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West Virginia Outrage

  1. wrenchBiscuit profile image88
    wrenchBiscuitposted 12 months ago

    http://usercontent1.hubimg.com/12774546_f520.jpg
    Charleston W.VA:   Donald L. Blankenship, whose leadership of the Massey Energy Company was widely criticized after 29 workers were killed in the Upper Big Branch mine in 2010, was convicted Thursday of conspiring to violate federal safety standards, becoming the most prominent American coal executive ever convicted of a crime related to mining deaths. However,  the verdict, announced in Federal District Court exonerated Blankenship  of three felony charges that could have led to a prison term of 30 years. Instead, after a long and complex trial that began on Oct. 1, jurors convicted Mr. Blankenship only of a single misdemeanor charge that carried a maximum of a year in prison. In the state of West Virginia,the sell of marijuana carries a 1-5 year sentence. In the state of Virginia, possessing half an oz up to 5 lbs of marijuana with the intent to sell is a felony that carries a maximum of up to 10 years in prison.


    It is nothing less than an outrage that 29 lives, and 29 working class famililes aren't worth any more than a half an ounce of weed! But what makes this verdict even more repulsive is when we focus on this portion of the news story:"  ... convicted Thursday of conspiring to violate federal safety standards".  Now, if he has been convicted of conspiring to violate safety standards that can only mean one thing. It can only mean that those people died as a result of such a conspiracy, and that he is being held responsible for the deaths of 29 people. Otherwise, he would have been found not guilty. Does it make any sense at all that a man being held responsible for 29 deaths is receiving a sentence of "up to" one year in prison?

    1. wilderness profile image94
      wildernessposted 12 months ago in reply to this

      Nice try, but anyone that can actually read what is written will not equate "conspiracy to violate safety standards" as "responsible for 29 deaths".  Were he being held responsible for 29 deaths (or even 1) the sentence would not make sense, but then he is not being so held.  Except, of course, by you.

      Thank god we are a nation of laws, not the imaginings of the mob.

      1. wrenchBiscuit profile image88
        wrenchBiscuitposted 12 months ago in reply to this

        http://usercontent1.hubimg.com/12774966.png
        I suppose you think O.J. was innocent too. After all, according to your logic he was not "so held". But what is actually comical about your response is that your comments make it clear to anyone familiar with this case that you don't even know the details. Your opinion is baseless.

        Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
        The accident has been reported as the worst in the United States since 1970, A state funded independent investigation found Massey Energy "directly responsible" for the blast.The Mine Safety and Health Administration  concluded in 2011 that "flagrant safety violations" contributed to the explosion. It issued 369 citations at that time, assessing $10.8 million in penalties.Alpha Natural Resources, which had bought Massey Energy in 2011, settled its corporate criminal liabilities with the U.S. Attorney for $209 million!

        Since Massey Energy was found to be "directly responsible" for the blast that killed 29 out of 31 miners;  since the MSHA concluded there were" flagrant safety violations"; Where do you think the buck stops?
        Of course the buck stops with the CEO. Who was CEO?  Blankenship! The fact that you don't find it troubling that the CEO of a company found to be responsible for what amounts to the negligent homicide of 29 miners, was convicted on a misdemeanor and most likely will not spend a full year in jail, is quite remarkable indeed. What else do they grow in Idaho?

        1. Live to Learn profile image82
          Live to Learnposted 12 months ago in reply to this

          I can understand your outrage. It is always hard to live with the ramifications of a corporation putting money before human life.

        2. wilderness profile image94
          wildernessposted 12 months ago in reply to this

          "the CEO of a company found to be responsible for what amounts to the negligent homicide of 29 miners, "

          While you may make that claim (free speech, don't ya know?), the truth of the matter is that the CEO was convicted of a misdemeanor, NOT negligent homicide.  It is thus your claim that is baseless and comical as you stretch truth past the breaking point simply to arouse emotional reactions.

          Now, should you have evidence of that negligent homicide, you should certainly present it to the DA where the trial was held.  It is your civic duty to do so. 

          But you won't, will you?  Because you don't HAVE that evidence in spite of your baseless claims.

          1. wrenchBiscuit profile image88
            wrenchBiscuitposted 12 months ago in reply to this

            http://usercontent2.hubimg.com/12775631.jpg

            According to you, Dick Cheney and George Bush  never committed war crimes either. Why? Because they were never convicted in a court of law! Your deductive reasoning is remarkable. On one hand you don't believe in God because  you claim there is no "proof". However, on the other hand you believe in the integrity of a system that has a proven track record of bias toward the rich and the privileged. The mistake poor Bernie Madoff made was to steal from the rich. Here is a very short list of individuals and entities that were targeted by Madoff.


            • Fairfield Greenwich Advisors: Amount of exposure: 7,500,000,000

            • Hadassah: U.S. women's Zionist organization: Amount of exposure: $90,000,000

            • Bank Medici: Amount of exposure: 2,100,000,000

            • Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC: Amount of exposure: 492,760,000

            • Mortimer B. Zuckerman : owner of the Daily News and U.S. News & World Report

            • Norman Braman: former owner of the Philidelphia Eagles

            • Jeffrey Katenzenberg: chief executive of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.

            • Larry King: Talk Show host.


            Had Bernie limited himself to stealing from the poor, he wouldn't be sitting in prison today looking at 100 years. The combined net worth of all 29 families who lost their loved ones in the mining disaster is most likely less than one tenth of one percent of the net worth of many of Madoff's victims. That's why Blakenship only got a slap on the wrist for the negligent homicide of 29 miners. Let me also remind the reader that there are ways to die, and then there are better ways to die. Suffocating to death beneath tons of rock and earth; lying trapped for hours, or even days in the darkness with lacerations,fractures, and broken bones while you slowly die of starvation and dehydration,is a most terrible and horrendous way to die; a gruesome death that should only be played out in a work of fiction. Your cavalier attitude, and your usual treatment of serious forum posts as some kind of amusement, or parlor game, is appalling, and equally outrageous to say the least.

