Despite recent efforts to diminish the voice of We the PEOPLE by violently kicking members of our national movement out of public spaces all across the U.S., Occupy Charleston WV (“OCWV”) is still alive and doing just fine, thankyouverymuch.
In a show of solidarity with the national Occupy Wall Street movement first National General Assembly in our nation’s capitol city, a delegation of 12 (TWELVE!) individuals from the Great State of West Virginia yesterday took part in numerous activities in Washington DC including, (its rumored) leading a “mike check” protest in front of the White House during the tree lighting ceremony!
Back here in Charleston, since storm troopers for the banksters couldn’t legally disperse us because we had decided to headquarter on private property owned by the local AFL-CIO, our local rightwing media sent a team into our OccupyCharlestonWV encampment to try to dampen local public support by focusing a report on our problems and downplaying our collective determination to affect justice for the 99 percent.
Although Daily Wail photographer/ Koch teabag stringer Bob Wojo focused his camera on our toilets and our rain-soaked campgrounds as reporter Hack Zarold intentionally ignored the determination of Occupiers throughout the camp, since their hit piece, support by the local public including area unions and churches has nonetheless been unwavering.
That the national media picked up the overall negative spin from the weasel team from the Daily Wail wasn’t really a surprise given the tone of its op-eds lately, although certain details that Hack Z. left out were disappointing to the point of embarrassing.For HIM.
Corporate-spun editorials and news pieces all fail to report that the public-at-large generally agrees with what the Occupy movement stands for. BTW Don’t fall for the results of their fake polls, because the corporate tools who write the poll scripts cleverly never ask the question that way.
IF PROPERLY ASKED, the public-at-large will generally agree with what the Occupy movement stands for nationally because they REALIZE that 1 out of every 3 Americans are now either living in poverty or right next to it. Don’t take my word for it, read the facts at this link.
Across West Virginia, the poverty is far worse because of our corrupt political system is widely accepted without comment by the corporate-owned media. Both work together to hide the fact that as a state we’ve long been considered the 4th richest when it comes to natural resources, yet here the poverty is rampant. And it is almost as well hidden by our local “Hacks” as is the disconnect from the draining of our resources by our local media’s corporate sponsors.
That large numbers of Appalachians both in and out of our Occupier camps here in WV all suffer the standard problems associated with long term poverty is shocking only because it has been such a closely kept secret by the same “Hacks” (and Wojos) who are now striving, through the power of their corporate media, to kneecap those who’ve recently decided to demand a TRUE democratic society, and are actively doing so from our state’s capitol all the way to D.C.
Regarding the setbacks encountered by our encampments as reported by these corporate tools, let the following Press Release from OccupyCharlestonWV speak for itself, although I’d wager you never caught anything about this PRESS RELEASE in your local media back when it was issued. It is also notable that although our Good Neighbor Policy was approved by consensus at our General Assembly months ago, it was by necessity personally hand delivered on the same date as the Press Release to the Mayor and City Council of Charleston, WV by Jesse Johnson due to the number of homeless and disaffected that were being herded to our camp by the local police.
Date of Release: Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 10:56 AM Subject: City Police Coordination
Last night at General Assembly there was an unconfirmed report that a member of the city police force had rousted some homeless and intoxicated citizens from Davis Square and told them that if they wanted to camp they needed to do it at our location.
We fully understand the City of Charleston’s inability to cope with its rising numbers of homeless and disaffected citizens. Although we will not reject those less fortunate than most, we have already contacted the Mayor’s office to let him know that the Occupy Charleston community will not tolerate public intoxication in compliance with its established maxim of zero tolerance in compliance with our Good Neighbor Policy.
GOOD NEIGHBOR POLICY
Following respectful and good-faith dialogue with members of the local community, Occupy Charleston, WV hereby announces the following Good Neighbor Policy to ensure safety and awareness:
~ OCWV has zero tolerance for drugs or alcohol anywhere on occupy site ~ Zero tolerance for violence or verbal abuse towards anyone; ~ Zero tolerance for abuse of personal or public property. ~ Smoking only in designated areas and outside of General Assembly ~ OCWV encourages all participants to respect health and sanitary regulations, and will direct all participants to respectfully utilize appropriate facilities. ~ OCWV will at all times have a community relations representative on-site, to monitor and respond to community concerns and complaints.
The following article was re-posted here because 61 senators betrayed you this week. They authorized the indefinite suspension of Habeus Corpus (again) and the ability to detain American citizens without charge or trial, anywhere in the world. We are now officially a police state and our country is considered a new part of the “battlefield.”
