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NPR this morning had a very important report about  truly extraordinary thing is happening in one of the U.S.'s smallest and poorest states:

Don Blankenship, The CEO of Massey Energy, the WV coal giant, and all around corporate bad actor,  is essentially attempting a Hostile takeover of the WV Legislature.   Apparently the Democratically controlled state legislature hasn't been sufficiently solicitous of his corporation's interests so Blankenship has decided  to replace the democratic majority (which has been in power since 1932) with his own hand-picked group of Republicans on whose campaigns he's already spent over $2 million dollars and promises to spend millions more.  

In market as small as WV, where an average Statehouse campaign  costs barely more than $10,000-$20,000;   This money is an incredible advantage for his candidates.  Worse yet, there is no limit on what he can spend on the effort, because Blankenship has found a loophole in WV campaign  finance laws passed specifically to thwart him:

You see this is not the first time Massey Energy's CEO has bought an election in WV:

Back in '04, when his company had several huge regulatory appeals pending with the State Supreme Court ; Blankenship Bought himself a WV supreme Court justice by pouring contributions into a phony "child advocacy" 527 who's real aim was to replace a too-consumer friendly  Democratic Justice with a  puppet Republican with no judicial experience:

The sharpest ads, many of which ran in the Washington market, came from [a 527 called] "And For the Sake of the Kids," a group formed to "discuss" the perceived shortcomings of McGraw, according to its Web site. ...
 The group raised $2.5 million, including $1.7 million from one donor: Don Blankenship, chief executive of Massey Energy Co. The coal company is one of the largest employers in the state, and it is expected to have several cases on appeal before the state Supreme Court. Blankenship,..., also privately financed mechanized calls to homes across the state in the last week of the campaign.

"It proves that West Virginia Supreme Court seats were for sale," said Beth White, a coordinator with West Virginia Consumers for Justice,

 In response to his blatant purchase of a statewide office, after the 04 elections the WV Legislature  cracked down hard on 527's, passing a law that  limited individual contributions to them to  no more than $1,000 per person. Apparently primarily in the hopes of shutting down Blankenship and his false fronts.   Thus with both contributions to individual campaigns and shadowy 527's now severely limited. The legislators probably thought Blankenship's government-buying days were over.

Unfortunately for them, Blankenship discovered a novel ,and completely unprecedented, way around the laws.> Rather than contribute to any particular legislator's campaign per se, Blankenship has now effectively created a "shadow campaign" of his own for each candidate.    Thus, without any coordination (wink, wink) from the candidate he runs his own "issue oriented" TV and Radio ads, prints his own bumper stickers and yard signs and buys his own billboards.   Since he's spending his own money, he has no legal limits.    Thus  he's been able to spend millions for his chosen candidates and neither he or they have any worries about violating campaign finance rules. Even better his "shadow spending" allows Republicans to self- righteously claim to have taken a mere $1,000 from Blankenship and attack their Democratic opponents over THEIR contributors Neat huh?

Whether he'll succeed in making the WV legislature a wholly owned subsidiary of Massey Energy seems to be  anybody's guess right now. It goes without saying that the people and environment of West Virginian have dark days ahead if he succeeds.  But to me far more important than the question of whether we can stop him is,  how the hell did we reach this point in the first place?

  Well, it actually  appears that Massey started big and is now working their way down the food chain.   They started in 2000 with a De Facto purchase of the Mine Safety and Health Administration from the Bushco

That purchase seems to have be necessitated by the fact that shortly before the 2000 election  Massey's gross negligence caused the worst environmental disaster ever in the continental US in 2000

in October of 2000, when 300 million gallons of coal slurry - thick pudding-like waste from mining operations - flooded land, polluted rivers and destroyed property in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. The slurry contained hazardous chemicals, including arsenic and mercury.

"It polluted 100 miles of stream, killed everything in the streams, all the way to the Ohio River," says Spadaro, who was second in command of the team investigating the accident.

The slurry had been contained in an enormous reservoir, called an impoundment, which is owned by the Massey Energy Company. One night, the heavy liquid broke through the bottom of the reservoir, flooded the abandoned coalmines below it and roared out into the streams.

... investigators discovered the spill was more than an accident -- it was an accident waiting to happen.

During the investigation .. it came out that there had been a previous spill in 1994 engineer working for the company said the problem had not been fixed, and that both he and the company knew another spill was virtually inevitable.

Luckily for Massey though, a new ,easily purchasable, administration had just taken over in Washington, one that already had many Millions of reasons to be grateful to Massey energy and the coal industry in general:

coal executives, threatened by Vice President Al Gore's green background ...raised a record $3.8 million dollars for the 2000 federal election, 88 percent went to the GOP. At the annual meeting of the West Virginia Coal Association a few months after Bush's inauguration, the group's director told 150 industry executives, "You did everything you could to elect a Republican president. [Now] you are already seeing in his actions the payback."

Massey Energy, Martin County Coal's parent company, gained a front-row seat to the new Bush administration when it invited James H. "Buck" Harless to join its board in 2001. Harless, a West Virginia coal and timber baron, had raised $275,000 for Bush's 2000 campaign, given $5,000 for the Florida recount, and contributed $100,000 to the president's inaugural fund. Bush nicknamed Harless "Big Buck" and invited him to join the administration's transition task force on energy. "We were looking for friends, and we found one in George W. Bush," Harless told The Wall Street Journal.

And what are friends for if not to De-rail major criminal and regulatory investigations agains their pals?

two days before President Bush's inauguration, [the investigation team] was abruptly assigned a new boss to lead the investigation. Immediately after taking charge, Thompson told the team that they had one week to conclude the investigation. ....[they]...had counted on having four or five more months to complete their work.

The new head of MSHA, a Bush appointee named Dave Lauriski, was a former mining industry mining executive ,..Spadaro [the lead investigator'] says Lauriski came into his office one day, and insisted he sign a watered down version of the report -- a version that virtually let the coal company and MSHA off the hook.

