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You're walking down the street, minding your own business when all of a sudden a well-dressed man in an expensive three-piece suit jumps out of an alley, whips a contract out of his pocket and yells "Give me all your money!"  You're terrified of reading all the legalese and he's got a whole pack of lawyers and bankers and bought off government officials in his entourage, so you fork over all your cash and promise to make a monthly payment.

The well-dressed man in the three-piece suit starts to walk away and you think to yourself, "Hey, wait a minute!  I just got robbed!"  Angry, you storm after him, tap him on the shoulder and yell, "Hey, I just lost all my money!"

But this is when the well-dressed man in the three-piece suit shows his true criminal genius.  "You're right!" he says, throwing you off guard.  You hadn't expected him to agree with you and validate your anger.  And he says it with such enthusiasm and charisma, and here is this very wealthy man who seems to identify with you on an emotional level.  It feels good.  "I can't believe all that you've lost!  You've made sacrifices!  You're down on your luck!  That's not fair at all!"

"Yeah!" you say.  "It's not fair!"

"You would still have all your money if it weren't for that guy across the street!" says the well-dressed man in the three-piece suit.  "I wouldn't have been forced to take all of your money if it weren't for that guy over there who still has all his money!"  He points out a middle-class type in a blue jeans and a t-shirt.  "Why that guy can still afford to have dinner tonight!  Hell, he might even be able to catch a movie afterward.  And he might even take a vacation day tomorrow because he will have a few bucks left over!"

"That bastard!" you exclaim.  "Man that guy has it good.  I really hate that guy.  He should have to have no money and a monthly fee to pay just like me!"

"Damn right!" yells the well-dressed man in the three-piece suit, making you feel all vindicated and warm and fuzzy inside.  "Now march over there and take that guy's money and give it to me!  Then we'll all be even!"

"Yeah!" you yell back in affirmation, looking for a baseball bat so you can go give that no-good uppity guy in the blue jeans and a t-shirt some what for.

Later, after you hand over the t-shirt guy's money to the well-dressed man in a three-piece suit, he gives you a shiny nickel.  "Here," he says magnanimously, "You've earned it."  Wow, you think as you walk home with your shiny nickel.  The American dream is alive and well.  Anyone really can make it in this world with just a little hard work.

*********

It's hard to believe, isn't it?  Could anyone really be this stupid?  And while this imaginary scenario is admittedly an exaggeration, we're seeing something very much like this sad story play out across our country right before our eyes.  There are lots of ways to pull off this bait and switch.  You can pit white against black against brown.  You can pit Christian against Muslim.  You can pit secular against religious.  You can pit "native" against foreign (all the while shipping jobs overseas).  Now it seems you can pit private sector versus public sector.

How did this happen?  When did become okay to bash labor and unions in the very region of the country where the labor movement was born and grew and flexed its muscles?  How do you bash labor (and win elections!) in states populated by steel workers and auto workers and mine workers and teamsters and get away with it?

I can't claim to have all the answers.  But I want to look closely at the state in which I grew up and in which I have lived for about two-thirds of my time on this earth.  I want to look at West Virginia.  When you understand why Democrats are struggling here, you'll understand why Democrats struggle across the battlegrounds of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic.

This turned out to be a very long diary.  The topic headings divide it into roughly four parts so you can read in chunks if you like.  I apologize for the length, and I don't claim to be able to tell you all the reasons why the story like the one I just told can happen.  But we've got to try to figure it out.

What's the Matter with West Virginia?

Thomas Frank already wrote the book on Kansas.  But I think that my own home state of West Virginia has an even more interesting story to tell.  Kansas did have a radically progressive past at times, but Kansas was already voting Republican in presidential elections in 1940.  Kansas voted against FDR.  Twice!

West Virginia, on the other hand, voted Democratic in all but three presidential elections between 1932 and 1996.  The only times West Virginia went Republican were in absolute blow-out years--1984, 1972, and 1956.  But aside from voting for every Democratic candidate that won the presidency, West Virginia also voted with several losing Democrats.  West Virginia voted for Adlai Stevenson in '52, Hubert Humphrey in '68, Jimmy Carter in '80 and Mike Dukakis in '88.

The thought of George W. Bush winning here in West Virginia in 2000 was almost inconceivable to most political operatives on the Democratic side at the time.  Al Gore didn't even bother to campaign here until the last weekend of the election, when late polls showed that the inconceivable (I don't think that word means what you think it means!) was in fact about to happen.  And if he had just held onto West Virginia, which had voted Democratic in huge losses in '80 and '88, he wouldn't have ever had to worry about Florida.  Just five more electoral votes would have put him over the top.

So what happened here?  Don't think you can just chalk it up to racism because Obama got shellacked here in 2008.  Obama lost by almost the exact same percentage that John Kerry had lost by just four years earlier (about 13 points).  And you can't just apply Frank Rich's Kansas thesis to the Mountain State either.  Sure, it's a socially conservative state.  But mountaineers clung tenaciously to their guns fifty years ago as much as they do today.  And it's not like the state suddenly went pro-life in 2000.  Roe vs. Wade was unpopular here right from the start and we still voted for Carter, Dukakis and Clinton.  The Republicans have had the "cultural" edge in West Virginia since at least the late 1960's.

So what gives?  Why is it that West Virginia (and to some extent Kentucky) did not join the "solid south" after the Republican party introduced its "southern strategy" in the late 1960s?  And how did the Republicans make gains in this state and region in the time since?  How are Republicans winning in an area where seemingly everyone's fathers and grandfathers were a union men?

I think there are three main sets of reasons.  The first set of reasons has to do with economic and demographic realities that no one can easily change, though Republicans have eagerly seized on these realities while Democrats fumbled the ball until they had lost the state altogether.  The second set are those activities of Republicans, conservatives and others have taken to gain a stranglehold on the news and information that most West Virginians receive.  Finally, I'll talk about what Democrats have foolishly done to convince working people that NO ONE represents their interests so they might as well vote their cultural values anyway!

Economic and Demographic Realities

I've got four words for you: coal, education, age and race.

The first is maybe the most important, and perhaps the single biggest wedge that Republicans have been able to drive between Democrats and West Virginia voters.  The same story plays out in the coal mining areas of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, southern Indiana and other states in this region.  Republicans have successfully crafted and capitalized on a simple message: "Democrats are out to kill coal."  I've written more extensively on this issue recently, so I won't belabor the point here.  All I'll say is that in the year 2000, Rove moved eagerly and early to define Al Gore as the green tree-hugger candidate who was going to put every West Virginia coal miner out of work.  This message continues to this day.  They use ad campaigns about being "friends of coal" to try and put coal miners on the same side as the industry bosses who have shown little concern for their well-being, health and even physical safety (especially in non-union mines).

Second there is the education problem and the related problem of a rapidly aging (and shrinking) population.  Because the economy has been so bad in West Virginia for so long, we have the unfortunate problem that most people either leave to get their college education or, now that we're actually making some great strides to provide college education to our young people, finding there's no professional work here after graduation and leaving then.  Whether or not someone has a college education was one of the strongest predictors of whether someone would vote for Obama or McCain in 2008.  Fewer West Virginians earn college degrees than in other states, and of those who do earn them, fewer and fewer are able to stay in the state.  Less education means a shift toward the right.  It also means an older population, which means a shift to the right.  These are on mostly social issues, though, and as I said before, West Virginia has been socially conservative for a long time.

And yes, race does play a role.  Right around 95% of West Virginians are white.  No, we are not all racists.  I think this did play a role in Obama's not doing BETTER than John Kerry, even when he did so in most other states.  But it does not explain why Democrats in general are doing poorly.  We've lost three presidential elections here and now for the first time in...I don't even know how long, two of our three representatives are Republican (and one of our senators might as well be).

Media Manipulation: National, Local, Corporate

A less well-educated population is ripe for the kinds of media that make their living off the "low-information" voter.  Fox News, with its emotionally salient while factually lacking broadcasts, is the kind of media that "feels" right on a "gut level" here.  Glenn Beck, I would argue, is the perfect example.  He has no idea what is going on in the world.  His theories are insane.  But his tone and his body language FEEL right, even to me.  Live here for awhile.  It really does feel like the whole world is falling apart (drive through downtown Wheeling, see the ruined factories and boarded up storefronts and empty lots and you'll know what it will look like after the zombie apocalypse) and that no one is really standing up for us or doing anything about it.  Of course, the ones really out to get us are the top 1% who already have everything, but I digress.

The right has done a great job with connecting with West Virginians and with workers across this country on an emotional level.  Like the well-dressed man in the three-piece suit at the beginning of my diary today, they make you feel like they identify with you.  They are culturally like you.  They feel your pain.

And they do a hell of a job co-opting the good feelings you already have to other groups.  One way that they have successfully done this is by taking almost complete control of local newspapers and TV stations in the region.  Only the Charleston Gazette could be described as even center-left.  My own hometown paper runs editorial content no a constant basis about Obama's "war on coal," the "spending crisis," and the liberals who are out to destroy God and guns.  I wrote previously about how one ridiculous commentary responded to the shooting of Rep. Giffords in Arizona by saying we should consider banning the Koran.

Just this weekend, the editorial mocked Move On's Defend the Dream rallies and said that working people know it's really the liberals and out of control spending that is destroying the American dream.  One of the letters to the editor, from a man across the river in Ohio, showed just how effective the constant local messaging or a national talking point can be.  Here, in what I always considered to be the very heart of union country, you can hear something I've been hearing from more and more people in the Ohio Valley:

Collective bargaining is a well-earned right by the private sector labor force that too often suffered from abusive employers. Public sector union bosses now blatantly abuse the process that they did not earn and they certainly do not deserve. Public employee union bosses have made collective bargaining a facade of our time. Their abuse of collective bargaining is extortion of the taxpayer.

There you have it.  Private vs. public.  Worker vs. worker.  The constant media messaging is working.  But why?

