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By Phaedrus
Is Donald Trump Already Forsaking Coal Country?
By William Finnegan
9:27 A.M.

Mining employment peaked at more than eight hundred thousand, in 1923. There were still a quarter of a million jobs in the early nineteen-eighties. Today there are fifty thousand.

Coal has been good to Donald Trump. He began denouncing “Obama’s war on coal” long before he launched his run for President, apparently liked how it played, and has not stopped banging the drum since. Last month, when he announced the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate accord, he dwelled on the hardships that the agreement would allegedly impose on the American coal industry, adding, “and I happen to love the coal miners.” (The White House went a step further last week, suggesting that the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund be used to build power plants fired by “clean coal.”)

The Washington Post reported recently that candidate Trump made two hundred and ninety-four references to coal miners during his campaign. He never appeared to know anything about the coal industry, as he promised to bring back jobs that every miner knows are not coming back, but his shtick drove Democrats and environmentalists crazy, which seemed to be good enough for him. It also helped to tip Pennsylvania and Ohio into his column on Election Day.

The symbolic appeal is obvious. Coal miners are hardworking, courageous, the salt of the American earth. Their heyday was the industrial age, the time before political correctness, which Trump has vowed to re-conjure. Thanks to a powerful union, built through brutal struggle (the history of American mining contains more than its share of “massacres”), the wages of modern miners are excellent. Strong communities could be built around them. The work is dangerous, its health consequences often disastrous.

But the more general disaster came when the jobs began to vanish. Mining employment peaked at more than eight hundred thousand, in 1923. There were still a quarter of a million jobs in the early nineteen-eighties. Today, as Eliza Griswold recently wrote, there are fifty thousand. It’s easy, but inaccurate, to blame the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan or its efforts to mitigate environmental damage for the inexorable decline of the coal industry. The main culprits are automation, cheap natural gas, and, to a lesser extent, the development of renewable energy. Coal simply cannot compete, and coal-fired power plants have been closing by the hundreds.

Inaccuracy has never stopped President Trump, of course, who has instructed the Environmental Protection Agency (which needs a new name) to gut the Clean Power Plan. He has signed executive orders lifting a temporary ban on federal coal leases and removing a rule protecting streams near coal mines, and last month he took credit for the opening of a new coal mine in Pennsylvania that he and his Administration had nothing to do with. The mine, southeast of Pittsburgh, had been planned for years, and construction began last September (during a different Presidency), in response to a global shortage of what is known as metallurgical coal. This is the coal that’s used to make steel. Production delays in Australia and China have created a demand spike, and the Pennsylvania mine, called Acosta, was developed to fill that demand. The Acosta mine will create up to a hundred much-needed jobs. But, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, exports of metallurgical coal, which accounts for only ten per cent of U.S. production—electricity is generated by thermal coal—are not expected to rise over the long term.

Nonetheless, Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, has been so eager to get into the coal-promotion act that he claimed, on “Meet the Press,” that the Trump Administration had created fifty thousand new jobs “in the coal sector.” In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the increase in the number of coal jobs since the end of last year is thirteen hundred. That rise is probably due to the increased demand for metallurgical coal. Indeed, during the last months of the Obama Administration, coal jobs had been rising at a slightly faster rate, probably for the same reason. The federal government does not create coal jobs.

One of the many funny-painful moments of the 2016 campaign came during a Trump rally last May in Charleston, West Virginia. Trump was presented with a white miner’s hardhat, which he reluctantly put on. Then he began to mug, very strangely, with pursed lips and thumbs raised, seemingly playing a pouting club character of some type. He pantomimed a couple of swipes with a shovel—that thing that miners presumably do. Afterward, he fussed for a long time with his hair, asking the crowd for reassurance that it looked okay after the hat interlude. The crowd cheered.