"He said , `I'm in a hard spot here and I need you to sign this report," recalls Spadaro. "I said...I'm never going to sign that report.'"
... in the end, Massey Energy was only cited for two violations, and had to pay approximately $110,000 in fines

So it appears now that Blankenship has been  emboldened by his  success at  having successfully turned the federal watchdogs into lapdogs.  So in order to "complete the set" and give himself an his company nigh- lassie faire levels of governmental oversight, he's taken aim at the only public institutions left that can force this energy giant to play nice: the State legislature and courts.  Whether he succeeds or not nobody will know for another few weeks; but to me the outrage comes from the fact that they are even in a position to try.  It's easy to dismiss this as an isolated incident in a small isolated state, but there are a LOT of small states, particularly in the West that have few people and a lot of exploitable resources. So, if Massey suceeds here, it is a virtual certainty that they or some other large coporation will employ this model elsewhere..

Update [2006-10-11 14:26:22 by Magorn]: For your further edification, Commentor Fiddling Nero has graciously provided A link to an incredible Vanity Fair Article that explains just who Don Blankenship is and how devastating his company has been for Mine workers nationwide, and the destruction Massey has wrought on WV's people and environment. A very good read.

Originally posted to Magorn on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 09:46 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What the heck (16+ / 0-)

    is Senator Byrd doing about this??

    Hope is, after all, the currency of popular politics, and a coin surprisingly hard to devalue. -- Fred Anderson, Crucible of War

    by ornerydad on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 09:46:47 AM PDT

  •  Yow (16+ / 0-)

    Brilliant diary, well researched. Thank you. Hope some of our West Virginia friends will see and respond.

    The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. - Thomas Paine

    by javelina on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 09:50:20 AM PDT

    •  This will never stop until we have public (14+ / 0-)

      financing of campaigns.  The elected and aspiring servants of middle- and lower-class Americans will ALWAYS be at an aggregate disadvantage until we see that day.

      And do you ever wonder why we never see a story on public financing of campaigns in the for-profit media?  Because they're dependent on the ad cash, sometimes up to a quarter of their annual ad revenues where local TV is concerned.

      If you ever feel like you're always playing catch-up at election time, it's because you are.  Only thanks to Herculean feats of corruption and the accumulation of corporately dervied wealth does this Republican Party have a fighting chance on November 7th.  With public financing and a restored Fairness Doctrine, they would literally be running for the hills.

      •  will it? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        How does public financing of campaigns stop someone from running a "shadow" campaign with their own money?

        •  Clean Money has a Response! (6+ / 0-)

          Because of the bad reasoning of the US Supreme Court's approach, conventional campaign finance is helpless in the fade of these sorts of shady shennanigan.  Clean Money is not!

          Under Clean Money,  candidates who run with public funding of their campaigns get a dollar for dollar match up to a cap.  Blankenship's money is only effective because the attacked candidates don't have the $ to respond.  This approach would not be successful in AZ or ME, where they have Clean Elections working.  If we pass Prop 89 in CA on 11/7, it wouldn't work in CA either!

          Clean Money Now! YES ON 89!

        •  even if it did keep them from campaigning (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          texas dem

          ... we'd ultimately wind up with more dollars pouring into Heritage, Cato, Leadership Institute, and those other organizations that:

          • nurture and wean folk from late prep-school years to positions of authority
          • manage to control vast portions of today's broadcast media

          Meanwhile, public financing would tend to mean stronger financing for the Libertarian, Constitution, Reform (Perot/Ventura/Buchanan), Loonie (the Kinkster) parties, who all revel in taking potshots at liberals and progressives. And then there's the Greens: completely noseless, but their faces know better now!!

          Public financing is a phony panacea that will not begin to substitute for the blood ($$), sweat and tears required to rebuild a strong and effective opposition on out side. Serves well as a cop-out too, as in "we'll never win until we get ...".

          We were divided. We were conquered. Rising up is hard to do. Less talk ... and no more excuses.

          If you want a symbolic gesture, don't burn the flag; wash it. -- Norman Thomas

          by wystler on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 12:49:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The two aren't mutually exclusive (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Magorn, Leap Year

            We need a rebuilt progressive movement, AND we need the toxic power of corporate financing for elections stemmed.  Trust me, even a state with a solid Democratic majority like California can be majorly corrupted in this way; Big Pharma rules everything here and ruins our best legislation.

            I don't think anyone said "don't support progressives, just support public financing".  Indeed, I think our best shot for said financing is in progressive states, which is why Maine did it, and why Connecticut finally got the ball rolling. But far more than just progressives support it --witness Arizona -- and a side effect of said financing is that people with progressive voices will have a better shot at getting themselves heard.

  •  This is an incredibly important story (10+ / 0-)

    and needs to be recommended up immediately.

    I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

    by GTPinNJ on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 09:54:31 AM PDT

  •  not too sure what can be done about this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magorn, WV Democrat, dennisl, whl

    The only thing that really seems possible would be to nab him if he really is coordinating with campaigns, despite saying he isn't.  If he really isn't coordinating with them, there's not much that can be done, either now or in the future.

    The Supreme Court has made pretty clear that donations can be regulated, but that people paying for their own publishing can't be regulated, since that would be a restriction on the right of an individual to publish whatever they wish, so long as they pay for it themselves.

    "See a world of tanks, ruled by a world of banks." —Sol Invictus

    by Delirium on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 09:55:04 AM PDT

    •  ANd as a supporter of free speech (12+ / 0-)

      I totally see and agree with them.  The only problem is, of course, that that leads us to the massive loophole that Blankenship is ruthlessly exploiting.

      The only solution I can see that doesn't offend my love of the Constitution is to create public financing for campaigns that includes a "deep pockets protection" clause that kicks in extra cash to a candidate when a cetain threshold of spending by wealthy individuals on behalf of their  opponent or against them is reached.

      Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

      by Magorn on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 10:02:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The public financing is essentially dead (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Magorn, dennisl, whl

        There may not even be enough money for the 2008 presidential race.  Where are all these "public campaign" money going to come from, especially if they funds have to match private expenditures?!

        •  Call me old fashioned (16+ / 0-)

          But I feel like if we can afford to simply "misplace" 9 billion or so in Iraq, we can afford to scrape up an odd billion to ensure our goverment isn't bought and paid fopr by wealthy interests

          Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

          by Magorn on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 10:23:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Given the fact that monied candidates (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            lose as often as they win, I do not concede that our government is bought and paid for by the wealthy.

