All Fall Down by Stephen P. Pizzo

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen P. Pizzo
Atlantic Free Press
Thursday, 02 August 2007

I wonder how many of those Minnesota commuters were listening to news on their car radios as they approached the I-35W bridge yesterday afternoon? Those who were probably had just listened to GOP members of the House urging their Democratic party colleagues to hurry up and pass legislation re-authorizing the “Terrorist Surveillance Act.”

“It is absolutely vital at the time of a heightened threat environment to realize the present system simply is not as responsive as it needs to be in terms of providing the flexibility and speed in acting on actionable intelligence,” pronounced White House spokesman, Tony Snow.

Maybe that’s what the victims thought was happening as the bridge collapsed under them yesterday — that “the terrorists,” had struck again. After all, since 2001 terrorism has been about the only threat to American’s safety, lives and wellbeing this administration mentions — and they mention it often.

So, as those poor folks dropped 65 feet towards the Mississippi below, surely they must have figured that was the cause of their pending misfortune – terrorism.

Those who survived the fall quickly learned that it wasn’t terrorism at all. What killed or almost killed those Americans wasn’t al-Qaeda but al-George and his administration’s neglect, mismanagement, misdirection and mis-allocation of our nation’s attention, priorities and resources.

The day before the I-35W span collapsed we learned that the war in Iraq will eventually drain the US treasury of somewhere between $1- to $2 trillion dollars. Not a dime of that will be available to perform critical, and already too-long delayed, repairs to the tens of thousands of bridges and overpasses that carry tens of millions of Americans every day.

In 2005 the American Society of Civil Engineers reported that $1.6 trillion is needed over a five-year period to repair American’s crumbling bridges, highways and other critical public infrastructure.

We didn’t, we haven’t and we likely won’t do that. Instead that money is being spent to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure, much of which will either be promptly blown up by Iraqis themselves or simply left to rot.

U.S. overseers and Iraq rebuilding failures
International Herald Tribune — July 26, 2007: The report, issued Wednesday, is the first of a planned series of audits of Western contractors that have received large slices of the roughly $40 billion in U.S. taxpayer money that has been spent on the troubled program to rebuild Iraq. Previous audits have looked at individual projects but never the performance across Iraq of a single contractor. (Full Story)

Meanwhile, back here at home, a giant 83-year old steam pipe blows leaving a huge crater in the middle of a New York City street, a 40-year old bridge in America’s heartland collapses during rush hour, our air traffic control system can just barely operate, saddled by failing, antique computer systems and a shortage of runways. Meanwhile air passengers become accustomed to sleeping on cots at terminals as an ever-growing number of flights are delayed or canceled.

Over at the NOAA another day of reckoning looms. Even as global warming threatens more Katrina-type hurricanes, there are no replacements being readied for America’s aging fleet of weather satellites.

I’m not going to belabor the point. You get it. The bottom line is that you are more likely to be killed or injured on American soil by a falling bridge or plane or by falling into a giant sink hole than by a terrorist. And not just a little more likely, but exponentially more likely.

As I write this I am waiting to hear what George Bush is going to say about yesterday’s bridge collapse in a scheduled morning news conference. We know what he would have said had a terrorist flown a plane into that bridge. He would have come out swinging, demanding that we “connect the dots,” to discover how such a thing was allowed to happen. He would also use the opportunity to demand more money to fight terrorism and support for proposals to trim back more of our domestic rights so he can protect us from just that kind of threat.

And, we’d likely go along with him too. He is certainly not going to suggest we need to “connect the dots.” on yesterday’s bridge collapse, because those dots lead right to Oval Office and Congress.

Yesterday’s disaster wasn’t terrorism. Al-Qaeda didn’t take down that bridge. Nor will al-Qaeda bring down who knows how many other bridges, killing who knows how many more Americans in the years ahead. No it wasn’t. The “terrorist” this time wasn’t al-Qaeda. It was the Bush Administrationm, and Congress’ misplaced priorities that killed those Americans yesterday. It was the product of the fatal combination of imperial hubris, military/industrial primacy and the blind greed military spending it fosters once it gets on a roll.

How ironic that it was Dwight D. Eisenhower who championed and built American’s interstate highway system back in the 50’s.

The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, popularly known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act, was enacted on June 29, 1956, when a hospitalized Dwight D. Eisenhower signed this bill into law. Appropriating $25 billion for the construction of 40,000 miles of interstate highways over a 10-year period, it was the largest public works project in American history to that point.

