Why the Donald Trump Presidency is Dangerous

A friend recently pointed out to me that I am irrational about my vehement dislike of the Donald Trump Presidency. I don’t think I’m irrational, but I am afraid. Allow me to explain my reasons,

I can remember presidencies since the John F. Kennedy Presidency beginning in 1960. I have studied many other presidencies. This is the first U.S. Presidency that I can remember or know of where the people who support Trump, his base, take his position on issues whether they believe in that position or not. For example, the issue of family separation that has been happening at the U.S. southern border. Good people who never would have been in favor of any child being taken away from its mother support that Trump policy (which has since been repealed) even though they would never have thought of such a thing before Donald Trump.

Other examples are farmers in the midwest who supported and still support Trump even though he is imposing tariffs affecting their own products and individuals in poverty-stricken in Appalachia supporting Trump even while his policies lean toward reducing benefits such as Medicaid.

Such blind loyalty to a President is a dangerous thing. We can’t just say that Donald Trump is all-knowing and will do the best thing for us. We have to think for ourselves. Once we turn over our free will to a mere man, we are lost. We are lost to our democracy becoming an authoritarian regime and all the corruption that goes with it. We are lost because our votes will no longer count. We are lost because no one man knows what is best for us.

America is lost.

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Coal Mining, Appalachia, and Alternative Industries

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I’ve written several articles on the plight of the Appalachian people and the occupation of coal mining always comes up. Many coal miners cast their vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. They will see no long-term benefit in their chosen occupation. It is a fact that Donald Trump dropped a regulation that stopped coal mine owners from dumping waste water into rivers and streams. It is also a fact that since he became President, a deep mine about 60 miles south of Pittsburgh came online. That mine contains metallurgical coal, not thermal coal and 90 percent of the coal mined in the U.S. is thermal coal. What’s more, this mine, the Acosta mine, was planned in September of 2016, long before Trump’s election. It created about 100 jobs.

Since Donald Trump became President, about 1300 coal mining jobs have been created. Even if he drops coal mining regulation after regulation, it will only stem the tide of the loss of coal mining jobs temporarily. The rise of natural gas as an alternative source of energy has seen to that as has automation.

Donald Trump could do something to help coal miners. He could support retraining of miners and give tax breaks to alternative energy manufacturing corporations if they would locate in coal mining country. Former coal miners need stipends in order to feed their families while they learn new occupations. Firms like wind farms and solar companies could be promised tax breaks if they would locate near where the miners live. Those would be positive things that the President could do for the miners instead of making them empty promises. Alternative energy firms need tax breaks to locate in coal country because geographic access is difficult.

There is one thing that coal miners could do to help themselves. They could relocate. I understand their wish to stay in the place where they are, where their family is. My mother’s family came from Appalachia and I spent 27 years teaching Appalachian young people on a university level. Sometimes, you have to make hard choices and one of them is that you do not sit and starve in place. You learn the lessons of the past when there was an out-migration from Appalachia to find jobs.

Unless the world changes in a way we don’t expect, coal mining is a dying industry. If you are a miner or former miner, don’t die with it. There is something better out there for you.

 

#SoCS – 8/12/2017

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It’s always interesting for me to write a stream of consciousness post. My writing is always so planned that stream of consciousness is hard for me. But, I’m guess I’m going to give it a shot. Let’s see. What’s on my mind this Saturday morning?

I’m a political animal, so the first thing I’m thinking of is the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, VA. I believe in freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. When the assembly is a bunch of neo-Fascists, then I think an exception should be made. Fascists were the downfall of most of Europe during World War II. We don’t dare give an inch when it comes to Fascism in the United States. I would call for the Fascists currently occupying the White House (Steve Bannon) to be fired immediately. If he is not fired, then I would call for the impeachment of our President, Donald J. Trump, who apparently condones Fascism. Steve Bannon is one of his closest advisors. Fascists would not feel free to congregate in our streets without a person like Steve Bannon in the White House. If you have read any of my articles on our current President, you know my feelings about this.

I’ve heard, just now, that the Governor of Virginia has called for a State of Emergency and the Fascist rally has been broken up. I am waiting to see if our President will make a statement. If he doesn’t, then I will know he does indeed condone Fascism.

The other thing on my mind is writing. I won’t be blogging as much as usual over the next few months. I’m working on the “meaty” part of my novel and I have about 60,000 words to write before I leave for Florida at the first of November. I have a lot of other things I have to do on a daily basis besides write. I can usually only grab two or three hours per day.

Have a good week!

#SoCS – 6/10/2017 – US Political System

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I am tired of our political system in the U.S. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not tired of our democracy. I’m not even tired of capitalism. I support both. I am tired of politicians refusing to admit their real positions on issues and what they have really done. I am tired of lies and deceit in politics that are destroying the U.S. political system.