            1. wilderness profile image94
              wildernessposted 12 months ago in reply to this

              Personally, I will take the word of our justice, poor as it is, over the word of a man with a known proclivity to make up his own personal laws and demand that everyone follow them.  That is something unacceptable to all (except the lawmaker smile ) - justice does not lie at the end of a hanging rope regardless of your personal feelings on the subject.

    2. Quilligrapher profile image91
      Quilligrapherposted 12 months ago in reply to this

      Mr. Wrenchbiscuit would like us all to believe that the jury verdict handed down at Mr. Blankenship’s trial was a travesty of justice. To reach this conclusion, he hand picks some facts and then tries to manipulate those facts to justify a false comparison between the lives of 29 victims and a stash marijuana. roll

      Repeating what is now a familiar pattern, the OP paints an inaccurate picture simply by withholding crucial information. So, let’s review the false claims made in this thread, only this time in the light of all of the relevant facts that were conveniently left out of the OP statement.

      Assertion:
      "Does it make any sense at all that a man being held responsible for 29 deaths is receiving a sentence of "up to" one year in prison?"

      Fact:
      While plagiarizing a New York Times article verbatim, the OP conveniently omits the following fact mentioned in the same article: “Mr. Blankenship was not tried on any charges that accused him of direct responsibility for the deaths at Upper Big Branch." How convenient to leave out this very important fact! The defendant was charged with conspiracy and not with “responsibility for 29 deaths.” {1}

      Then the facts are further distorted to claim that a sentence of “up to one year” is inappropriate for a man who was found to be responsible for 29 deaths. Of course, the OP does not mention that the prosecution only charged Mr. Blankenship with conspiracy and that is the charge, the only charge, that was successful. He was acquitted on the other counts that involved securities fraud, deceiving investors or regulators, and making false statements which together could have resulted in longer time in prison. However, none of the charges brought against the defendant were meant to hold him responsible for 29 deaths.

      Assertion:
      "Now, if he has been convicted of conspiring to violate safety standards that can only mean one thing. It can only mean that those people died as a result of such a conspiracy, and that he is being held responsible for the deaths of 29 people. Otherwise, he would have been found not guilty."

      Fact:
      This is why you do not hire a musician when you need a lawyer. These words do not reveal any knowledge of the law. Mr. Blankenship was found guilty of conspiracy as charged. He was not charged with killing 29 miners. The jury reached a verdict based on the conspiracy evidence presented and not on any claims by the prosecution that he was directly responsible for the deaths of 29 people. Coverage of the verdict by Rolling Stone makes this point very clear: “The jury was asked not to decide whether Blankenship was guilty or not in the 29 deaths, but whether he put profits ahead of the safety of his miners." {2}

      Assertion:
      "It is nothing less than an outrage that 29 lives, and 29 working class famililes [sic] aren't worth any more than a half an ounce of weed!"

      Fact:
      In logical terms, this is known as a false comparison. {3}

      The law does not compare human life to a stash of marijuana and it is both illogical and immature to suggest that it does. Mr. Blankenship will receive a sentence based on being found guilty as charged, i.e. of conspiring to evade federal regulations. Sentence guidelines for marijuana offenses have absolutely no bearing on this case.

      So, the OP statement reaches flawed conclusions by stretching and distorting some facts while conveniently ignoring others. A totally different picture emerges when all the facts are revealed. 
      http://s2.hubimg.com/u/6919429.jpg
      {1} http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/04/us/do … .html?_r=1
      {2} www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/form … t-20151203
      {3} http://www.logicallyfallacious.com/inde … comparison

      1. wrenchBiscuit profile image88
        wrenchBiscuitposted 12 months ago in reply to this

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        Thank you for helping me make my point. My comparison is an accurate comparison. All of the gobblygook and explanation you have offered further illustrates how a criminal enterprise posing as a justice system really works.

        Your statement:

        "The law does not compare human life to a stash of marijuana and it is both illogical and immature to suggest that it does",

        makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.  Of course the law doesn't compare the two. Who said it did? That's nothing but a strawman. What the law does is by far much worse than comparing the two. What the law has done is to declare that the possession and sale of Marijuana is a greater offense than the  negligent homicide of 29 miners! That is what I was expressing. You simply created a fiction to support your argument.

        You, just as the lawyers, and the so-called "justice system", are using semantics and legalese to justify evil. Anyone can see, and understand, that when someone is found guilty of a conspiracy; a conspiracy that created unsafe working conditions; unsafe working conditions that led to the deaths of 29 miners, that the conspiracy "cannot" be separated and held apart from the actual event that caused the death of the 29 miners. We can only conclude that in lieu of such a conspiracy, there would have been no such catastrophic event. Apparently, the authorities agreed with this assessment. Otherwise there would have been no justification for the millions of dollars in fines that were levied against the company.

        And so, my contention is as follows: If the company was found liable to an  extent that warranted such extreme monetary damages, then why were no criminal charges brought against the the CEO of the company; especially since he was found guilty of a conspiracy; a conspiracy that led to the deaths of 29 men?  We can clearly see that this was nothing but a show trial for the benefit of public consumption.

        What the verdict actually says is totally ridiculous. The verdict here says that Blankenship is responsible for a conspiracy that led to unsafe working conditions, but not responsible for the deaths of 29 miners. However,  we can clearly understand that the 29 miners died "because" of the unsafe working conditions! So who is to blame for their deaths? The Tooth Fairy?

        I am not an apologist for evil. 29 working class men are dead because of a greedy capitalist. This is not the first time this has happened. Evil men have always used the "law" to justify their evil ways. But your response raises several questions:  What is your relationship to an evil system, and what motivates you to defend the indefensible? But most importantly: Why do you feel that the life and freedom of one capitalist is worth more than the lives of 29 working class fathers, brothers, husbands,sons, and grandsons?

        1. wilderness profile image94
          wildernessposted 12 months ago in reply to this

          "If the company was found liable to an  extent that warranted such extreme monetary damages, then why were no criminal charges brought against the the CEO of the company"

          Because they could not prove that he did anything criminally wrong.  Unlike you, the law requires proof rather than a string of insinuations and innuendos before rendering a verdict.  This is a very simple concept (innocent until proven guilty) that you would do well to work hard on understanding - that is not your personal twisted opinion that matters, but proof before a court of law.

