If You Don’t Know Who The Patsy At The Table Is, Dear Trumpkins…

...it’s you:

Again and again, President-elect Donald Trump presented himself as the coal miners’ candidate. During the campaign, he promised to bring coal back into the economy, and jobs back into struggling Appalachian towns.

But now some in coal country are worried that instead of helping, Trump’s first actions will deprive miners — and their widows and children — of the compensation they can receive if they are disabled by respiratory problems linked to breathing coal mine dust.

That’s because buried in the Affordable Care Act are three sentences that made it much easier to access these benefits. If Trump repeals Obamacare — as he vowed to do before the election — and does not keep that section on the books, the miners will be back to where they were in 2009, when it was exceedingly difficult to be awarded compensation for “black lung” disease.

coal_mining_18th_c

This is by no means a done deal, given that at least some coal-country legislators (Joe Manchin, for one) have declared their support for retaining this in whatever comes out of the health care catastrophe the GOP is determined to commit.  But McConnell is, as usual, mum on the matter, and if I were a coal mining family depending on the pittance they do get (top payment for a miner with three dependents: $1,289/month), I’d be getting ready not for hard times — they’re already here — but worse.

[update: obligatory post soundtrack]

The key change the ACA implemented in black lung cases was to shift the burden of proof: instead of a miner having to prove that the work caused the disease, under the new rules,

If a miner has spent 15 years or more underground and can prove respiratory disability, then it is presumed to be black lung related to mine work, unless the company can prove otherwise.

This wasn’t a case of free money all around. As reporter Eric Boodman writes,  “In 2009, 19 percent of claims for black lung benefits were successful; in 2015, that percentage had jumped to 28.” That’s a big jump — but hardly evidence that the black lung compensation process is a wild government grab of beleaguered coal company assets.

Those companies hate the rule, with a spokesman telling Boodman that it’s created “a supplemental pension program” rather than the compensation for occupational disease, which is as fine a bit of high priced turd polishing as I’ve seen in a while.

TL:DR?  Think of this as Mencken’s rule in action:

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

Trump voters in coal country — West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky — were promised their country back.

What will they receive?

The shaft, deeper and darker than any hole miners have dug in the hunt for what will continue to kill them where they stand.

Image: Léonard Defrance, Coal Mining, before 1805.



Late Night Open Thread: The Revanchists’ (Temporary) Revenge

While the more-Leftist-than-thou “progressives” — including their latest high-profile figurehead — are high-fiving each other in happy anticipation of potential public-outrage gigs over the next four years, at least some people are beginning to push back on the BUT WHITE WORKING CLASS HAS ALL THE SADS!!! meme so beloved of Very Serious Pundits. From the NYTimes, Robert P. Jones on “The Rage of White, Christian America“:

Between Barack Obama’s 2008 election and 2016, America has transformed from being a majority white Christian nation (54 percent) to a minority white Christian nation (43 percent).

But on Election Day, paradoxically, this anxious minority swarmed to the polls to elect as president the candidate who promised to “make America great again” and warned that he was its “last chance” to turn back the tide of cultural and economic change…

The choice before the country was starkly clear. Donald J. Trump’s Republican Party looked back wistfully to a monochromatic vision of 1950s America, while the major party fronting the first female presidential candidate celebrated the pluralistic future of 2050, when the Census Bureau first projected the United States would become a majority nonwhite nation.

My organization’s American Values Survey, released a few weeks before the election, found deep divides in the country on this issue. Americans are nearly evenly divided on whether American culture and way of life have changed for worse (51 percent) or better (48 percent) since the 1950s. Roughly two-thirds (66 percent) of Democrats say American culture has generally changed for the better since the 1950s, while roughly two-thirds (68 percent) of Republicans say American society and way of life have changed for the worse…

Message to ‘Tha Heartland’ and all its defenders, honest or (mostly) otherwise: 1963 is over. It is never coming back.

Thoughtful article (which started as a tweetstorm) from Patrick Thornton — “I’m a Coastal Elite From the Midwest: The Real Bubble is Rural America“:

… My home county in Ohio is 97 percent white. It, like a lot of other very unrepresentative counties, went heavily for Donald Trump.

My high school had about 950 students. Two were Asian. One was Hispanic. Zero were Muslim. All the teachers were white. My high school had more convicted sexual predator teachers than minority teachers. That’s a rural American story.

In many of these areas, the only Muslims you see are in movies like “American Sniper.” (I knew zero Muslims before going to college in another state.) You never see gay couples or even interracial ones. Much of rural and exurban American is a time capsule to America’s past.

