Epitaph for a Greedy, Malevolent Industrialist

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower Author, Commentator, America’s Number One Populist

Unlike the CEOs of most giant corporations, Don Blankenship's outward appearance actually reveals what's inside: An arrogant, conniving, cutthroat industrial thug.

Not for nothing was this thickset, mean-eyed West Virginian known as "the dark lord of coal country." The longtime boss of mining behemoth Massey Energy generated profits by working miners to exhaustion, viciously busting unions, browbeating subordinates, running disgracefully-unsafe mines, callously decapitating mountains as a cheap way to get at coal, willfully poisoning the region's waterways and people with toxic mining waste, and outright purchasing politicians to run errands for him. He measured the value of everything and everyone in dollars.

By that measure, Blankenship has always put the dearest value on himself, taking $18 million in personal pay in 2010 alone – the same year his disregard for safety ripped apart 29 miners down in Massey's Upper Big Branch mine. He gets chauffeured around in a Bentley and a helicopter; he vacations on the French Riviera; and his "primary mansion" is a vast, gated estate. But he also enjoys his nearby "entertainment home" a four-story castle pretentiously perched on a mountain peak so all the serfs can see that he is lord of the realm.

But Lord Don has taken a great fall – ousted as CEO in 2010 and recently convicted of a conspiracy that led to the needless deaths of those 29 miners. He's also widely despised because, as one local put it, "he betrayed his own people." Of course, he's so narcissistic and materialistic that he says: "I don't care what people think. At the end of the day, Don Blankenship is going to die with more money than he needs."

Or deserves. But if anyone ever deserved to die with nothing but a sack of cold cash to comfort him, this greedy industrialist is that person.

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This has been reposted from Jim Hightower's website.

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top. He publishes a populist political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown.” He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Jim Hightower

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