Mile Post 370

Mile Post 370
Mile Post 370

Sunday, January 7, 2018

An Unequal Match

Trump is playing 3-D Chess against the totally unarmed “resistance.” 

In this “War of Words,” the left accuses Trump of anything (e.g.  being a racist, being unethical, being a puppet of a foreign government, being a criminal, being mentally unbalanced, being insane, wanting a nuclear war - shall I go on?), only to have the “Master Persuader/Hypnotist” respond with a tweet that “forces” the reader to associate Trump with the antithesis of what the left has accused about him.  This is almost like a Roadrunner Cartoon, where "Wile E. Coyote, Genius," devises a (Rube Goldberg) trap for the Roadrunner, only to have it backfire and entrap him.

In his comedy routine, Bill Engval, says “Women will set you up,” by asking you a question that you can’t answer without self-incrimination, only to “play with you like a cat plays with a wounded mouse.”  Trump doesn’t do that with the leftist resistance:  They challenge him every few days, over mostly trivial things.  Then the genius of Trump goes into action.  The Master Persuader/Hypnotist knows that he can’t win over the true believer/socialist/communist/democrat that worships at the feet of the Clintons, Obama, Al Gore, Elizabeth Warren, Chuck (you) Schumer, Dick Durban, Nancy Pelosi, Debbie (Does Democrats) Wasserman-Schultz, Barbara Boxer, etc..  No, Trump’s audience is the unconvinced voter who voted against Hillary and the Democrat Machine, The Reagan Democrats (mostly white, blue collar workers, who’ve eeked out a living again a College Educated world full of the noblesse obligé, that puts them down as uneducated and undeserving).

So in this instance, when a writer (with a reputation of “bending the facts to suit his own narrative) gets to a former Trump insider, to write a tell-all, to make Trump look bad, Trump is ready with his own literary “missiles,” to destroy the insider and the writer and persuade the wavering, making himself look better (in this case, associating his name with the term VERY STABLE GENIUS).

This is what PERSUASION looks like.  The “True Believers” will never be convinced that Trump is anything other than a RICH, RACIST, BIGOT, UNDESERVING CON MAN, WHO BOUGHT THE PRESIDENCY.  But the unconvinced, who voted against Hillary, are being convinced each and every day, that they made the correct decision.  And those who were unconvinced and did not vote are moving to Trump’s side.

Scott Adams finds Stephen King CAUGHT in Trump’s ‘genius’ trap

It’s kind of amazing how many of those urging Twitter to ban President Trump from tweeting are the same ones who feel obligated to reply to each and every one of his tweets. They could just unfollow, but we suppose they consider it monitoring the enemy’s movements or something.
On Saturday morning, Trump tweeted that his career accomplishments might qualify him as a genius, and of course that tweet managed to preoccupy the media/Democrats and celebrities all day long. Here’s Rep. Ted Lieu:
Human experience tells us that people who are geniuses don't go around saying they are geniuses. Same also applies to people who are very stable.