And on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, they dug it up…
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Rest in Peace, Janet Reno

Per ABC:

Janet Reno, the first woman to serve as U.S. attorney general and the epicenter of several political storms during the Clinton administration, has died. She was 78.

Reno died early Monday from complications of Parkinson’s disease, her goddaughter Gabrielle D’Alemberte said. D’Alemberte said Reno spent her final days at home in Miami surrounded by family and friends.

Reno, a former Miami prosecutor who famously told reporters “I don’t do spin,” served nearly eight years as attorney general under President Bill Clinton, the longest stint in a century.

One of the administration’s most recognizable and polarizing figures, Reno faced criticism early in her tenure for the deadly raid on the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas, where sect leader David Koresh and some 80 followers perished.

She was known for deliberating slowly, publicly and in a typically blunt manner. Reno frequently told the public “the buck stops with me,” borrowing the mantra from President Harry S. Truman…

In the spring of 2000, Reno enraged her hometown’s Cuban-American community when she authorized the armed seizure of 5-year-old Elian. The boy was taken from the Little Havana home of his Miami relatives so he could be returned to his father in Cuba.

After leaving Washington, Reno returned to Florida and made an unsuccessful run for Florida governor in 2002 but lost in a Democratic primary marred by voting problems.

The campaign ended a public career that started amid humble beginnings. Born July 21, 1938, Janet Wood Reno was the daughter of two newspaper reporters and the eldest of four siblings. She grew up on the edge of the Everglades in a cypress and brick homestead built by her mother and returned there after leaving Washington. Her late brother Robert Reno was a longtime columnist for Newsday on Long Island.

After graduating from Cornell University with a degree in chemistry, Reno became one of 16 women in Harvard Law School’s Class of 1963. Reno, who stood over 6 feet tall, later said she wanted to become a lawyer “because I didn’t want people to tell me what to do.”…

In 1995 Reno was diagnosed with Parkinson’s after noticing a trembling in her left hand. She said from the beginning that the diagnosis, which she announced during a weekly news conference, would not impair her job performance. And critics — both Republicans and Democrats — did not give her a pass because of it.

“Did not give her a pass” is a very genteel phrasing for the way she was treated, by Democratic should-have-been-allies as well as the Disloyal Opposition. If anyone deserved to see the first woman elected President, it was Janet Reno — I only hope she got the chance to vote early, because from everything I’ve heard it would have been important to her.



Late Night Open Thread: Revival Tour

After the post-Tuesday tantrums die down, I can see Trump, Ted, Huckabee and the Duck Dynasty guys getting together for a Greatest Hits of the 80s tour… ALL HAIL ST. RONNIE, DUUUUDES!!!

ETA:



Trump & Pence, Deliberately Undermining Our Voting Process

… because OF COURSE HE DOES, since he’s a committed proponent of the Republican plan to restrict and obstruct the rights of all Americans who are not reliable conservative Republican voters.

Ari Berman has a book to sell, and it looks like a very worthwhile read. Here’s a review by David Cole, in the NY Review of Books, “How Voting Rights Are Being Rigged”:

The Brennan Center for Justice identifies fifteen states that have new voting restrictions in place for the first time for the 2016 presidential election, and five more that have had restrictions in place since the 2012 election. These include several states considered “battlegrounds” in the upcoming presidential election, or that have competitive elections for Senate seats, including Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire, Virginia, Illinois, and Arizona. In each of these states as well as many others, legislatures have imposed rules, like those in North Carolina, that limit opportunities to register and vote, and that demand forms of identification at the polls that many poor and minority citizens do not have—all in the name of fighting nonexistent “voter fraud.” Meanwhile Donald Trump, also invoking the specter of fraud, has sought to impose voting restrictions of his own, urging his followers to watch polls in November, a practice designed to deter Democrats from voting.
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Open Thread: Lost (of Their Own Volition) in A Mirror-Maze

Yeah, it’s (mostly) not about “economic anxiety”, but some 27% of our fellow citizens seem to be wandering around in a toxic haze. And they’ll still be here after (Goddess grant) the Democrats win the Oval Office and both houses of Congress, come November…


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Open Thread: Paul Ryan, Attempting to Spin Shit into Votes

You and your puppetmasters painstakingly built this monster, Ryan — too late to claim you had no idea…

At least the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver still has one defender among the Media Village Idiots. Chris “Mad Bitcher” Cillizza: