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In a screenshot from a Mitt Romney ad, Romney stands in front of coal miners whose boss had made attendance at Romney's speech mandatory and unpaid.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are banking on the decline of coal to win them swing-state votes. Their whole "Obama's war on coal" argument is contradicted by the facts—the market is what's hurting the coal industry—but this is not a campaign dictated by the fact-checkers or the facts themselves. In addition to the real reason for coal's current decline, there's another body of facts Romney and Ryan would prefer the miners and miners' families they're trying to appeal to would not think about: what Romney and Ryan themselves would do to mine safety. That's the question Ken Ward, Jr., of the Charleston Gazette's Coal Tattoo blog raises, and the answer should give miners serious pause.
For example, two years ago, Rep. Ryan was among the Republicans who helped defeat an effort to resurrect a coal-mine safety reform bill put together after the deaths of 29 workers at the Massey Energy Upper Big Branch Mine in April 2010.
But forget improving mine safety. Paul Ryan's budget may not be Mitt Romney's official plan, at least as long as he's campaigning and it's still deeply unpopular. But here's what that budget would have done to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, according to an analysis by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Democratic staff. If Ryan's cuts to the MSHA budget were applied across the board evenly:
MSHA would lose 22 coal mine inspectors in 2013 (5.4 percent of 411 total inspectors), and another 78 (19 percent of 411 inspectors) in 2014, dropping the coal inspectors from 411 to 311 nationwide by 2014. That’s even less than they had at the lowest ebb of the Bush years (2006). In 2006, the year of the Sago mine disaster which prompted the rebuilding of the agency, there were 326 coal inspectors.
If Romney's use of coal miners as an unpaid campaign prop and his praise of the coal CEO who required miners to lose pay to hear Romney speak didn't tell you enough about where the Republican ticket stands on coal miners as opposed to coal CEOs, Ryan's obstruction of mine safety legislation and attempts to cut current mine safety inspectors should clear up any doubt.

No matter where you live, sign up to help get Democratic voters to the polls in swing states with Workers' Voice.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 08:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Mine safety is "rewarding moochers" (0+ / 0-)

    Or some other Randian fantasy, I suppose.

    All mining is dirty, dangerous, hazardous business. Even surface mining. "The Owners" conveniently move their goal posts from National to International as it suits them and their revenue and profit interests.

    Subsidy for Clean Coal?

    "U.S.A! U.S.A!"

    OSHA regulations that require environmental controls, mitigation and restoration?

    "We operate in a Global Market with many factors and uncertainties...."

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 10:20:09 AM PDT

    •  First a quick question..... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mike101, MeToo

      We're being bombarded with ads here in PA claiming that Obama's "heavy handed environmental regulations" are destroying the coal industry and killing hundreds...even thousands of jobs...ads clearly funded by major energy industries.

      But the Coal Industry also is spending millions telling us that coal is "clean energy".  So, if coal is clean, why can't it pass the muster with even modest regulations?

      No it isn't that heavy handed regulation is hurting coal.  It is that coal is suddenly engaged in intense competition with overwhelmingly abundant and very cheap (supply and demand rules) natural gas generated by the boom in fracking.

      Many utilities, which have for years relied on coal plants to generate their power, despite long-standing efforts by states like Massachusetts (yes YOU Gov. Romney) to shut them down because they were a menace to health and safety due to acid rain generation and air pollution, suddenly have decided to stop fighting efforts to close coal plants and instead switch to natural gas.

      Cleaner....cheaper and very abundant.  What coal claims to be -- but on one key measure....cannot....coal ain't clean no matter how you try and sell it.

      Sadly, coal miners as a group, often trapped working in regions where coal mining is the only half-way decent job around, despite its many dangers, are one of the best examples around of a group voting massively against its own best interests.

      They are on the losing side of economics.  What they should be pressing for are subsidies for clean energy like wind which could replace coal and be cleaner and provide better and safer jobs, and good education which trains them to shift career paths.

      Instead they cling to coal, while their bosses delude them into thinking that the cause of all their miseries is Obama.  The coal industry's record of blocking regulations through pushing its lobbyists and lackeys deep into the bowls of the Dept. of Interior is legendary.  

      Now however, they are battling with a foe they can't manipulate as easily....market economics....they are thrashing around trying to shift the blame, but the bottom line is coal is dirty, dangerous to the health and safety of workers and to the public in the form of air pollution and worst of all, global warming.

      Wake up miners....the owners are NOT your friends and if they get Romney into office, your jobs are not the only things you are going to lose.

      Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

      by dweb8231 on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 08:43:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  U.S. coal exports on record pace in 2012... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jlms qkw, enemy of the people, MeToo
  •  The lyrics to Antony Riley, a coal-miners song (4+ / 0-)

    The last stanza:

    When the coal merchant calls and you pay your good money
    Count well the bags as he lays them aside.
    You'll be counting the cuts and the knocks and the bruises,
    You'll be counting the lives of the men who have died.

