
"-1"...Oh ye of overblown faith...
+14 # Rick Levy 2013-05-04 20:20
The Chamber of Commerce could perform one honest deed: changing its name to the Cartel of Commerce.
+13 # X Dane 2013-05-04 20:31
You ask "how much longer will they be serving those who DON'T need it at the expense of those who DO??"

They will not stop until enough of us will rebel. It will take millions of us. For they must be stupid.

Instead of paying 500.000 Dollars for a valve, that would have prevented the massive spill costing billions. They chose the billions, lives lost, and enormous environmental damage.

The fish and crustaceans are born with severe birth defects. I certainly will not eat any seafood or fish from the gulf. They used to have the best shrimps.
Not any more.

I feel badly for the people on the gulf.
And the people of West Texas. All of them are victims of the C C.
+8 # geraldom 2013-05-05 19:47
The article asks "What Do the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Al-Qaeda Have in Common?" The answer is that both aren't above killing people to attain their goals.

One can say the very same thing about governments, most especially the U.S. government.
+3 # Third_stone 2013-05-06 15:10
The chamber of commerce does not own the plant. Who does? In story after story on this terrorist attack, nobody is mentioning the name of the owners, the people primarily responsible for the attack.
Certainly the chamber of commerce lobbied for deregulation, but the owner chose to operate in a dangerous way. Honorable people will try to be safe no matter what the rules may say. These boys knowingly brought far too much of Timothy McVeigh's explosives to the site and knew what the consequences could be for their neighborhood. They should be the subject of a massive manhunt.
+3 # la jardinera 2013-05-07 10:10
If you have never been to the White House, you might have missed the fact that the White House looks out on a pretty little park. Filled with flowers and surrounded by sheltering trees. I believe it is called Lafayette Park. In any case, exactly opposite the White House, and looking out onto the park, is the national HQ of the Chamber of Commerce. You can sit on a bench in the park and watch the sleek fat cats walk through the park from the White House, or more likely from the U.S. Department of Commerce, which is just on the other side of the White House. These men from the Chamber of Commerce look like money, they walk on $500 shoes, and they are immaculately dressed, not a mustasch hair out of place. They are obviously used to power, and they seem very satisfied with themselves as they walk by, usually two by two, talking of mutual friends and deal making, and so forth. Their proximity to the White House reminds you that, as one of those 1920's presidents said, "The business of America is business."

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