            Examples of losing rich (or otherwise monied)candidates:

            Phil Gramm
            Howard Dean
            Michael Huffington
            John Connally
            Mark Warner (Senate race against John Warner)
            Katherine Harris (will lose in Nov)
            Jeb Bush (Gov race in 94)
            Al Chechi (lost primary for Gov of CA after spending $40M)
            Nelson Rockefeller
            Tom Golisano (perennial candidate for Gov of New York)
            Ross Perot
            Guy Millner (several state-wide defeats in Ga)
            Jay Rockefeller (lost WV Gov race in 72 after spending $1M)

            The list can go on and on.  

            •  This comment is a total non sequitur. (5+ / 0-)

              The issue is not how much money the candidate has, but how much money is spent on the candidate's behalf by monied interests.  I would argue first that it is the self-funded rich candidate who is less likely to be beholden to monied interests.  Second, while you listed a number of rich candidates who lost, nowhere to you provide any information about how much money they spent, or was spent on their behalf or against them in the campaigns they lost.  

              Example-while Ross Perot was self-funded, did he spend even close to what Clinton, Bush & Dole spent on their campaigns or what was paid on their behalf by independent groups?  The answer is no.

              Not to mention the fact that you don't say anything about the opponents these candidates lost to who may have also been rich.

              I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

              by GTPinNJ on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 11:52:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  This list is nonsense (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Magorn, rockhound

              Phil Gramm - left office, not voted out
              Howard Dean - forced out by an evil media campaign
              Michael Huffington - outed, and put down by his wife
              Katherine Harris - wackjob (need I elaborate?)
              Jeb Bush - won after gaining name recognition
              Al Chechi - a crook who everyone found out about
              Ross Perot - pie (charts)

              Over 50% of your list had nothing to do with your point.  While not sophisticated, this does tend toward sophistry.

              Today, the movement that nominated Barry Goldwater controls both Congress and the White House. -- Paul Krugman

              by baba durag on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 01:08:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  We're not talking about monied candidates. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              We're talking about monied interests.  A working class candidate -- Tom DeLay, for example -- can still be the candidate of monied interests.

              And monied interests very seldom lose.

      •  Supporting free speech doesn't have to mean.. (6+ / 0-)

        ...supporting unlimted advertising spending by rich individuals on candidates for public office.

        I make a distinction between advertising and other forms of speech.

        •  As does the Supreme Court (6+ / 0-)

          The court has repeatedly classed Commerical speech as "low value" speech. (above obscenity and Fighting words, which they've determined fall outside the 1st amendment, but below other forms of expressive speech).  On the other hand, they've classified poltical speech as "high value" speech, and indeed held that its protection is one of the very things the founders had in mind when they passed the amendment.

          So now the difficult question becomes, is a third party poltical advertisement, commercial or Poltical speech?  My legal gut tells me it's far more poltical than commercial and therefore more highly protected.

          Then too however, The Supreme Court Has allowed some restrictionon even the most protected forms of speech.  For example in upholding MCCain-Feingold the Court found that some limitations on Poltical speech CAN be justified by the compelling state interest of ensure free and fair elections.   A situation I think WV finds itself in now.

          Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

          by Magorn on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 10:30:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And it's precisely our high value political speech that can publicize the hell out of what this guy is doing and reveal these Repugs to be his personal lackeys.  Want to know how to stop guys like Massey?  Pull aside the curtain.

        •  not sure I agree with that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pamphleteers were basically the "advertisers" of early America---they printed up and distributed pamphlets arguing for or against some position or candidate.  And that was one of the things the First Amendment was designed to protect.

          I suppose you could draw a distinction between "stand-alone" publications like books, newspapers, and pamphlets, and material published by buying access to someone else's publication, like an ad in someone else's newspaper.  But that would have odd effects---if you're rich enough to own a newspaper yourself, you can publish whatever you want in it, but if you're less rich, you're not allowed to pay someone who has a newspaper to publish your stuff.

          "See a world of tanks, ruled by a world of banks." —Sol Invictus

          by Delirium on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 11:56:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  They could pass a law limiting... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LeftOverAmerica, whl

      ...what an individual can spend on TV and radio ads which mention a candidate for state office.

      •  No they cannot (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Magorn, baskil, dennisl, whl

        That would be an unbelievable affront to the First Amendment.

        You are telling me that it would be OK to limit the very speech that is at the heart of First Amendment, i.e., political speech?!  The goal of the First Amendment was not to protect controversial artists or nude dancing (though the Amendment does protect it depending on the circumstances).  The goal of the First Amendment was to protect and foster a free-flowing political debate.  And you want to exclude electoral politics from the political debate?!

        •  The issue is where the money comes from. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Magorn, LeftOverAmerica, whl

          If someone sets up a PAC which can only accept $5,000 per person, that is one thing.

          But rich individuals shouldn't be able to drown out the rest of us by spending millions on campaign ads.

          •  It does not matter where money (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            comes from.  If I have money I should be able to spend it to promote my idea of better government.

            Hell, some of our founding fathers despite being ridiculously rich died nearly destitute because they spent their fortunes promoting what they believed was a better form of government.

        •  In the circumstances being discussed here (5+ / 0-)

          it seems to me that only the wealthy have 'free' speech.

        •  Yes and no (0+ / 0-)

          because, recall in Pacifica the Supreme Court found that he FCC's regulation of the airwaves, though an obviuous infringment on free speech, was allowable given the fact that it was appropriate to have governmental regulation of a "limited public resource" to ensure that it was used for the Public's benefit.  

          It was that rationale that lead to the late and now lamented "fairness Doctrine" as well as other FCC limits on electioneering activites.   Threrefore, while I agree that they could not entirely limit expenditures on any for of poltical speech; they would be within thier rights to limit the amount of Tv and Radio time a single individual might buy.

          Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

          by Magorn on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 10:34:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't see how (0+ / 0-)

            Even if the fairness doctrine is brought back, all that would require is equal time for SOMEONE ELSE, (on the same financial terms) not limitation on what someone can buy.

          •  I agree with this (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            musicsleuth, Magorn, timberhoood

            there's only a limited amount of airtime. There's an UNLIMITED amount of print space. Publications can, and often do, add pages for advertising. Pick up any fashion magazine - there's WAY more ads than content. WAY more.

