The bottom-line chickens come home to roost

It’s not just the nuclear power industry. Virtually anything of significance to our national safety (or anyone else’s) gets fucked up once you add in the profit motive. It’s just that the nuclear power lobby has the capacity to harm so many more people than the average crooked contractor.

I caught some of the news this morning, and they were following a nuclear power lobbyist on his Capitol Hill rounds as he “reassured” members that “we have all kinds of safety procedures” in place, and it “couldn’t happen here.”


Look: Nothing is safe when there’s a buck to be made. And while I’d rather be someone who doesn’t see the worst-case scenario all the time, it would help if I wasn’t right so often. (As my therapist points out, pessimism tends to bleed into the rest of my life. I’d much rather be serene, but oh well.)

There were more than 200 safety violations covered up at this plant. Two years ago, the plant owners were informed they couldn’t handle anything more than a 7.0 earthquake; it would cost $1 billion to protect it.

Guess what happened.

Now tell me why it won’t happen here.

People have such touching faith in order, and logic. “We put all these rules in place, and they inspect it regularly.” “No one would ever put everything at risk by cutting corners.” Uh huh. Right. Worked for the banks, right?

The one good thing I can say about this is the international moneyed community, the ones who cared so little about what they’ve done to soil their nests here, who assumed they could always move somewhere else, might finally be getting at least a glimmer of understanding about this very basic truth: Once you’ve destroyed the social contract, you have no place left to hide.

And so, to the bankers who hired private jets and left Japan last night like rats deserting a sinking ship, I’d like to remind them that they’re only postponing the inevitable. Because the karma, man, she is a bitch.