By the way, @realDonaldTrump also ran for President in 2000. Another day, another series of bizarre tweets & lies from  https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/949619270631256064 
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) 
Writer Stephen King didn’t tag Trump in his tweet saying essentially the same thing as Lieu, but the inspiration is obvious.
Anyone who has to call himself a genius...isn’t.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) 
“Dilbert” creator Scott Adams thinks he caught King in one of Trump’s many Twitter traps.
Who made every one of his critics pair his name with the word “genius” for the next month?  https://twitter.com/stephenking/status/949689460484173824 
— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays)  · Pleasanton, CA
Adams certainly isn’t wrong — it’s all people can talk about, and this is after the mainstream media devoted most of the week to suggesting Trump was mentally unfit to serve after his “nuclear button” tweet.
It’s really is a trap: he tweets, and they’re helpless to ignore it.
Exactly. This is the most entertaining thing ever. https://twitter.com/ScottAdamsSays/status/949700679487995904 
— J.E. Dyer (@OptimisticCon) 
Still laughing they jump every time. 
— catie lord (@tudsgrl) 
Maybe he's just honestly assessing himself https://twitter.com/stephenking/status/949689460484173824 
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) 
Guys who bring massive, positive change can call themselves whatever they care to call themselves, as far as I'm concerned.
— TrumpthePopulist! (@InncentBystndr) 
Yes. It's very clever indeed, and @StephenKing was the first dumb carp to rise to the bait. Thanks, Scott.
— Bill Bradbrooke (@billbradbrooke) 
The master of the one liner ( @ScottAdamsSays ) crushes the long form master ( @StephenKing )... (Hmmm, I sense a trend.)
— Tom Royce (@TomRoyce) 
One of the most fascinating aspects of persuasion is how insanely persuasive people can’t see Trump using it at weapons-grade levels. @ScottAdamsSays https://twitter.com/ScottAdamsSays/status/949700679487995904 
— John G (@John_Gee83) 
The subconscious does not process negation.

We give power to anything we think about regardless of the value we consciously assign it. https://twitter.com/ScottAdamsSays/status/949700679487995904 
— Dr. Manhattan (@UncleDario1) 
Yep … all we’ll be seeing all day, even from the haters, are the words “Trump” and “genius.”
I'd say psyop successful. pic.twitter.com/ksiuIV6Glq
— Chrissy (@Chrissy4963) 
That certainly managed to change the headlines from, “Democrats question if Trump mentally fit to serve.”
Do a Twitter search for the word "genius" being used yesterday.
The do the same search for today.
Then you might get it. @ScottAdamsSays is right!LMAO! https://twitter.com/ScottAdamsSays/status/949700679487995904 
— Barry Cunningham (@barrycunningham) 
Sometimes, the best response is no response, and they will never learn. LOL
— C S (@cjstrow) 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Guest Post: Jeffrey A. Tucker => Be Desperately Grateful For Life Itself

Carpe Diem.  Seize the Day.  Make Every Second Count.  No Wasted Motion.  Living With No Regrets.

That's great advice.  But how do we do that?  In our ever information over-burdened era, the important is often obliterated by the "urgent."  Tyranny of the urgent has become the way we live and the important often suffers to satisfy the urgent.  Here's a guest post by Jeffrey A. Tucker, Director fo the Foundation for Economic Education, celebrating and reminiscing about a friend mentor and influencer, Dr. Ward S. Allen and how the influence provided by Dr. Allen changed his life.