            But you can't add hours to the day. So the amount of advertising time per day is, due to the immutable laws of physics, a limited resource.

            I can see setting a limit on how much ANY advertiser can buy for a particular day. Not just political advertisers, ANY advertiser. That would keep a deep pockets advertiser from monopolizing the airwaves.

            It is conceivable (though not probable) that Microsoft could decide it wanted to blitz the nation with advertising, and buy up every primetime spot between now and the election. They have the money. Hell, Gates himself has the money.

            And there would be nothing anybody could do about it.

            If MS wanted to just buy ads in print publications, they wouldn't be able to block out all other ads, because they could print 10 pages in every paper in the world, and the papers would just add more pages.

            Big difference.

      •  see CA Prop 89 n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Magorn, Yes on Prop 89
  •  Highly Recommended. (6+ / 0-)
    WV won't be the last unless this is stopped.

    Dkos: Over 425 Million Visitors Served.

    by cosette on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 09:56:19 AM PDT

  •  This is certainly news to use (0+ / 0-)

    The Osama business plan.

  •  speechless (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magorn, AllisonInSeattle

    Truly frightening that this can happen.  I hope that people in WV get a chance to hear this story and understand what is happening in their state!!!

    • Chris.

    ---- New Wave and beyond.... music with no boundaries.

    by Northern Lad on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 10:00:08 AM PDT

  •  THis is going to fall off the map (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AllisonInSeattle, whl
    is my guess. Unfortunate.

    maybe a front pager should front page this?

    We're oft to blame in this--tis too much proved--that with devotion's visage and pious action we do sugar o'er the devil himself.

    by TheBlaz on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 10:02:11 AM PDT

  •  But where is Buffy in this? n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magorn, dennisl
  •  What is it with people opposing free speech?! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magorn, dennisl

    So this guy, (lets leave aside his politics for a moment) is unhappy with the current state of politics in WV.  He is willing to spend his own money to change that state of politics.  He is running ads to get his point of view across.  Isn't this what political process is all about?!

    Newspapers do it all the time.  NYT, WaPo, WashTimes, Chicago Tribune endorse candidates, print editorials, etc., to promote a particular point of view.  Must that right rest only with well-established newspapers or can upstatrts also be allowed to express their point of view as often and as loudly as people would hear it?!

    •  free speech vs. equal speech. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn, Bearpaw, Magorn

      What happens when rich people's speech is that much more important? One thing good about the internet is that it tends to be an equalizer. But unless you've got money, the traditional media hardly represents an accessible form of speech for most.

      "I'm not here for the Iraqis, I'm here for George Bush." - Iraq occupation staffer

      by Beet on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 10:26:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Constitution does not promise or (0+ / 0-)

        gurantee equal speech.

        It guarantees free speech.

      •  This type of situation is exactly why ... (13+ / 0-)

        This type of situation is exactly why the widening gap between rich and poor is a threat to democracy.  

        We get to the point where it's absurd to compare the free speech of a person handing out leaflets on a streetcorner to the free speech of someone who can poor millions of dollars into an advertising campaign.

        We get to the point where someone seeking simple justice may be pitting minimal legal representation against an entire high-priced legal team.

        We get to the point where someone wanting good basic education for their kids ends up bidding for it (via the confluence of school funding and the real estate market) against people who can easily outbid whatever they can scrape up.

        We get to the point where a simple heartfelt letter from a constituent is buried under lobbyists' checks.

        I have no illusion that the bias of wealth can be barred from a "government of, by, and for the people", but is it too much to ask to find ways of mitigating that influence?  Is it too late to try?

        "If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner." - Nelson Mandela

        by Bearpaw on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 10:45:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  and yet (4+ / 0-)

          YouTube.  The well healed and well financed Allen Campaign was brought down by a kid with a Cam Corder and a distribution outlet.

          The one way in which I'd say the Internet has fufilled its promise more than any other is the democratization of speech.  Places like this ARE the unlimited Marketplaces of Ideas that people like Justice Holmes rhapsodized about.   And they have formed at least one effective Bulwark against the completely corporate owned media forces.  

          Of Course, thanks to the Anti-net Nuetrality forces, for how much longer that's going to be true, is anyone's guess.

          Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

          by Magorn on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 10:52:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good point, but ... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SLJ, Magorn, rockhound, PsychoSavannah

            YouTube.  The well healed and well financed Allen Campaign was brought down by a kid with a Cam Corder and a distribution outlet.

            The Allen Campaign has been hurt, but it hasn't been brought down yet.

            Of Course, thanks to the Anti-net Nuetrality forces, for how much longer that's going to be true, is anyone's guess.

            You make my point for me.  Note who's opposing net neutrality ... and how they're opposing it.

            "If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner." - Nelson Mandela

            by Bearpaw on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 10:57:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Radix Mallorum Lucre amorum (0+ / 0-)

              If I recall my Highschool latin correctly

              note that it's not the Money that's the problem it's the Love of it, or what we anglo-saxons call GREED

              Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

              by Magorn on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 11:05:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Never said it was money as such (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                note that it's not the Money that's the problem it's the Love of it, or what we anglo-saxons call GREED

                The widening gap between rich and poor is the problem.  It's not the wealth, it's the concentration of wealth.  Greed is just a contributing factor in that dynamic.

                "If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner." - Nelson Mandela

                by Bearpaw on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 11:50:32 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  "Money" does not equal "Speech." (9+ / 0-)

      This idea, ridiculous on its face, it what has gotten us into this horrible mess, i.e. no more Constitution.

      •  Money is necessary to get your speech out (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        No one cares about your ramblings on your front porch.  No one listens.  If you want people to listen you have to spend money.  

      •  Money is the megaphone (7+ / 0-)

        Money amplifies speech. With mass media, we can take "speech" and amplify it to reach nearly everyone. Then, if we have enough money drown out other voices. Loud noises tend to get noticed.

        Media consolidation has made speech plus the money-amplifier even more effective. It has created funnels and tunnels for speech.

        The information age has allowed us 'information' instantly so we're drowning in it, but often information is lost due to volume and often wrong. The republicans operate on the theory of if you repeat a lie enough and loud enough (money amplifying) they can pervert truth to be something they want it to be.