Although I am a news and information junkie, I’ve started tuning out the news as I listen while I work each day. We have no idea what the truth really is. We can’t even believe politicians as they testify under oath because they have no respect for the oath.

There are two things, and two things only, that give me hope. As I’ve listened to the hearings, I have heard just a few young politicians question witnesses. Not the rich, older, white men we are so accustomed to but some new names and faces. New and young politicians from both sides of the aisle. They have seemed sensible and not yet jaded. Perhaps they are our hope for the future?

My second source of hope is the American people. My own opinion is that we got it wrong during the 2016 election. I think I am backed up by the polls since the President only has an approval rate of around 36%. That leaves a huge percentage of the American people dissatisfied. Perhaps in 2020 one of the fresh young faces will run for office. Even if they don’t agree with my point of view, they will be steeped in the ways of government. Perhaps we can reclaim our position in the world and in NATO. Perhaps the checks and balances of our political system, wisely put in place by our forefathers, will work during the next three and a half years and too much damage will not be done. Maybe one of those fresh young faces can re-establish some sense of political sanity and dignity to the U.S. political system and get Russia out of our affairs forever.

Does America Really Vote Against our Own Self-Interests?

 

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In the 2015 Kentucky Governor’s election, some of the results of the voting seemed astounding. For one thing, Kentucky elected a Republican Governor for only the second time in four decades. Most were shocked when Governor Matt Bevin was elected, having fully expected his Democrat foe to prevail as Democrats usually do in the race for the Governorship in this usually red state. The results were even more shocking when officials looked at the county-by-county breakdown of the voting.

Matt Bevin had made his platform clear. He was going to repeal Obamacare in the state. Kentucky has one of the most successful Obamacare programs in the U.S., called Kynect, which has been particularly helpful to some in the poorer Eastern Kentucky counties located in Appalachia. Bevin also planned to considerably roll back Medicaid, the welfare program that so many in this poor state relied on. Yet, in Owsley County, Kentucky, the ninth poorest county in the state, voting results showed that 70.5% of the voters cast their vote for now-Governor Matt Bevin, despite his position on these policies. In Magoffin County, Kentucky, also in the Appalachian region of the state and the eighth poorest county, 54% voted for Bevin.

Did the voters in these two counties vote against their own self-interests when they voted for Matt Bevin for Governor? In Owsley County, 66% of the population is enrolled in Medicaid and 47% in Magoffin County. Yet, they voted for the candidate that stated he was going to dismantle the health insurance part of the program and considerably roll back the welfare benefits. Why?

There are many opinions and varying answers to these questions. On the surface, some say that the average education level of the voters in Eastern Kentucky is low and these low information voters cast a ballot without full knowledge of the candidates’ positions. I personally know that is true in many cases.

There is a second issue which quite possibly trumps the issue of the low-information voter. This issue is not one you hear the talking heads spout on Fox News or any of the news programs. Some people actually vote principle over pocketbook

Eastern Kentucky is in the region we call the Bible Belt. Many people rely on their religious values to determine their actions. The conservative movement has hijacked religion and made it a part of secular politics. They have somehow painted the Democratic party as the Anti-God party though this is blatantly not true. The Democratic party has simply respected the separation of church and state. Many voters have cast votes for candidates who espouse their own religious views even if the very things they promise to do are against their own self-interests.

There are many examples of voting principle over pocketbook. Gun control is another. Until the mid-1970’s, the National Rifle Association (NRA) was a moderate organization supporting moderate gun control laws. Then, it adopted a strict original interpretation of the Second Amendment and bought and paid for many members of Congress. In 1991, in an interview, Chief Justice Warren Burger, who was appointed to the Court by Richard Nixon and was a conservative, accused the NRA of fraud on the American people and said it had far too much influence on the members of Congress. He ended the interview by saying, “and I am a gun man.” Imagine what Burger would think today!

The NRA supports the Republican party and has convinced gun owners that Democrats want to take away their guns, which is foolishness. My family, Democrats as far back as our genealogy can be traced, have been gun owners, though we have felt no need to carry them in holsters on the street. Voters cast votes for candidates who are supported by the NRA because they fear anyone else will somehow take away their guns.

These are only two examples of many. Other issues that fall in the “principle over pocketbook” category are abortion, drugs, affirmative action, racism, and taxes. But those are topics for other blog posts. The Tea Party branch of the Republican party has been particularly effective at encouraging low-information voters to vote principle over pocketbook with Fox News being their media tool.

In our 2016 Presidential election, it will be interesting to watch this phenomenon. Unfortunately, in this writer’s opinion, the presumptive Republican candidate, Donald Trump, has not yet taken definitive positions that allow anyone to make decisions based on their pocketbooks or their principles. #amwriting #writers #blogging #BlogHer