    Mitt Romney's moral compass points to the Cayman Islands.

    by captainlaser on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 08:15:22 PM PDT

    •  And Peggy Seeger's Springhill Mine (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Omir the Storyteller, Hoghead99
      In the town of Springhill, Nova Scotia
      Deep in the dark of the Cumberland Mine
      There's blood on the coal and the miners lie
      In the roads that never saw sun nor sky. (x2)

      In the town of Springhill, you don't sleep easy
      Often the earth will tremble and roll
      When the earth is restless, miners die
      Bone and blood is the price of coal. (x2)

      Mitt Romney's moral compass points to the Cayman Islands.

      by captainlaser on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 08:21:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  that campaign photo op (3+ / 0-)

    mine owned by bob murray.

    Crandall Canyon mine disaster

    6 dead initially and 3 more rescuers dead a week later might not seem like much compared to the 29 at Sago.

    relative to our populations though, it was huge here in the intermountain.  

    bob murray risked the lives of the rescuers by lying about the type of mining (retreat) being done.  if he had said up front there was no chance the miners were alive, those 3 brave men would be alive.  

    i bet if don blankenship makes political donations, they don't go to obama.  

    Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

    by jlms qkw on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 08:23:18 PM PDT

  •  Unlike zygotes, coal miners are expendable (4+ / 0-)

    in the GOP worldview.

    Mitt Romney treats people like things. And he treats things - corporations - like people.

    by richardak on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 08:29:10 PM PDT

  •  What's really galling (4+ / 0-)

    is that Romney, who has never done a lick of manual labor in his life, and who travels between however many houses he has, is using people with callouses on their hands and black coal dust on their faces as proper - people who (for the most part) have probably spent a lifetime within 50 miles of where they born, many of them following family tradition into the mines. Their reward? Shoddy safety practices, and the chance to appear as unpaid supporters behind a guy in an eyeblindingly clean white shirt, spouting rhetoric as if he cares one iota about their lives or as if he shares any commonality with them.

    •  If I had been those miners (4+ / 0-)

      especially the ones in the front row, I would have stood behind Romney, arms crossed and middle fingers visibly extended.

      Well, I'd have been tempted to. Being a radio ham since the days when you had to know Morse code to get a license, maybe I would have just stood in the front row blinking "BULLSHIT" or "OBAMA" in Morse.

      Just before I got my walking papers, no doubt.

      You and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children's children what it was once like in America when 25% of the population was batshit insane.

      by Omir the Storyteller on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 09:23:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who is expendable? Who are pawns? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hoghead99

        Corporations in the U.S. have institutionalized the "worker" to his/her relegated "place."  A feudal system for the modern day.  You think I'm exaggerating?  99 v 1.  Yeah.  This stuff really did happen.  It's not our imaginations.

        Romney's whole business was about maximizing debt, extracting cash, cutting head counts, skimping on capital spending, outsourcing production, and dressing up the deal for the earliest, highest-profit exit possible. -- David Stockman.

        by CupofTea on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 10:04:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The News at a Furtive Glance (0+ / 0-)

    ICYMI, here's The News at a Furtive Glance: No Heart, All Chattle Edition, courtesy of Susie Madrak, Driftglass and others.

    JP
    http://welcomebacktopottersville.blogspot.com

    Defending bad taste and liberalism since 2005.

    by jurassicpork on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 08:55:33 PM PDT

  •  Just back from coal port hearings in Bellingham (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Omir the Storyteller, CupofTea

    Where the first of seven scoping hearings on the impacts of the proposed coal maga-port just north of the city was held at one of the High Schools there. About 2,000 people attended with a lopsided majority in opposition to the proposal. More on this soon.

    "We don't need someone who can think. We need someone with enough digits to hold a pen." ~ Grover Norquist

    by Lefty Coaster on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 09:08:14 PM PDT

    •  For those who don't know . . . (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MeToo, Lefty Coaster, Hoghead99

      while others of you have been regaled with ads about how Obama is a secret Muslim atheist communist with a Christian pastor problem, we here in Washington state have been bombarded with energy ads. Many of them are touting natural gas extraction (cleverly not referred to in the ads as "fracking") but one subset has been pushing hard in favor of coal ports on the Pacific coast for shipping coal overseas (presumably mostly to China) using ads touting words like "good high-paying energy jobs" and "if we don't build them here those jobs will just go someplace else."

      Personally I'd rather see ads telling us about the massive danger of wind spills, but hey.

