You must login to vote
If you had any doubts about whether Bush represents big industry or the average American, his push for asbestos reform should have erased them. Asbestos is a fibrous material that was widely used for insulation and fireproofing until the 1970’s when numerous studies, many of which were done by the Asbestos industry, proved that their product caused cancer when inhaled. The real tragedy was that the asbestos companies had known that their product was dangerous for years, but they had hid the information from the public.
Now, President Bush wants to insulate the asbestos industry, and the insurance companies who protect them, from compensating their victims. Bush argues that asbestos litigation is clogging up our court system and that trial lawyers are sucking up any cash rewards that the victims are supposed to receive. He supported this claim by saying that over, “…100,000 new asbestos claims were filed last year alone.” He also tries to evoke sympathy for the asbestos industry by stating that 74 companies have been forced into bankruptcy due to litigation.
In regards to the 100,000 number, it is misleading since only a very small number of the new claims (an annual average of about 50 to 60 cases) ever actually make it to court. It is highly unlikely that this small number of cases is bogging down our legal system. Worse still is that Bush could have just as easily said, "100,000 more people contracted asbestos related cancer" or "100,000 more Americans have been informed that they are about to die drowning on fluid in their lungs" or "another hundred thousand people won't get to see their children grow up." You see, he could have used that number to accurately portray what asbestos does to people, families, and lives, instead, he used it defend an industry that has made billions selling a product that they knew kills you in your prime.
Carl Carlton, a spokesman for the American Trial Lawyers Association, asks an important question, "Why isn't the president of the United States standing up for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who were poisoned by these companies that knew precisely what they were doing? They continued to expose their workers and their customers to this dangerous substance. Now the president wants to reward them."
Yes, Mr. President, why aren’t you standing up for the faceless Americans? If you are really concerned about the number of litigations, how about forcing these companies, instead of the average American, to give up THEIR right to due process. After all, it’s their product that’s killing people. They are the ones who knew this and sold it anyway. They are the ones who should be punished!
Please, Mr. Bush stop representing killers dressed in power suits and start protecting the people you are constitutionally honor bound to be serving.
“Bush to Push Congress for Asbestos Reform,” AP Press
Ps. Wanna know what asbestos cancer is like? If so, read on:
It starts when you inhale a tiny fiber which is much smaller than an eyelash. This fiber buries itself in the lining of your lung. You don't notice it nor do you feel it, but your life's clock has just horribly sped up.
Years may go by until you start getting mystery pains. Their severity varies, but you'll know something isn't right. A year or so later, once you've accepted that they are not going away, you'll go to the doctor. They my run some tests, but since you're young they may not appreciate how critical your situation is.
More time will pass, and the pains will increase in severity. You may feel lethargic and you'll start missing time at work--damaging your employment status. Then, your lungs will start filling up with fluid. Regularly, you'll go to the hospital where they will stick a tube down your throat, and into your lungs to drain them.
Your doctors will start looking more seriously for its cause. They'll start sticking tubes into every orifice and you'll starting drinking lots of dyes. They probably still won't find anything.
Your condition will get worse and the drainings will become more regular--perhaps even monthly. Eventually, the doctors will decide to cut you open as a last ditch effort to determine your ailment. It won't take long. As soon as they fold over that first flap of flesh, they will see the cancer caked on the inside of your chest cavity. Their probings and MRI's are designed to inspect your organs and bones...not chest lining, which is why asbestos cancer is so hard to diagnose. As a result, it has years to take root and to spread. Then, they will try to close you up quickly because when oxygen hits asbstos cancer it spreads at a faster rate.
On the plus side you now know what's wrong with you, but unfortunately, you also know that your life's almost over.
You’ll start to seek satisfaction from our legal system, but the vast majority of asbestos cancer cases never go to trail. These companies know what a jury will reward you, and they will settle up quickly understanding that in your condition you can’t risk a lengthy trial. (I assume it doesn't hurt to be young, white and with children. It’s very important to have dependents, because the companies need to know they will still have to pay out the cash even if you pass. Otherwise, they may try to wait you out by stalling the legal process.)
Your health will continue to deteriorate especially once the cancer treatments start. You may have trouble breathing. You won’t want to eat due to the vomiting that follows each meal. You won’t want to get out of bed. For you, life will mostly be a sea of pain and drug induced inebriation.
Eventually, the asbestos companies will settle your case, but don’t expect to see your money anytime soon nor will it be in one lump some. Each company will pay a piece here and there and some of them you will still have to sue to get them to comply with their settlement agreement. By the time the cash comes in, you will be way too sick to enjoy it and so will your family. A lot of that cash will be spent trying to make you comfortable and filling the void in their lives that your death is causing.
Near the end, you’ll probably only be awake for a few moments a day, but they will be absolute torture. The cancer will be eating your organs and your lungs will start to work inconsistently. Imagine being strapped to a bed with someone coming in and pressing plastic over your face for 20 or 30 seconds at a time. That’s what the last few months and weeks will be like…A slow, random suffocation with those 30 second intervals getting longer and longer until you expire with your mouth stretched as wide as your lips and jaw will allow.
Fortunately, the story isn't all doom and gloom. Some people prosper from your pain. Take the asbestos industry. These companies will go on. They will continue to make billions. Their leaders will travel the world in corporate jets. They will sleep on the best beds, in the best rooms, while eating and drinking the best foods and beverages. They will meet with politicians at all levels of government including the newest republican president and always they will talk of reform.
What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?