The money was handled in a highway trust fund that paid for 90 percent of highway construction costs with the states required to pay the remaining 10 percent. It was expected that the money would be generated through new taxes on fuel, automobiles, trucks and tires. It is said he drew six lines (three vertical and three horizontal) on a piece of paper and told his people to base their freeway system on it. (Full)

It was also as Eisenhower who, on leaving office tried to warn us of the danger created at the nexus of politics, business and the military.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Eisenhower was, of course prescient. We ignored that warning and so it has come to pass. The proof lies among the bodies and wreckage of the I-35W bridge. What Ike could not foresee was that this ascendant military-industrial complex would end up also destroying the crown jewel of his administration — our national highway and transportation system.

Anyway, that’s the way it is. So rather than stockpiling duct tape and plastic to protect yourself from a terrorist attack, it might be wiser to stock your cars with a helmet and life preserver for yourself and each passenger.

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A Metallurgist’s Insights Into the Minneapolis Bridge Disaster by Joel S. Hirschhorn

6 thoughts on “All Fall Down by Stephen P. Pizzo

  1. Its like a gambler sitting in a casino playing LET IT RIDE. He puts money on three places, Forces,Spoilation of Assets and dishonesty.
    This is a trillion dollar bet on each.
    The game must go on.
    Who benefits? On whose side are the odds.Being satisfied with the game means more ‘sitting on the gambling table’.
    Generals always show light on the other side of a dark tunnel. They ask more troops, money, patience. Their ‘Surge’ means more civilians killed.
    The minority either runs away ( Refugee problem) or goes six feet under.The US is in for more war, war with more countries, and peace after perhaps ten years.I was not wrong when I predicted tens of thousand US casualties ( dead/injured). Has the US won the war?
    Victory has a face. The victor is garlanded. Girls kiss him. He is photographed seeing all the places of that country and peace comes in.
    Can the US soldier roam about at will anywhere in Iraq or Afghanistan? If not, you have a problem with your policy.

  2. Thomas Jefferson aptly remarked;

    “The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest.”

    In the mid-nineteenth century, before the discovery of oil, “Jerries” or Generals, of advanced western countries, were sent out with the occupational forces for victim’s gold & silver. Empires, like the Greatest Spanish Empire, were built on gold & silver possessions. The ‘King’ was in business. His army made him rich or poor.The theft value is sufficient to buy up credit markets of numerous countries. South Korea, for example. Whatever one buys on a credit card, the collections go to Texas, enrichment for all times.

  3. Kuwaiti oil wells remained uncapped during first Gulf war; Iraqi oil wells remained uncapped during the second Gulf offensive. Is there a common pattern ?
    Once I saw a Gulf oilwell. The meterman was the first cousin of the ruler. Tankers came in line ahead formation. The oil was put in them. The meter made out the bill. No meter, no bill.
    Can anyone imagine the theft value?

  4. Paul Bremer ( Jerry) was sent for just one year in Iraq. All the oil-wells were uncapped, oil gushing out. He didn’t cap them for full one year. Assets spoilation was the aim of war;assets didn’t go to US treasury. Is that against the 4th amendment? Have a heard.
    Thieves are getting smarter with power. They would be in jail when out of power.

  5. Namiste,
    It had so upset me and my viewing of this incident and what had happened and they kept playing it constantly on TV that I was too depressed to writ a word pertaining to any of it…

    What a crime it is that we are spending over 22,000.00 22 thousand dollars a minute on the supposed war over in Iraq and in rebuilding their infrastructure and we do nothing for our own failing and falling apart infrastructure. White house numbers quoted not my own…

    Does any one feel I mean you know safe rally safe crossing a iron bridge any where now? Well do you? I know to be honest I never felt safe on them to begin with but that’s just me…

    The whole thing was a horror and truly a disaster.

    Namiste and peace to you all.. I pray and meditate on the poor lost souls lost on this day and really every day but that also is just me!!!


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  6. Paul Bremer, the ‘pro-consul’ sent with the US troops sat over the issue of capping burning oil wells for full one year. The meterman is the dollarman in oil industry; no meter no dollar. That was stealing gushing oil from all oil wells for full one year. Imagine the extent of spoilation of foreigh assets; going into a few pockets when a whole Nation pays for it in blood and their treasury. What if the same money was properly posted in accounts. The bridges wouldn’t fall. The cities wouldn’t drown.
    Is this democracy? A president can collect umpteenth billions from Kuwait by hanging Kuwait’s worst enemy. Who is laughing? That I don’t know but I know who is weeping ( The American Nation). Shame on democracy.It allows a once-upon -a -time poor oilman to put the riches of the oil world in his pocket from under the table manoeuvres.

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