        Right now, the Internet have undercut the tunnels and funnels. If someone can get his or her speech out on the Internet and index by Google, then at least people looking for it may be able to find it. A single web site may be able to counter some of the megaphone effect, but really it is like shooting elephants with a pea shooter. One shot may not be enough to kill the elephant, but a volley of shots may start to tick it off. I think that's where we are now.

        So, in my opinion, money is the megaphone and has nothing to do with speech. Unfortunately, at least in my eyes, the SCOTUS disagrees.

        •  So your suggestion is not to (0+ / 0-)

          let people figure out for themselves what is and what is not true and what is and what is not important.  Instead, the governemnt will decide what and how much people should hear.  no thanks.  Had enough of that in the Soviet Union.

    •  Ah, the free market election.... (9+ / 0-)

      In which every American with millions of dollars at their disposal is entitled to take part in the political process. Hurray.

      •  Every American is entitled to (0+ / 0-)

        speak as often as people would hear him and use whatever medium to broadcast his speech that he finds helpful.

        •  again, not exactly (0+ / 0-)

          Courts have upheld rules, for example banning the use of sound truck before and after certain hours of the day.   The Court recognized that the sound truck was a uniquely effecient and low cost method for the Plaintiffs to spread an unquestionably poltical message.   However, the Court recognized that reasonable limitations on such speech were necessary for the Towns to be able to keep the peace and enforce their noise ordinances.

          Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

          by Magorn on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 10:44:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That is totally inapposite (0+ / 0-)

            The courts did not uphold limitations on the amounts of money that the candidate can spend on a sound truck or the number of sound trucks a candidate may hire.  They upheld hours limitations.

            To the extent that WV wants to regulate the hours of campaign commercials it may be succesful (and then only if there is a good reason for it and the regulation is not unduly restrictive).  I doubt that a regulation banning ads in prime time would survive for instance.

            •  Right but (0+ / 0-)

              They did say that reasonable restrictions on "time, place," and most importantly, "Manner" of speech can justified where such restrictions a) serve a compelling state interest and b) are the least restrictive menas to achieve that end.   So since ensuring fair elections has already been acknowledged by the courts as a "compelling state interest"  the only questions remaining are

              a) would a limitation on the number of Ads slots any one person or party can buy advance that interest?: -
              The answer is very likely yes,  given that the number of ad slots available on broadcast TV is finite, and the medium is a uniquely powerful way of spreading your message

              and  of course :

              b) is it the least restrictive means to advance the state's interest?  There I suspect the Justices would require more convincing, but there is certainly an argument to be made that it meets this test as well, unless you can suggest an alternative?

              Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

              by Magorn on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 11:03:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Corporate personhood is the problem (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rick, SLJ, LeftOverAmerica, Picot verde

          and it should be ended.

          Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

          by bumblebums on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 10:56:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Corporate personhood has (0+ / 0-)

            nothing whatsoever to do with anything.  Corporations have been prohibited from donating to political campaigns for close to 100 years.  In the situation discussed above, it is an individual who donates not the corporation.

            Not to mention the fact that without corporate personhood, I do not understand how a corporation is to be taxed, to be held liable for violations of law, how it can go to court to protect its own rights, or how the corporation can defend itself against public campaigns directed at it.

            •  Wrong. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Corporate personhood is a problem to the extent that corporations are then afforded Constitutional protections for their speech.  I'm not sure that this problem is really relevant in this case given that this character is spending his own & not corporate money.

              And corporate personhood is not what guarantees that a corporation can be taxed, held liable for violations of law or go to court to protect its rights--simple statutory law covers all of that.  Corporate personhood only enables a corporation to take advantage of Constitutional protections.

              I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

              by GTPinNJ on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 11:43:33 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not quite (0+ / 0-)

                If a corporarition is not a legal person on what basis can it sue or be sued?  You can only sue a legal person, a legal entity.  Under your theory, a corporation is not for example entitled to counsel in a court of law, is not entitled to attorney-client protection, is not protected from unreasonable searches and seizure, is not protected from uncompensated takings, etc.  Sure, these rights can be granted legislatively as legislative grace, but under your theory the Constitution does not protect corporations.  That is ludicrious.

                •  Why is that ludicrous? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Where is it noted in the Consitution or any of the contemporaneous writings of the founding fathers that they believed businesses should be entitled to Constitutional protection.  Most of the protections set forth in the Bill of Rights are unambiguously restricted to individuals by their very nature.

                  I think the extension of Constitutional protections to corporations is a stretch that was never contemplated when the Constitution was drafted and, frankly, would never have passed as an amendment if it had been offered as such.  In fact, in the case widely cited as creating the idea of corporate personhood, the Supreme Court explicitly refused to rule on the issue.  It was a corrupt court clerk who inserted this into the headnotes of the case & it then became part of CW in S.Ct. jurisprudence.

                  I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

                  by GTPinNJ on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 11:58:40 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think that he founding fathers (0+ / 0-)

                    would have been astonished at the suggestion that corporate offices could be constitutionally raided on a whim, or at the suggestion that the corporation whenever haled into court had no right to an attorney.  The certainly would have been astonished at the suggestion that corporate property could be simply expropriated with no compensation.  

                    As to "headnotes" and what not, every first year law student knows that headnotes are not part of the holding and have no force of law.  That knowledge certainly extends to lawyers and justices of the Supreme Court who have time and again stated that corporations enjoy some but not all of the constitutional protections (irrespective of what some headnote said).

                    •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      I think that he founding fathers would have been astonished at the suggestion that corporate offices could be constitutionally raided on a whim, or at the suggestion that the corporation whenever haled into court had no right to an attorney.  The certainly would have been astonished at the suggestion that corporate property could be simply expropriated with no compensation.

                      That's a pretty big leap without any writing from them on the subject.  The Constitution is very clear that its protections are designed for individuals, not companies.

                      Take a look at this:

                      "I hope we shall... crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." --Thomas Jefferson to George Logan, 1816. FE 10:69

                      Do these sound like the words of a man that felt corporations deserved Constitutional protection?

                      And you keep missing the point that just because they aren't afforded Constitutional protections, doesn't mean that corporations aren't otherwise protected from any of the things you suggest by statute or common law principles.