Be Desperately Grateful for Life Itself

This year has been one of the greatest of my life, full of amazing changes that point to a bright future for all the things I care about. This year has also made me most grateful for life itself.
This year has been one of the greatest of my life, full of amazing changes that point to a bright future for all the things I care about. This year has also made me most grateful for life itself. Two dear friends have recently announced potentially life-threatening diseases, and I suffer to think of their turmoil and pain, and pray for their recovery. Both have been enormously valuable people in my life, and their suffering is my suffering.
Also this year, a man who had a profound influence on me – so quiet, so cautious, so tender – passed away, leaving this earth with beautiful memories. I’m still in awe of his love, courtesy, earnestness, and passion for knowing more. His name was Ward S. Allen, author and scholar. He is as present with me today as he ever was when we used to sit together and talk. Only his physical body has lost its life but that’s not what really constitutes the fullness of our lives. His spirit lives on. 
Bourbon for Breakfast
It was Dr. Allen who first served me bourbon with a morning coffee, an act that shocked me with its unconventionality. He was a man of the old world, a scholar in ancient languages, and the perfect gentleman. That he would add bourbon to a morning coffee gave me a window into what it is like to think and act independently. It prompted a big thought: we should not accept the conventions of our time as always right and normal. There are other ways to be, and being free involves being open to new experiences. 
I met him at a time when I felt ready for a new way. I had just moved from the D.C. area and I was ready for something authentic and not political. I met him, and part of me wanted to be just like him. We went on idyllic morning walks, and I felt like I was gaining a window into the best of Old South gentility. I would ask him about his habits. He urged on me a new morning routine. He said that the worst possible way to begin the day is with the news. Instead, the day should begin with walks in nature, readings of poetry, reflections on the writings of the ancients, and deep puzzles involving spirituality and philosophy. 
I tried it for a few days. It didn’t work for me. The whole thing felt contrived. I was restless. Without the news, my mind would constantly drift from deep thoughts into the trivial one: I wonder what’s in the news? After about a week of this, I gave it up. I realized that I could not be this man. I’m different from him. There is not one way. His routine worked for him and mine for me. There is no betrayal of a would-be mentor in declining to adopt every thought and action.
Once I attended a large party in which he was being honored for his lifetime of scholarly achievement. I met many people who had been his students. In so many of them, I could detect just a hint of his influence in the way they spoke, a slight point about demeanor, a bit of a speech affect, their career paths, and so on.
We all do this with people we admire. We take part of them and add it to ourselves, appropriating what we find most inspiring. It’s one of the ways great people achieve immortality on earth, by leaving living memories of their character and ways. 
But what was his single most infectious trait? It was his quiet joy, expressed through his perfect manners and his quick and warm smile. More precisely, it was his habit of eschewing anything that smacked of despair, anything hateful, anything that wallowed in disparagement and complaint. He liked life. Nay, he loved it. It’s amazing how rare that trait turns out to be. His students caught on to it and carried with them that same attitude. 
His demeanor, which seemed so natural and inevitable, made the world more beautiful. It brought calm, carefulness, and courtesy to his corner of the world. He never sought fame. He only wanted to be good. I wonder: how hard had he worked to become that way, or was it just baked in to who he was? He surely had struggles. Why is it that they didn’t show on him and yet mine so eat at me? 
Fear of Mortality
I was not with him in his last days. It had been a long time since I’d seen him. But I can know with confidence that he feared not death. I know he embraced it with love, and I like to think he knew for sure that his was a life well lived, according to his own lights. My father, too, had that kind of death. I want that kind of death too, and yet I fear I’ve not earned it.
Mortality. It terrifies us. So much of what we believe about ourselves is driven by fear of it. Whole sectors of science are devoted to forestalling it. Our religious traditions are shaped by this idea that we can continue to live after what we call death, and we are urged to take the right steps to make it so. Dealing with it makes us ask fundamental questions. Who are we? What is our purpose? How can we do what we do better, as a way of making our lives more meaningful to ourselves and others?
My takeaway from this year might sound like a cliche: be grateful for every minute of your life. It’s the most precious thing of all. Do nothing with deliberation to diminish its quality. Embrace everything that is bright and beautiful around you, and, insofar as it is possible, reject that which is dark, depressing, and despairing. Waste not one day. Hurt no friend. Celebrate every benefactor. Spread goodness. Eschew hatred. Produce and make value, whether big or small. 
Friendship and Benefaction
In particular, I think of the institution of friendship, built on bonds of trust and mutual giving. We should treasure friendship as a delicate fruit and never take it for granted. We should never take risks that would possibly shatter or throw out those investments we’ve made in others and others have made in us. 
The most tragic feature of identity politics is that it seeks to drive wedges between people based not on character or personality but on biology and perceived group identity. This penchant will always collapse into cruelty. To the extent it harms the institution of friendship, it is unleashing evil in this world. 
Our friendships become a stream of spiritual income for us that builds throughout our lives. We draw on them both professionally and personally, and for far longer than we might believe in our youth. In the same way we seek never to waste or destroy our property, we should do the same with our friendships, always striving to appreciate, celebrate, and protect the presence of others in our lives with whom we share a connection. That means developing the maturity to tolerate imperfections, to work through miscommunications, to give without expectation of return, to trust even when the evidence suggests it is a mistake, and to show the kind of love we would like to be shown if our roles were reversed. To practice this kind of empathy requires a conscious rejection of identitarianism as an ideology.
The longer we live, the more we discover the value of friendship. Thirty years ago, I made a friend when I was just beginning on the road to learning, writing, speaking, and finding that thing that would define for me a template for understanding the world. For some reason I can’t quit identify, his lectures at my university touched me so deeply that I decided to make his calling my calling. Today, after all these years, I work for him, FEE president Lawrence Reed. That deep history means everything to me.
I say that I can’t entirely recall why his lectures so shifted the course of my life (and countless others’). But I do recall this much: One of the principles Larry taught me that day is that what we call wealth is bound up with what we choose to value. It’s not really about GDP, balance sheets, and net worth in monetary terms. It’s about finding that which makes us truly happy and having the freedom to make a choice to embrace it. 
Let me close this reflection by noting that one of the people who is faced with a health crisis is another example of a benefactor in my life. I had reached a point where I needed one voice to comfort me, one tender hand to lift me up, one small nudge to say that I’m valuable. He did that, in a quiet way, and gave me that priceless gift: the confidence I need to continue my life journey. There is no repaying that.
We all have limited time here. We know this. Every day is a gift. Let us look to the best examples of those who have come before to be good friends, delightful companions, beautifiers of the world around us, healers insofar as life gives us that chance, and champions of the betterment of the quality of our lives and those of others whom we love, in whatever way we understand that. 
In honor of my friend now deceased, add just a shot of bourbon in there to add unexpected delight. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Guest Post: Surprised by Trump's Popularity in Appalachia? Don't Be.