          1. wrenchBiscuit profile image88
            wrenchBiscuitposted 12 months ago in reply to this

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            If one man pushes another man off the mountain, and as a result the man being pushed falls to his death, the superior intellect can observe three separate, but related events. The fact that you cannot see is quite remarkable, and clearly indicates that you, like many others here, are my subordinate. Otherwise, you would recognize the obvious.

            Event 01: Pushing the man
            Event 02: The man falling
            Event 03: The falling man dies on impact

            Through semantics and legalese, corrupt officials have deceived a majority into believing that these three events can be seen as separate, unrelated events. They would have us believe that a man can  be guilty of one but not the others.

            In the case at hand, Blankenship was essentially found guilty of "pushing" the man when it was declared that he was guilty of Event 01 (conspiracy). However, the corrupt officials determined that he was not guilty of Event 02 ( the explosion) or Event 03 ( the resulting deaths).

            However, the MHSA confirmed the connection of events 1,2, and 3 when they concluded that "safety violations" (Event 01) contributed to the "explosion" (Event 02). You, Quilligrapher, and a kangaroo court would have us believe that the death of 29 working class Americans (Event 03) is separate, and not directly related to the preceding events. To suggest such lunacy is absurd, and without a doubt, nothing less than an outrage.

            White racists have come out in force to demand racial profiling of Muslims in the wake of the San Bernardino massacre. The terrorist attack in Paris has been exploited by the racist Americans in order to deny asylum to Syrian refugees; many of whom are women and children. Yet, we have not heard a peep from the "Sons of the Pioneers", or the "Lee Greenwood Choir" about the cold-blooded murder of 29 American miners in West Virginia. Yes, when men die because safety standards are ignored for the sake of expediency and profit, it is nothing less than cold-blooded murder! 

            Furthermore, we can assume that most, if not all of the miners were white. If Blankenship were a Muslim terrorist, can we imagine a different verdict? A different public reaction? The answer is "Yes" and "Yes". And so, we can only conclude from the evidence, that here in America it is not a matter of who and how many are getting killed, but only a matter of who is doing the killing, the color of their face, and how much money they have in their pocket. Why don't you take a trip to West Virginia and tell 29 families how twisted I am?

            1. wilderness profile image94
              wildernessposted 12 months ago in reply to this

              "If one man pushes another man off..."

              You're right, but see that bolded word?  It kind of changes things when a not-so-superior-intellect decides that the "If" shall be taken as factual without ever checking.  Without proof outside of mangling the legal terminology of "conspiracy" and without any evidence whatsoever.

              And when that not-so-superior-intellect decides that playing the racist card will help his case - will help convince others of something that isn't true - well, it just kind of ruins the whole presentation.  You might try and remember that in the future - racist attitudes are not universally accepted regardless of how much you might assume they are.  And remember that facts, not made-up, pretend "evidence" is far more useful in convincing the superior intellect of your views.

              Go back up the thread, then, and re-read Quill's comments.  You will (as always) find that they are quite factual and can give you a good guideline of how arguments should be presented.  It will also very clearly point out where your pretend "facts" simply fail to match reality.

              1. wrenchBiscuit profile image88
                wrenchBiscuitposted 12 months ago in reply to this

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                First of all, the "If" that you have highlighted, as if it is some kind of a "smoking gun", is very, very, real. It is an "If" that amounts to the reality of 29 dead men. Are you suggesting that these men never died? Because unless you are, you really need to manufacture a better argument. But what I primarily want to address is the fanciful notion that I may want to "convince" anyone of anything. This is a fiction that has often been expressed in these Forums. And it only reveals the arrogance of those who continue to promote such nonsense.

                I am fulfilling a responsibility. That responsibility does not extend to gaining "followers", "winning arguments", or convincing the general public of anything at all. To be perfectly honest, I have no interest in such trivial pursuits. And so, I will share with you a wonderful story that may help you to understand.

                Once, I came upon a dog who was standing on a railroad track. Apparently, the dog could not hear , or even see very well, as the train was almost upon him when I arrived on the scene. I jumped from my horse and began to yell and scream at the dog. I picked up a rock and threw it at him, but he did not flinch. In a moment he had simply evaporated beneath the train.

                I only cared about the dogs life while he was still living. At the moment he was killed, I stopped caring. I did all that I could do to save his life, but for whatever reason, he did not heed my warning. Perhaps he was old and wanted to die. But here is my  point: It may seem to many that my intention was to "convince" the dog to jump away from the on-coming train. But please, let it be known that this was not my purpose.  My intention was only to fulfill my responsibility as a human being, not to interfere with God's will. Because my action fulfilled my responsibility, I had no reason to feel remorse.

                It is the same with America. If it is God's will, then America will continue to disintegrate, until she is far less than a memory. I have seen the train , and it is a terrible train that is coming very fast. I have reached out to America and told her to jump. For many months I have thrown stones in her direction, that she might be moved. If she chooses to remain standing on the track, just like the little dog, she will be cut in half, and then she will be no more. I have continued to fulfill my responsibility for many months, as this is my assigned station. Whatever the outcome, I will have no regrets, and I will feel no remorse.

                I must admit, that the hateful comments, and the ridicule I have received from many Americans in these Forums is quite puzzling indeed. Especially since I am not the one who is standing on the tracks.

                1. wilderness profile image94
                  wildernessposted 12 months ago in reply to this

                  "Are you suggesting that these men never died?"

                  No.  But you are very plainly suggesting (quite strongly) that they died because of the actions of a CEO; a suggestion that you cannot back up with facts.  Only with suggestions, innuendoes and insinuations.  This is inadequate to convict the man of anything at all (thank god), but you have done so anyway, at least in your mind.  A shameful act, but one that is becoming common in this country as people fail to realize the vast difference between insinuation and truth. 

                  Yes, you've shouted about the train coming.  While failing completely to give any evidence there is a train, let alone it is actually and really coming.

                  You should feel remorse only in that you may have convinced some few people in a wrongdoing of someone...a wrongdoing that you cannot show to have happened at all. 

