Thursday, April 8, 2010

Not to beat a dying horse but...


So who the hell are these guys and why should anyone care? The guy on the right is Donald L. Blankenship the head man at the Upper Branch Mine that just blew up. The guy on the left is Elliot E. Maynard a West Virginia superior court justice responsible for judging a case against the Branch Mine. This 2008 picture was taken while the two were on vacation. Blankenship office insisted that the two were not on vacation together but they were observed having several meals together over several days. When these photos were brought to the attention of the court the judge (Maynard) recused himself. But Blankenship must have had a back up plan. The next judge Justice Brent Benjamin (pictured above) received some $3 million in campaign contributions from Blankenship. Why would this be important? Because the "good' judge ruled in favor of Blankenship in a $50 million dollar case. Nothing like being chumy with the judges and that's a cheap price to pay for influence.

If that weren't bad enough Blankenship in a memo gives a bit of insight as to his attitude towards his workers. Here's a quote:
“If any of you have been asked by your group presidents, your supervisors, engineers or anyone else to do anything other than run coal (i.e. -- build overcasts, do construction jobs, or whatever) you need to ignore them and run coal,” Blankenship wrote. “This memo is necessary only because we seem not to understand that coal pays the bills.”
The overcasts and construction jobs referred to here is all the work necessary for safety like the building of ventilation systems etc.

So to these fine pieces of human garbage I am forced to give my award of excellence. So to Don and Brent this award is for you.

8 comments:

Tim said...

You nailed it. Corruption all the way.
I certainly hope the prosecute these bastards. Yeah it won't bring those workers back but it might go a long way in changing the way things are done there.

Utah Savage said...

Oh god there is no end to it. Guys like Blankenship and the judges he buys aren't the only corrupt corporate spoilers of the land and murderers of their workers. But if we got tough with Blankenship it might embolden us to take on the others.

The Blog Fodder said...

You know that is exactly how it was in the former Soviet Union too.

Running coal (or what ever else) was essential to meeting the five year plans and therefore to the jobs of the apparachiki, party bosses etc.

There was no more concern about human life under a Soviet system than under a Capitalist system.

Holte Ender said...

I am never surprised when I read about guys like Blankenship being corrupt, I almost expect it. But nothing burns me more than corrupt judges, upholders of the law, protectors of the Constitution my ass.

Randal Graves said...

Imagine how fucked up America would really be if money was the one calling the shots. Glad that's not the case. Whew!

an average patriot said...

I frigging hate it, truth justice and the American way equals corruption. WTF?

S.W. Anderson said...

For a clumsy paraphrase of Chairman Mao, in West Virginia, justice comes out of a checkbook.

IMO, a coal miner's best safety move is out of the state, permanently.

amadmike1 said...

This thing has just started to unravel. Hopefully by the time it is all said and done there will be indictments, indictments, and convictions.