Today's guest post comes from Joshua Wilkey's "This Appalachian Life" Blog and is Entitled Surprised by Trump's Popularity in Appalachia?  Don't be.  While I am a Trump fan, he wasn't my first choice to be President from the Republicans that ran for Election to hold the job.  But he angers the establishment, both Democrats and Republicans.  That's a good thing, because the Establishment Political Class has not been anything but a hinderance for American Citizens.

I say this because it's obvious that Wilkey doesn't like Trump.  In reading this article, you can see that Wilkey doesn't trust Trump, doesn't care for his crudeness, isn't convinced that he didn't collude with the Russians (note that this post was written on October 18, 2019 - 7 days later, the Washington Post would uncover that the Hillary Clinton Campaign and The Democrat Nation Committe had paid to have the fictional stories of Russian Collusion and "Golden Showers" written and these were passed through the office of Republican  - RINO - Senator John McCain), and tries to tie Trump together with Don Blankenship, a wealthy CEO of Massey Energy that was convicted of conspiracy to violate Federal Law by ignoring safety violations at the company's Upper Big Branch Coal Mine, killing 29 coal Miners in a collapse at that mine.

However, Wilkey hits the nail square stating that "Those who voted for Trump generally do not care what those outside the region think of their political leanings, and they aren’t reading USA Today."  He also notes the disdain of Democrats towards the residents of Appalachia and the coal it produces by its miners.  I believe that this was true for many in America, outside of Appalachia about Barack Obama and an accurate perception of Hillary Clinton.

Above all, Wilkey, who is from western North Carolina, understands the politics of the region and he tries to explain it to those who read his blog.  So without further ado, I'll let him tell the tale.



Surprised by Trump's Popularity in Appalachia? Don't Be.

October 18, 2017

For those of us who study Appalachia's politics, Trumps popularity comes as no surprise.

Appalachia has long existed outside the economic norms of the United States, and often, it exists outside the norms of American politics, too. The result is that it is sometimes difficult for those who are not from the region, or who haven’t studied it carefully, to understand the region’s politics.

Because a full 95% of the counties in Appalachia swung toward Trump in the election, many were shocked when the President’s first budget proposal sought to slash government agencies and programs thought to be vital to the region. The Roanoke Times declared: “Trump backhands Appalachia.” USA Today arguedthat “Trump budget beats down Appalachia.” In my own back yard, the Asheville Citizen-Times was less aggressive: “Trump’s proposed budget has Appalachia worried.”