                      I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

                      by GTPinNJ on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 02:28:35 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Railing against DEFIANCE (0+ / 0-)

                        of laws is no proof that Thomas Jefferson did not want the corporation PORTECTED by laws.

                        And you are mistaken that the Constitution only thought of individuals.

                        The Commerce Clause and the Contracts Clause are certainly written in such a way as to protect EVERY party to the contract and every player in the interstate commerce.

                        The Fifth Amendent prohibition on takings of private property applies to ALL private property not just one that is held by individuals.  The First Amendment does not speak of the right of people to speech but freedom of speech in general.

                        In short, your assertions that the Constitution was meant to protect human individuals only is simply not supported by the text.

                        •  Your response only strengthens my argument. (0+ / 0-)

                          The framers protected corporations when they wanted to.  The fact that numerous amendments and clauses do not specifically mention protection for corporations suggests that they were intentionally left out.

                          I was arguing that coporate personhood, which extends many constitutional protections to corporations, is an affront to what the framers beleived.

                          I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

                          by GTPinNJ on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:06:28 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  That is nonsensical (0+ / 0-)

                            The framers did not mention corporations period.  But historically, corporations enjoyed many of the same protections as people have had, such as protections against search and seizure.  It is true to this day.  Corporations do not have all of the rights of individuals.  There are curbs on their commercial speech.  A political speech of an organization, be it corporation, partnership, or non-profit is an entirely different matter.

                            Any individual or group of individuals howsoever organized, have the right to advance their political goals.  There is absolutey nothing wrong with that.  There is nothing wrong with corporations trying to convince the public that for example higher corporate taxes are detrimental.

    •  I say, charge for speech that doesn't make sense (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'll hold the tip jar in front of Bill O'Reilly's mouth.

      In a week or two, I should be able to afford a new house.

    •  There's a huge difference between (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      newspapers and TV/radio.

      Newspapers can add pages any time they want. If I want to buy 5 pages of ads, and the paper doesn't have that much space, they can just add 5 pages. Everybody else gets their space, and I get mine. No loss to them, just gain for me.

      But you can't add time to the day. If there's 10 hrs of ad time per day, and I buy up all 10 hrs, there is no way somebody else can advertise that day. Not just political ads - they can't put up ANY more ads. The station doesn't care, they have their money. But the other advertisers care, they can't get their message out. They have had THEIR free speech blocked.

      This is why there needs to be a limit on the amount of ad time you can buy in one day. I don't care if they want to buy 1/2 hr of time every day for the next year. I do care if they want to buy all the time, every day, for the next month.

      And so should you.

  •  I heard part of that piece this morning... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magorn, LeftOverAmerica, Albatross

    and I am grateful for your research. NPR has become fox-like in its efforts to REPORT but not ANALYZE so as not to ruffle feathers. It seemed to be largely a he-said she-said piece whose primary actor was Blankenship's voice explaining how good of a guy he was. I ended up thinking something was fishy about it, but it sounded like NPR was saying it was wierd but legit.

    I don't know if the report clarified what was going on or if this is your own research, but clearly this is far worse than I had thought.

  •  a song (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magorn, LeftOverAmerica

    We need a country and western song that will play on all the radios in the mode of Dylan's "Hattie Carroll" and sung by Dolly Parton. No. Maybe a male voice would be better. Too bad Woody Guthrie is dead.

    •  Appalachian Mountain Massacre... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      by Ryan the tune of '1913 Massacre' by Woody Guthrie

      Join me if you will and walk through the hills
      Through forests so ancient and valleys so still
      To the top of these mountains of soil and rock
      That stretch so far out that you can't see em stop

      We'll walk through the soft muddy land by the streams
      Way up through the fog above the tops of the trees
      I'll show you a place where the earth meets the sun
      Where you'll stare out forever and never be done

      These Appalachian mountains are thick
      Stronger than senators and presidents
      Stronger than CEO's, bankers and more
      But not stronger than the weapons of war

      There's out here a monster that kills for the thrill
      For the power that's granted by the green dollar bill
      A corporate-cannibal pulling the strings
      To satisfy it's hunger for all living things... (continues)

  •  If I had time... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TracieLynn, SLJ, Magorn, va dare, fiddlingnero

    If I had enough time, I would explain my dealings with Don Blankenship. He is either revered or reviled depending on what your lot in life is. As a West Virginian, I can assure you that there are many of us Mountaineers fighting against the ravages of Don Blankenship and Massey. I hope to provide better news in the future.

  •  Vote for West Virginia (6+ / 0-)

    in Russ Feingold's new Pick a Progressive Party contest. The five winning states will get $3000 for GOTV.

    Well, it's something, anyway.

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 10:51:25 AM PDT

  •  Are you sure you aren't Ralph Nader? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magorn, va dare

    If you are Nader, than begone you foolish scum!!

    But if you are not Nader, or a Naderite, then ... GREAT DIARY!!! This is IS VITALLY IMPORTANT!!! SOMEONE SOUND THE ALARM!!!


    Q: (from Diary) - " the hell did we reach this point in the first place?"

    A:  By an un-jolly mix of ignorance, denial, fear and misplaced anger.

  •  New Mafia (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magorn, fiddlingnero, J Royce

    Ya know all of those movies glorifying the corruption of the United States by organized crime?

    To me, corporate power is a way nastier beast and Corporations even beat organized crime at their own game in Las Vegas...

    so what is the animal out of control nowadays?

    Isn't this worse than any gangster in history?

    by BobOak on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 11:01:36 AM PDT

  •  I'm not a lawyer, but . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magorn, PsychoSavannah, jamiek

    . . . purchasing paid advertising is different than speaking or publishing or broadcasting even though the Supreme Court has ruled otherwise.  I can waste pixels arguing that such a decision simply proves that our justices are scalawags, but won't bother.

    In West Virginia, the state will have many laws that fall under the "Uniform Commercial Code" that can be used to regulate what a person or corporation or entity may do in advertising.  It is the business of the state to regulate commerce & advertising is definitely that, in total.  Such behavior can be taxed, progressively.

