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Don Blankenship, Dead Miners, Humility, and the Limits of Free Speech in West Virginia

Don Blankenship, Dead Miners, Humility, and the Limits of Free Speech in West Virginia

Russell Mokhiber

I was sitting at home in West Virginia tonight when a call came in from the U.S. Senate campaign for Don Blankenship.

The campaign wanted to know if I wanted to participate in a phone call town hall with Don.

Sure, why not.

The man in charge of the town hall – a man Don referred to as Greg – said if I wanted to ask Don a question I should punch in star three on my phone.

Blankenship should have been thrown down into the Upper Big Branch Mine and bars should have been emplaced at the entrance. He should still be there being fed all the fried fat he cares to eat. Even in that setting, he would not understand the term humility. He is the very essence of evil incarnate, the root of which is the love of money.


Mmmm one year for killing 29 people…just gets more f’ing ridiculous by the…and …to top it off he wants to help run the government …the arrogance is beyond words.


As I recall the judge in his case WANTED to give a harsher sentence, but the lowly law he was convicted of would ONLY allow a year MAX.

Looks like the Repuclicans are picking the cream of the crop from the bottom of the barrel. Moore-Al, this guy from WVA, that shit for brains gov of Maine (can’t remember the fucktards name off hand), and a whole bunch of their congress people, that it would take me an hour to type all their names here. This is where we are at in this fucked-up country.

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Thank you Russell for finally talking about the POS Don Blankenship. Served a year for his crime? This really glosses over the truth. He served a year for a relatively minor charge, when he and the entire board of directors of Massey should be serving extended sentences if not life sentences for willful, intentional criminally negligent homicide. While the trial was under way I found an in-depth investigative report prepared by the UMW that delineated all of the intentional mis-management by Massey that resulted in the Big Branch Mine disaster that should have been enough to put these people behind bars for a very long time. If you haven’t seen or read it, I will gladly forward it to you. I’ve noticed in the period between then (several years ago) and now that much information that is damaging to the owner class is increasingly hard to find on internet searches.

And some more background. First, I apologize for not having the specific details, and I will try to flesh this out, but here is an overview of another instance of criminality and conviction in a court of law of Don Blankenship. Right across the Ohio River (in Follansbee, WV) there is an industrial coke plant that Don and Massey had a contractual commitment to supply metallurgical coal to, to make coke. Don was approached by Chinese purchasers for that coal they were producing, offered him a higher price, and they shipped that coal to China, leaving the - US an West Virginia - coke plant high and dry. The plant had to shut down, and workers were furloughed. Don and Massey were tried, convicted, and fined for this action.

So much for his “America First” and “West Virginia First” absolute bullshit. The man is an absolute 100% certifiable fraud. We’ve all become (sadly) used to vile and disgusting political advertising, but if you haven’t seen Blankenship’s current crop of ads you have no idea what vile politicking really is. He pushes every hate button that his handlers can come up with. DC is already a shit show, but if this sub-human makes it to the halls of Congress it will mark a new low in American political life.


It takes vast amounts of money, a monumental ego, an impenetrable hide, and a network of operatives who know how to keep dark secrets to win elective office in this fucked-up country.

You probably know a number of folks who could easily do these jobs with intelligence and integrity—you may be one yourself—but who would never consider subjecting themselves and their families to the process. Blankenship is the result of money-driven politics.

“Human society is like a stew—if you don’t keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top.”
—Edward Abbey


I thought felons could not vote, how can they run for office? Get the money out of politics.

How could West Virginia citizens forget about the 29 men who died in mining accident because of this man’s leadership? Or they don’t care because he is a Trumpster just like Christians don’t care cause Trump with the same hands that he pussy grabs massages Christians and there so called values that has nothing to do with Jesus Christ’s teachings.

Felon voting depends on conviction and the state you’re in.
Makes no sense, but I don’t know of any place felons can’t run for office, except in law enforcement.

This lowlife is breathing good air a rat could be breathing.

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More info: the breach of contract case was fairly protracted, but still ongoing in 2005. Massey and Central West Virginia Energy had been convicted by a jury and ordered to pay $120m compensatory damages, $100m punitive damages, and levied another 20% pursuant to a court proceeding I didn’t understand, payable to Wheeling-Pitt Steel and Mountain State Carbon. Massey et al was filing an appeal against the “excessive” punitive award, and I wasn’t able to find reference to the final settlement of this case, by my memory tells me that it was finally settled, and against Massey.

There has been an increasing trend in coal country for the residents to not to blame the employers at all when multiple miners die in an accident. Instead, there is this prevailing meme of treating the miners as “fallen heroes” in the manner of soldiers. And just like the “hallowed memory” those soldiers that died in Iraq were used against war protestors, it was very clear to me when I was in the area of the mine a few weeks after the accident that any talk about Massey, Blankenship, and the long record of serious MSHA citations at the Upper Big Branch Mine would be very unwelcome, because such talk would “dishonor” and “sully the memory of” the “fallen miners”.

Yup, it makes no sense at all - and no, I’m not kidding or exaggerating - feel free to exclaim “WTF???”. But that is the power of modern propaganda-meme-manufacture to turn workers completely against their own interests - which in West Virginia, has worked brilliantly!


I’m not so sure, Yunzer. I mean, look at the teachers’ strike. And I think Blankenship is pretty widely hated. Still, I don’t dare say he won’t get elected–I said that about Reagan, and Trump.

and WV has computerized voting machines, and Republicans in charge. So if he wins the primary…it’s good if he gets that turd Morrisey out of office, though.

I’m surprised Russell got that far. I got one of those calls from “my” Congressman, Mooney. I listened for a bit, but the first couple calls sounded scripted, so I hung up.

Severed connection

Sundered conscience

The judge didnt account for the fact this fat criminal pig killed all those miners…this is justice in the USA.

Coal country better get their heads out of their butts. there is NO coal or steel coming back. Instead, push for miners pensions, black lung coverage and training programs for broad band, wind power…my God those mountains destroyed by coal can still have wind power…creating lots of jobs, and keeping the cost of power down.

Nice quote. As a cook, I appreciate it. So correct. Unfortunately we have a stratified society of rich controlling everything.

I know this is a contrary view, but the teachers strike was a unique situation - the teachers were viewed by West Virginians as “nice ladies we entrust our children to” rather than workers, and should NOT be construed as newly found sympathy for union workers more broadly - and certainly not in the mines, where the unionization rate has declined to pretty much zero.

The Allegheny plateau and some of the ridges in the northern part of the state has wind potential and already a lot of wind development. But the southern “fat end” of the state where most of the coal mining was has poor wind power potential. For some climatological reason, reliable winds decline rapidly south of the 38th or 39th in the part of the US east of the Mississippi. Also, some of the best wind development areas in WV are national recreational and wilderness areas and so are off limits for wind development.