The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is contained within S. 1867, which was passed on the Senate floor Monday. The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing.
According to one source, the Department of Homeland Security is attempting, through this bill, to start including its focus on anyone who is or will be engaged or encouraging domestic unrest, whatever the reason. The net is being cast over such groups as the Tea Party, which has been under actual and electronic surveillance by the FBI and other intelligence agencies, as well as the various “occupy” groups!
One word that emerged from the novel was the word “doublespeak,” where truth is deliberately obfuscated through clever wording. In some cases, the meaning of a word is reversed entirely. Oceania, the totalitarian regime in Orwell’s book, used doublespeak as a matter of course. The Ministry of Truth specialized in propaganda. The Ministry of Love was a secretive torture complex.
In the early years of public school, or in public addresses by politicians, America is touted as the Land of the Free, or the Land of Opportunity, or the Greatest Country on Earth. We’re taught from near-infancy that this country was founded on the right to say what you want, whenever, wherever, to whomever.
We’re told we have the freedom to assemble peacefully, to petition our leaders for a redress of grievances. We’re taught that if you’re apprehended by the law, you have the right to a fair trial and legal representation.
The recent Black Friday mobs of consumers pitching tents in parking lots and rioting over $2 waffle irons were met with silence from the police. Yet, 10 people speaking out in a Wal-Mart about the company’s CEO making $19,000 per hour while his employees are forced to work on a holiday for less than poverty-level wages apparently provokes police to tackle and arrest the citizens nonviolently encouraging shoppers to buy local. In today’s America we can Occupy for Capitalism, but not for Democracy.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has openly admitted that the recent police crackdowns on Occupy Wall Street solidarity encampments were the result of careful coordination between mayors on a series of conference calls. There are also reports that the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI gave advice on the crackdowns, encouraging municipalities to deploy large numbers of police, equip them with riot gear, and break up encampments when the media were least likely to be present. Reports from New York allege that reporters were asked to raise their hand if they had press credentials, before being penned in an area far from the protests. Those trying to get through were arrested, and told that it was illegal to “take pictures on the sidewalk.”
It is no longer extreme to say we now live in a fascist police state. Thanks to the Patriot Act, the SCOTUS’ Citizens United decision, and a complacent electorate, our First Amendment rights of free speech and free assembly now only exist on paper. In Tienanmen Square, the Chinese government also censored the press and violently cracked down on peaceful protesters. All that’s missing here are the tanks.
Mussolini said, “Fascism should be more accurately called corporatism, because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” It is Orwellian doublespeak to call this country “free” while freedom is actively suppressed with aid from a corporate-owned government. The people are not free if their leaders are actively making war with them.
Carl Gibson, 24, of Lexington, Kentucky, is a spokesman and organizer for US Uncut, a nonviolent, creative direct-action movement to stop budget cuts by getting corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. He graduated from Morehead State University in 2009 with a B.A. in Journalism before starting the first US Uncut group in Jackson, Mississippi, in February of 2011. Since then, over 20,000 US Uncut activists have carried out more than 300 actions in over 100 cities nationwide. You may contact Carl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sixty-one seditious senators who betrayed you by their vote on S. 1867 are:
West Virginia, THIS is what happens when you vote for the “lesser of two evils”. Although its true that Manchin’s old pal John Raese would have likely voted exactly the same way as Mojo, I GUARANTEE you that my good friend Jesse Johnson of the MOUNTAIN PARTY would have FILIBUSTERED this right back down Dick Cheney’s spider hole where it belongs!
The ACLU and over 30 other organizations sent a letter to the Senate asking them to oppose an effort in Congress that threatens to revive the use of torture and other inhumane interrogation techniques. If passed, an amendment introduced by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) to the Defense Authorization bill would roll back torture prevention measures that Congress overwhelmingly approved in the 2005 McCain Anti-Torture Amendment, as well as a 2009 Executive Order on ensuring lawful interrogations. It would also require the administration to create a secret list of approved interrogation techniques in a classified annex to the existing interrogation field manual.
Corporate Media sees the Occupy movement as a threat, because we aim to change the status quo. The way it is now, politicians can spend huge amounts of Corporate Campaign Cash every election cycle, so Corporate Media thrives by helping elect corporate-owned politicians.
In only a few places is this incestuous relationship not so subtle. The most obvious is FoxNews, which openly supports corporatocracy.
