If there is a hell, this man is headed for it...
Twenty-five coal miners died and four others are missing in a big underground explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine, making it the worst U.S. mining disaster in more than two decades. This is the latest deadly disaster involving coal baron Don Blankenship’s Massey Energy, which has been repeatedly cited for serious safety violations. Blakenship has referred to environmentalists - including Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi - as quote "Totally wrong, absolutely crazy," and labeled them "communists" and "atheists." While cutting back on safety and shedding unionized jobs to where his company is now 98 percent union-free, uber-Christian Blankenship raked in $18 million dollars for himself in 2008. If there is a hell, this man is headed for it.
Yes, and being from WV I have to say the coal miner on the show was full of it, just ask the people who lost homes and water was poisoned when those "fabulous" pools of crap burst down on them! We only have 16,000 mining jobs now and make most of our money from the beauty of the state, mainly tourism, but with a Governor who wanted to make our state slogan, "WV Open for Business" instead of "Wild and Wonderful" what can you expect. Blankenship wants to be Gov. and is being supported by one of the largest TV stations in WV, obviously a Republican. And what is all this nonsense about clean coal; coal is not clean. Just look at the miner's lungs or the towns they live in and they aren't poor. They make good money, but their towns look like they were washed in dirt! Alot of us in WV do not support mountain top removal, but we do remember how hard the miners worked to have unions, which helped us to have some security in this world
Raleigh County isn't far from Blair Mountain. Don Blankenship may be ignoring history at his peril.
My father was a West Virginia coal miner for some 30 years (1923 to 1953). For much of that time, he was a foreman and thus not a member of the UMW. But, he would not work in non-union mines because he considered them death traps. According to him, no government inspectors ever did anything at all; the only safety enforcement came from the union.
My dad's last day(s) in the mines may give you an appreciation of what it was like then -- and what it's still like today in a non-union mine such as the one that just killed so many men. As a foreman, my dad was responsible for two things: safety and coal production. He was foreman of the day shift in 1953 and the foreman of the night shift was putting out a LOT more coal than dad's crew. The reason was simple; the night shift foreman kept having his men overextend the front of the mine without setting timbers that would assure the top didn't cave in and my dad's shift had to spend the first hour or so putting in those timbers before they could start producing coal. The company leaned hard on my dad to produce as much coal as the reckless night shift foreman, but dad refused, saying, "That guy's going to get some one killed." Sure enough, one morning when my dad arrived at work, three men on the night shift had been killed when the ceiling of the overextended front caved in. My dad turned around and left and never worked another day in the coal mines. (He got a job with GM in Cleveland and became a United Auto Worker.)
That is what coal company owners are all about -- they could care less about safety because THEY don't go into those mines. Blankenship should be prosecuted for manslaughter. He personifies the pure evil that is big coal.
(formerly of Webster Springs, WV and born in Oak Hill WV)
PS: My grandfather was treasurer of the UMW local around Oak Hill WV back when that meant carrying a gun to fend off coal company thugs hired to steal the union strike funds. He lived the Matewan movie in real life. Don't let anyone ever tell you the coal companies are anything other than evil incarnate.
Well, hopefully Blankenship will have to pay for not keeping the mine up to code and safety standards. I think if he wanted to become governor, this just sunk his chances. Prayers are going out to the families.
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The more equal the society, they found, the longer its people live, while the most unequal countries have more homicide, more obesity, more mental illness, more teen pregnancy, more high-school dropouts, and more people in prison. The United States, they report, has the greatest inequality of income of any major developed country. That's the betrayal of the American promise.
I'm a journalist, not an epidemiologist. But I've been listening to America for a long time now, and I've come to understand that what the richest and strongest among us want for their families is what most all members of society want for theirs, too: a home, steady work, enough money for a comfortable life and secure old age, the means to cope with illness and other misfortunes, and the happiness of living freely as citizens without fear.
A society whose economic system cannot make those opportunities widely available is in deep trouble, the dreams of its people mocked and denied.
One just has to watch John Sayles movie "Matewan" to get a sense of how out of control the mining industry is and was.