I understand why people question the seemingly unwavering support of Trump’s candidacy (and now, his presidency), by folks in Appalachia. Plenty of ink has been spilled since November by various writers and journalists attempting to explain the phenomenon. For some, it boils down to a single issue: coal. For others, it is about elitism. Perhaps the most common argument is that supporting Trump is a sort of hail-Mary pass aimed at economic survival or improvement.

There’s truth in all of these arguments, but there are also other forces at play. Many of those who continue to question the logic of Appalachia so heartily supporting Trump live outside the region and lack the historical or cultural context to understand the complex processes that drive Appalachian politics.

In many ways, those who point to elitism as the root of Appalachia’s disdain for Democratic political candidates at the national level are right. In short, Hillary Clinton simply didn’t belong not so much because she’s an outsider (so is Trump) but because she vocally opposed what many in Appalachia view to be the region’s lifeblood. Clinton went so far as to say: “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business” when asked at a debate about the future of fossil fuels. Her answer, and the snark with which she delivered it, played well with her more urban supporters, but it fell flat in Appalachia. Rejecting coal, for many, meant rejecting Appalachian culture. Coal and outsider elitism are bound up as part of the same whole and it is impossible to consider one without considering the other. Combine Clinton’s flippant remarks about coal miners with Trump’s donning of a miner’s hardhat at a campaign rally in West Virginia, and it isn’t difficult to see why many in Appalachia put their chips on Trump’s number.

Those who voted for Trump generally do not care what those outside the region think of their political leanings, and they aren’t reading USA Today. They are, however, posting pictures of train-loads of coal on their Facebook walls, attributing the mining of those tons of coal directly to Trump, and they are sharing social media memes that criticize mainstream media outlets. The consumption and regurgitation of only those talking points that confirm their previously-held beliefs is not a practice unique to Appalachia. It happens all over the US. With Trump, however, many in Appalachia are motivated and perhaps even predisposed to support him by deeply embedded forces.  To properly understand the Trump phenomenon in Appalachia, one must understand the region’s political and economic power structures.

Perhaps more important than any other factor is the reality that Trump came to Appalachia and said, essentially, “I know that you exist and I’m going to help you.” He walked onto a stage in Charleston, West Virginia, in May of 2016, donned a miner’s hardhat, and told the coal miners in attendance that they should get ready to start mining more coal. Politics are often deeply personal in the hills of Appalachia, and the region has so long been ignored by most Americans that it is truly meaningful when a national political candidate not only visits the region but vows his support for their cause. They view every short ton of coal extracted from their region as further proof that Trump cares about them. Never mind that Trump’s proposals are considered by outsiders to be disastrous for the region, or that coal has never been the sort of blessing for the region that coal boosters would have us believe. In Trump, many Appalachian people found an ally who they believed would fight for them.

For many, fighting for them does not mean the same thing as it means to the rest of America. Most people in Appalachia view the notion that those outside the region know what’s best for them as yet another exercise in elitism. In fact, I myself hold this same view. It is offensive and insulting for many of us when those who know nothing about our region’s culture or heritage, apart from perhaps what they’ve seen on reality TV or the in film Deliverance come to our mountains and try to tell us dumb hillbillies what we need. In Trump, Appalachian people found someone who listened to them and what they said they need – namely more coal mining – and pledged his support. While I disagree with the notion that more coal is what Appalachia needs to thrive economically, I cannot fault my neighbors for embracing a leader who took the time to acknowledge and value their own solutions to their problems. Instead, I am heartbroken that so many of my neighbors have yet again been led astray by a political leader preying on their vulnerability for personal and political gain.

For Appalachian people so accustomed to rough and dirty politics, their allegiance to Trump meant that they would support him come what may. They don’t care about his alleged collusion with Russia, nor do they care that he is crude, crass, or short on intellect. Many are encouraged, not disheartened, by actions like the pardoning of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He’s their guy, he says he looks after “his” people, and demonstrates it by doing things like pardoning Arpaio. In Appalachia, that still means something.