People in smaller communities (and even big cities, for that matter) have an affinity for everything local.  Buy local.  Shop local.  Trust local.  These aren't even bad ideas, necessarily.  For a long time, most local papers in smaller markets were truly locally owned and operated.  They represented the people in the communities they worked for.  People are much more likely to trust what they read in their "local" paper than what they read in the New York Times or what they see on MSNBC.  Many local papers and TV stations built up goodwill over decades of truly decent local journalism by truly decent journalists.  The right has co-opted the goodwill most people feel for these "local" institutions by buying them up and going national.

Take for instance Ogden Newspapers.  This a chain that has its flagship paper, The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, right here in my hometown.  Local paper, right?  Small town.  Good guys.

Except they now own small town "local" papers in twelve different states.  This isn't necessarily an evil thing.  But the content in national news and in the opinion sections is virtually identical from state to state and from town to town.  Here is the link to all the papers that they own.  Follow a few and see for yourself just how similar the language, the framing, the narrative and even the page layout is on nearly every single one of these sites.  Apparently, everyone from Topeka, Kansas to Wheeling, West Virginia to Ft. Wayne, Indiana and even all the way out in Hawaii has the same concerns.  And it's always "big government" and "out of control spending" and the liberal war on this, that, or something else.

That's the right-wing strategy.  Co-opt institutions that people already feel goodwill toward.  Same with the corporate "friends of coal" strategy.  People love coal miners.  I love coal miners.  We all do.  So get a slogan about "friends of coal" and put up pictures of miners and then say anyone who opposes the mine industry is an "enemy of coal" (i.e. coal miners) and...got it?  Buy up all the "local" media that people trust and that they mistakenly think is an independent voice standing up to those big bad elitist liberals in the big cities and hammer home the same message day after day after day.  It works.

Forget MSNBC.  No one who isn't already liberal "trusts" what they see on MSNBC.  We need to get local. We need to get on the ground and reach people where they are.  The right is killing us at this game.

Corporate Democrats

This last piece is maybe the most important, as it is the most amenable to change.  Maybe not by 2012, but we have got to change it or we are going to keep on getting creamed.  Or, we will win on occasion but the win won't matter all that much.  

Socially conservative, high-school educated West Virginians were still voting their economic interests through 1996.  West Virginians are not stupid.  They might hate abortion and want to pray in school and enjoy going hunting on the weekend, but they know that all of those things pale in comparison to being able to make a living and provide for your family.  Workers all across this country, deep down, probably feel the same way.  But they no longer feel like Democrats are particularly interested in their economic problems.

Jimmy Carter ordered striking coal miners back to work.  Bill Clinton signed NAFTA and pushed for "free trade" across the board.  Barack Obama helped the Republicans create a budget crisis by compromising on tax cuts for the wealthy and our Democratic Congress passed a healthcare bill, that while it made progress, mandated that individual Americans have to buy private health insurance.  No universal healthcare.  Not even a public option.

National Democrats have not had a consistently pro-labor, pro-union, economically populist agenda in a very long time.  National Democrats have bent over backwards to please corporate interests.  Democrats caved on tax cuts for the wealthy while they refused to fight for a continuance of the Making Work Pay tax credit.  That means that any individual making less than $20,000 and any family making less than $40,000 actually saw a tax INCREASE at the beginning of the year.

Rachel Maddow was livid a few weeks ago about how liberal Americans are on many of these economic issues--from taxing the rich to supporting collective bargaining rights.  We ARE an economically liberal country.  But more and more Americans feel like there is not an economically liberal political party.  In the minds of many working people, the Republicans are openly trying to fuck you over economically.  But at least they're honest about it.  The Democrats give you lip service and then get elected and don't do much of anything for you.  Sure, that's a little better than getting fucked over, but it's nothing to get too excited about.  

Working West Virginians no longer feel like national Democrats are actually going to do much of anything FOR them.  So why not vote for someone who will talk about God once in awhile?

I know that there ARE significant economic accomplishments that have been made by Democrats on behalf of working people during the Clinton and Obama administrations.  I would never argue that the two parties are the SAME.  But the one area where Democrats have a chance to bring together large majorities of the American people in the areas of the country that are battleground states, states that we must win in order to hold Congressional majorities and to win presidential elections is on economically populist issues.  

We have ceded the populist wave of anger to the Republicans.  We refused to stand up and get mad and fight on behalf of working people who were screwed over by Wall Street.  We never prosecuted or punished the people who collapsed the economy.  We gave them billions of dollars instead.  We backed down on the stimulus and settled for a bill that was mostly tax cuts for businesses and was short on the kind of national works program we needed.  We backed down on health care and on the Bush tax policies.  Is it any wonder that liberally minded working people were less eager to go out and vote Democratic in 2010?

I'm sorry that this has been such a long diary.  Let me summarize it as best I can.

I wanted to analyze the ways in which the corporate interests and their right-wing allies have been able to divide the middle-class against itself.  I focused on my own home state of West Virginia not only because I know it best but because given it's 20th-century voting history, it's so very odd to see Republican victories here.  You can't do too much about demographic changes.  Some parts of the country are getting older (most of the northeast and midwest) and that's generally good for Republicans.  We may not be able to ultimately resolve the tension between environmental concerns and the fact that coal mining remains one of the few "good-paying" jobs in a place like West Virginia.

We can, however, make sure we are prepared to promote Democratic values and tailor our Democratic message to those realities.  We LET the GOP pound home the message that "liberals" are out to "destroy coal" and against hard working coal miners.

In fact, in most of rural and small town America, we've allowed the GOP to get a stranglehold on "local" media and control the message on economic as well as social issues.  We have to fight back.  We need to expose the fact that people are getting their "local" news from national right-wing organizations like Ogden papers.  We have to work hard to win the war of words and find the right narrative frames that will emotionally connect policies that most people support with their own individual concerns.

Finally, we need Democrats who are true economic populists.  Even if we DO compromise in the end, we should at least state our own preferred position loudly and clearly at the start.  We should have vigorously defended a public option.  Hell, we should have started out with "universal health insurance" and then compromised TO a public option.  The working people of America, the first time voters in 2008, the people who voted for hope and change need to know that Democrats are fighting FOR them.  It's not enough to just not be against them.  That doesn't get anyone out to the polls.

They've taken away collective bargaining in Wisconsin and Ohio.  They want to sell off whole communities in Michigan.  They're cutting education in Pennsylvania.  The West Virginia legislature failed to pass adequate regulations for the gas drilling of the Marcellus Shale that's already underway.  Congress wants to pass "drastic cuts" to social programs that wouldn't be needed if we hadn't caved in on the tax cuts.

Class war is already upon us.  It's time for some aggressive Middle-class Defense.

*Cross-posted at West Virginia Blue

Originally posted to greywolfe359 on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 06:07 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, German American Friendship Group, and Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (173+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Azazello, Navy Vet Terp, sricki, slatsg, ferallike, dsb, Geenius at Wrok, XOVER, nhox42, emal, bgblcklab1, Dirtandiron, mr crabby, histopresto, jlms qkw, hkorens, wvmom, erratic, jts327, zinger99, zett, laurak, chimene, assyrian64, pensivelady, plankbob, DWG, Dixiedemocrat, blue jersey mom, Dave in RI, OleHippieChick, GAladybug, Words In Action, Haplogroup V, Fabian, Jersey Girl, murrayewv, Emerson, blonde moment, Kimball Cross, Hillbilly Dem, publicv, BlueInARedState, Shockwave, rosabw, Otteray Scribe, JohnInWestland, msmacgyver, manoffire, wv voice of reason, Anne was here, zhimbo, allie123, dalfireplug, Cassandra77, HoundDog, Dunvegan, rk2, litoralis, chipmo, smeesq, Snud, DianeNYS, rogereaton, glattonfolly, aisling, pengiep, elengul, bekosiluvu, TomP, sodalis, PBen, boatwright, mconvente, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, Eddie L, merrinc, Jackson L Haveck, Sychotic1, Shadowmage36, OHknighty, wader, VirginiaBlue, platypus60, roses, dirtfarmer, fiddlingnero, zerelda, NBBooks, face, Statusquomustgo, Liberal Mole, FrY10cK, MNGrandma, orson, dmhlt 66, squarewheel, OhioNatureMom, legendmn, Mr X, HeyMikey, Alan Arizona, tonyahky, millwood, Uberbah, No one gets out alive, cslewis, bnasley, gchaucer2, Pinto Pony, roadbear, greengemini, maybeeso in michigan, Brooke In Seattle, milkbone, MartyM, mightymouse, Sylv, bluehen96, vets74, TexDemAtty, zmom, emilymac, opinionated, SCFrog, TomFromNJ, kevin k, ThAnswr, joe shikspack, echo still, congenitalefty, TrueBlueMajority, TBug, brainyblond, LouisMartin, LSmith, va dare, Xapulin, An Affirming Flame, netop, djohnutk, Only Needs a Beat, lineatus, LS Dem, petestern, prfb, newshound, MadGeorgiaDem, carolanne, oblios arrow, Karl Rover, PinHole, luvmykona, admiralh, mungley, decisivemoment, JanetT in MD, GRLionsFan, where4art, Ivan, OldGrammy, Ian Reifowitz, Odysseus, Inoljt, sand805, K S LaVida, Fossil, CA coastsider, JVolvo, emilysdad, Renee, terabytes, TexDem

    "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

    by greywolfe359 on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 06:07:49 PM PDT

    •  Some problems. (44+ / 0-)

      I think your analysis is excellent.  Thanks.

      Problems:

      First, the problem of the media narrative.  Since the repeal of equal time by Reagan, the media has slipped into unbalanced coverage.  This has allowed America's hard news I saw in the days of Walter Cronkite slip into the talking head entertainment news best exemplified by FOX News.

      I realize you're talking about local newspapers, but let's face it: It is the right-wing media moguls, like Rupert Murdoch, who own the so-called 'local' media.  There really is no 'local' media anymore, just as you suggest.

      Short of serious regulation of the news industry, I do not believe America's media problem can be repaired.  Correct regulation could solve the problem, but what candidate is up to task?  I'm not even sure Obama would  identify the print media as a "problem," which, of course, is a huge problem just as you say.