                  If you find it puzzling that people fail to believe wild stories it should put you on notice that belief should only follow evidence.  Not wild stories with nothing to back them up even though some people, unable to reason for themselves, will believe anything at all.  Like a guilty verdict for conspiracy automatically indicates guilt for murder as well.  It might, it might not, but your simple assurance that it does is insufficient for any that DO bother to reason their way to conclusions.

                  1. wrenchBiscuit profile image88
                    wrenchBiscuitposted 12 months ago in reply to this

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                    Like I said comrade. I'm not the one standing on the tracks. Goodbye!

        2. Quilligrapher profile image91
          Quilligrapherposted 12 months ago in reply to this

          Good evening. I hope everyone is doing well.

          As is so often the case when faced with truths that contradict his exaggerated claims, rather than receiving a response with facts, we are fed more exaggeration claims. This thread is about a federal trial and a verdict that occurred in the real world. However, we are inundated with rhetoric that ignores the actual indictment against the defendant and, instead, focuses on a totally imaginary set of charges. The words are designed to twist and distort some facts while intentionally ignoring others to produce a string of irrational arguments. It ultimately declares a faux outrage and a factitious travesty of justice because the verdict in the real-life trial is not consistent with the delusional one.

          Here is another false assertion that is presented as if it was a fact:
          "What the law has done is to declare that the possession and sale of Marijuana is a greater offense than the  negligent homicide of 29 miners!"

          In the real world in which we all live, the law has never declared this lie, but Mr. Wrenchbiscuit has! The truth is that Mr. Blankenship was not charged, nor was he tried, for negligent homicide although Mr. Wrenchbiscuit would like to deceive this forum into believing he was.

          We may never know what possessed the OP to make this unrealistic claim:
          "We can only conclude that in lieu of such a conspiracy, there would have been no such catastrophic event."

          The accident would never have happened if there hadn't been a conspiracy? Now, it appears, Mr. Wrenchbiscuit would like us to conclude, as he has, that catastrophic accidents only occur in mines managed by conspirators! roll  What next?

          This thread is based on a real-life trial and, yet, the OP continues to deny the real-life facts as they were presented to the jury. He offers us, instead, a desperate effort to misrepresent the true meaning of the verdict. Mr. Blankenship was charged and found guilty of conspiracy. He was also charged and acquitted of securities fraud, deceiving investors or regulators, and making false statements. None of the charges claimed that he was directly responsible for the accident or the deaths.

          The OP does not seem to be able to grasp two rather simple facts, both emphasized in media coverage.

          “Mr. Blankenship was not tried on any charges that accused him of direct responsibility for the deaths at Upper Big Branch," the New York Times reported. {1}

          “The jury was asked not to decide whether Blankenship was guilty or not in the 29 deaths, but whether he put profits ahead of the safety of his miners," Rolling Stone clearly pointed out. {2}

          It appears the ego that claims to be so superior does not have the skills needed to understand that being found guilty of conspiracy does not mean the defendant is also guilty of negligent homicide.
          http://s2.hubimg.com/u/6919429.jpg
          {1} http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/04/us/do … .html?_r=1
          {2} www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/form … t-20151203

  2. oceansnsunsets profile image88
    oceansnsunsetsposted 12 months ago

    "Does it make any sense at all that a man being held responsible for 29 deaths is receiving a sentence of "up to" one year in prison?"

    I am not familiar with this story really, but in reading this and posting that last question there that you ask, my answer would be "no." 

    If that is the bottom line, the answer is no.  It should be very obviously, no.

  3. wrenchBiscuit profile image88
    wrenchBiscuitposted 12 months ago

    Of course the lawyers will explain why he got such a light sentence, and it is all "legal" and proper. But the bottom line is that 29 people are dead  because of this man and his company.  One person being killed is one too many. 14 were recently murdered in San Bernadino, and it has received a lot of press. Here we have more than twice as many killed and most people aren't even aware that it happened.  Money does make a difference.

  4. Live to Learn profile image82
    Live to Learnposted 12 months ago

    I think wrenchbiscuit has a valid reason for outrage here. If a company official in a position of power is found guilty of conspiring to violate federal safety standards after an accident has taken multiple lives it is not unreasonable to assume that the only reason he was on trial is that failure to maintain safety standards caused the death of those workers. Were it my family and friends who had died I would be just as upset that our laws could not hold those responsible for actively creating an unsafe working environment more accountable.

  5. wrenchBiscuit profile image88
    wrenchBiscuitposted 12 months ago

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    I have no desire to repeat myself, as I made my position very clear. Your childish insults notwithstanding, I find it amusing,and quite ironic that you dare speak of the "real world".

    To begin, it is clear that you are securely tethered to your five senses. Yet, the limitations of the five human senses is widely known. Consequently, your sole reliance on such an imperfect sensory apparatus has severely distorted your sense of reality.

    The fact that you subscribe to such  imaginary concepts as state, national, and international borders, as well as Manifest Destiny, reveals a chasm so deep, and so very wide, that I would not even dare to cross it.

    I feel your inability to comprehend  is not a matter of being unfit, or unable to achieve my level of understanding, as your ability to articulate your ideas clearly indicates a certain intelligence. I believe it is more a matter of distance; a fear of heights.

    1. Quilligrapher profile image91
      Quilligrapherposted 12 months ago in reply to this

      Good evening, Mr. Wrenchbiscuit. I hope you are feeling better after posting.

      "You choose not to repeat yourself...my childish insults...my speaking of the “real world”...I’m tethered to five senses...the limitations of the five human senses...a chasm you dare not cross...my inability to comprehend...etc. etc." sums up your last post.

      It seems that you have an aversion to staying focused on the actual comments made in your own OP statement. Pointless, unproductive blather is a poor substitute for relevant facts that apply to the invalid declarations you made when launching this thread.

      The colorful rhetoric you later produced speaks at length about your anarchistic agenda but says not a word that vaguely suggests the deception in the OP statement was either unintentional or accidental. The duplicity of the deception is, by far, the more egregious.

      Obviously, you had prior knowledge that Mr. Blankenship was not tried for negligent homicide since we know you plagiarize the New York Times article that emphasized that point. Yet, you withheld this information and are reluctant after more than three days to acknowledge that this is indeed true. Furthermore, you haven’t produced ANY factual evidence that relates to this trial or to the false claims you made when introducing this topic. The facts you withheld ultimately establish that the OP statement is a devious attempt to deceive.

