Wall St. Crime Report: Commodity Cartel to Cut Health Care for 23,000 Workers
23 July (LPAC) There are now 23,000 coal miners, centered in West Virginia, and in the other Eastern coal states, facing health care cut-off, because of deliberate Wall Street/London actions to de-structure their cartel commodity operations, in order to dump “excess” people and carbon. Mass protests are being staged in coal country; the Obama Administration is cheering the shutdown and misery, as aiding the environment. On July 9, more than 5,000 coal miners and supporters from West Virginia and many other states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Illinois, Missouri) staged a mass rally in Fairmont (Marion County, north central West Virginia), to protest the prospect of a health-care and benefits cut-off by Patriot Coal’s bankruptcy process, in league with Peabody Energy and Arch Coal.This is the 14th protest rally. The next one is set for St. Louis. The United Mineworkers had given up ground on wages in order—they were told—to retain their health care benefits. Now health care, too, is set to be cut by the end of August. Protesters resist arrest. Photo: Fairness at Patriot (Facebook). This shows the London/Obama Wall Street program in action. The corporate “screw-you” maneuvering is simple. When “coal was king” the commodities wing of the neo-British Empire, had its stake in Arch, Peabody, and other famous-name companies, worldwide. They made a bundle, while mine-safety regulations were kept below minimum, notoriously so, under the successive Bush regimes, when many U.S. miners’ lost their lives in repeated mine disasters. Then, the richy-riches of the commodities cartels pulled their stake out, de-structured their corporations, and went off with their loot before the greenie “carbon-is-out” campaign hit full force. Patriot Coal Corp. was created as a shell company, to later walk away from any and all obligations to the workforce, nor to even continue in coal-mining activities at all. The big money behind-the-scenes, went off to play in the shale gas boom and at-large speculation. Among the essential particulars: Peabody spun off Patriot in 2007, giving it about 11% of its assets, but over 43% of its retiree liability. In 2008, an-Arch spin-off, Magnum Coal, was combined into Patriot. In the process of the Magnum transfer, Patriot got 12% of Arch’s assets, and 96% of its retiree health-care liabilities. Then in 2012, Patriot Coal declared bankruptcy; it soon announced that it could no longer afford to pay pensions and health benefits to its workers, retirees and their families. On May 29, this was upheld by a Federal bankruptcy judge in St. Louis, headquarters of Patriot, Arch and Peabody. On June 25, Obama delivered the imperial-greenie epitaph: ‘Carbon is out. Coal is out. People are out.’ West Virgina Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat and former governor, was quick to respond: “It’s clear now that the President has declared a war on coal.” But lawmakers in both parties have tip-toed around the Wall Street/London onslaught. Coal state lawmakers filed bills in Congress this Spring (“Caring for Coal Miners Act”), to defray miners’ health costs, all the while stressing their continued support for Patriot (Arch and Peabody) in their attempt to remain “viable” in coal. In reality, the nation of the United States won’t be viable unless the Wall Street crimes are stopped. This requires Glass-Steagall reinstatement, credit and rebuilding. The status of West Virginia makes the point. Its counties are among the poorest in the nation. E.g. McDowell County (southernmost) is among the 10 lowest of all 3143 counties nationwide, in personal income. Snapshot: Over 33% of the 21,320 residents live below the poverty level, where the median household income is $21,967. Nearly half the county’s children are living in poverty. Unemployment is over 30%. The rate of disabled persons over age 5 is more than 40%. McDowell had been—up the the mid-20th Century, the leading coal-producing county in the nation; its population was 98,880 in 1950. In the 1970s, coal tanked, along with the whole economy: Nuclear power was scaled back and halted; the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA) was stopped cold; large infrastructure projects and maintenance on existing civil works were stalled, then cancelled. The nation went into the WTO-era of global outsourcing, and world casino-economics. McDowell County itself is outstandingly lacking in infrastructure. Only a small percentage of the residents have safe water; over 65% of the households have no wastewater treatment. Flood protection is next to nil; two “century” floods hit in 2001 and 2002, destroying 15% of the homes in the county.