      The only "back-door" amelioration I can see is based on "freedom".  Aljazeera and BBC do provide real news (like America used to get in the olden days).  But Aljazeera, for example, is not available in any cable packages.  Continual requests of the cable providers might get some to offer "foreign news" into the lineup, which would at least begin to provide these "hard news" choices for Americans.  Right now, though, we are locked into entertainment news, which is to say, no news at all (with the exception of blonde-haired girls that go missing).

      Second, finding progressive candidates.  Wow.  This is an issue.  I thought we had a progressive when Obama ran.  While Obama's a significantly better President than the grumpy man would have been, Obama's economic policies are Republican-style corporatism, virtually all the way.  His stimulus plan was Democratic in spirit, yet Obama consciously chose to miscalculate the extent of stimulus required while simultaneously lardering the bill with tax cuts that were, and are, so obviously unaffordable.  Then we lost Feingold in Wisconsin.  Gore won't run.  Neither will Dean.  So I don't know.  Hillary may be next, as far as I can tell, and I have real questions about whether she will re-form American economic policy.

      There's a deeper problem than just President.  The nation is going to have to elect a legislature that can pass the required legislation.  With oil prices rising again, a second economic downturn is inevitable; however, Obama is President.  Will the Democrats take the fall-out this time when the economy crumbles this fall?  Probably.

      Unfortunately, I am beginning to think America will have to enter a new Great Depression before a neo-FDR again emerges.  I hope this is view is incorrect because there is much work to be done if we are going to create a sustainable society before that window of opportunity closes once and for all.

      To a Democrat, "democracy" means "free elections." To a Republican, "free markets."

      by XOVER on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:14:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Very thoughtful response, thank you. (23+ / 0-)

        There used to be alternative press in this country.  I realize that there are still left-leaning magazines out there, but those are almost all national operations.  There are great local-ish websites with bloggers, but those are mostly read by people already on a particular "side."  I think there must be a way to break up the right-wing media empire via competition.  Isn't there?  Even if it starts on just public access TV or something?

        I know that the Air America experiment hasn't been that great.  Or at least not wildly successful.   Is there anyone out there trying to do this on radio, in print or on TV?

        I'm not sure what to do about candidates, either.  Manchin was the best we had for the special Senate election.  Mollohan, who really voted progressively as time went on, got primaried from the RIGHT this year by Mike Oliverio.

        It's hard to think of national candidates, either.  I hate to suggest "new party" but where else can one find real economic populists?

        "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

        by greywolfe359 on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:36:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Messaging (18+ / 0-)

        The other problem is that liberals don't know how to use the media and develop effective messaging. As early as the 1970s the conservative movement began establishing their networks of think tanks, lobbying firms, direct mail organization, media firms, and other organization that influenced the agenda. The left has yet to do that.

      •  This time we won't be so lucky (5+ / 0-)

        This time we will almost certainly get what Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal got when the world economy tanked. And there's no one left to save us from ourselves.

        If it's
        Not your body
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        AND it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 11:05:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This response is wrong from top to bottom. (18+ / 0-)

        And this kind of thinking goes a long way toward explaining why workers have lost faith in "progressive" thinking.

        The author of the diary has very astutely pointed out this "trait" of West Virginians:

        People in smaller communities (and even big cities, for that matter) have an affinity for everything local.  Buy local.  Shop local.  Trust local.

        I'd say that in this Age of Liars, that's a very smart coping strategy, but we can all agree that when it comes to media, they are effectively being deceived about what is local.  What's your solution?

        Short of serious regulation of the news industry, I do not believe America's media problem can be repaired.

        And you make a specific proposal to require cable providers to include Al Jazeera and BBC in their line-up.  Do you hear what you're saying?  WTF "local" is there about Al Jazeera or the BBC?  The former has good stuff, I'll agree: interviews of people with sense like Zinn and Hedges and Klein.  But they're not a source of news about local WV issues, nor will they feel local to West Virginians.

        And in line with that absurdly top-down kind of thinking, you then expound on the "messiah" theory of politics:

        The diary's author did focus on actions by Democratic Presidents that alienated West Virginia workers.  The gods know there were plenty of examples.  But then you come up with this:

        Unfortunately, I am beginning to think America will have to enter a new Great Depression before a neo-FDR again emerges.

        So West Virginians are screwed until Romulus emerges from the woods?

        Astonishingly, neither you nor the diary's author mention one bottom up organization that had just a little bit to do with West Virginia being such a reliable part of the New Deal coalition.  Maybe I missed it somehow, but I even tried checking for "United" and "UMW" and came up blank.  And before you start treating John L. Lewis as the great white man who single-handedly converted West Virginian coal miners to CIO-ism, remember that coal miners had been trying to organize themselves into UMW locals since the 1890s.  Matewan had already taken place in 1920.  West Virginians knew all about fighting for their rights as workers, and they knew better than most who their enemies were.

        There is a reason that Rush and Glen rail against the "elites" on the coasts that want to dictate to the salt of the earth in heartland.  There's enough truth in the charge, especially to coal miners who hear precious little concern about their jobs and future, to heighten West Virginians' skepticism toward the national Democratic Party and even union Internationals based in DC.

        Workers around the country, from the West Virginia miners to the Wisconsin teachers to the undocumented workers in the hotels and fields of California, don't need more top-down regulation of their lives or great leaders.  They need support in their struggles, struggles that they pick and whose goals they determine and whose tactics they choose.  If we looked hard enough, I'll bet there are West Virginians ready and able to provide local news to their neighbors, but they might need a little support to get started.  It would be a better use of money than collecting yet more donations for media buys for politicians who go to Washington and vote the corporate interest time and again.

        Progressives must get out of the habit of seeing a problem and wanting to dictate a solution from above.  They must quit thinking that the cure for everything will be brewed n Washington.  If you want to understand why West Virginians and Kansans have so little use for progressive ideas, that's a good place to start.

        •  Amen (8+ / 0-)

          I did mention that this was union country and that was why it's so strange that the GOP is gaining so much traction here despite being anti-union.  Sadly, fewer and fewer West Virginians are IN unions.  We mine more coal than ever before but there are fewer coal miners.  Steel is just about gone.

          Those unions did more than just get people to sign up and bargain for some rights.  They taught people to empower themselves, organize and get things done.

          There's no messiah coming.  The WI-14 have done a nice job, but it's the masses of PEOPLE who are making a difference.  Too many progressives thought we would work hard for a few months and elect Obama and a Dem Congress and they would then just usher in all the change we wanted and the world would live happily ever after.  

          Now we know that's not the case.  We have to do this ourselves.  I think it was JFK who said that in a democracy "We the people are the boss and we will get the kind of leadership we demand and deserve."  If you're not out there demanding better and fighting for it, you're going to get, well...what we've got.

          "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

          by greywolfe359 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:12:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I don't see how anyone could argue with the main (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greywolfe359, goinsouth, nipit

          points you make in your comment.

          Yet, as a resident of the WV hinterland, let me say that I think it's a plus to simply have exposure to non-monolithic points of media view here. Even if it IS BBC or Al Jazeera. I suspect the World Wide web internet connections in libraries were a revelation to more than a few people around here in recent times.

          The Fox-ification of the national media is obvious. Then we have a "local" daily paper here slightly to the right of Francisco Franco, a station of American Family Hate Radio, and TV stations that make Hearst look dignified and objective.

          Any alternative that allows exposure to the greater outside world is good. None should be scorned. It might not work for the current generation, but it may save their kids.

          •  My local paper gets the right-wing talking pts (0+ / 0-)

            After Obama was elected, the headlines were so doomsday that you would have thought it was 2012.  I wrote to the editors for over a year pointing out their bias. I finally got a defensive reaction when I asked them to simply compare their headlines to other newspaper around the state. They have toned down their headlines, but I don't take credit for it. I imagine other people complained, and like most newspapers they are struggling to keep subscribers.

      •  Reagan and Bush41 vetoed "Fairness Doctrine." (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kevin k, Karl Rover, JVolvo

        In a 1987 case, Meredith Corp. v. FCC, the courts declared that the doctrine was not mandated by Congress and the FCC did not have to continue to enforce it.

        The FCC erased the doctrine in August, 1987.

        Congress passed Fairness Doctrine twice and had this vetoed both times.

        If the Democrats get a supermajority again, this ought to go top of the pile. But not likely. Same for limiting concentration of ownership of media outlets.

        That's incompetent politics....... the usual.

        Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

        by vets74 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:04:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  De verdad es una buena idea? (0+ / 0-)

        Under Equal Time legislation, Minutemen could ask for equal time on the radio stations where the DJ's organize immigration demonstrations.

      •  For many of us, America IS in a new Great (0+ / 0-)

        Depression.

        Check out all the people who've been out of work for more than 6 months -- a year -- two years.

        I went to work a week ago after being unemployed for 15 months, and and 24 of the prior 27.

        Check out all the middle American towns with "Space Available" as the dominant retailer, or realtors who wouldn't have any work to do if they weren't moving foreclosed properties -- assuming borrowers can manage to get a mortgage.

        The current economy is only a recession to those lucky enough to be thwacked by it. Those caught in its cross hairs have been absolutely trampled.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 05:34:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Part of the answer to this question: (7+ / 0-)
      How did this happen?  When did become okay to bash labor and unions in the very region of the country where the labor movement was born and grew and flexed its muscles?  How do you bash labor (and win elections!) in states populated by steel workers and auto workers and mine workers and teamsters and get away with it?

      Fairness doctrine gone in the Reagan era and no media regulation to ensure citizens are well informed on the issues that affect them? The rise of talk radio and debasement of news media? The human impulse toward superstition, fundamentalism, and demagoguery?

      All of the above?

    •  Great diary! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greywolfe359

      but Thomas Frank wrote "What's the matter with Kansas" - not Frank Rich.