For those of us who study politics and power in Appalachia, Trump’s popularity here is no surprise. In Appalachia, there’s a long history of people supporting morally bankrupt and blatantly corrupt leaders. In fact, I would argue, based on my own scholarly work, that central Appalachia is the most politically corrupt place in the United States. Behaviors some of us view with distaste – vote buying, self-enrichment, and egomaniacal self-advancing policies – are just business as usual in Appalachia.

Consider that Appalachia is the region that still overwhelmingly supports villains like Don Blankenship. For those unfamiliar with the name, Blankenship was once the CEO of Massey Energy. He was convicted in 2015 of conspiring to violate federal law by ignoring safety violations at the company’s Upper Big Branch Mine. As a result of Massey’s actions, the court determined, 29 miners died in an explosion that could have been prevented.

In 2009, as many as 100,000 people turned out for a pro-coal rally on Labor Day sponsored by Blankenship and Massey. The rally featured conservative heroes Ted Nugent and Sean Hannity, among others. Clad in an American flag shirt, Blankenship declared that “America’s working families are under attack.” Taxation and regulation, he argued, were the primary enemies of coal miners.

Of course, taxation and regulation are in fact the enemy of the coal barons, but Blankenship was able to successfully tie his own self-interest to that of rank and file coal miners. Despite what many view as behavior antagonistic to the best interest of workers and of the communities in which Massey operated, Blankenship made a rather compelling case that when Massey Energy was successful, so, too, was Appalachia. A rising financial tide for Blankenship’s boat, in short, would be a rising tide for the region, too. So it is with Trump, it seems. Many blue-collar workers in Appalachia have connected their own futures to the success they hope to see Trump achieve.

While many of us view this false correlation as ridiculous at face value, the folks in Appalachia who flocked to Blankenship’s 2009 rally did not view it that way. Blankenship himself boasted that he spent one million dollars to put on the event, and for many in attendance, it was an indication of Blankenship’s deep commitment to his workers and to the region. When one considers Blankenship’s efforts in comparison to Democrats like Clinton and President Obama who were pretty blatant about their disdain for the coal industry, it becomes pretty obvious who many in the region believe they should be supporting.

Mother Jones writer Tim Murphy writes that Blankenship “transformed West Virginia physically and politically.” This is certainly true. He pumped millions of dollars into the coffers of Republican candidates for office. However, he was most certainly not the first coal baron to spend millions to buy political power in the coalfields. In fact, the region’s history is full of corrupt by charismatic politicians who won the hearts and minds of the people even though their interests were largely selfish in nature.

It isn’t just in industry that personalities like Blankenship find success and support. At a local level, politics in central Appalachia are often driven by oversized characters who thrive via a unique flavor of populism. Over and again, people in the region elect local political leaders who are blatantly corrupt and self-serving. What these corrupt local leaders usually share in common is a commitment to local people and an antagonistic approach to outsiders.

Knott County, Kentucky is a prime example of the way corruption is confronted differently in many parts of Appalachia than it is in most of the rest of the US. In 2006, Randy Thompson was appointed as Knott County Judge Executive, and was elected for a full term later that same year. Thompson, a prominent local business and media leader who owned a popular local radio station, was appointed to replace Donnie Newsome who resigned after being convicted of vote-buying. Newsome, it’s worth noting, had run the county from prison for ten months before resigning.

Before Thompson could even complete his first full term in office, he, too, was convicted of vote-buying. In 2008, Thompson was found guilty of designing a scheme through which he was guaranteed political support and votes in exchange for paving private driveways with county materials and equipment. Thompson appealed.