One subtle way media supports the status quo is through the perennial publishing of push-polls which support the two party system to the exclusion of all others. For instance, I challenge anyone to find a so-called “scientific” poll that included a Mountain Party candidate, even though that party has maintained full ballot access for over a decade in West Virginia. Though you’ll never get them to admit it, newsroom editors purposely exclude the Mountain Party simply because it has always shunned corporate cash and called for cleaning up elections!
That’s not the only way the media works towards electing the best corporate panderer that money can buy. Right now it does so by downplaying the message of those who simply seek justice.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Just watch and you’ll see. Once the media realizes that its been outflanked by the internet and Twitter (like it did in Egypt), and the Occupy Movement suddenly becomes a MAJOR threat by exposing media’s campaign cash cow, newsroom editors will begin ignoring the Occupy Movement altogether. It will do so in exactly the same way as it has done to WV’s Mountain Party, and nationally to the Green Party, which, thanks to the media blackout MOST Americans don’t realize, revealed that George Bush rigged the elections in Ohio!
Can you cite even one instance where this importnt revelation ever was properly covered in the national media?
Occupy Charleston WV is looking forward celebrating in solidarity with the local AFL-CIO and the Kanawha Valley Central Labor Council, who sympathize with our message, “Resist austerity. Rebuild the economy. Reclaim our democracy.”
In solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and in response to a request from Occupy Charleston WV, local unions will join us today at 4:30 to help us celebrate our 2 month anniversary
The Occupy Wall Street movement started out with a call to gather people to Wall Street on Sept. 17. That activity in New York’s financial district has not only continued for at least two months, it has spread around the country and even around he world. It’s been criticized by the corporate media for a lack of specific goals, primarily because in the original call there was a central demand for President Obama to form a presidential commission for the purpose of separating the influence of money from our representatives in Washington, D.C.
That goal directly threatens the media because campaign contributions from corporations happens to be a major income source for practically every media outlet in the U.S.
Recent studies show that across America, the candidate with the most money wins an astounding 94 percent of the time. Auctioning away our rights and protections are now a common practice of today’s politicians. It’s a class war tactic that sorely compromises our local media’s ability to report the truth. In many ways the situation is similar to the sociopolitical events that led up to the mine workers armed march to occupy Williamson, WV ninety years ago. During that era, laborers all over the U.S. protested their own local horrific conditions and eventually forced the government to intervene on their behalf.
Thanks to the internet, and despite today’s corporate media attempt to downplay the Occupy Wall Street goal, anyone who doesn’t know what Occupy Wall Street is all about simply doesn’t care enough to find out. The movement back towards democracy is long overdue in WV, as evidenced by the products of our broken political and judicial system.
FACT: WV has long been recognized as the 4th most resource-rich state in the nation
FACT: WV has the poorest counties in the nation, and they’re located where the highest grade metallurgical coal is being exported at record rates
FACT: WV’s unemployment rate soared above the national rate even as we were being poisoned and run out of our homes by giant fossil fuel industries under Joe Manchin and Earl Ray Tomblin -yet when the WV mainstream media broadly endorsed them both, it ignored their responsibility for those issues by avoiding addressing them altogether.
FACT: In the last election 75 percent of registered West Virginians voted for “none of the above” by not bothering to vote at all. It’s most likely because they no longer have faith in our political system.
Directly involved in this pro-
test are those brave enough to stand
up for the 99 percent of us who have
been shafted under the present system.
The Occupy Charleston movement can now accept monetary donations. When donating through the following link please be sure to fill out the purpose text box with “Occupy Charleston Occupiers”. They have a long-established local non-profit outfit helping them accept your donations, thanks to WV Citizens Action Group
~OCWV has zero tolerance for drugs or alcohol anywhere on occupy site
~ Zero tolerance for violence or verbal abuse towards anyone;
~ Zero tolerance for abuse of personal or public property.
~ Smoking only in designated areas and outside of General Assembly
~ OCWV encourages all participants to respect health and sanitary regulations, and will direct all participants to respectfully utilize appropriate facilities.
~ OCWV will at all times have a community relations representative on-site, to monitor and respond to community concerns and complaints.
At this link see the video of elite Wall Street onlookers sip champagne
and mock protestors passing below.
Together we can ensure that these banking institutions will always remember the 5th of November. If we shift our funds from the for-profit banking institutions in favor of not-for-profit credit unions before this date, we will send a clear message that conscious consumers won’t support companies with unethical business practices. It’s time to invest in local community growth!