      If the GOP did ONE thing to help the average worker, Unions would donate to THEM.

      by MartyM on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 08:41:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  TARP was the kiss of death (22+ / 0-)

    I have deep roots in WV myself, going back a couple of hundred years, and agree with all that you say, particulary about the working class feeling betrayed by the Democratic Party.  
    I do feel strongly though, that it was the Democratic support of TARP which killed what was left of the party.  The Dems let themselves get suckered into voting for a bill that they should have regarded as toxic.  The Dems went like lambs to the slaughter and left the gate open for the Republicans  to play populist and take advantage of all that Tea Party anger.  To this day, I believe that had the Dems backed away from TARP, the Republicans would have HAD to vote for it - their bankster buddies would have made sure of it.

  •  Here is the other problem with liberals (23+ / 0-)

    and why states like WV have turned against the Democratic Party. I would venture to guess that, if you were to speak with average WV voters, many of them would equate the current Democratic Party as being "elitist".

    What they resent is the "voting against their own interests" theme that I see posted here. They would express resentment over that because they don't want someone else telling them what their interests should be. They don't want to be lectured by people who, through virtue of their education, know what's best for them.

    •  This is also true. (20+ / 0-)

      The Obama "they cling to God and guns" comment was played up BIG TIME in this area.

      One of the things I wanted to say in my last category of reasons was that working people DO know what is in their economic interest.  But they don't hear much support on that coming from national Democrats.  They tend to hear diatribes about how backward, racist, homophobic, and uneducated they are.  Of course, the local right-wing media is happy to play up anything that sounds even remotely like that over and over again.

      "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

      by greywolfe359 on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 09:14:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well (22+ / 0-)
        They tend to hear diatribes about how backward, racist, homophobic, and uneducated they are.

        The other problem is that they don't like being talked down to. They don't want to be lectured about what they need or what's best for them from well-intentioned liberals with advanced degrees.

      •  Excellent Diary, many thanks... (11+ / 0-)

        I live in Randolph County and the Intermountain is our Odgen owned "local paper".

        As I've said many times, I joined the online comments board several months ago and am now the 'liberal' presence.  I do have one ally who apparently almost gave up going it alone. There are two regulars who are Fox schooled and often become abusive, and two newcomer Baggers last weekend who gave up after a 'debate' re "liberal media bias".

        There isn't as much participation online as I had expected, but I do believe the comments are read by many.

        I'm a transplant (1988) from Connecticut, and despite the major cultural change, I like living here and have put down roots.  

        I agree with all of your points, greywolfe, and also believe that the people of WV really do believe that they have been ignored and treated like stereotypes rather than as the hard working, self educated people that I know and like.

        May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. George Carlin

        by msmacgyver on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 06:09:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  When I think of how strong labor was (7+ / 0-)

          during my teenage years in West "by God" Virginia in the 1960s and 1970s, I shake my head.  Hard to believe what has happened over the last 30 years.

          The Republican motto: "There's been a lot of progress in this country over the last 75 years, and we've been against all of it."

          by Hillbilly Dem on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 06:39:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Just a guess but I'd say Blankenship and (5+ / 0-)

            Massey made it very undesirable to join a union.

            He's retired and Massey has been acquired by another company, but I doubt much will change.

            The idea has been firmly planted that it is the EPA and big government which is creating problems for coal when in fact, the coal isn't going anywhere and it is the corporations which should not be getting subsidies and tax breaks as incentives to continue dangerous and environmentally destructive practices.

            Manchin has been touring and if he doesn't soon switch over to the republican party, he won't have any Dems left who will support him.

            May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. George Carlin

            by msmacgyver on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 07:10:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I was commenting at intelligencer for awhile (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          msmacgyver, PinHole, Kiamichi

          It just got so hard to keep up.  There's three or four right-wing nut regulars and you can't have a conversation with them at all.  A few "allies" here and there, but it feels like shouting at a wall.

          I should go back and try again, I really should.  If only a few people here a reasonable argument, it might make a difference.

          "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

          by greywolfe359 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:21:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I didn't join the comments board with the (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            greywolfe359, PinHole, JVolvo

            idea that I'd have actual conversations but to counter the craziness with facts, which as we all know are inconvenient suggestions to most of this crowd.

            It's easy to find a relevant quote or excerpt from a source other-than-the-liberal-media and provide the source. Just cut-and-paste and edit because of the 1,000 character limit...not always that easy.

            I did have a pretty productive conversation with a moderate crazy about the repeal of DADT and on the issue of the outspoken Arizona sheriff.

            I do think it matters, really.  People do read the comments even if they don't post.

            Again, terrific Diary, thanks.

            May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. George Carlin

            by msmacgyver on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:34:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  HA! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              msmacgyver

              That's what I thought.  However, The Intelligencer's board blocks any web addresses.  It will just show the first part and then block the rest.  I suppose they say it's to block porn or viruses or whatever.  But seriously, an internet forum in the 21st century that doesn't allow links?  You have to type it in code like "Go to www dot and then a dailykos plus dot and com" or something like that to pass the filter.

              Talk about controlling the narrative!

              "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

              by greywolfe359 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:47:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yep, same here about posting links so (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                greywolfe359, PinHole

                I get around that like this: WashPost-1/1/11- "...excerpt text..."

                You can do the code thing but unless you've got some obsessive types, they won't bother to go to the site.

                Yes, there is a lot of control going on with this newspaper chain, probably not unlike most of the others, but it is still a public forum and some of the Baggers go way over the line and aren't censored.

                Me, I just stick to the facts and hope that some sink in to anyone reading the comments.  

                May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. George Carlin

                by msmacgyver on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:57:39 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  some of those commenters are probably paid. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            msmacgyver

            Some comment boards just seem flooded with insanity.

            I saw this:
            http://www.democracynow.org/...

          •  I have finally found an argument that seems to (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            msmacgyver

            resonate in rural Oklahoma.  When you tell them that the rich are getting richer and point out what percent of the wealth of the nation they own they do listen and agree that it is not right.  They don't like liberals, or Massachusetts, or San Francisco, and particulary "tree-hugging" lilberals from these areas, but they don't like the super rich or large corporations much either.  The reason they don't like liberals is because they think liberals look down on them.  In a way they do.  And because they think that liberals care more about snail-darters than about people.  They also wax long and loud about "liberals destroying logging on the West Coast because of the spotted-owl".  Liberals claim they are not reality based, and they claim liberals are not reality based.  They are, however, beneath it all, basically economic liberals.

            •  Thanks to the GOP governors, I think (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Kiamichi

              your point is going to be even easier to prove.

              Maybe the Walker name isn't well known right now or the protests in Wisconsin but it is out there and easy to talk about.  The governor extended tax breaks to corporations then went after the public union members to offset the loss in revenue.  

              Same is true with the rest of the govs who are competing for corporate business.  Big incentives for corporations to come to the state or stay which creates a mega revenue loss which they call a 'crisis'.  Then cut spending for public employees, schools, etc.

              And, somewhere in there, regular people start to see an increase in their taxes.

               

              May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. George Carlin

              by msmacgyver on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 01:15:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Actually, they do know about the protests in (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                msmacgyver

                Wisconsin.  This is the sort of news that could hurt the Republicans here.   Boy, our Senators and Governor are really some pieces of work!!!!  But our state legislators are way to the right of Genghis Khan.

                •  Snyder in Michigan is another grandstanding (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Kiamichi

                  GOPer with a taste of power...

                  http://blogs.forbes.com/...

                  Michigan Governor Plays Fast and Loose with Democracy, Invokes Radical New Powers

                  Perhaps lost in the Wisconsin shuffle is the story of what exactly is happening in Michigan. Newly elected Republican governor, Rick Snyder, is set to pass one of the most sweeping, anti-democratic pieces of legislation in the country – and almost no one is talking about it.

                  Snyder’s law gives the state government the power not only to break up unions, but to dissolve entire local governments and place appointed “Emergency Managers” in their stead. But that’s not all – whole cities could be eliminated if Emergency Managers and the governor choose to do so. And Snyder can fire elected officials unilaterally, without any input from voters. It doesn’t get much more anti-Democratic than that.

                  Except it does. The governor simply has to declare a financial emergency to invoke these powers – or he can hire a private company to declare financial emergency and take over oversight of the city. That’s right, a private corporation can declare your city in a state of financial emergency and send in its Emergency Manager, fire your elected officials, and reap the benefits of the ensuing state contracts.

                  May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. George Carlin

                  by msmacgyver on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 02:11:11 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  All 4 of my grandparents were born in WV (9+ / 0-)

      Their families had been in the Kanawha Valley since long before the Civil War, so I have roots in the state and distant family there, as well.
      I agree that there is a real antipathy in WV to the elitest Democrats and liberal media that tells them they are ignorant and backward. There is much distaste for Democrats because they are seen as weak and ineffective against big, strong, rich, white male Republicans.  They see Democrats as a party led by females and minorities with whom they do not identify, and most importantly, lacking in a willingness to throw elbows and get dirty when it comes to political brawling-IOW, a bunch of pussies. If the face of the Democrats was more like Alan Grayson, or even Michael Moore, they would be taken more seriously in WV.

      •  WV went big for Hillary and so (0+ / 0-)
        They see Democrats as a party led by females and minorities with whom they do not identify,

        The fact that Hillary was so popular in WV and KY proves the merits of this diary. As much as people want to make it about race or gender--it IS about jobs and the economy. People in WV and KY recognized that things were pretty good for them when Clinton was president. Republicans also had a harder time painting them as elitists when they lived in Arkansas and not SF or MA.

      •  Natalie Tenant leads in the race for governor (0+ / 0-)
    •  Some liberals are anti-worker (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brae70, JVolvo

      I am really NOT trying to be inflammatory.  I also am pretty well sure that I can't find the words that will not be taken as an attack by some.  Apologies in advance. This subject is probably best talked about over beers or coffees with trusted friends, but I'll try it here:

      Many liberals in my area are well-educated and well-off.  I live in a town I share with an Ivy league school.  There is no shortage of awareness on things ranging from Darfur to arts funding to reproductive rights.  A fair number of bumper stickers supporting marriage equality and condemning the Iraq War.  A fair number of these same people complain about corrupt unions filled with lazy public employees.  I have been to dinner with folks that will champion the cause of providing free healthcare to poor moms in the city but will demand that cops and firefighters shouldn't have better coverage than the private sector.  I have heard from more than a couple self-proclaimed liberals that unions were a good thing 'in the past'.  These are the liberals that support charter schools (because, like our President declares, they are an example of 'innovation').  

