The union/liberal take on Don Blankenship is that he wanted to kill his miners who brought in the coal at Massey Energy. West Virginians have heard this for 30 years -- ever since union strikers murdered Hayes West, a truck driver who did not support the strike. (From the New York Times on June 8, 1985: "Hayes West, was killed in Kentucky by gunshots, and this week he was buried in a mountain grave, wearing his trucker's clothes, a short-sleeved shirt and blue jeans. On his abdomen rested his driver's cap, with the legend ''Used, Abused, and Confused'.")
As President Obama's Booth Goodwin, a member of the well-connected Goodwin family, tried in vain to connect Blankenship with the deaths of 29 miners killed in a methane explosion on April 5, 2010, at Upper Big Branch, West Virginia. Failing to do so, Goodwin filed other charges -- including an allegation of securities charges -- that had nothing to with the explosion.
The trial is on in Charleston, West Virginia. The idea is to portray Blankenship as being so greedy he ignored safety in favor of profits. It is classic socialism.
From Hoppy Kercheval:
In contrast to the case the federal government has been trying to build of a CEO who put production above safety, the newly-admitted defense documents painted Blankenship as a chief executive concerned about reducing mine safety violations at UBB and throughout all of Massey’s mine operations.
One of the documents submitted to the jury was a report card on mine safety violations at Massey that Blankenship called “very ugly” in a response dated Oct. 8, 2009. “Propose corrective action,” he instructed other Massey executives.
In a reply to an e-mail dated March 20, 2009 detailing Massey’s mine safety violation numbers in January and February of that year, Blankenship said he was “frustrated” and wrote, “The only thing more frightening to our future than the regulators is us.”
“You have to develop a plan to deal with this” and “Do your jobs” were his responses to an e-mail from Elizabeth Chamberlin, former Massey vice president of safety and training, to mine presidents and safety chiefs in May 2009 about respirable dust violations.
Also now part of evidence is an Oct. 2009 performance review of Adkins, the former Massey COO, who oversaw all of Massey’s underground mines and reported to Blankenship.
“As COO, he should desist from creating an atmosphere among group presidents that compliance with safety laws is unachievable, unwise and unnecessary,” part of that review read.
Davis was called upon repeatedly to identify the handwriting on the documents, submitted as evidence, as Blankenship’s. The defense called the notes “angry,” “rude” and “tense,” and Davis agreed when asked if that was the Don Blankenship she knew and worked with for years.I met Don Blankenship once. He is a Marshall University graduate who made it big in West Virginia. I respect that.
Remember, our most important right is the presumption of innocence.