• Research your local credit union options
• Open an account with the one that best suits your needs
• Cancel all automatic withdrawals & deposits
• Transfer your funds to the new account
• Follow your bank’s procedures to close your account before 11/05
FIND A CREDIT UNION
While the Bank Transfer Day movement acknowledges the enthusiasm from Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street, the Bank Transfer Day movement was neither inspired by, derived from nor organized by Anonymous or the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the Bank Transfer Day movement does not endorse any activities conducted by Anonymous or Occupy Wall Street.
Special thanks to Eddie Colla for the use of his Guy Fawkes image:
All across the United States homeless advocates are busily working to prepare for their most hectic season. You might call it the holiday season, the time of cheer — or as Charles Dickens explained in his epic “A Christmas Carol” — “a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”
While many homeless advocates would never compare themselves to Charles Dickens they would agree that because people “open their shut-up hearts freely” their work loads get a whole lot heavier. You likely don’t know this because you’ve never heard them complain. And they never will. Many agencies make six or seven months of their budget on what kindness comes their way between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Children under18 make up 27% of the homeless population
But proof that otherwise uncaring folks suddenly give a damn at Christmas isn’t just found in anecdotal accounts by relief workers. A British study conducted by City University London in 2009 shows that charitable giving increases by 19 percent in the month of December and not because the same people who donate the whole year through give more, but because more people give.
This swelling in the donor ranks among those who customarily aren’t benefactors necessitates that case workers and those who do outreach to the poor dedicate part of nearly every Christmas season work day to coordinating gift giving by those who want to make the holidays special for the needy. While appreciated, it is unfortunate that these same folks can’t be convinced to contribute all year long seeing as the people they help have pretty dreary lives 12 months of the year.
And it’s not just an added compassion for the down and out that this time inspires, this too is an occasion when children in particular matter more. Good people — especially good parents — make an example to others by reaching out to the children of the poor regardless of whether or not the politics they support have actually made these kids’ lives worse over time. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Book, “Since 2000 the child poverty rate has increased by 18 percent meaning the economic recession of the past few years effectively wiped out all the gains we made in cutting child poverty in the late 1990s.”
There’s a disconnect between the intellectual embrace of this time of giving and the knowledge that it was politics and political action that plopped millions more kids at the doors of our nation’s welfare programs and charities. And there’s a good chance it’s going to get worse. Just this week a story in International Business Times highlighted concerns that because of the Congressional Super Committee’s budget cutting initiatives, “funding for the Women, Infants and Children Program, Head Start and low-income housing are at risk.”
Ironically at this time of year and in the name of Jesus Christ, folks who otherwise point fingers seem to drop the accusations and pick up their check books. For one month, political affiliation and subjective dogma seem to matter little when considering if a child in a homeless shelter is a victim of generational poverty, has parents who are just “lazy” or if their TANF recipient parent uses drugs or alcohol. Nah, this time of year a lot of the same folks that called for drug testing for welfare beneficiaries will still buy a toy for The Salvation Army’s angel tree or the Marines’ Toys for Tots program.
Facts are facts, and the one thing the spirit of the holiday season taught everyone from before Dickens time until long after the congressional super committee finishes it’s work: nowhere in all the celebrations of Christmas did Jesus ever get bogged down in whether the least among us was deserving or not. No, at Christmas time — when so many seek to act like Jesus — loving your neighbor isn’t about whether or not your neighbor has it coming.
Too bad the change of heart that makes homeless shelter providers so busy in December couldn’t last all year and effect the way we vote. If it did, people might continue thinking “of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.” Or better yet, not think of the poor as below them at all.
Pat LaMarche of Yarmouth, Maine is the author of “Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the United States.” Although she abandoned her talkradio day job to run as the Green Party’s Vice Presidential candidate, she recently returned to morning talk radio, and may be heard at this link.
Ms. LaMarche may be reached at PatLaMarche@hotmail.com
23% of homeless population in the U.S. are veterans.
There is undeniable evidence that both investigations fell far short by not addressing the dangerous situation set up by Manchin’s own publicly stated lethal policy, which he dubbed ‘Retail Government’. It is hard to ignore that just two years prior to the UBB homicides and only two years after the Sago mine explosion killed 12, Manchin was caught on tape directly admitting to having implemented a policy so lethal that his administration is now responsible for far more U.S. mining deaths than any other since the Coal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1969 was made law.
note: The above chartsource (pdf file) was obviously published prior to the UBB homicides
Former Massey CEO Don Blankenship and former WV Governor Joe
Manchin both want all to believe that the UBB explosion was accidental, that mining coal underground is necessarily deadly, and that all miners are paid well enough that they knowingly choose to overlook that risk. The fact is that none of those statements are true. Since WV’s own Ken Hechler fought to pass the 1969 Coal Mine Health and Safety Act, as long as the requirement for airflow through the mines is strictly enforced, there can be no possibility for the buildup of explosive gasses. The safety record of mining after 1969 reflects that prior to Manchin’s taking WV’s highest office, the number of fatalities from deep mine explosions were virtually eliminated. Yet in a very subtle but powerful way, former governor Manchin inferred that the deaths at Upper Big Branch were simply meant to be when he publicly announced his disappointment that God didn’t answer his prayers and rescue those trapped miners.
