Murray Energy's Bob Murray "A Great Boss"?

Well, so said Mitt Romney when he appeared back in August at one of Murray Energy's mines in Beallsville, Ohio.

Of course, Mitt Romney doesn't work for Bob Murray. In fact, all Romney does is collect checks from Murray – and apparently from his employees as well.

This article, which appeared this week in the New Republic, offers evidence that Murray leaned on his salaried employees to donate money — often more than they could comfortably afford — to various rightwing candidates his choice. It suggests that while they were assured these contributions weren't required, their promotions and bonuses seemed to hinge on them.

Hmmm ... why does this sound familiar?

Yes, all those miners who provided the backdrop for Romney's appearance were told by the supervisors that they had better show up — that "attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend," whatever THAT means. And they lost pay as well because the mine shut down during the event.

So whether you work in the mines or the office, as an employee of Murray Energy, you become a coerced agent of Bob Murray's political leanings.

What's really sad is that Murray is one of those guys who, like John Kasich or John Boehner, comes from a background that ought to give him some empathy for working people. He came from three generations of miners and was a miner himself before going to college and rising in the ranks of the industry. But, like Kasich or Boehner, he has developed amnesia and lost his empathy for those he once walked among.

Murray is the owner of the Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah which collapsed, killing nine people, in 2007. His loopy, tone-deaf public appearance following that event showed him in complete denial about the potential causes of the collapse — he tried to blame it on an earthquake. Yet he's dedicated to fighting against any mining safety regulations. He tells workers they need to support Romney for the good of their own jobs; in fact, supporting Romney benefits only him.

Murray is a prodigious giver of fundraisers that employees are expected to attend. He's held them extremist politicians like Louisiana Senator David Vitter, the family-values moralizer famous for patronizing hookers to diaper and spank him, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, perhaps the most far-right fringe member of the U.S. Senate.

Oh, and guess who else he's arm-twisted his employees to donate to? What a big non-surprise:

Murray’s PAC and staffers are the sixth-largest source for Ohio senatorial hopeful Josh Mandel. They’ve given $720,000 to candidates for state office in the past decade.

Yup, Bob Murray owns a big chunk of Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel. No wonder Joshie made that command appearance with Romney in Beallsville, the one where he tried to sound folksie and countryfied. He was dancing to the puppet strings pulled by Murray. And if elected to the U.S. Senate, you can count on him to be faithful water carrier for big mining interests. Joshie may not like to talk about where he stands on issues, but you can tell by looking at where his money comes from.

Go read the article. It depicts a CEO whose treatment of his employees in forcing them to conform to his partisan dictates is intimidating an unfair. It's just one more way that the 1% enforces its power and influence over the rest of us.

"Great boss," Mitt Romney? Why don't you try working for him first? And no clean office job — let's send you down into the mines, OK?

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