A bridge to oblivion……..August 2, 2007

Tonnes of concrete plunged into the Mississippi River during the bridge collapse in Minneapolis on Wednesday.(KMSP-TV/Associated Press)
“Tonnes of concrete plunged into the Mississippi River during the bridge collapse in Minneapolis on Wednesday.”

Most early reports of this catastrophe were quick to mention that this was not the result of terrorism. Is this supposed to bring a sense of relief that it was just good old fashioned structural collapse – the natural order of things? Must be as natural as, say, a third car bomb in Baghdad in one day.

Here are some quotes from coverage on cbc.ca:

“Officials confirmed Thursday that the 40-year-old bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis had been rated “structurally deficient” but was considered safe for use.”

“Dan Dorgan, of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, said that in the 1990s,[!!!] the bridge was classified as structurally deficient after inspections revealed some problems with the bridge related to corrosion, stress and fatigue.

“Dorgan said there were cracks in the welds since the day it was built but those were stable. Recent inspections in 2005 in 2006 found no evidence of additional cracking in the bridge or growth in the pre-existing cracks.”

“”For those reasons we felt the bridge was fit for service,” he said.”

Let’s see, corrosion, stress, fatigue and 40 year old weld cracks and yet the bridge was deemed safe. I simply look at the photos and raise my eyebrows at those comments.

“Dorgan said that 77,000 bridges in the U.S. are structurally deficient, about 13 per cent of all bridges in the country.”

“Tom Everett, of the national bridge inventory program, later said that because a bridge is structurally deficient, does not indicate the bridge is dangerous or must be replaced.”

The quote by Mr. Everett may come back to haunt him. If inspections showed there was no imminent danger, yet the bridge collapsed, one could reasonably infer that there are 77,000 bridges in the U.S. that could collapse at any moment without warning. Canadians should be counting ours too.

For years citizens have heard how our infrastructure is in dire need of repair and replacement. Economic activity has increased the amount of truck, car, train and plane travel. The economy has  surely superseded safety when passengers are hurled to their deaths on runways too short in planes with mechanical faults(Brazil). Steam pipes explode with deadly results (New York City) – pipes in the ground and forgotten except by a handful of workers responsible for the maintanence of such things; while in Quebec on Sept. 30, 2006, (photo below) an overpass collapsed, killing five people and injuring six.

The rubble from the overpass was so heavy it crushed two cars to knee height.
“The rubble from the overpass was so heavy it crushed two cars to knee height.”
(Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Any urban dweller has heard many stories that never made national or international news. The fact is – the infrastructure really is crumbling and it is the intellectual infrastructure of every last one of us. How can we accept billions spent on war while any number of social services are neglected? How can we sit back and watch, knowing the neglect happens for no other reason than it is simply easier to make money by making war, manipulating the stock market, buying companies with borrowed money, and creating a false economy based on mortgages?

The best quote of all, as usual, is from President Bush, who said “… the federal government must respond, and respond robustly, to help the people there not only recover, but to make sure that lifeline of activity — that bridge — gets rebuilt as quickly as possible …”

The people of Minneapolis will have to hold their breath to see if the help is more “robust” than for Katrina survivors. To put the economy and commerce ahead of the lives of people who were smashed to pieces in their vehicles is to be expected of a man who will someday have to answer for other crimes against humanity. These are not “accidents” – they are  the expected “collateral damage” of global capitalism; known by those elected and paid by us all. The Dorgan’s and Everett’s of the world are made the scapegoats for the media.



Filed under CBC, Global Capitalism, Minneapolis

4 responses to “A bridge to oblivion……..August 2, 2007

  1. It is quite clear that we need cut the military budget and instead spend the money on our crumbling infrastructure. Clear to everyone not in elected office anyway…

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer

  2. Keith

    If the bridge was “structurally deficient” it appears that the major problem lies within the construction contract – the entity that built the bridge in the first place. The second problem lies within the bridge inspection. Here in Door County there is a canal in Sturgeon Bay where there are two bridges, one being historical on Madison Street and the other more modern that is connected to the County highway. The historical bridge is the responsibility of the city of Sturgeon Bay, as well as county. The question here is this … Was the bridge on a federal highway or state/county road? If it is not a federal highway it is not the responsibility of the federal government to ensure that a bridge is safe. On the other hand, there are federal regulations concerning the building requirements concerning such structures – standards to be met or exceeded by the contractors who are paid to build it.
    And what is clear with the previous comment is that they haven’t a clue how the federal budget is structured. If bugeting requires any “cuts” – it should come from foreign aid, not the military budget during a time of war, and indeed, despite the polluted left brains thinking – we are at war against Islamo fascism. That is if we are talking about American budget.
    As far as Canadian affairs, well … just look at one of the page headings: “Socialism: Humanity’s Highest Ideal” and the gist of the ideology is clear, despite it be proven in history that socialism/communism is a self-destructing governmental ideology, clearly welfare states that do not work. Utopia is a myth. It is hard to believe that Canadians could possibly believe that a collective society is better than one based upon individual liberty, freedom of choice, property rights, et cetera. It is quite sad to me to see our neighbor whose country is so beautiful to be following, emulating the propaganda of Marxism and actually believing that socialism is a democracy. You have taken upon yourself to assume that the state is for the elitist that operate it instead of the people, and to equate free trade as something evil and parrot the rhetoric that capitalism is evil is not conducive to what makes a good government.
    “Crimes against humanity” should be addressed to Islamo fascists, and Minneapolis represents the first Americans who voted in office (US Congress) Shari’a law promoting elected official. What happened to the separation of Church and State principles of the Left?
    And Katrina disaster? The problems of recovery has been shown to mainly lie in the corruption of state and local governments not responding according to federal standards under the policy of FEMA, and understandable since one of the most corrupted state governments is represented by the state of Louisiana. One example would be that the Mayor allowed busses that could have been used for evacuation to be left in the flood area to be unusable in the evacuation process that the federal government released a warning prior to landfall of Hurricane Katrina. The size and scope of disaster in this respect would have been difficult to recover no matter where or under any other government. And as far as terms of “humanity” the people in the disaster area that took part in looting and other criminal behavior and that took advantage of the disaster is a stain upon American society, specifically the people of the state of Louisiana.
    The Bush administration, specifically GW Bush has much to answer for in the annals of history, but crimes against humanity is not one of them. It is surprising (and sad) to see that Canadians are following the drivel mantra of the likes of Green Party and the International membership of the Socialist Party, but then again, the heads of the Canadian state is going along with the pipedream of GW Bush in the form of a North American Union, a utopian mythical ideology in itself.

  3. Keith

    Maybe the bridge collapse was caused by global warming.

  4. When governments spend money on war instead of on the needs of people, I call it a crime against humanity.

    You need to look at some readings about socialism. It is NOT about dictatorships. Try reading “The Bending Cross” – a biography of an American socialist, Eugene Debs. You may be surprised at how hard the working class fought in the US before global capitalists of the day, crushed them – we live in an economic dictatorship my friend, with the illusion of freedom through false elections and lines of credit to buy junk……

    In Canada we are living in what’s left of a Social Democratic tradition. Social Democracy as practiced in France, Germany, Sweden and Canada were attempts to mitigate the worst aspects of capitalism. Read about the CCF, JS Woodsworth and Tommy Douglas.(Just google this stuff)
    Many people agree this approach(to regulate capitalism) has failed and that working people need to create the conditions to emancipate themselves from the likes of George Bush, Saddam Hussein, Tony Blair and their criminal cohorts.

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