In the meantime, having served his sentence, Newsome had his civil rights restored by the Governor of Kentucky and decided to try once again to become Judge Executive. In 2010, Newsome, previously convicted of vote-buying, briefly ran against Thompson, convicted of the same crime but still awaiting appeal. Newsome was defeated in the primary, but Thompson was reelected by the very voters the court determined he had cheated just a few years before. Thompson continued to serve as Judge Executive until he was forced by a judge to resign his office while serving his prison sentence. It is such a complicated web of corruption and elections that one almost needs a diagram to understand it. 

There exists an extensive and often heartbreaking historical context to explain why Appalachia is different from the rest of the US both politically and economically. Much of the explanation traces back to a history of resource extraction and the takeover of the region by coal companies who bought local politicians and ruled with iron fists. To most outsiders who are unfamiliar with this historical context, Appalachia’s brand of politics is baffling. However, when one considers that felons convicted of vote-buying can be reelected despite their crimes, and that Blankenship, a villain of cartoonish proportions, can attract 100,000 people to a Labor Day rally, it becomes easier to understand why Trump, who has no real operable solutions to the problems faced by most in Appalachia, was able to win in so many of the region’s poorest counties.

The single worst mistake outsiders can make when attempting to interpret the actions of voters in Appalachia is to assume that they are simply too dumb to know any better. This is not the case. It is also not accurate to say that everyone in Appalachia supports Trump or Blankenship or corrupt local officials. It is worth noting that while a majority of voters in 95% of all counties in Appalachia voted for President Trump, that is not the same thing as 95% of Appalachia supporting him. Appalachia has a long history of resistance. However, the region has been so thoroughly defeated in so many ways over the course of multiple generations that those who resist often end up either giving up or moving away. Sometimes, they are defeated over and over until they just stop trying even if they can’t afford to leave.

Appalachia is America’s most neglected region. Despite efforts by the Appalachian Regional Commission and multitudes of federal elected officials, it is still a region in crisis. In many counties, the poverty rate tops thirty percent. In some, it tops forty percent. Those who spend any time in the region realize quickly that the people are in dire need of hope.

In Donald Trump, many in Appalachia found that hope. Because their region has functioned so far askew of American political norms for so long, they are able to overlook Trump’s very evident flaws. After all, generations of corrupt Appalachian politicians have helped their constituents while simultaneously enriching themselves and maintaining power in dubious or illegal ways.

I would argue that many in Appalachia voted for Donald Trump in 2016 for the same reason that they voted for Randy Thompson in 2010. In both cases, they were supporting their guy. When Trump he said, over and over, that he was the only one who could fix the mess, he was echoing generations of Appalachian politicians. It is no wonder so many in Appalachia voted for him.

Until the Democratic Party first acknowledges that Appalachia does indeed exist and then offers the region some sort of tangible hope, those in the hills and hollers of West Virginia and eastern Kentucky will continue to vote for the candidate who puts on a hard hat and says “I recognize that you exist, and I’m going to help you.”

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The KEY INDICATOR of a Culture's Suicidal Tendencies - Part 1

As a “Bonnie Scot” (clan Buchanan on my Father’s side, clan Gordon on my Mother’s side), I’m interested in seeing if my racial and cultural heritage is ready and willing to commit suicide.  The Universal Basic Income is a (if not THE) KEY INDICATOR of that tendency, as it teaches young people NOT TO WORK for money.  It teaches that a basic income is a right.  
 
Once you destroy the work ethos in any people group, its people become a useless liability.  There won't be innovation, nor inventions.And I’m not saying that their won’t be a “remanent” of that heritage that won’t choose to work hard and be productive - there is always a remanent group that chooses to do hard things.  But remnants, by definition are less than the majority of the group.

