Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More Good News! Robber Baron FAILS to steal WV legislature

A few Weeks ago I told you about Massey Energy's CEO Don Blankenship's outrageous attempts to essentially Buy a Republican majority in the WV legislature the same way he'd previously purchased a Friendly Supreme Court Justice. That is, by by flooding the small state (average campaign cost: $~$25,000) with millions of dollars of his own money funneled through loopholes in the campaign finance law passed specifically to stop him.

I'm pleased to report to you today He Failed. Utterly. In fact, it was a rout:

Voters on Tuesday kept Democrats in charge of West Virginia's Legislature, largely ignoring a coal executive's multimillion-dollar campaign to sweep Republicans into office.

At least 31 House Democrats targeted by Massey Energy Co. Chief Executive Don Blankenship survived their races, while 27 of the GOP challengers he aided fell short.

An ailing Delegate Margarette Leach, D-Cabell, appeared to be the only incumbent Democrat to fall as her party kept its majority in the House of Delegates

and even if you don't live in WV this is incredible news:

You See, while the name Massey Energy may not be familiar to you; anybody who lives in Appalachia knows it, and likely loathes it.

To say Blankenship and Massey Energy are Corporate Bad actors is to radically understate the case. Blankenship comes closer to a classic Bond Villain or even Saturday morning Cartoon super-villain.

Blankenship made his fortunes destroying the UMW and blasting Appalachian Mountains to rubble , while devastating the local towns and their environs. His comapny is also reponsible for The worst Environmental disaster in the history of the continental US but they subsequently arranged a De facto purchase of the MHSA from the Bush administration, to get themselves off the legal hook. Massey's massive campagin contibutions led to payback from the adminsitration in the fornm of installation of a friendly MSHA director ( a former ME lobbyist) who let the company off with $100,000 slap on the wrist over the vehement objections of his lead investigators.

Because of this, his attack on the legislature was particularly scary because, since he'd neutered federal regulators, and Sucessfully manipulated of the State Supreme Court; the legislature was the only body left that could place meaningful restriction on the operation of his company to protect WV's environment from the ravages of Massey's famously eco-callous operations.

Moreover, the States are proving to be increasingly instrumental in protecting the nation's air and Water quality, as the EPA has all but abdicated its responsibilities. However, if Blankenship had been sucessful, he would have undoubtedly spawned imitators. I have no doubt if his Coup d'etat via campaign cash strategy worked, We would have seen it repeated all over the American West by other CEOS who'd immediately want to buy their own legislature in another small Population/resource rich state, and return to the golden days of the "paradise" so vividly described in Upton Sinclair's famous books.

Fortunately though, he failed. Utterly , abjectly, completely. NOW it's up to WV's safely Democratic Legislature to do the country a favor and metaphorically and legally put his head on a pike as a warning to any other corporate CEO with Dreams of creating his own Plutarchy.

Go get 'em boys (and girls-er women)!


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