If Manchin's mine inspectors weren't complying with Manchin's "Retail Government" policy, then how could they have not noticed that the mine's only rock dust machine stayed busted and never budged for months at a time?
STATE SPONSORED Industrial Homicide
Although it was well within their mandate, both the Governor’s Special Investigative Task Force and UMW investigators failed to reveal the shocking fact that then-governor Joe Manchin had told his safety regulators to not shut down underground coal mines whenever they saw a pattern of safety violations.
Incredibly, Manchin was caught on video bragging about it whilst pandering to his coal operator pals at the annual Coal Symposium back in 2008. Both the audio portions and the screen captures from that event at this youtube link.
If you have a dial-up modem like so many across our rural state, youtube all but locks your modem up. So here’s the breakdown of the salient portions of what Manchin actually said. Remember, now, Manchin admitted to his deadly governing philosophy while as governor he addressed the West Virginia Coal Association in 2008 at its annual Coal Symposium.
After introducing Senator Rockefeller (who sat next to him on the dais), after recognizing his EPA regulators who were also there, Manchin went on to introduce both the Director and co chair of the WV Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training. Since it is they who are charged with the responsibility for the oversight of the field agents who should have shut UBB down, considering what he publicly admitted with them in the room, in retrospect it now seems more like he was trotting out his own personal team of show ponies instead of introducing the prime administrators of our state’s safety and health administrations.
Manchin’s exact words were:
“Hey John, you’ve got a problem here, now before I write you up with a violation, here’s what I think you ought to do to fix it.“
The governor wasn’t simply telling the Coal Owners Association that he wanted his people to instruct coal operators about how to deal with the problem, he was admitting to having instructed them to not report safety violations and to not shut the mines down. He made that perfectly clear as he went on to explain:
“Let’s get together, get our people together. I’ll come back in a week or a month or whatever the rotation time would be. Then if you’ve made those changes, tried to make the changes, we’re working in the right direction. Rather than going out with a ball bat and a cease and desist order and fines, I’d rather you spend the money to fix what’s wrong, try to make it safer, than give the money to government. I guarantee you we won’t fix it.“
To allay any doubt that portions of his speech were taken out of context just to make Manchin look bad, the astounding 21 minute full motion video of our former governor’s bizarre notion is available to view for free at this link.
To confirm that Manchin’s mine safety field agents weren’t both blind and stupid, Manchin’s own UBB Independent Investigation Panel produced a report that actually all but indicted the Manchin administration for its complicity.
In a chapter called “The Normalization of Deviance”, investigator Davitt McAteer, who was former head of MSHA under the Clinton administration surmised:
“Such total and catastrophic systemic failures can only be explained in the context of a culture in which wrongdoing became acceptable, where deviation became the norm. In such a culture it was acceptable to mine coal with insufficient air; with buildups of coal dust; with inadequate rock dust.”
How could this situation have developed into the “norm” unless mine regulators were either bribed by Massey or else instructed by their superiors to ignore what McAteer described as an entire culture of danger?
Stopping just short of naming names, McAteer’s team pointedly explained,
“It is only in the context of a culture bent on production at the expense of safety that these obvious deviations from decades of known safety practices makes sense.“
In other words, by undercutting the mandate of entire agencies that had been upheld for decades, the implementation of Manchin’s Retail Government fostered a culture that very likely resulted in state-sponsored mass murder.
This isn’t just my own rhetoric, it’s simply a restatement of what McAteer’s team put bluntly:
“the inability of the state of West Virginia to protect the lives of miners “is also a political failure – a failure by the state’s government to nurture and support strict safety standards for coal miners.
“If miners’ lives are to be safeguarded, the cozy relationship between high-ranking government officials and the coal industry must change, as must the relationship between the enforcement agency and the industry it regulates,”
UMW investigators prefer to call the mass murder of those miners ‘Industrial Homicide’, but call it what you will, unlike McAteer’s report, the UMW completely ignored former governor Manchin’s culpability.