Just a few years ago, Great Britain allowed Scotland to vote on whether it wants to secede from Great Britain.  For those who wanted to leave (primarily the Scottish National Party or SNP), having the resources to leave Great Britain and having control over those resources was a key point.  (Full disclosure:  Great Britain ran the "Better Together" Campaign, to persuade the Scots to remain in the British Union.  Basically, they said that if Scotland were to secede form Great Britain, that they wouldn't get the great trade with the rest of Europe, because they would not be part of the European Union.  But now that the British voted to leave the European Union, the "Better Together" argument is no longer valid!). Scotland, on the north end of the largest of the British Islands, had colder rainier weather.  The land was rocky and the climate didn't produce great harvests.  But for Scotland, not being blessed with resources that allowed great agricultural resources was always a plus, as it caused great minds to find innovative ways to do new things.  Many great inventions in the world were invented by Scots.  Many people in Britain are worried about life without their Scottish brothers and their natural resources and talents.

Scotland is blessed with Oil Reserves in the North Sea that could provide this universal basic income, IF they aren't declared non accessible by the European Union.

But, to see the future, if Scotland decides to go with a universal basic income, witness the chaos in Black America today.  With a basic Income for the black family in America (welfare - by Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society") guaranteed by the government, there is no need for men.  Because there is no need for men, there are no male role models to show young men how to work hard, show what is acceptable behavior (decorum) and to enforce these unwritten traditions of American society.

And although the Black American societal culture is matriarchical, the lack of men available to mentor boys into men, allows causes them to turn to their base instincts and to run wild.  What we get is an incredible black on black murder rate, a corresponding unemployment rate, an astonishing amount of theft, a tragic rate girls bearing children, without being married (and the fathers taking no responsibility for their off-spring) and an unacceptable lack basic education skills that are generally attained.  If you NEVER have to sacrifice and work for anything, you choose for that need to become a “right.”  

The only people in the welfare group that come out ahead are the criminals and poverty pimps, but I repeat myself.

Universal basic income ‘risks diverting cash to better off’




Joseph Stiglitz, who advises the Scottish government, said it would be better to focus on job creation
Providing all citizens with a universal basic income would risk harming the poorest in society, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and adviser to the SNP government has warned.
Joseph Stiglitz, a member of the Scottish government’s council of economic advisers, said he feared that if the policy were adopted cash would be diverted from the poorest to the better off.
Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to press ahead with plans to explore such a policy, which is commonly understood to mean that welfare payments are replaced with a guaranteed income for everybody, and has offered government funding for research schemes.
Professor Stiglitz, a former chief economist of the World Bank who holds a chair at Columbia University, said it would be better to focus on creating jobs while ensuring the most vulnerable were supported.
He said: “I do worry about two things. One, that there are fiscal constraints and should the scarce money be used to give everyone a basic amount or should it be targeted at those who have particularly strong needs? I think there needs to be some targeting.
“Secondly, over the long run our responsibility as a society is to make sure that everybody who wants a job can get one, and the underlying problems of lack of employment and lack of adequate pay — anybody who works full time ought to have a liveable income — those are the issues in the long run that we need to address.”
Last week Ms Sturgeon said she would press ahead with work to look into the feasibility of the policy, with the government funding research by councils. She has admitted that a basic income “might turn out not to be feasible”, though the policy is popular with left-wing SNP members. She has stressed that work is at an early stage.
Civil servants have warned Ms Sturgeon that she does not have the powers to replace existing benefits with a universal basic income because the UK government still controls most welfare payments. In a briefing, the first minister was also told that the policy would be unpopular with the public and prohibitively expensive, at an estimated £12.3 billion, roughly the same as is spent on the NHS or about a third of the Scottish government’s total budget.
Professor Stiglitz, a left-wing economist who also advises Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party, also backed the transfer of new immigration powers to Holyrood, saying there were “differences in values and in economic needs” between Scotland and the rest of the UK. He said: “It seems to me that it is certainly an appropriate issue to be on the table that Scotland should have the powers to go its own way in migration policy.”
Professor Stiglitz said that he remained sympathetic to Scottish independence, despite his links to Labour, which opposes another referendum, and that he believed Brexit had strengthened the case for leaving the UK. He said: “If the issue were on the table today I would still be sympathetic towards it. The question right now that’s absorbing all the political energies in the UK is Brexit. Typically, societies have the energy to solve only one big problem at a time.”