      So, what's the relation to dems losing support in parts of our country?  Because, economically, they aren't doing anything dramatically different from Repubs.  A bit more here, or less there.  Maybe a slightly different path to some new, global marketplace that does not have a whole lotta room for people that make things in this country.  So, if there isn't a great difference on that level, the dems are left to compete on cultural hot button social issues.  

      It is this area that comfort level becomes paramount when two sides are vying for the hearts, minds, money, and votes of people.  I think that many liberals have a certain level of discomfort with working people, angry people, religious people, and gun-owning people.  Now, I know that this can be seen as stereotypical and anecdotal, but I do think there is some justification in the perception of liberals as being 'out-of-touch-with-the-American-worker' elitists.

    •  Which interests? (0+ / 0-)

      "A fair wage to everyone" is pretty damned basic.  That's not "elitist" in any dictionary sense of the word, only in twisted Republican doublespeak.

      The question is why can Republicans lie bald faced and get away with it?  How does this kind of lie manage to take root?

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 12:20:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Spot on! (36+ / 0-)

    Your observations about West Virginia easily translate to Western NC.  

    The Democratic Party is absolutely CLUELESS about winning the votes of white working class voters.  

    We have allowed the party to become identified with a bi-coastal, leftist elite and have completely ceded the battlefield to the Republicans across the South.

    When the Democrats........the DEMOCRATS........are voting for NAFTA, TARP and and the extension of the tax cuts the working class in the South says, "Well, might as well vote Republican.  At least THEY don't want to take my guns!".

  •  Trying to figure out (13+ / 0-)

    what's the matter with Texas. I know it sounds funny to people now, but Texas was not always this backward. Between Bush Jr., Perry and Co., we're headed back to the Dark Ages.

  •  Democrats have waning appeal (10+ / 0-)

    here in Texas. Among the people I work with, Democrats are regarded as arrogant, snotty types who think they're better than everyone else.
    I think there is some truth to that characterization. But that perception is only one of many problem for the Democratic Party here.

    •  That's the problem (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

        Even you have been convinced that "Democrats are regarded as arrogant, snotty types who think they're better than everyone else.". If I were to say that Texans are backward hicks, I would be accused of using a gross generalization and pigeon-holing people. Yet, you think there's some truth to the characterization of Democrats. At least one-third of Americans considers themselves to be Democrats, how many of them do you actually know?
         

      •  Well, I certainly don't know the one-third (0+ / 0-)

        who consider themselves to be Democrats. But in this thread we are trying to figure out just what is the matter with Kansas or Texas or West Virginia. You can be hypersensitive about my analysis or you can try and figure out why people continue to vote against their own interests and well-being.

  •  You Are Fighting A "Volkish" Movement (19+ / 0-)

    A propaganda driven fake-populist "spiritual" movement.

    It's all in Mein Kampf.

  •  Maybe I'm taking too much hope (18+ / 0-)

    from it, but I am taking hope from the fact that about 1000 people showed up in Charleston for the "solidarity with Wisconsin" pro-labor rally this past weekend.

    I figured my state had been so "Foxified" that a turnout of 100 would have been good.  

    However, greywolfe359, I think you did a great job of describing WV.  I was born and raised here and have lived most of my 47 years here and I think you got it right.

    As for how to counteract the "local" newspapers - maybe people with the truth are just going to have to hand out pamphlets made on the computer at home.

    pr0n for progressives


    I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it.

    by zett on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:34:44 PM PDT

    •  Randolph County here and I joined the (8+ / 0-)

      online comments board of the local Ogden owned paper.  Granted, I'm pretty much on my own as a self-described liberal, but I'm actually doing fairly well. I don't usually accept labels, but in this case, no point in putting a fine point on this issue.

      Despite the fact that "liberals" are defined by the RW extremists in the usual Limbaugh/Fox style, I'm coming across as a reasonable human being and have yet to respond in kind.

      May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. George Carlin

      by msmacgyver on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 05:54:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is how you do it (8+ / 0-)

        When people hear real liberals talking about real liberal ideas, we don't sound anything like the strawmen the right likes to put up.

        If you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much stupid costs

        by Sychotic1 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 06:57:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  On the other hand, (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sychotic1, greywolfe359, kevin k, JVolvo

          "they" sound just like the stereotype RW extremist/Bagger who gets all news and info from Fox, Limbaugh and the rest of their media icons.

          I don't think many of those who are so vocal now had even the slightest interest in politics or issues before Obama was sworn in.  

          Some might have watched Fox, possibly because it is so accessible on cable and some might have listened to Limbaugh, et al, for the usual reasons; but, now they are experts and political pundits spouting RW fear/hate mongering, gibberish and conspiracy theories.

          May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. George Carlin

          by msmacgyver on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 07:48:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I watched Fox turn my (now) Ex-Husband (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            msmacgyver, kevin k, PinHole, zett, JVolvo

            from a politically neutral person into a person who says shit like, "both sides are the same," "Both sides are corrupt," and "honey, buy more emergency supplies because terra is coming for us!"

            He bought all the shit about having to invade Iraq and it pretty much drove us apart.

            If you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much stupid costs

            by Sychotic1 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 08:53:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I've got my share of broken relationships, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sychotic1, PinHole

              too...some because of RW religion and others because of RW politics both of which are available 24/7 on cable.

              Despite my self-imposed ban on talking about politics and religion pre-Bush, the last decade has undermined that pledge and made me an impatient and often contemptuous conversationalist.

              Did you really have emergency supplies?

              May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. George Carlin

              by msmacgyver on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:25:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, we had 2 weeks worth of water for four people (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                msmacgyver, JVolvo

                in jugs as well as various containers in the fridge and I kept a month supply of dried and canned foods for four people AND we had two backpacks in the trunk of the car with three day supplies of food and water.

                Don't get me started on the crossbow...

                If you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much stupid costs

                by Sychotic1 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:27:05 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  OMG... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sychotic1, JVolvo

                  That water supply must have taken up way too much space and even though I'd really like to ask about the crossbow, I'll restrain myself.

                  This sounds very scary and you're lucky to be out of the marriage, IMO.  I'm sure it's taken you some time to put your head back together again.

                  I had a friend who is an obsessive collector/hoarder whose life had not yet fallen apart because of it.  She is a lovely person with a big heart but the collecting and keeping kept her in a whole 'nother space than where I live.

                  May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. George Carlin

                  by msmacgyver on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:45:21 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  We had wall to wall shelves in the Garage (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    PinHole, JVolvo

                    There was much water out there and a pantry full of dried and canned goods, honey, dried milk, powdered eggs.  After the divorce my son and I really got to like the taste of that Mountain House Beef Stroganoff....just add hot water.

                    If you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much stupid costs

                    by Sychotic1 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 10:47:18 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  This is standard recommendation for earthquake (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JVolvo

                  country here in Calif. Well, except the crossbow.

      •  You are tougher and more patient (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greywolfe359

        than I am.  Nothing drives me up the wall like willful ignorance.

        I got an email about the so-called ground zero mosque "joking" about bar-b-q'ing pigs and running hookers in front of it, and even though my best friend of over 25 years was in the email headers I hit reply all and said

        There's already a strip club next to "ground zero" you god damned ignorant pig fucking morons. Shove it up your fucking goddam ass.

        I'm not afraid of Muslims.  I believe in the Freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment.  

        If you don't, move somewhere else you damn stupid un-American fucks.

        Of course, that was me being off my anti-depressants for weeks on end.  When I'm on my meds I keep my temper in check much better.

        Still, I don't think that e-mail deserved any better, really.

        pr0n for progressives


        I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it.

        by zett on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 01:17:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks to Japan (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rosabw, Dunvegan, OhioNatureMom

    Coal is now the supreme emperor of West Virginia. Democrats must now bow before it and kiss it if they are to win WV for the near future. Let Manchin shoot all the guns he wants.

    PRIMARY PRESIDENT OBAMA in 2012.

    by SBoswell on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 01:53:38 AM PDT

  •  Thanks. People need to take to the street. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rosabw, OhioNatureMom

    Dream, that's the thing to do (Johnny Mercer)

    by plankbob on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 02:45:50 AM PDT

  •  Cant help it.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SLKRR, greywolfe359, FishBiscuit

    Simpsons, the Hans Sprungfeld reveal. He breaks into a white house window and shouts to Washington :"Give me all your money!" which results in a scuffle that sees the wooden teeth get put to active use.

    Then of course his wife comes in "I found the stars, but couldnt find any of the yellow moons or green clovers." "Fine..Ill take it, but im not paying for it."

    Random humor sometimes helps take the edge off when things seem abysmally sucky.

    "It was the best of times, it was the BLURST of times?!"

    by kamrom on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 04:01:15 AM PDT

  •  One point above all... (6+ / 0-)
    But they no longer feel like Democrats are particularly interested in their economic problems.

    Odd phrasing that seems to embrace a theme that you explicitly deny:

    People are stupid.

    Maybe the don't "feel" that way so much as believe it based on the evidence.

    How many times over the last two years has some Democrat say that they  were going to focus on "jobs, jobs, jobs" as soon as (name the next thing that happen first) but never got around to it?

    How much time do Democrats talk about being friends of earth and reducing greenhouse gases compared to serious discussions about how people -- like those will make a good living.

    Oh wait -- I take that one back.  After all, somebody always says, "Sure, there'll be green jobs. Trust me."

    How many times to Democrats seem to call them a bunch of stupid racists this and thats, whether it's DKers explicitly doing so or the candidate Obama talking about people clinging to their religion and guns?

    The Republicans have been better tuned in, but they're not exactly Einsteins. Democrats have made the job too easy.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 04:10:16 AM PDT

    •  NPR did a piece on Youngstown OH (15+ / 0-)

      on Morning Edition.