How could the UMW have overlooked what appears to be the root cause?
It is notable that the UMW endorsed Manchin for his senate race in 2010 and during his gubernatorial campaign in 2004, making it obvious how the UMW has long appreciated his promotion of the coal industry in general. Could that have been why the UMW didn’t go even as far as the governor’s own task force to reveal the deadly role that Manchin’s policy played?
It was much pretty much a foregone conclusion that the Governor’s own task force would never directly address Manchin’s deadly role. Whether or not the UMW conspired to cover up for the fact that the Governor had practically indicted himself at the 2008 Coal Symposium, at the very least the union’s lack of due diligence on behalf of the miners families has worked out pretty well for Joe Manchin, politically speaking.
At the UMW press release of its UBB report Oct. 25, 2011, in Charleston, WV, I tried my level best to blow the lid off this scandal, but apparently none of the other journalists attending the press conference wanted to hear what I directly and clearly stated because none of their followup questions, or subsequent news coverage even came close to mentioning Manchin’s not-so-spontaneous admission of guilt.
Knowing just how tone deaf the corporate press is when it comes to protecting Big Coal’s favorite politician, I recorded my question, along with Cecil Roberts’ sidelong (but startling) admission that his team of crack UMW investigators didn’t even consider Manchin’s complicity in state-sponsored industrial homicide.
Perhaps just as shocking as Roberts’ admission is the fact that although journalist Ken Ward sat right down the row from me when I told Roberts “What you called ‘Industrial Homicide’ Joe Manchin calls ‘Retail Government'”, thus far Ward has apparently still refused to revisit Manchin’s role.
There is the possibility that neither the Charleston Gazette nor the UMW demanded an investigation into Manchin’s role, because Mr. Ward had buried the lead so deeply in this single Gazette report of Manchin’s atrocity. It is beyond curious that the Gazette journalist failed to revisit Manchin’s deadly policy when his employer endorsed Manchin for U.S. Senate just a short time later.
Now, incredibly, instead of calling for Manchin’s investigation, the entire panoply of corporate media across the state continues to completely ignore his culpability in the worst mass industrial homicide of mine workers since his own uncle was killed in the Farmington blast back in 1968. Coincidentally, our former governor was about 21 years old when that explosion literally rocked his own hometown and killed 78 mine workers.
Considering Manchin’s Retail Government policy, it is no slight coincidence that while he served as governor, there were more fatalities from deep mine explosions than all the other WV governors who served office since Farmington. Nor should it be ascribed to mere coincidence that prior the mass manslaughter of 29 men at Upper Big Branch, Manchin was also West Virginia’s chief executive when the 12 men killed at Sago were widely recognized as the most deaths in any single U.S. mine explosion since Farmington. That Manchin’s “Retail Government” policy was responsible for more WV mine explosion fatalities than any other prior to the Mining Safety and Health Act of 1969 was made fairly obvious in Davitt McAteer’s report on the explosion at Upper Big Branch, although for whatever reason, the media never quite got around to connecting McAteer’s dots.
Investigator Davitt McAteer’s statement that there was a “culture” of danger is certainly an alarming charge. But were the violations at UBB egregious enough to connect the blame all the way to Manchin, or were his field agents simply choosing on their own to not shut that mine down?
According to federal records the history of serious violations at UBB were five times more extensive than the national average. During the year before the explosion, that Raleigh County WV mine was cited by MSHA for 458 safety violations, with 50 of them listed as “unwarrantable failures to comply“. It is notable that under federal mining regulations those classified as “unwarrantable failures to comply” are citations reserved for instances of willful and/ or gross negligence.
So why in the name of all that is sane didn’t Manchin’s mine inspectors shut that mine down? NO ONE HAS EVER ASKED THEM!
Nine days after that mine blew up, Manchin issued an executive order that in appearance only tightened West Virginia’s requirements for mine operators to control explosive coal dust in underground mines. Considering that they should have been in compliance all along, he reportedly ordered coal operators to use more crushed stone to keep down the dust to signal tothemthat he was now (finally) directing his inspectors to step up efforts aimed at preventing mine explosions. However, in retrospect Manchin’s deadly “Retail Government” policy appears to have remained in effect, because to his credit, Ken “Coal Tattoo” Ward discovered that five months after his executive order for rock dusting, the state still hadn’t responded.
