Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Trump’s pick of Wilbur Ross for Secretary of Commerce

Trump has been making a lot of loony tweets, which take up the media's attention. Don't know if this is evidence of a disordered mind or a deliberate strategy to distract us from what is going on.

Dec. 7,2016

Trump’s pick of Wilbur Ross for Secretary of Commerce seems to have escaped media scrutiny, but here’s what you need to know about him:

1. Ross has specialized in buying up steel mills, textile mills and coal mines, then getting rid of their unions, slashing wages, dropping health care, reneging on pension obligations, and cutting operating costs down to the bone.

2. Running a coal mine on the cheap has consequences. On Jan. 2, 2006, 12 miners perished at Ross’s Sago Mine. Just a year before the disaster, the Mine Safety Administration of the Department of Labor cited the mine for 208 safety violations, 96 considered “serious and substantial,” including roof falls, improper ventilation, blocked escape passages and piles of combustible materials. Nineteen days before catastrophe struck, a federal inspector cited the company for “a high degree of negligence” for allowing potentially explosive coal dust to accumulate in the mine. After the Jan. 2 underground explosion trapped miners in a smoke-choked shaft, they discovered their emergency air packs were inoperable. (The mine foreman was later indicted for falsifying safety check reports.)

But despite the findings that the mine was unsafe, Ross refused to shut it down. The mine’s executives said Ross had been intimately involved with the company and knew all about its safety problems, but pushed them to show profits (see below).

3. Forbes magazine lists Ross as one of the world's billionaires with a net worth of $2.9 billion.

Trump portrays himself as the voice of working people, including coal miners. Wilbur Ross is the embodiment of greed that has shafted working people, and, not incidentally, murdered coal miners.

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