Many of you may have seen the TV ads about the airing of the documentary titled "For The Sake of Our Miners" which is scheduled to appear on WSAZ this Saturday at 7 PM. The documentary is pretty much like the longer version that is on both my website donblankenship.com and on ubbneveragain.com. However there is enough new in the TV version that I encourage you to watch it. It is only 30 minutes long. The longer version which was prominently displayed on YouTube and readily available if googled is now more difficult to find following Senator Manchin’ s proclamation demanding that it be removed from YouTube. But again it is still on the websites.
The Senator’s demand that the documentary be removed from YouTube is just the latest in his nearly decade long effort to squelch my free speech. However the documentary need not be a threat to the Senator. It is just the first in a series of efforts on my part to bring public attention to the truth about UBB and the government's idling of dust scrubbers. The Senator's comments and actions do raise the question as to why he is so determined to stop my efforts to improve coal mine safety. Why would he lash out that "Don has blood on his hands" and that he believes "justice will be served" and that "Don should be more concerned about a federal investigation than about making a documentary"? It would be far more helpful to miners if the Senator as a servant of the public were more concerned about coal mine safety than about venting his dislike for me.
Personally I do not believe a sitting US Senator should be threatening to sue the documentary producers and saying that he would not have agreed to be interviewed if he had known which US citizen (me) was paying the cost of the interview. Does he mean that I have less a right to do a documentary than someone else? Does he mean his answers to the questions would be different if he had known I was funding the interview? If so why would they be different? Are the answers he gave not the truth as he sees it? Anyway the important issue in all of this is mine safety. However the Senator's comments do cause one to wonder whether he favors or opposes freedom of speech.
The original documentary should not have been viewed negatively by the Senator. The documentary should be looked upon by anyone interested in coal miner safety as a positive thing. Even if you don't like the messenger.
We have all heard that facts are stubborn things. It is a fact that UBB was inundated with natural gas. It is a fact that continuous miner scrubbers are being idled. It is a fact that anyone or any agency so closely connected to UBB as was MSHA should not be allowed to do the investigation. It is a fact that MSHA would not allow the mine to be ventilated the way the company preferred. It is a fact that Senator Manchin said he was not aware of the natural gas inundation at UBB nor the idling of dust scrubbers at many mines. It is a fact that an American citizen should be allowed to state the facts without a US Senator saying he has blood on his hands. It is a fact that a Senator of the United States should not be demanding that a documentary stating facts be removed from YouTube. After all the Senator cannot be a censor, a prosecutor, a jury and a judge in America.
The Senator's behavior reminds me of the outrage the politicians expressed when I communicated to the public that Warren McGraw had voted to release a convicted sex offender. At first McGraw and other politicians denied it. Their next tactic was to accuse me of negative campaigning. They then demanded the ad be taken down just as Manchin has done with the documentary. They then said ugly untrue things about me. The Senator is following that same pattern. But eventually the facts and the paperwork proved the truth about McGraw's vote. If there is still freedom and justice in America this current situation may turn out similarly. Let's hope so for the sake of our miners.