When issuing his executive order, Manchin actually admitted to the press that “his people” would
“…start with the mines that have been cited repeatedly for these combustion risks during the last year, and take immediate steps to ensure compliance with the law,”
Ken Ward discovered that after five months had passed, no rock dust samples had been taken by the governor’s “people”. Ward reported that:
“…in the five months since Manchin’s order, inspectors from the state Office of Miners Health, Safety and Training haven’t cited a single mine for violating the new “rock-dusting” standards the governor instituted.”
Ward also found that
“In the weeks after the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, there was talk from the governor’s office about calling a special session to pass more mine safety legislation. Safety advocates gave the governor proposals to, among other things, toughen the ability of state inspectors to hold corporate officers accountable for violations. But so far, Manchin has not introduced any new legislation and the idea of a special session on mine safety has been dropped.”
The UMW report on UBB never even bothered to note the fact that Manchin and his coal-powered legislature chose to punt on new legislation. But the simple fact is that those deaths would have been avoided had mine safety inspectors simply done the job under existing regulations!
McAteer’s team had already concluded:
Ultimately, 29 miners lost their lives in the Upper Big Branch mine because these safety systems failed in a major way. Massey Energy failed to maintain an adequate ventilation system at Upper Big Branch. The company failed to maintain its equipment. It failed to properly rock dust the mine. If those basic matters of safety are effectively practiced, there is no reason for miners to die as a result of explosions in 21st Century America.
During his campaign to fill senator Byrd’s congressional position Manchin publicly and repeatedly pledged to pass stronger mine safety regulations. Yet since being sworn in as junior U.S senator, not much at all has changed.
How many more Appalachians have to die before the survivors finally wake up and elect ONLY leaders who will protect us instead of sacrificing our workers and our entire communities to satisfy their own avarice?
CALL TO ACTION! CALL TO ACTION!
The city of Charleston has decided to kick the occupation out of the park. They are turning the lights off and re-instituting curfew that up until now they have been over-looking. We believe that this is a direct assault to our 1st amendment rights. We have been nothing but peaceful and law-biding. There is no reason for this other than we have someone scared of change. They will arrest anyone in the park after curfew according to the city…please come and help us! ATTENTION! ALL OCCUPATIONS OF WEST VIRGINIA! CALL TO ACTION!!!
CONTACT Mayor’s office immediately and remind him that the right to free speech does NOT begin and end when and where Mayor Danny Jones proclaims, even in Charleston, WV. Just ask Nicole and Jeff Rank about it!
Danny Jones, Mayor
501 Virginia Street East
Charleston, WV 25301
P: (304) 348-8174
F: (304) 348-8034
Since the Mayor’s Office is closed all weekend, you should also vent your frustrations about the Mayor’s decision on the Charleston Gazette’s vent line.
When they first marched, I was curious so I personally went to find out what this was REALLY about. I noticed right away that there were folks of all ages, and upon asking around, discovered that many hold jobs and support their families. There were many who are retired. Several were small business owners, and surprisingly (to me, at least) some were even Tea Party members from around the state!
ALL I spoke with agreed that it’s wrong for Wall Street to horde all the money and make Main Street suffer because of a system set up to promote K Street buying off all of our lawmakers.
THAT is the very definition of a class war, and it’s one which our middle class has been losing for years.
The banksters are reportedly hording three trillion in cash right now, but rather than float low interest loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs, they’re using it to wage class war against us. The result isn’t just rampant unemployment and underemployment, it’s a growing weakness in our social fabric as fewer and fewer can even afford health care, much less to purchase homes, cars, and other goods made by U.S. workers.
Despite the corporate media’s best efforts to keep it a secret, the public-at-large is rejecting our present day system of corporate totalitarianism. And We The People have finally risen up from our isolated keyboards to reject this broken system right out in the streets where everyone can see.
This, my fellow Americans, is what DEMOCRACY looks like.
According to OccupyWallSt.org,
“This is a leaderless movement with no sponsors. The participants do not hold to any particular political or moral ideologies, but rather are just regular citizens who want their voices to be heard by Federal and State elected leadership.”
No, this isn’t Cesco Estep’s video. I just thought it really fit here.
Like many who support what this is all about, my bones are just too old to camp out anywhere, much less on concrete. But I appreciate their dedication so much that I’ve been to their encampment a number of times since they first dug in to voice my moral support.
If you are one of the 99 percent, please consider vowing to actively support this movement in the most effective way that is possible for you. I personally pledge to support what the OCCUPY movement is doing by actively working against politicians who do not!
This isn’t the first time this sort of movement has hit streets across the U.S. The last time it happened, the “banksters” were a group of greed-driven multinationals who were dubbed “robberbarons”, after those who ruled feudal Europe.