      If you ever decide you can support the claims in your OP statement with verifiable facts, I would welcome the dialog. Until then, I will ignore graphics of self-adulation and egocentric posts professing Narcissistic superiority.
      http://s2.hubimg.com/u/6919429.jpg

  6. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
    Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months ago

    Charleston W.VA: 
    Donald L. Blankenship was accused of conspiring to violate federal safety standards and was convicted of one misdemeanor charge. He is being held responsible for the deaths of 29 people.

       Q.<"Does it make any sense at all that a man being held responsible for 29 deaths is receiving a sentence of (only a misdemeor) "up to" one year in prison?">

    The word "conspire" is the key to the mystery.
    He did not act alone. Was he trying to cut corners as demanded by …  the FED?  If so, of course they are going to cut him some slack. It would not be fair to him.

  7. wrenchBiscuit profile image88
    wrenchBiscuitposted 12 months ago

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    What we have witnessed in West Virginia are the machinations of a criminal enterprise masquerading as a "justice system". My adversaries here live in an imaginary world. It sits right next to the Big Rock Candy Mountain. They believe in good guys and bad guys. They believe that  "The Godfather" was only a movie, and that corruption could never extend into the halls of justice.  They don't believe that one single innocent person has ever been wrongfully accused and put to death.

    Of course the miscreants presiding over the Blankenship charade dotted all of their "i's" and crossed all of their "t's". That is what they go to school for. They are masters of the game. They are the guys that can sell ice water to Eskimos! Quilligrapher and wilderness are fond of citing all the legal mumbo jumbo as if it is all set in stone, and above reproach. But let us not forget the Dred Scott Decision, and all that came before. All of that evil was perfectly "legal" and binding; in every court of law throughout the land.

    A degree in law is not necessary to understand that 1+1=2. Men died because safety standards were ignored. It is simply ludicrous and contradictory to hold a company liable for violating safety standards, which the court did, and not hold anyone accountable for the deaths of 29 men! My contention is that you cannot separate cause and effect. If I agree on one hand that you are guilty of conspiring to violate mine safety rules, and 29 men died as a result ,  it can only follow that you are responsible for 29 acts of negligent homicide.

    Here is what the Daily Kos  said about the greedy capitalist, but I am sure my adversaries will claim that this is just another baseless opinion:

    "Time and time again, we see how little the law values workers' lives. It's startlingly rare for an executive to face charges for worker deaths, no matter how gross the negligence and contempt for human life. And the laws aren't getting stronger any time soon:

    The state's signature mine safety accomplishment following Upper Big Branch was a new regulation mandating drug tests for miners, a reform favored by companies and opposed by unions. (Drug use has never been associated with the disaster.)

    Other reforms have since been rolled back. Federal legislation that would have made it a felony to conspire to commit mine safety violations—what Blankenship is charged with—stalled in Congress thanks to heavy lobbying from the energy industry. Even the chemical safety measure passed by the state Legislature after the Freedom Industries spill was almost immediately gutted by West Virginia lawmakers.

    Our lawmakers are not seriously trying to prevent another Upper Big Branch. To do that, they'd have to take on big business and its lobbyists and campaign donors, and that's not happening. It's not just Don Blankenship, it's not just mining, it's not just West Virginia. And it's disgusting."


    Gee! That almost sounds like wrenchBiscuit.

    1. wilderness profile image94
      wildernessposted 12 months ago in reply to this

      If I'm reading your rant correctly, you are claiming that the lawyers for the defendants "dotted their i's and crossed their t's" so well that no one can prove complicity in the murder of 29 people.

      Nevertheless, you claim it is so and that they should be punished, apparently simply because you say so.  Is that then your version of justice - that if you say they are guilty then they are whether you can prove it or not?  Proof is unnecessary, just your personal claim of guilt?

      A pretty sorry version, seems to me.  Perhaps you should re-think just what makes your opinion so much more valuable and truthful than actual evidence and proof.

      1. wrenchBiscuit profile image88
        wrenchBiscuitposted 12 months ago in reply to this

        http://usercontent2.hubimg.com/12778695.jpg

        I don't live in a trailer in Idaho. I don't shoot rabbits on Saturday afternoons just for kicks. I don't have the disgusting heads of dead deer hanging in my house. I don't make tasteless jokes about black people in seedy redneck taverns that have pigs feet for sale in the large jar with a rusty lid that has been sitting there behind the bar for the last ten years. I believe Elvis Presley is the "King", but nevertheless, I refuse to hang tacky velvet posters of Elvis  on the walls of my comfortable estate.

        I don't support the Constitution; a paper tiger  that only serves as a placebo for an ignorant and uneducated proletariat. I don't believe in Manifest Destiny. I don't believe in a central government. I don't believe in, or support the NRA, the automobile industry, the tobacco industry, or any industry, corporation, or concern that profits from the misery of others. I don't believe in murder, which includes abortion, capital punishment, and war. I believe in the teachings of Jesus. I understand that love is the remedy for an evil world rife with iniquity; a world forged upon the altar of materialism.

        I know how to read and to comprehend. I understand that 1+1= 2. With the grace of God,  I have been able to grasp the simple concept that we cannot separate cause from effect. But most importantly, I understand that you can lead a monkey to the truth, but you cannot make him think; not even long enough to save himself, or his own kind.  Hafa Adai

        1. wilderness profile image94
          wildernessposted 12 months ago in reply to this

          And you apparently believe that you can assign a cause to an effect with or without any supporting evidence.  It doesn't matter if it's really there or not, you will assign it much as you assign the bible to Jesus.

          But I certainly do agree that you can drag a monkey to truth but cannot teach it if it doesn't wish to learn.  A common problem which I fear will never be overcome; those that refuse to learn will forever be ignorant of truth.

  8. wrenchBiscuit profile image88
    wrenchBiscuitposted 12 months ago

    http://usercontent2.hubimg.com/12778935.jpg
    I can see that you are at a severe disadvantage, since I have exposed an irrefutable truth that you can only hope to deny through childish vitriol, and well crafted distortions. There will always be those above and below you; intellectually speaking. There is no need to become violent and angry when the Zebra simply acknowledges that he has stripes.