      Youngstown was once an industrial steel city.  No longer.  The 2010 census showed a huge population loss in the former industrial Ohio cities.  Youngstown lost 18% in ten years.

      The reason?  Jobs.  Ohio has been needing jobs.  Michigan has needed jobs.  West Virginia needs jobs.

      All the wonnerful positive uplifting speeches don't equal Jobs.  The people in these states know that.  The politicians come and go, but the jobs still aren't being created.  These are states that are LOSING population, so it's not a matter of creating more jobs to stay ahead of an ever increasing population.  It's a matter of losing jobs at a slower rate than you lose workers.

      Depressing, but true.

      So if you wonder What'sWrong with any of these states, wonder no longer.  The voters know what they need.  They tell the politicians.  The politicians don't deliver.    What do you expect will happen?

      Plus - the politicians have a highly insulting habit of taking WV for granted and rarely campaign there, nor do they invest many resources there.   Treating WV as invisible doesn't seem like a positive PR strategy to me.

      Show me the POLICY!

      by Fabian on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 04:56:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Youngstown heroes. (4+ / 0-)

        Here's a nice piece by Chris Hedges about a couple of Youngstown heroes who have devoted decades of their lives to helping people of that region.  They're not politicians.  They're not celebrities.  Typical of them, they've directed that they be buried among the "paupers" at the prison graveyard in Youngstown.

        Staughton Lynd could have built an enviable career as an academic but for his conscience. His conscience led him as a young undergraduate disgusted by the elitism around him to drop out of Harvard, and tortured him when he returned to finish his degree. It plagued him after he received his doctorate from Columbia and saw him head to the segregated South to join his friend Howard Zinn in teaching history at the historically black Spelman College. It propelled him to become the director of Freedom Schools in the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964. It prodded him a year later to chair the first march against the Vietnam War in Washington, D.C., and join Tom Hayden and Herbert Aptheker on a trip to Hanoi.

        The administration at Yale University, where Staughton taught after leaving Spelman because of conflicts with the college president over his and Zinn’s activism, was not amused. Yale dismissed him as a professor. Five other universities, which had offered Staughton teaching positions, abruptly rescinded their offers. He had become a pariah. No university would hire him, although his book “Intellectual Origins of American Radicalism” had become a minor classic. Staughton, like all incorrigible rebels, found a new route to defy authority. He put himself, with his wife’s help, through law school, graduated in 1976 and moved to Youngstown, Ohio, to fight the departing steel companies and defend workers tossed out of jobs.

      •  I heard that story too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabian

        and I kept waiting for the happy ending or something uplifting at least, but nothing! Youngstown continues to lose population, despite their efforts. That was the bottom line.

      •  Wheeling from 60k to 30k (0+ / 0-)

        In about fifty years.  That's HALF of our population gone.  I've left and come back twice.  Probably going to have to leave again.

        I certainly can't get a job writing for the local paper...

        "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

        by greywolfe359 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:30:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  People are motivated by feelings (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FishBiscuit, PinHole

      That's true of all people.  Even very reasonable, rational, highly educated people.  Some people are more or less emotional than others, but the fact remains.

      Now, the brain is all inter-connected.  There is not some easy dividing line between "thinking" and "feeling."  I can't explain it all here, but read some stuff by Jonathan Haidt or George Lakoff.  Value decisions are primarily emotional decisions.  I would even argue that there is no way to get value of any kind, least of all moral or political value, through reason alone.  Without the emotional salience of things, you get nothing.

      After all, with zero emotion, what's the difference between hugging someone and punching someone in the face?  Sure, you could string together some long reasoning about people "being like you" and "having rights" and whatever, but if I have zero emotion, why do I even care enough to begin the reasoning process, or why would I feel like I need to think about which is better?  What would "better" even mean?

      "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

      by greywolfe359 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:29:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent points... (8+ / 0-)

    ... One quibble. Frank Rich has undoubtedly written about the subject. He may have used the question "What's the matter with Kansas?" but if so, it was surely in a discussion of Thomas Frank's book of that name.

  •  Another good reason for why I (9+ / 0-)

    follow your diaries.

    Well done.

    I would add another point: we can't afford to continue to lose this battle. We need to get beyond "doing our best", which is essentially leaving it to chance. We need to specifically identify what critical masses of what actions will it take to present the irresistble force that is needed to achieve specific objectives for specific problems, and then organize to develop those masses, take those actions, become the undeniable movement that achieves those objectives and solves the problems.

    Superman isn't coming. Shift the paradigm: force a brokered settlement on the Class War with the current set of politicians. We have but one tool: standing up in ever-increasing, ever more-organized numbers, indefinitely, in D.C.

    by Words In Action on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 04:39:44 AM PDT

    •  Trouble is....... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smeesq

      The Rethugs have a PLANNED strategy and the tactics to go with it.  

      The Democrats are a bunch of toads picking flies off the lapels of the Italian suits all the lobbyists are wearing.

      Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

      by boatwright on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 05:49:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  not true. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        carolanne

        Whats going on with Democrats is the result of the Big Tent. We are an inclusive ideology. As such, we tend to not always agree. Now, compare this to the republicans, who are absolutely 100% okay with lying about what it is they want and care more about causing harm then helping.

        This is why the Fox rambling of "highest ratings" is meaningless -- Of course you have high ratings when you're the Crazy Outlet. All the crazies come there. Compare that to the left, where we have diverse ideologies and thus diverse viewer numbers.

        "It was the best of times, it was the BLURST of times?!"

        by kamrom on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 08:21:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  One of my 'big tent' problems with the Democrats (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PinHole

          is that they seem to be selective in what types of evidence based policy they support just like the Rethugs.

          Try claiming there is no such thing as the 'pay gap' around here. Progressives are perfectly able to identify the greed of corporations but refuse to see that if these same corporations could in fact get equal work and save 28% on their labor costs men wouldn't have jobs.

          They were practically throwing parades around here when DADT was repealed. But where's the group to correct or abolish Selective Service?

          Frankly I don't find either party particularly welcoming to a straight, two job, white guy like myself. The Rethugs want to act like my compassion makes me weak and bring religion into everything and the Democrats are always calling me a sexist, racist, homophobe.  

      •  This is the "herding donkeys" problem (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PinHole

        I think I may actually write about this today.  There was  a great study by, of all places, an internet dating site about this problem.  As the other commenter to your post here said, we have a "big tent" and we are intellectually very independent.  We don't like the idea of repeating the same damn thing over and over and over as everyone else is doing.  The very idea makes my skin crawl.

        "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

        by greywolfe359 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:33:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Up is down and right is left. n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rosabw, Dunvegan, Hillbilly Dem

    God is good. If it isn't good. It isn't God.

    by publicv on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 05:10:52 AM PDT

  •  Beholder Syndrome (9+ / 0-)

    You forgot one big part: Turning Christian against Christian. My family is from Ireland. Theres a reason they left, and its why i chuckle whenever i hear the idea of a "christian nation": They never say WHICH denomination. This leads to my theorem "Beholder Syndrome" taken from the D&D monster.

    Basically, what happens is you and people like you get together to wipe out those who are most different, this process continuing on less different but still different others. Once all the others have been taken care of though, the beholders go absolutely crazy.

    You see, they're Xenophobes and insane. They view themselves as the perfect representation of their creator deity. So anyone who looks different is clearly a wrong thing...But thats sensible in a way. it makes sense to us at least.

    But then it goes overboard once there are no more others, as the beholders start noticing that the ones who look most like them are actually the BIGGEST insults of all, because they are DIRECTLY mocking the perfection that a beholder believes it possess. Each one thinks it is the only true manifestation, and that all others are insults to their deity.

    So they turn on each other with more bloodlust than they did with any of the outsiders, who were simply unworthy, not abominations as other beholders are.

    Thus is the inevitable result of a "Christian Nation:" Someone may come along and say "No, its a CATHOLIC nation" and anotehr guy goes and says "No, Its a protestant nation, and get the hell out."

    What happens after that begins is very much predictable. Remember this when anyone speaks of the US as a christian nation: ask them which denomination and watch the fun.

    "It was the best of times, it was the BLURST of times?!"

    by kamrom on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 05:20:11 AM PDT

    •  I was once doing a presentation at a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LS Dem

      local Protestant church, on world religions or something like that.  I had mentioned that there were 2 billion Christians (give or take) in the world at the time, including around 1 billion Catholics.

      One of the little old ladies looks up and says, "So there's really only ONE billion CHRISTIANS, then?"

      Since I was raised Catholic (and still sometimes am) myself, I had to try very hard to remain polite.

      "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

      by greywolfe359 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:36:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When you stress that we must be heard, (8+ / 0-)

    must loudly stake out clear economic populist positions, my first question is how.  How can we do this when our enemies own the press that used to serve us?  

    I find plenty of writers and politicians who speak out forcefully and clearly. That's fine until I talk to anyone around me IRL, when I realize that they haven't even heard of the people who inspire me.  Or, if they do recognize the name, it is because they have been spoon fed some smear, some lie about it, so now their minds are firmly closed against it.

    We need our own network of real local voices to elbow out the clandestinely corporately owned local press.  

    Also, tell me again why Howard Dean was elbowed out of the picture after his 50-state strategy worked so very well.  If anyone can tell me who pushed Dean out, I can tell you who we will need to protect ourselves against if we start reaching out locally.

    "Hostage smiles on Presidents. Freedom scribbled on the subway." - Joni Mitchell

    by treesrock on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 05:22:12 AM PDT

  •  People trend conservatism when under pressure (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, brae70, Hillbilly Dem

    I think the answer is alot simpler than you think.  People trend toward conservatism when they think there is something to cling to.  Once it's clear that they are screwed, you'll have a rebellion against conservatism.  Those periods of time are short and must be taken advantage of.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 05:28:31 AM PDT

  •  Kiss your future goodbye (14+ / 0-)

    I live in an area not unlike WV.  Northern Michigan is mostly rural, mostly white, mostly not well-off, and mostly Republican.  My county miraculously went for Obama in 2008, and then did an 180 and voted in the odious Republican oligarch Rick Snyder in 2010.