Long before the robberbarons crashed the U.S. economy in 1929, they perfected class warfare right here in Appalachia. Back then we didn’t call it “class war” or “Occupy Charleston”, we called it “Blair Mountain“.
The oppression was so bad that once it boiled over, the U.S. War Department (yes, WAR Department- back then our government actually named their divisions according to what they really were) was forced to dispatched thousands of federal troops to Blair Mountain to rescue the combined forces of mercenary Baldwin Felts gun thugs, county deputies, state troopers and the National Guard from the mineworkers and their supporters.
Back then the robberbarons pushed their class warfare so hard that over time it actually required federal troops and the Army Air Corps to put a stop to the people’s movement.
Although the rebellion itself didn’t succeed in wiping out the immediate brutalities of the robberbarons, it ultimately served as the rallying cry for organized labor throughout the U.S. and was instrumental in bringing the benefits of organized labor to working class Americans in all major industries.
The question today is whether or not we can get the rest of the country excited enough to demand social justice before it erupts in the same way that it did across Appalachia ninety years ago.
Well, another WV “Special Election” just came and went, and we’ve already returned back to the same old tired routine of business as usual. Since enough time has now passed after the election for the dust to have settled a bit, and Earl Ray’s now comfortably re-installed, we need to figure out how and why we keep stuck with these same anti-populist archetypes.
After all Tomblin never even tried to hide that he ran WV under the close counsel and protection of Joey Manchini, aka Tomblin’s Capo di tutti capi
Don’t get me wrong, here. I’m not blaming you for Tomblin’s win any more than I would have for Maloney’s, had he have pulled it off. Manchin, Tombin and Maloney are all from essentially the same rotten bolt of cloth. I doubt if anyone really believes that there would have been much noticeable difference in the future of the state had the Republican candidate won, mainly because neither of the two major parties have any incentive to promote a candidate that will rightfully represent the best interests of the average West Virginia voter. Both major parties are far too beholden to big money.
“Corporate cash is virtually all that our politicians care about,” writes Lawrence R. Velvel, Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover. Velvel believes that both major political parties “have gotten too used to the ethically crooked, morally criminal ways of our system, (and) cannot even envision serious change in the political and electoral system.”
So instead of scolding you for voting for either Maloney or Tomblin, I’ll just blame you for not having voted straight-ticket for the Mountain Party. Proof that that’s more than likely true is because this last election fewer West Virginians voted for the Mountain Party’s gubernatorial candidate than just about any other time in the past. Yet most all of us by now truly understand that the Decepticon/Reptilicrat Corporate unified Party government for who it represents. So when we still vote for one of their stooges, then we are actively guilty of being the very problem we know that we need to resolve!
Fortunately, the solution to the problem of our loss of self-governance is relatively simple. We can solve it by stop being frightened into bailing out the two-party state by thinking that the Tweedle “D” candidate is going to represent us any better than Tweedle “R” and vote straight ticket Mountain Party.
Even if we have to suffer thru one term of a Republican governor you should think of your Mountain Party vote as your way of protesting against being dragged back to the bad old days of pure corporate rule.
I’ve been here long enough to know that while during the election most Republican candidates for governor have never turned out as bad as the Democrats portrayed them, the Democrats have always turned out to be far worse leaders than their party would ever admit.
"The Constitution guarantees protections to property, and we must make that promise good. But it does not give the right of suffrage to any corporation. The true friend of property, the true conservative, is he who insists that property shall be the servant and not the master of the commonwealth; who insists that the creature of man's making shall be the servant and not the master of the man who made it. The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have themselves called into being."
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has endangered the health and lives of the citizens of the Great State of West Virginia for far too long. During the sixteen years he presided over the WV senate, the population in southern West Virginia dropped mostly due to the lack of employment and the poisoned water.
Ever since Joe Manchin appointed Tomblin to be governor he's endangered the health, safety, and welfare of every citizen in the state. On the hollow promise of jobs, Tomblin has been permitting out of state corporations to poison entire communities throughout the entire state.
Now, statewide unemployment is rising and our roads and bridges are falling apart despite reports that WV has been experiencing a boom in both coal and gas exports.
My signature is an open act of protest against a political system that is ruining the Great State of West Virginia one community at a time because leaders of both "mainstream" Parties have been bought off by the extractive industry corporate coalitions.
I sign this petition with the full understanding that there is NO WAY the mercenaries in the WV statehouse will ever impeach Earl Ray Tomblin. My signature is in support of the one political party that was formed to protect communities by promoting only leaders that will shun corporate dominance over WV's government.