Thursday, April 7, 2016

Murderous CEO gets slap on wrist - what else is new?

Here's an article that made me sick to my stomach:

29 miners dead, the direct result of the CEO going for every last dollar at the expense of safety, and all he gets is a year in a cushy prison before he gets out to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars he "earned."

He also shows zero remorse and plans to appeal.

Here, in italics, are a few passages from the article. The bold-faced parts are my observations.

Donald Blankenship, who presided over his coalfields from a mountaintop castle, was sentenced Wednesday to a year in prison and a $250,000 fine, the maximum punishment after his misdemeanor conviction for conspiring to flout mine-safety rules. In December he became the first chief executive officer in U.S. history found guilty of a workplace-safety crime, prosecutors said.

Incredible, and scary, to think that he is the first CEO ever punished like this given how many incidents of negligence have led to deaths over the years. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, though, as these guys have the money to buy judges and politicians (as is later documented in this article) and of course to buy the best defense. So while U.S. prisons are filled with poor mopes serving life sentences for crack possession, these guys face next to no legal accountability for their heinous crimes. 'Merica!

Blankenship, 66, stood stone-faced Wednesday as U.S. District Judge Irene Berger handed down the sentence and then denied his request to remain free on bond while he appeals. The former Massey Energy CEO, who didn't testify at trial, denied Wednesday that he masterminded a scheme to evade mining regulations and speed-up coal production.

"It's important for everyone to know that I am not guilty of any crime," Blankenship told Berger. "There's no direct evidence that I committed any crime."

The courtroom was filled with family members of the deceased. If there is a hell, there should be a special place there for him. Sad to say, but the fact that guys like this are allowed to do what they do -- ENCOURAGED to do what they do, even -- makes me wonder what God is doing with his time.

A blunt taskmaster who bullied underlings and controlled virtually all of Massey's operations, Blankenship turned the mining company into the U.S.'s fourth-largest coal producer. 

Nice guys finish last, I suppose.

Blankenship, a Republican, spent heavily to back politicians and judges friendly to the coal industry, according to state reports.

There's a shock.

He spent $3 million in 2004 to support a candidate for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. The winning judge later helped overturn a $50 million jury award against some of Massey's units.

A rich CEO using influence to get richer and buy more influence? There's another shock.

In 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the judge shouldn't have participated in the case.

Now, that ruling from the Roberts court really IS a shock!

A state panel concluded that Massey managers forced miners to ignore basic safety measures, such as controlling coal dust and ensuring the mine had proper ventilation, as part of a push to increase production. The company operated the site in a "profoundly reckless manner," the panel said.

But what we really need in this country is less regulation. Damn gubment, always getting in the way of job creators. So what if the jobs created kill the employees? At least the jobs were created, dammit!

The disaster should've sparked reforms on mine safety, said Phil Smith, spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America in Triangle, Virginia. But if changes didn't come within weeks or months of the deaths of the miners, Smith said he doesn't expect them to come now.

Darn union leaders. They think it's important to keep their members alive. What jerks!

At trial, prosecutors presented evidence showing that in 2009 alone Blankenship made more than $18 million. He stepped down as Massey's top executive in 2010 with a $12 million retirement package.

"Mr. Blankenship gambled with the lives of miners all for the sake of money," Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby told Berger Wednesday.

I am stunned to hear that a CEO would do something like this! Stunned, I say!!

Even though Blankenship didn't take the witness stand during his trial, his own words came back to haunt him as jurors reviewed internal memos and listened again and again over seven weeks to recordings he secretly made of telephone conversations.

Blankenship said Massey managers should keep quiet about safety issues and focus on what "pays the bills," according to one memo. Their job, he said, was simply to "run coal."

Although I am not in favor of the death penalty, I would be tempted to make an exception for this murderous prick. But hey, at least he has to spend a whole year in a country-club prison at taxpayer expense!

It is likely the Bureau of Prisons will assign him to a minimum-security facility because of his short stay, said Larry Levine, who served 10 years in federal prisons and now advises on how to survive time behind bars.

Each day will start at 6 a.m. as a loudspeaker blares, "The Compound is Now Open!" Levine said. Blankenship will probably be assigned a demeaning job and may not get to pick whether he sleeps on a bottom or top bunk bed, the consultant said. Meals will feature beans, rice and tortillas.

Awww, poor baby! A demeaning job? Like what? Shoveling coal in a mine that's about to explode? ... He might not get his choice of bunks? Oh, the humanity! ... He'll have to eat Mexican food? Nooooo! If Trump finds out about this, he'll tear down that prison wall to save his fellow power broker!

I could go on, but I'm already ill. Have a nice day, everybody.