    Another way to re-define & change the nature of this discussion is to view the expenditures by Blankenship as "gifts" to his favorite candidates & tax the gifts and/or define the advertising as "income" in kind to either the candidates or their campaign committees.  These are fairly simple approaches, with the analogy that if I buy ads on TV that promote your soda pop shop, then the money spent is either a gift to you or income in kind to you (or your pop shop).  You or your shop must declare the value of the advertising as a gift or as income in some form or another.

    In my opinion, advertising is not a form of speech that is protected by the Constitution.  Ads are business, commerce, trade & should be subject to all forms of regulation that apply to all other such similar transactions.

    And there is, and always has been, a simple fix to this problem without having to take money from the US Treasury & finance elections: EQUAL free time for candidates in the media subject to regulation.  Again, contrary decisions have already been legislated that make this moot, but it was an option in the past, & could be again.

    There should be legal eagles in W. Virginia who can lay out the Uniform Commercial Code definitions for the anti-Blankenship efforts, however all of them may possibly be of the other political stripe & unwilling to help control the megabucks in ads.  So, get some highly skilled advice from an expert in advertising law--whether a home-grown attorney or a carpet-bagger.

    Impeach. Convict. Imprison. End this REIGN OF MISERABLE FAILURE.

    by whl on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 11:02:17 AM PDT

  •  More evidence that we are screwed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magorn, J Royce

    unless we get rid of corporate money in campaigns.  Is there a way to use these contributions from Blankenship/Massey to create a public backlash against Republicans and against the company?  Time to tax and regulate Massey out of business.

    A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. - Aristotle

    by DWG on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 11:02:48 AM PDT

  •  Enough! Solution is CA Prop. 89 public financing (3+ / 0-)

    The problem of big money's outsize influence in politics has been solved in Arizona and Maine, where public campaign financing laws not only provide enough funding for candidates to be competitive, they also give public-funded candidates matching funds to respond to ANYBODY who runs ads against them.  This reform is now embodied in California's Proposition 89, the Clean Money and Fair Elections Initiative.

    Arizona and Maine's Clean Money Public Financing laws have withstood numerous tests of constitutionality in the courts since they took effect in 2000, because they do not limit anyone's speech.  But they serve as a deterrent to anybody who wants to buy an election, like the Massey CEO.

    These Clean Money laws can't, and don't forbid anybody from spending their own money on an independent (even a "wink, wink" independent) ad campaign for a candidate.  Instead, Clean Money laws like Arizona, Maine, and CA's Prop. 89 give dollar-for-dollar matching funds, up to a limit even the rich are unlikely to exceed.  How high is that?  Had Prop. 89 been in effect in the last two elections in California, it would have allowed public-financed candidates to match their opponents in 98% of the races.

    So when a rich guy wants to spend big money against a public-financed Clean Money candidate, the Clean Money person can reply:
    MAKE MY DAY. When you attack, it only makes me stronger.

    It works so well that rich guys in Maine and Arizona rarely attack public financed candidates. And when they do, it backfires. In Arizona, 10 of 11 statewide elected offices including Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano ran with public financing, and this year even her Republican opponent is doing it --
    so they're evenly matched, and whoever wins, they are accountable to the voters, not big money contributors.

    In Maine, 78% of the legislature was elected with public financing.  In both states, 2006 is the fourth election with public financing.  

  •  Ogden Press Helps Blankenship (5+ / 0-)

    With Ogden Press covering most of WV with cheap imitations of newspapers, and known for large contributions to bush and republicans, most West Virginians get GOP politics slammed down their throats everyday. Ogden gave Blankenship's 527 tons of free coverage in the last Supreme Court election.

  •  Magorn (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, Magorn, LeftOverAmerica, va dare
    Excellent diary.

    I'm glad to see this on the recommended list. I  wrote about [Don Blankenship here] as well as in a few other diaries and WV Democrat wrote about him here.

    Well, Watson, we seem to have fallen upon evil days. Sherlock Holmes.

    by Carnacki on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 12:42:55 PM PDT

  •  Blankenship, an execrable little man. Massey (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magorn, LeftOverAmerica

    Energy, an execrable big corp., and one of the coal companies specializing in "topping" mountains (demolishing whole mountains to get at the coal inside them, completely trashing the watersheds at their bases).

    This man and this company remind me of this man, and the company he used to rape Western US forestlands. These are modern day US robber barons. Think the Gilded Age, Part II.

    Imagine: we're in a class war with wealthy dung beetles.

    Damn it, they're on to us! Quick, break out the fearmongering MSM noise machine, or we'll all wind up in prison! --Fearful NeoCon Fascists

    by Enough Talk Lets Get Busy on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 12:52:26 PM PDT

  •  I had this guy's number back in January. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magorn, LeftOverAmerica

    For people of deep faith like George W. Bush, beliefs are intoxicating, and facts are sobering. Sober up, America!

    by slip kid no more on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 01:07:37 PM PDT

  •  in his 2006 book "Big Coal" (3+ / 0-)

    Rolling Stone writer Jeff Goodell does a wonderful, comprehensive, fascinating critique of the coal industry, politics, global warming, energy technology. Massey Energy and Don Blankenship get some very detailed coverage.
    If you want to know where this very powerful industry thinks they're headed and what the alternatives are, this is a wonderful read.

  •  I knew who it would be (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Power, Magorn, LeftOverAmerica, va dare

    before I read a word of this diary.

    Massey has already gone through the stage of openly buying judges and state legislators. They've violated the law with impunity.  They've gone way beyond being "bad actors," they're a serious threat to the rule of law.

    Heck, they're a huge black mark on the coal industry, and when you're making big coal look bad...

    Theobromine -- does that come in chocolate?

    by Mark Sumner on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 01:12:48 PM PDT

    •  Coming from you of all people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      va dare

      That is truly saying something.  What is his rep inthe industry?  Is he admired? Feared? hated?  Any chance the industry may offer him up one day on a silver platter as a scapegoat?

      Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

      by Magorn on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 03:51:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  On one level (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        All the CEO's are "chummy," and they put up a unified front against regulation, larger fines, etc.

        But on a deeper level, they do hate him.  They hate him because if Massey wasn't constantly blowing past safety and enviromental regulations, the rest of them wouldn't be under a microscope.  They think he's a loose cannon who thinks its easier to buy a judge than do anything right.