    A couple of weeks ago I moved my once treasured, and nicely framed "Hope" poster.  I remember my pride and excitement when it was given to me at our local campaign headquarters. I couldn't stand looking at it any longer, so it's now turned against the wall in an unused back bedroom.

    Barring a miraculous epiphany, Barack Obama is and will continue to be be a failure.  For him, apparently, power is all about getting people to "like" him. His consistent pattern of not seizing the day, of dithering, of appointing the likes of Rick Warren, Timothy Geithner, and Larry Summers to positions of influence is what it is.  He has turned away from those who first supported him, in the way of the nouveau-rich who would like to forget their working-class cousins.  He has NOT (I am most bitter about this) deigned to visit, or even talk about the struggles now unfolding in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and in other states.  His pattern has been to meet with some college kids and give them the same old empty "inspirational" BS.  Unions? -- forget about it!

    Obama's compulsive approval-seeking and drive to conciliation and perpetual compromise leaves his presidency empty.  Combine this with a corrupt and leaderless Democratic congress, and as I said kiss your future goodbye.  I'm beginning to see the best of the imagined horrible outcomes as a return to nineteenth century gilded-age style democracy (we may be there already); the worst is an outright fascist oligarchy.

    Excellent Huffington Blog on Obama's character from Sharon O'Connell

    Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

    by boatwright on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 05:37:34 AM PDT

    •  What part of the UP (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian

      do you live in? Most of my cousins work in the mines around Ishpeming and vote Republican against their better interests.  I haven't talked to them since Snyder got elected but I suspect they won't be happy when all is said and done.  

      Good luck... My fear of my home state being torn apart just makes me sad and angry.

  •  Your Reply To That Comment About Public Sector (6+ / 0-)

    unions not "earning" collective bargaining rights should be the following "Yes, public sector unions DID earn the right to collectively bargain. Prior to winning collective bargaining rights, public sector employees, especially teachers (who taught your children) lived in poverty. These same public sector workers that you are bashing, suppported your private sector strikes. The public sector unions have absolutely EARNED their collective bargaining rights."

    •  Good point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PinHole

      Here in WV, public employees do NOT have collective bargaining rights.  As I said, that LtE was from across the river in Ohio.  But that's true, those rights haven't been "given" to anyone.  The money interests in this country have fought tooth and nail to deny them every step of the way.

      "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

      by greywolfe359 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:38:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's sad because (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greywolfe359, greengemini, PinHole

    West Virginia will reap what is sows by voting for these evil douche bag Republicans -- who could not care less about them and their well-being. WV is, after all, a relatively poor state and apart from exploiting them, Republicans have no use for the poor.

    I think this diary is spot-on in its analysis and just goes to show we have a lot of work to do.

    It's a very tough job though, overcoming ignorance and the Right Wing Noise Machine. What's sad is they'll probably have to hit rock-bottom before they figure out they've been screwed over, badly.

    This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

    by Snud on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 06:08:08 AM PDT

  •  I keep trying to have hope (11+ / 0-)

    But it is really killing me anymore.  Seriously, it is affecting my emotional, spiritual and physical health.  I honestly can't see anything changing until it gets so far beyond bad that people have no choice but to finally revolt.  

    If I hear one more working class person say the words "union thug" I think I will lose it.  With so much evidence of corporate thuggery to be seen every day.

    What the fuck is wrong with people?

  •  Glad you reposted this here @ Class Warfare (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PinHole

    Its an excellent diary and I was gonna post it here for you if it wasn't already here.

    United we stand - Divided we are all truly screwed. Keep them blaming one another - they'll never notice what's really going on.

    by Cassandra77 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 06:18:02 AM PDT

  •  Thomas Frank and Kansas (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    psnyder, bubbanomics, upstate NY, flygrrl

    Thomas Frank wrote What's the Matter with Kansas. Not Frank Rich.

  •  If You Want a Hint - (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, PinHole

    About why Al Gore lost in WV -
    give a little thought to his position on coal.

    "False consciousness" memes like the exercise at the start of this diary have served over the past century only to alienate the targeted demographic even further.

    Are Republicans in WV masterful liars? You betcha.
    But right now they offer a better economic rationale in a state that continues to struggle while the Democratic positions are profoundly anti-coal.

    Local Dems in WV still win - as shown by Manchin's victory in a Republican tide.  But on the national level, West Virginians are skeptical io a Democratic Party that uses virulently anti-coal language.

    When you call somebody "stupid" - -
    he or she is not likely to vote for you.

  •  Stockholm syndrome (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greywolfe359, draba, PinHole, Odysseus

    seems to describe many West Virginians' relationship to coal.  My family lived in Northfork and surrounding area for 90 years:  their homes, clothes, and lungs coated with coal dust from the trains constantly rumbling by just on the other side of the fence in the backyard.  But no one would ever have thought you could stand up for the right to have clean air and towns and healthy parents that could live to be older than 55.  Italian immigrants - they still felt lucky to live in such a great place.  And even after so much of Northfork was destroyed by strip-mine induced mudslides and flooding.  These maladies are just the price you gladly pay for the opportunity to have an income.  Shouldn't be that way.

    •  Shouldn't and isn't are worlds apart. (0+ / 0-)

      Apple is putting a data center in rural NC.

      What attempts have the local politicians made to diversify their economy?  Where are the jobs that require PHDs?  Do any of these towns offer business parks with telecommuting facilities?

      If coal and corn are all you do, you will stagnate.  You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.  Why does WV not drink from the well of the 21st century?

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 12:34:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cabell County Here (8+ / 0-)

    You hit most of the points that I would make if I was writing your diary.

    First in the 60's and 70's you saw a large amount of gov't jobs and infrastructure jobs related to gov't spending.

    Second you had the unions.  There was a real cohesiveness with the unions at one time, and the democratic party at that time was the big union party.

    Clinton won and he made it a huge priority to say "the middle class" in nearly every speech.

    BUT- with Clinton as you mention came the unholy two.

    Gun Control
    Nafta

    Also Talk Radio and Fox News became more prevalent. So people like salesmen, truck drivers etc got a steady dose of conservatisim driving around and retired people got sort of a conservative friend to set with all day.

    Obamas silence on Wisconsin and after sort of winning some of the states by dissing free trade and now pretty much reversing and being more of a free trader than Clinton was won't help him here.

    His recent gun control article while I think it's OK sure as hell won't help him around here. Why not talk about unions and the middle class?? Why not an article about that.

    Then what you say about education. HUGE brain drain in this state in my 50 plus years here as the economy is tanking.  

    A person with a degree may have to leave the state but a person with a 10th grade education may be able to get a job in mining make 60,000 a year and live in their own home town.

    Our elected leaders in WV keep talking education but they aren't following thru with getting JOBS here that require it. Also their deference to the coal and gas industries often result in communities with "Quality of Life" issues that are not suitable to the type of people who would come in with an information type economy.

    •  The gas drilling is the latest giveaway (4+ / 0-)

      We let out of state companies come in here and take all of our resources on the cheap.  Hell, we even give them tax breaks to do it.  The legislature managed to pass tax breaks for Marcellus Shale drilling but could not come up with a decent regulatory bill.  Boggles my mind.

      The national leadership's silence about WI, MI, OH and so on is heartbreaking.  This is NATIONAL news.  Where the fuck is Obama on this?  I mean hell, even if you're just a party hack this should be upsetting.  Unions are our only large, organized source of funding on the left.  If they are crushed then...I don't need to tell you this.

      "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

      by greywolfe359 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:43:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I TOTALLY hear you. (5+ / 0-)

        OK so we have this potential source of revenue for a poor state. The Marcellius shale.

        Rather than funding outreach to landowners to educate them about leases and how to get the most for their  minerals it seems like the legislature is all about falling all over themselves to give it away with as little benefit as possible to the population.

        The Division of Forestry is like that too. It's all about hooking up landowners with loggers and not that much about driving a hard bargain to get the landowner the best deal for their timber with the least disruption of their property.

        If we didn't have such clueless legislators WV could be like Alaska, where residents get a check for the income from natural resources. Instead we get underfunded schools, crumbling roads from drilling trucks, dead fish and polluted water wells.

      •  We found ourselves (0+ / 0-)

        owning a tiny portion of this we didn't know we had. (Incompetent legal work in the past)

        We sold it, and gave a chunk of the sales to The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, a local organization which is fighting with bigger organizations such as Sierra Club, to hold the Marcellus Shale folks feet to some regulatory fire.

        They are also working on Mt Top Removal Issues and reforestation & conservation issues.

        If you are interested on supporting local folks working to keep WV honest, please support them and at least check their site as a news source.  

        Even $10 - $25. goes a long way.
        ******
        And we are sadly in the same situation as many here - family torn apart by these issues mentioned in this diary.

  •  the whole world has losts it's mind... I can't (4+ / 0-)

    believe some of the shit that's happening.  It's against
    everything we were brought up to believe.  Can't quite
    wrap my head around any of it anymore and might have
    to take a break to preserve my sanity... how in the hell
    did this happen...  

    It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Ansel Adams -6.5 -6.75

    by Statusquomustgo on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 07:42:44 AM PDT

    •  We are taking a break (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Statusquomustgo

      not that we don'[t care about some of these things.  Will keep posting here, voting, occasional LTE, etc.  But in the face of things, cannot continue pointless activity in local politics, etc.

      Now in 60's, and since age 6 (and the McCarthy days) have been a liberal (never knowing it was a dirty word until told so by those in-law folks in WV- 12 yrs ago).  I've marched, skipped high school to march, went to MLK's March on Washington, nearly collapsed at a demo in DC a couple of yrs ago, because I had an undiagnosed case of diabetes; worked on & $$ supported campaigns for 50 yrs, went to the Inauguration of BHO.

      But now we have to take care of our own health and withdraw a bit from the fray.  Was prepared to support Pres Obama, but he has turned out to be a disappointing leader, abt 40% of the time.