    The lesser man  has taken a paradise and turned it into a cesspool within the span of 500 years. The fact that I can clearly see the past, the present, and the future places me far and above the average man. Rather than expressing jealousy and anger, you should be thankful that I have taken the time to help you, as we both know that you have offered no compensation, monetary or otherwise, for my time and effort.

    The so-called progress that has followed the European Invasion is nothing more than a cancer that now threatens to consume the world. I, and many others like me, are here to reclaim the Earth. You can become part of the solution if you so desire. The choice is yours.

  9. GA Anderson profile image86
    GA Andersonposted 12 months ago

    The claims in the  OP bothered me. The responses even more so. Being unfamiliar with this event I spent some time chasing the details.

    As I pondered a response, I was reminded of a past Doritos commercial that had something to do with pigs flying. Oh my, I really am where it looks like I am aren't I?

    The result of my readings of the event details, and this thread, seem to indicate that you folks are talking past each other. Wrenchbiscuit's post, while appearing to be a rant about the moral travesty of a greed-driven injustice gone unpunished, makes sense to me - as a moral judgement.

    The opposition to his OP appears to have focused on the propriety of the legal function and outcome.

    The fact that I agree with the opposition's contention that the rule of law was properly applied, does not negate my thought that, excepting his apparent contention that that process was flawed, on a moral level I agree with his outrage.

    Consider this. Would the defense of the legal outcome responses been different if the OP had declared that the CEO should have been charged, instead of implying he was and got away with it, or if he had posed the question of why wasn't the CEO charged.

    In short, I think the opposing responses sidestepped the bigger issue to focus on a technicality.

    The investigative reports seem competent, knowledgeable, and conclusive;

    1) A piece of improperly maintained* machinery created conditions for an ignition of methane gas seepage, (such floor seepage is a common mining occurrence) *worn bits on a grinder drum created `hot spots' instead of breaking off chunks.

    2) The degraded function* of that piece of machinery allowed the conditions for a larger concentration of methane gas to accumulate, which then exploded when contacted by the smaller methane gas ignition. *a sprayer system on the machine dampens the explosive dust created, and also disperses methane gas accumulations that typically concentrate at the base of the `wall' the machine is mining was degraded by missing seven sprayer nozzles (total number of sprayer nozzles on the machine was not found in my readings)

    3) Mine safety requirements dictate that floating coal dust be removed by adequate ventilation systems, and settled coal dust be rendered inert by an application of rock dust. * evidence of long term, (stated as days to possibly months), coal dust accumulation, and failure to apply the mandated rock dust, and inadequate ventilation to remove floating coal dust was available

    4) A partial roof collapse at one end of the mining wall run further restricted adequate ventilation of both the generated coal dust, and methane gas accumulation. *this roof collapse was a direct result of operations failing to fix already flagged violations concerning the roof supports.

    And so on...

    The bottom line is the report conclusively found that the fire and explosion were direct results of mandated safety code violations.

    From here it gets a little less conclusive. The report states data, past flagrant safety violations, and the existence of a second set of "books" maintained and reserved for mine inspectors and public inquiries, are proof of a corporate culture to short-change miner safety to benefit profits.

    From my perspective, given the apparent linked logic of the report's conclusions, somebody should have been held accountable for the deaths of the miners. Which I think may have been the gist of the OP.

    Now, another question comes to mind; Why were the opposing respondents so focused on the correctness of the legal determination; with which they freely bashed the OP, and not considerate of the probable moral contention of the OP?

    GA

    1. wilderness profile image94
      wildernessposted 12 months ago in reply to this

      The moral stance of the OP was that:
      1. The CEO was guilty of murder, and
      2.  Should have been punished.

      Now, IF #1 is correct, #2 goes without saying - no one would disagree with it.  But the entire OP conclusion of #2 was unsupported and without evidence outside of a legal verdict that had nothing to do with murder.  At that point, the conclusion cannot be supported and correct moral stance is that punishment must not be applied.  From a moral standpoint, then, the OP is out of step and has remained there as no evidence supporting the premise of #1 was ever given.  Even the facts you presented say nothing about the individual in question; only about the company as a whole.  To come to the conclusion desired, a strong (very strong) connection must be made between those facts and the CEO; something you did not do and the OP didn't even try to do (outside of an unsupported opinion that it is there).

      1. GA Anderson profile image86
        GA Andersonposted 12 months ago in reply to this

        Somebody throw me a rope, I knew I would end up here.

        It sure looks like you are responding to the OP again, or, I failed to to be clear, because I offered several clarifications that I was seeing a different perspective than the specific charges of the OP. I too think the resolution of the event is a tragedy, but not because of Mr. Blankenship's verdict. I think that was a correct result of the judicial progress. Whether I agree with the verdict, or not doesn't affect that. Whether the system was corrupt or not doesn't bear on my point.

        I addressed the "outrage" as being that no one of the company was held accountable.

        As I found them, here are the facts I accepted in forming my initial response;
        1. It was proven that safety violations, purposeful actions to deceive inspectors, and substandard and/or inadequate equipment were used - in violation of Federal safety regulations, which resulted in the catastrophe.

        2. The event would not have escalated to the level of catastrophe if, (I knew you would like an if), the safety code violations were not present.

        3. Company personnel, from the shift foreman up to the CEO participated in deceitful, (or intimidating), actions to circumvent required safety mandates.

        To my mind, somebody, (or a lot of somebodies), at the company hold accountability.

        My point was that you, (and others), focused on the aspect of the legal charges against the CEO only, when I think that ignores a more important point of the OP. Sure the fringe is frayed, but the carpet is still the object.

        Given my past readings of similar exchanges, I can understand why the easily refuted charge of judicial corruption, in this example, was such red meat, but that hunk of flank wasn't the choicest serving on the table.

        To address the topic in only the specifics cited by WB, was not my intention, then or now. Wrenchbiscuit is certainly capable of carrying his own water.

        GA

        1. wilderness profile image94
          wildernessposted 12 months ago in reply to this

          From what you have posted, and without digging any further, it does seem that someone(s) should be held responsible.  Plus the company, with giant fines high enough to put them out of business at least at that location.