        Theobromine -- does that come in chocolate?

        by Mark Sumner on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 07:37:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Watch the video: Pennies of Promise (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You think the page scandal shows a callous disregard for our children?  Take 10 minutes and watch this video, Pennies of Promise.

    Pennies of Promise is a newly formed citizen action group in West Virginia. On Tuesday, May 30, the group launched a national campaign at the foot of the State Capitol to raise awareness for the Marsh Fork Elementary School in Sundial, West Virginia. The school children are dealing with a host of medical issues they believe are connected to the recently constructed coal silo, which sits 150 feet away from the school, and the toxic slurry pond, which is approximately 300 feet away from the school. Retired school teacher Mary Porter brought $400 dollars in pennies collected from school children in Harlem as a donation to the state of West Virginia to aid in the construction of a school in another location.

    For those that need an alternative format for viewing, go to
    Scroll about 1/3 down the page.

    •  I do not live in West Virginia, (0+ / 0-)

      but the story of Massey and the Marsh Fork Elementary School is a perfect example of a government that is more concerned for corporations that the public.  Massey already has considerable control of the government as witnessed by the video above.  For more information, you can go here. Click on the image for a hi-res version--the school is located at the bottom, in the shadows of the Massey coal processing plant.

  •  Byrd (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is Sen. Byrd using whatever clout he has as he campaigns and travels around his state to publicize this and help the threatened Dem. state legislators?

  •  Not just in West Virginia (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Howard Rich is trying to buy South Carolina, if he hasn't already.

    Rich is financing the astroturf campaign of Karen Floyd, a Republican who has absolutely no experience in education, but who likes the idea of private school vouchers. With Gov. Marshall C. Sanford, Jr. already on board, SC's already woefully underfunded public school system may about to be privatized. I'm sure sandlapper could tell you far more about this than I can.

    Democratic nominee Jim Rex needs money to get his message out. Jim Rex has experience in education and he believes in the public schools Rex is down in the polls, but people who hear both Floyd and Rex speak are supporting Rex.

    Help Jim Rex stop Howard Rich and Karen Floyd.

    And while you're at it, follow my sig and help Tommy Moore defeat Gov. Marshall C. Sanford, Jr.

    South Carolina is not for sale!

  •  I Got One of His Mailers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WVmtneer, Magorn, murrayewv

    in today's mail, targeting 2 incumbents (Democratic candidates) for House of Delegates in my district. It is truly infuriating when Blankenship doesn't live in this district - does he even RESIDE in West Virginia?

    I hope some of our sharper legal beagles can suggest how the laws here can be changed to stop junk like this.

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin

    by WV Democrat on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 05:11:39 PM PDT

    •  His Influence is moving North in the State (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In the past, it seems that he has focused his activities on the southern part of West Virginia (the remaining coal fields).  After he was able to knock off Supreme Court Justice McGraw in a statewide race, he has now started to support candidates in the northern (less coal influenced) part of the state.  In Harrison County, he is supporting a man who campainged for office with a fetus in a jar (Jay Wolfe) and his other candidate Danny Hamrick looks like he is twelve years old.  Anyway, Blankenship claims he is doing all of this for "the sake of the kids" --- that is the name of his PAC

  •  i guess my real question (0+ / 0-)

    is why the F### are people still gullible enough to be manipulated by these ads????? i could understand the first generation of tv viewers being manipulated by this, but how after 50 years of tv and marketing, 99% of which is pure bs and fluff can anyone still buy this stuff???

  •  This mountaintop-removing SOB was on Moyer's show (2+ / 0-)

    Tonight on PBS..."Is God Green?"

    They showed a really creepy clip of him from the 80s bragging about how everybody in WVa had better wake up to the fact that unfettered Capitalism is the wave of the future and they'd better embrace it for their own good.

    There must be a special place in Hell for slugs like Blankenship.

    •  Blankenship Reveals His Ignorance (0+ / 0-)

      A dude similar to Blankenship was one Anastasio Somoza, one time caudillo in Nicaragua and the reason the Sandanistas came to power.  He raped his country blind and even stole the relief funds sent to Nicargua to help with reconstruction of Managua after a killer earthquake.  Eventually the revolution threw him out, although he gracefully left the country to "retire" to Paraguay.  He managed to enjoy his idyll for about a year or two before he got sent to his special place in Hell by a bazooka round into his armored limousine.  People who believe in unfettered free market capitalism don't understand the other side of the equation.  No law means no law - even for them.

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 07:43:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  RECOMMENDED (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    PLEASE GOD Reccomend this diary. Don Blankenship is destroying the APpalachian Mountains, and the economy, environment and communities of West Virginia.

    Mountaintop removal is the worst localized ongoing environmental tragedy in the country. And its Don Blankenship's fault.

    "If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide." Abe Lincoln

    by faithfull on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 07:15:42 PM PDT

  •  The misdeeds of Don Blankenship and Massey Energy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    are covered in a Bill Moyers documentary, 'Is God Green?' This documentary covers how many in the evangelical movement are beginning to embrace environmentalism. It's nice to see how some of the faithful of the republican base are starting to consider that the goopers may not always be right about everything.

  •  Bill Moyers included Massey in piece on PBS (2+ / 0-)

    on evangelicals and global warming adn the environment.

    Grassroots opposition is organizing to block the environmental rape by the coal industry - lots of this opposition is from evangelicals. Christians trying to protect the mountains and god's creation.

    Wonderful show - great linkages between rural working class folks and political engagement opposing Republican Corporate power - issue is the environment, something Dems in that state and the Appalachian region tend to ignore.

    Maybe not only a wedge issue but the roadmap back for dems.

  •  Saw one of his candidates at the Pumpkin Festival (0+ / 0-)

     Looked like she wasn't getting too many visitors. I even stood at the table hoping to engage but she didn't. I guess she must have smelled tree hugger.

     Blankenships attempts to buy influence have been widely covered locally and unless if it's stealth people here are really hostile to big money.

  •  Un-be-freekin-lievable (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think my eyebrows are plastered to the top of my head.

    Off to get a crowbar or something to try to get them back in place.

    Thanks diary / info.

    Be good to each other. It matters.

    by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 08:43:06 PM PDT

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