  •  Excellent but one tiny error (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wednesday Bizzare, greengemini

    Thanks for posting this piece and particularly for your analysis of the role of media in the turn of the public against their own interests ... however, it's not Frank Rich who wrote What's Wrong With Kansas.  It was Thomas Frank. Small error, but you might want to change it.

    Cheers,
    Bud

  •  coal, coal and coal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian

    liberals and democrats are the people that want to stop coal mining.

    big badda boom : GRB 080913

    by squarewheel on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 07:49:14 AM PDT

  •  It Has *Always* Been Class War (0+ / 0-)

    The  working class had a better deal than usual between WWII and Reagan, but what we see now is business as usual, historically speaking. Heck, we actually have it pretty good from that perspective.

    This is CLASS WAR, and the other side is winning.

    by Mr X on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 08:00:13 AM PDT

  •  Amazing (7+ / 0-)

    how West Virginia can be the "Saudi Arabia of coal" and yet have such rampant poverty, when 50-60% of all of our electricity in this country comes from coal.  Just goes to show how the upper echelon of wealthy owners reap the profits (and subsidies/tax breaks) while the actual miners do the dirty work.

    •  Bribery =EQ= Tax breaks. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PinHole, echo still

      Poor people don't pay bribes.

      Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

      by vets74 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:09:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No surprise (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greywolfe359

         Economies based on natural resources usually have all the benefit of those resources kept at the top. Even when my father and grandfather were working full time in the coal mines they weren't making all that much. We weren't poor, but we weren't middle class either. We lived in coal company housing and shopped at the "company store". The mine owners controlled the whole economy so you know where all the money went. My parents didn't join the middle class until Dad left WV and got a manufacturing job. Finland uses oil revenues to pay for their social programs and Saudi Arabia plows a lot of oil money back into their economy and Alaska gives each citizen some of the oil money, but those are exceptions.

    •  They allow themselves to (0+ / 0-)

      be a Third World Country.  Lack of perspective.

  •  West Virginia has always had this status; (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian

    it dates back centuries. Partly it's the curse of coal (a resource-based economy almost invariably accrues all wealth to a kleptocratic class), partly it's the feudal system that passes for W. VA politics to the present day. Industrialization could have come there in the 19th century, but the barons would have lost some of their control of their serfs, so they kept factories out and wages down.

    •  Curse of Coal (0+ / 0-)

      Really if you look at nearly all states where energy is a dominant force they are some of the poorest least educated areas.

      Although I'm a country person and love living out in the sticks I often think that we should set a limit on how far say coal and gas are shipped.

      That way the factories housing and other income generating things that come from the raw coal or gas would generate income to the residents that have to put up with the side effects of their production.

  •  You'll never get control of the media, (0+ / 0-)

    local, regional or national.  We are being controlled by an aristocracy, and none of them deny it.  There is no reasoned dialog, no gaining control of the media, and no real, meaningful access to political power.

    This situation has occured many times in history and the only successful remedy has been revolution.  I'm not inciting sedition (that's illegal ), only asking you a simple question.  How far do you need to be pushed, shit on and fucked with before you "go postal"??  How far do you think your friends and neighbors need to be pushed before they start shooting banksters, blowing up banks, and rioting in the streets?

    You don't need to be a weatherman to tell which way the wind is blowing....

    "Never let up. Crush bigotry and greed."

    by LouisMartin on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:58:58 AM PDT

    •  Violence is just what they want (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, echo still

      Then they can get rid of every last pretense of playing fair and call in the REAL thugs.

      They fought a revolution in India without violence.  We waged a partial revolution in this country in the South without violence.  In Wisconsin, they are staging a revolution without violence.  Hell, they just did it in Egypt!

      People don't need to be violent.  They just have to refuse to comply with unethical and unjust demands of the system.  In Egypt, the protesters refused to go home.  They refused to obey curfew.  And the soldiers refused to shoot them.

      That's all it takes.  No one has to get physically hurt.

      "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

      by greywolfe359 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 10:04:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just one small point. (0+ / 0-)

        Who do you think those "thugs" are?  They come from the working class.  They know that folks back home are having a rough time.  When Mom and Dad lose their house, do you think the thugs are just going to ignore it?

        Czarist Russia controlled political activity with thugs, so did Iran under the Shah.  And in both of those instances the opposition was mostly unarmed.  Civilians in this country own over two hundred million firearms.

        BTW, if you think the civil rights movement was without violence, you weren't there.  As for India and Egypt, what other choice did they have?  Their side didn't have any weapons.  In Libya there were plenty of guns, and the peaceful protest became violent real quick.

        "Never let up. Crush bigotry and greed."

        by LouisMartin on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 10:33:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, violence was used against protesters (0+ / 0-)

          and I would never argue that people don't have a right to defend themselves when absolutely necessary.  But violent revolutions tend to lead to violent, oppressive regimes that are every bit as bad as the ones they replace.  Take Stalin's Russia and Iran under the ayatollahs, for example.

          "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

          by greywolfe359 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 11:12:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Every revolution is followed (0+ / 0-)

            by a period of violence, no argument.  But all revolutions evolve.  Stalinism is gone, and the Soviet Union no longer exists, but would Imperial Czarist Russia extending into the 21st century be any better?  

            You may think Iran under the ayatollahs is as bad as under the Shah, but I seriously doubt that the majority of Iranians would agree with you.  Remember, more than 1,000,000 Iranians died to defend Iran and the regime of the ayatollahs from the Iraq invasion.

            I've lived and worked in 42 different countries during my 40+ yr career, and I came to the conclusion that America has one of the most provincial and jingoistic news media in the industrialized world.  If we didn't, we would have stopped trying to make every country look and think like Smallville, USA long ago.

            "Never let up. Crush bigotry and greed."

            by LouisMartin on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 01:01:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Don't underestimate the influence of the churches (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, MadGeorgiaDem, PinHole

    The ministers have never stood with the working people.  They are bought off by the wealthy and peddle their "wait for your rewards in the next life."  When the textile industry was moved to the South in the early 20th Century to exploit cheap labor, the ministers were paid to denounce unions and the threat they posed.  The ministers took their bribes and delivered their sermons accordingly.  Still going on.  And what can you expect of a poor state with a Rockefeller for a Senator?

    I used to think that law schools had something to do with justice.

    by djohnutk on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 10:25:40 AM PDT

    •  Actually... Senator Rockefeller may still (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greywolfe359, PinHole

      be the better of our two senators. And I'm saying that as someone who has written him many a non-fan letter, over the years.

      But Smilin' Joe Manchin shows every sign of being altogether unspeakable... a new breed of Tea-Party Dem.

    •  I've written on religion and economics (0+ / 0-)

      quite a bit.  Yes, there are many churches that have sold their souls for mammon.  But the churches should be natural allies in this fight.  Catholic social teaching, Methodist social teaching, and others are great instruments in the fight for economic rights and labor equality.

      "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

      by greywolfe359 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 11:10:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Greywolfe359, I got your point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greywolfe359, Odysseus

    We need to write our own little newsletters, give them out, speak out at local meetings (for example, "meet the congressman" or legislature meetings), be polite, give our own opinions: ie, not "Keith Oberman said" and not attack personally (not the speaker, the other audience members and not Beck, etc).  In other words, communicate with our neighbors as if they were our neighbors.  And don't let the hotheads shut down the discussion.   When you do speak out it is surprising the respect you will receive from people of your own area....and sometimes relief that someone else in your area agrees.

  •  good diary. messaging is key. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greywolfe359

    I dont own a TV or radio station (or newspaper or ...).
    I am free to express my thoughts on websites such as these were people of like mind congregate.  I can start my own threads here.

    Im also free to leave a message in response to a stroy done by my local news and they might print it if they feel like it.

    Im also free to hang a sign around my neck and go out walking.

    but when the competition is playing dog whistle politics and they have muliple media outlets then they have the upper hand.

    Wealthy liberals and progressives should enter th epicture more forecfully.

    people cannot decide or judge fairly when only one side is presented.  and when one side is presented repeatedly, it seeps through all the people who dont even think they are paying attention.

    My mom recently asked me (before the last election) why everyone hated Nancy Pelosi.  she didnt even know who Nancy pelosi was.  She only knew that 'people hate her and maybe there is  a reason'.

    Dog whistle politics uses multiple outlets and its hard to prove that one thing is connected to another.  and thats the point I think.  The news doesnt come right out and say "liberals are evil", thenews does stories about how debt is higherthan its ever been.  They dont explain why debt is higherthan its ever been.  Lately my news has been doing stories about the gasoline tax.  Im sure its a prerequisite for a future hot button issue attack.  thats what dog whistlepolitics is all about.

    Different groups respond to different messages but there seems to be base messages that almost always work.  and I think thats becasue the 'leaders' keep repeating those same messages again and again.

    I can post a comment to a stroy if my local news says something but my voice quickly gets lost.  I think we need an organized effort and I think its going totake people with power and money who actually do care more about people than money.

  •  Liberals are conservative on economics (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greywolfe359, Odysseus, LS Dem

    Let's consider the state of the Democratic Party base.  A crucial part of it — a part that provides large volumes of small to what I would call medium-size donations, does phone banking, attends fundraising receptions, is happy to see their college-age kids drive off to door-knock in neighboring states — is the kind of lakefront liberal in Chicago that was happy to vote for Rahm Emanuel (as opposed to simply voting for him because he is competent and the other candidates were obviously not).  

    This individual, of whom there are millions spread across our major metropolitan areas, is progressive on social issues, likely to be favorably inclined to gay marriage, certainly pro-environment, pro-recycling, skeptical to downright hostile of foreign military escapades and so on, but incredibly tax averse, deeply skeptical of unions, and very small-c conservative on economic issues in general.  

    In other words, on several key issues the urban Democratic liberal is oppositely inclined to the rural Appalachian Democrat.  

    In the end I think converting the urban middle class on economic issues is going to be more important even than converting the rural working class on social issues.  

  •  Passionate and thoughtful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greywolfe359

    An important diary. Well done.

    E Pluribus Unum: Out of many, one.

    by Ian Reifowitz on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 12:12:05 PM PDT

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