          But that, from what you have said, would require massive change in law, for just who is responsible.  The foreman that followed company orders without knowing any better?  His supervisor, that "overlooked" small violations?  The unknown "bookkeeper" that kept a second set of books?  The CEO that likely knew little of the details?  Other middle management?  The law simply isn't up to finding and answer outside of the company as a whole at this point, or so it appears from limited data.

          And if we could get ALL the information, it would likely point to a whole bunch of people all guilty of minor infractions, but which totaled up to the death of the miners.  So how would we punish them?  A fine, for falsifying a single safety issue?  It's actually doubtful that any single person knew all that was going on, and had authority to condone or change it.

          1. GA Anderson profile image86
            GA Andersonposted 12 months ago in reply to this
          2. GA Anderson profile image86
            GA Andersonposted 12 months ago in reply to this

            It seems we may be looking at the same picture.

            Now, if, by your view of my past forum participation, you will give me the benefit of trust, (because I did not save the links, but you can find them just as I did if you need them), I can answer of few of your questions.

            My readings included the Dept. of Labor and Mine Safety and Health Administration, (MSHA), investigation, The Executive Summary of the Investigation Report, the appendices for the mechanical and electrical and sensory equipment  tested post-explosion that determined their predicted performance prior to and during the explosion. I also read both pro and con articles and commentaries from what appeared to be knowledgeable and  credible sources.

            As mentioned before... I get snagged in chasing links until, they become black holes.

            Any way, I wasn't advocating any solution. Only pushing a perspective.

            To the foreman that didn't know better, and the near-sighted Supervisor; at the foreman level, there were documented instances of shift foremen getting advance notice that inspectors were on their way and then diverting work to compliant areas, as in pulling a crew from a non-compliant machine or task, and sending them to compliant work areas while the inspectors were there. (from the property gate to actually accessing the floor of the inspection area could take as long as an hour), it was also a practice to use large machinery to purposely hide hazardous or non-compliant materials or conditions from inspectors.

            The documented Supervisor level actions were mostly intimidation using termination as the stick. If a miner voiced any problems with equipment or conditions he was threatened with losing his job. Unscheduled downtime of a mining machine was a termination offense, to intimidate other miners. Documented labor, wage, and employment records corroborated witness testimony.

            The most cited concern/complaint was the failure to follow the mandated rock dust procedures. Followed by undersized or broken ventilation systems incapable of clearing either the floating coal dust, or the methane accumulations.

            That would take us to maybe the site manager level. He has a budget to hold. The reason the Rock dust protocols weren't followed was because prescribed amounts of rock dust were not purchased. Even if the shift foreman wanted to dust the area, there was no rock dust to use. It was also documented via company and supplier records that sufficient supplies of rock dust were available to purchase. Rock dust makes settled, and impacted floating coal dust inert. Coal dust explosions are considered by miners to be the most lethal of mine accidents, short of complete tunnel collapse.

            Specific to this incident,the roof section that collapsed, creating the last ingredient needed, had been previously flagged as a serious structural violation. An additional truss was mandated. It was not installed. It was this weakened section of tunnel roof that collapsed.

            The reports conclusion seemed valid. It stated that it found a corporate culture that promoted bottom line financial gain over all other considerations. 

            The actions of those below the supervisor level may be argued as possible individual efforts to curry favor, or save a job. But beginning at the supervisor level and up, there are instructions. They might ad lib when needed, but company policy is generally the rule.

            There was plenty to convince me of the truth of the basic premise, safety is expensive, it was sacrificed in lieu of the bottom line. And that sacrifice was known by many, from the floor miners to at least mid-management.

            This hole I am in started as just an observation, an important one I think, for both the perspective of the topic, and the subtle snares of forum biases.

            As Forrest said... "...And that's all I have to say about that."

            GA

            1. wilderness profile image94
              wildernessposted 12 months ago in reply to this

              I pretty much agree with everything you've said above supervisor (MY definition of supervisor) level and down.  I will mention, though that in 17 years of construction work, the most common response to a visit from OSHA was for the entire job site to come to a near standstill.  That means a half dozen companies and trades suddenly just about quit working - no one on ladders, no one using power tools, extension cords quickly coiled and stored, etc.  Some trades actually left the job for the day, and it wasn't just supervisors (no one higher to give orders) - the common laborer was just as happy to participate in that as anyone else.  It's how things work.

              I'll also say that I've had supervisors that expected unsafe actions from employees, though never one that actually ordered such a thing or complained when the task was refused.

              But as I said, all of that which you provide does not make any single person liable for murder, and that's a problem for the legal end.  No rock dust?  But it was budgeted!  And so-and-so was told to order it (but couldn't find the proper forms just then).  No fans?  But maintenance just fixed them a week ago!  And they were large enough (before the new tunnel was added).  And new ones were in the budget anyway!  And no one told me they weren't working or I'd have hired independent contractors to supply new or temporary ones to protect our valued employees!

              Point is that there is almost always an excuse for any single person (true or not).  It is only the company as a whole that has no excuse at all.

    2. Quilligrapher profile image91
      Quilligrapherposted 12 months ago in reply to this

      Welcome to the table, Gus. Have you come to participate in the discussion or to be a referee? Either way, I am happy you joined in and thanks for the extensive research into the cause of the accident. You did a fine job, as usual.

      I can only answer for myself. The moral contention of the OP was never an issue with me. If you or he would like to make it an issue then, maybe, the thread should be moved to one of the Religion and Philosophy forums where we can include slander and libel in the discussion.

      Purposely misrepresenting the charges against the defendant, claiming the verdict and the expected sentence were a miscarriage of justice, omitting the crucial detail that the trial was never intended to place responsibility for the deaths of the miners, declaring as fact that “guilty of conspiracy” equals “guilty of negligent homicide” with no need for further factual evidence, all amount to a devious attempt to use deception to promote a personal opinion. Regardless of the merits of his “moral contention,” the end never justifies the means.

      Twisting the truth because you don’t like what the facts are saying is unscrupulous behavior. The facts surrounding this event never supported the false claims made by the OP and, when asked, the OP had none to offer. If stating my position about the dishonesty in the OP statement is, in your view, “freely bashing” then I can disagree and live with it.