      You and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children's children what it was once like in America when 25% of the population was batshit insane.

      by Omir the Storyteller on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 09:28:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks, Lefty!! nt. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lefty Coaster, Hoghead99

      Romney's whole business was about maximizing debt, extracting cash, cutting head counts, skimping on capital spending, outsourcing production, and dressing up the deal for the earliest, highest-profit exit possible. -- David Stockman.

      by CupofTea on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 10:05:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Look, I'm not a big coal fan, but . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MeToo

    if we're going to have coal, the people who mine it should at least have some assurance that they'll be back the next day to continue to make their living.

    But it doesn't take much study of American history to realize that coal companies have always considered miners expendable.

    You and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children's children what it was once like in America when 25% of the population was batshit insane.

    by Omir the Storyteller on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 09:20:24 PM PDT

  •  Coal miners. They go down, they come back up. (0+ / 0-)

    Who can explain it? It must be gawds will.

    Got to learn to leave the planet be No more room here to fuck around like we did before, Just maybe one more chance to leave it be.

    by BusyinCA on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 09:41:42 PM PDT

  •  They made you load coal for any price they wanted. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MeToo, Hoghead99
    The mine owners, the bankers, the plunderers of the State went in on the side door and got a hearing, and you didn't.
    They look upon you as a lot of enemies instead of those who do the work.

    There was never in the State of West Virginia a more orderly, well-behaved body of men than those miners were that assembled at Cedar Grove. …The Mail never told you, when the mine owners and their gang of corporation pirates met at the Hotel Ruffner and filled their rotten stomachs with champagne and made you pay the bills. . . .

    You have been hypnotized. The trouble has been that they wanted the slave system to continue. They have had a glass for you and your wives and children to look into. They have you hypnotized. ...

    Very good, then. They will come to you on election day… They will not steal it [the ballot] if you do your duty. I would like to see the corporation blood-hounds steal my ballot if I had one....

    I want to deal fair with every man. There are some good operators, some good men, but their hands are tied. We must not bust them up in business, as long as they are going to give us a hand and help us we will help them. …I want you to help the men that have stood by us—stand by them. ...

    Dalzell said to me, "Mother Jones, where do you live?" I said, "In the United States, sir." "What part of the United States?" said he. I said, "Wherever the workers are fighting the robbers, there am I."(Loud applause) "Sometimes I am in Arizona fighting the Southern Pacific blood-sucking pirates and thieves," said I. "Sometimes, I am up on the Steel Range, fighting those murderers and plunderers, sometimes I am in Pennsylvania fighting the robbers and murderers and blood-suckers there, and by the Eternal God we will clean you up and put you out of business."

     You will not be serfs, you will march, march, march on from milestone to milestone of human freedom, you will rise like men in the new day and slavery will get its death blow. It has got to die. Good night. (Applause)

    Speech to Striking Coal Miners
    By Mother Jones (1912)

    The whole business was about maximizing debt, extracting cash, cutting head counts, skimping on capital spending, outsourcing production, and dressing up the deal for the earliest, highest-profit exit possible. -- David Stockman.

    by CupofTea on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 09:43:26 PM PDT

    •  If it is not coal miners, it gold miners (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MeToo, Hoghead99

      or Walmart workers, or copper miners, or cheap clothing manufacturer workers in China.  Romney's world view has been around for a VERY long time...  And so it goes.

      Vote, people.  While we still have that right...

      The whole business was about maximizing debt, extracting cash, cutting head counts, skimping on capital spending, outsourcing production, and dressing up the deal for the earliest, highest-profit exit possible. -- David Stockman.

      by CupofTea on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 09:49:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The UMWA has endorsed....{crickets}.... (0+ / 0-)

       They haven't....... I am near to rating a 40 year pin from the UMWA, and to my knowledge, they have not endorsed anyone for president. Nobody......

    Compost for a greener planet.............got piles?

    by Hoghead99 on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 06:06:13 AM PDT

  •  I'm kind of puzzled by this picture (0+ / 0-)

    Supposedly, the miners weren't working on that day, that's why it was scandalous that the mine was closed & they were compelled to stand there with Rmoney, like furniture.  So, if they weren't working, why the dirty faces? I'm prepared to believe that it may be hard for miners to get all the soot off, but some of them managed to. I'd love to know the real story.

  •  Don't you know it is all about voter turnout and.. (0+ / 0-)

    Pa may be in trouble because Philadelphia is  about 12% of the vote in Pa. And Philly is way, way, way overwhelming dem. African American overwhelms white only in that county!

    So we MUST GOTV on Pa to keep it blue.

    The horrible storm is going to hit Philly BIG.

    Al Sharpton's "souls for the polls" is more important in Pa than even Florida.  Call Rev Sharpton to GOTV in Pa!!!!!!!

    I urge you all to go and call all Pa voters to GOTV on election day.

    Mainly because November 6 is the only date you can vote. No early voting in Pa. And the worst weather is bad news for the most highly African American county of Philadelphia by a million margin!!!!!!!!!

    This is VERY IMPORTANT because Obama can't afford to lose Pa because of that dreadful hurricane!!!!!!!!

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