      I hope I answered your question, Gus.

      Simply based upon our knowledge of the facts in this case and without adding a bunch of qualifying ifs, ands,  or buts, please ponder the following statements along with me in search for one, just one, that is factually true:

      “It is nothing less than an outrage that 29 lives, and 29 working class famililes [sic] aren't worth any more than a half an ounce of weed!”

      “If he has been convicted of conspiring to violate safety standards that can only mean one thing...that he is being held responsible for the deaths of 29 people. Otherwise, he would have been found not guilty.”

      “A man being held responsible for 29 deaths is receiving a sentence of "up to" one year in prison."

      “[Blankenship,] the CEO of a company found to be responsible for what amounts to the negligent homicide of 29 miners,"

      "Blankenship only got a slap on the wrist for the negligent homicide of 29 miners."

      "Had Bernie [Madoff] limited himself to stealing from the poor, he wouldn't be sitting in prison today looking at 100 years."

      "What the law has done is to declare that the possession and sale of Marijuana is a greater offense than the negligent homicide of 29 miners!"

      “We can only conclude that in lieu of such a conspiracy, there would have been no such catastrophic event.”

      “This was nothing but a show trial for the benefit of public consumption.”


      These are not just poorly articulated opinions. They are well-articulated exaggerations skillfully camouflaged as facts to misrepresent real events. Statements that the OP knew were untrue but found useful for advancing his cause. These statements are intentional subterfuge.
      http://s2.hubimg.com/u/6919429.jpg

      1. GA Anderson profile image86
        GA Andersonposted 12 months ago in reply to this

        What table? From down here all I can see is a ring of daylight above my head. I worried that I would end up somewhere I never expected to be when I first considered the Reply button. Maybe that is why that Doritos commercial came to mind .

        I think both you and Wilderness are correct; you in your description of tactics, and Wilderness in his view of workplace realities.

        Referee? Ha! Considering the horsepower already pushing this discussion, I think my contribution would be, at best, described as just an observation from the peanut gallery.

        GA

  10. wrenchBiscuit profile image88
    wrenchBiscuitposted 12 months ago

    http://usercontent2.hubimg.com/12779931_f1024.jpg

    The CEO that likely knew little of the details?   Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Mr. wilderness has suggested, and I quote again:

    " The CEO that likely knew little of the details? "

    Yes, it is true, I have spent most of my life as a traveling, womanizing musician. But in spite of my lack of business acumen, I do understand some of the basics. CEO is an acronym for "Chief Executive Officer". Here is the definition:

    "Top executive responsible for a firm's overall operations and performance. He or she is the leader of the firm, serves as the main link between the board of directors (the board) and the firm's various parts or levels, and is held solely responsible for the firm's success or failure. One of the major duties of a CEO is to maintain and implement corporate policy, as established by the board. Also called President or managing director, he or she may also be the chairman (or chairperson) of the board."

    If 29 men weren't dead today, your comment about the CEO  would actually be funny. As anyone can see from the definition, the CEO isn't just one step above the Janitor. The CEO "is" the commander in chief. It is his  responsibility to keep the company safe and profitable. What do you suppose the responsibility of a CEO entails, besides playing golf and servicing the district managers wife? Most would agree that safety, especially concerning the historically dangerous aspect of mining, would have been foremost on his mind.

    The law be damned.29 men are dead, and the man ultimately responsible walks away charged with a misdemeanor. It should be clear to anyone by now: black, white, blind, crippled, or crazy,  that the primary enemies of the American people aren't the Muslims, the North Koreans, or illegal Mexican Immigrants looking to get a leg up in the world. 14 people were ruthlessly murdered  in San Bernardino and the world stopped turning. But 29 men die as the result of negligent homicide; a crime perpetrated  by a white American CEO, and we hardly hear a whimper in the press.

    Many of you are big on the "facts". Well then look at the facts. Bernie Madoff didn't kill anybody. Poor Bernie made the mistake of ripping off a bunch of rich Jews and white people. Consequently, he got sentenced to over 100 years in prison. Blankenship is responsible for the deaths of 29 miners, and gets charged with a misdemeanor.These are the facts, not my opinion. And what do the facts tell us?

    The facts make it painfully clear that in the United States, stealing money, or  smoking and selling  marijuana (except for Colorado) are greater offenses than murder; greater even than the murder of 29 men. The life of a white working class American may be worth more than a black, or an Indigenous person, but we are talking about the difference between a nickel and a quarter. Osiyo!

    1. wilderness profile image94
      wildernessposted 12 months ago in reply to this

      You've obviously never worked an actual job.

      I have, and have to say that I've have precious few next-rung-up supervisors that knew the nuts and bolts of what I was doing and never anyone above that.  The CEO does not know intimate details of mine workings any more than Obama knows the form number to fill out for an on the job accident on a military base.

      So no, it is insanity to think that the CEO of a major company knows everything there is to know about mine safety.  At most he closed his eyes to an overall failure company wide to maintain a safe workplace.  Still wrong, but not murder any more than driving on worn tires or not inspecting brake linings (yourself, not the shop) is.

  11. wrenchBiscuit profile image88
    wrenchBiscuitposted 12 months ago

    http://usercontent2.hubimg.com/12780207.png
    I saw a show on "60 minutes" years ago where a cleaning lady was caught on camera stealing from a customer. Of course, even when they played back the tape for her to watch, she still adamantly denied stealing anything.  You refusal to face reality reminds me of this woman. Everything you have highlighted as false  is absolutely true, and anyone who does not have another agenda, such as I am very well aware that you do, can figure that out by simply using common sense. 29 men didn't die simply by divine intervention. Someone was responsible.

    I am sure that you would argue that George Washington, and any number of slave-owning miscreants was not a rapist or a kidnapper. Why? Because he was never convicted in a court of law as being a rapist or a kidnapper. But we all know that he was, just like Jefferson and the rest. So go ahead and play your game of character assassination. Because that is really all that you can bring to the table. I am sure that it plays well with a certain class of people here on Hubpages. But I am more concerned about that which stands above me, than that which crawls, and slithers below.

 
working