Trump’s romance with coal country may be reaching its natural end. Since 1965, a federal program called the Appalachian Regional Commission has spent twenty-three billion dollars helping hundreds of counties in thirteen states cope with the decline of the coal industry, funding job retraining, land reclamation, and desperately needed social services. A.R.C. is credited with having helped to cut regional poverty rates almost in half, double the percentage of high-school graduates, and reduce infant mortality by two-thirds. Trump’s first proposed budget, released in March, eliminates A.R.C. Even Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader (and the senior senator from Kentucky), quickly said that that was out of the question. Trump did not, as far as we know, respond. A more recent, more detailed White House federal budget again eliminates A.R.C. It was sweet while it lasted.
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By Phaedrus
I just love the way this lady talks:
In May of this year, Carrier announced its time line for eliminating what will ultimately be six hundred and thirty-two Indianapolis-based jobs. The first round of layoffs began on Thursday, with the departure of three hundred and thirty-eight employees. One of those was Brenda Darlene Battle, a fifty-five-year-old Indianapolis native who’d been working at Carrier for twenty-five years, most recently as a fabrication technician, or fab tech. She helped run the automatic press that makes steel doors, among other parts, for A90 furnaces. When the final furnace door was completed on the first day of mass layoffs, employees working the assembly line—some for the last time—autographed it. On Friday, shortly before finalizing paperwork related to her departure, Battle spoke by phone about the company that employed her for a quarter century, President Trump, and her future. Her account has been edited and condensed.

“I’ve been working at Carrier since I was thirty. I didn’t go to high school or college. My parents were union people. My dad was an oiler for G.M. I did a lot of babysitting before I joined the assembly line at Carrier. When I started, in 1992, they were threatening to move to Mexico, and any time they got pissed off, that was their old threat: ‘We’re gonna move to Mexico, anyway!’ That’s what management would say.
“It used to be a fun place to work; I didn’t mind going. Then they started making changes that only benefit them: robots, cutting jobs. Just yesterday, they were talking about cutting a three-man blower-shelf crew—they deal with the forms that hold the blower on one side and the heating element on the other—down to two. But two people can’t do that job. My job running the press, it was a two-man job, but then they brought a robot in. The doors go down the conveyor belt now, and the robot stacks them in the cart.
“It seemed like as soon as they first put the robots in, they made the announcement about layoffs a month later. I’ll never forget that day. They told everyone to meet them at the front of the plant. Then, when they got up there, that’s when they told us they were really moving to Mexico. It just went downhill after that. We knew change was coming, we just didn’t know what. But it went to hell in a gasoline-soaked handbasket in February of last year. They could have been a lot more professional about making the announcement.
“This is peak season for the industry right now. We work six or seven days a week. So those people at work is basically your family. Of the three hundred and thirty-eight who left yesterday, I knew over a hundred of them, because I had worked days and nights over the years. I knew a lot of people. My fiancé worked security at Carrier in the late nineties, and he had just died three or four days before the announcement in February of last year. So I was grieving. I was stressed out, on bereavement. When he passed, I moved home to live with my parents. Then, last December, my mom passed. So it’s me and my dad and my sister and her children, in one house.
“Trump came in there to the factory last December and blew smoke up our asses. He wasn’t gonna save those jobs. And, if that’s the case, he would have saved us and Rexnord, a company around the corner from us that makes parts.
“We had a mix of Trump supporters and Clinton supporters at the factory, I’d say. The ones that really supported him are quiet right now. Some of them got let go yesterday, too.
“We talked about Trump on the job, after the election. You could always tell who the Trump supporters were because they never participated in the conversation. It was about even, blacks and whites, for Trump. Also, some of them wore the hats. Not anymore, though.
“Personally, I think the President is a ‘rubber room’ politician. He’s crazy. He needs a straitjacket. He’s in there for his self. He’s not in there to help America keep jobs. Because if he was we wouldn’t be in the predicament that we’re in every day. He keeps howling, ‘Make America great.’ But he can’t make America great if all the jobs are leaving the States and going to Mexico. People can’t support their families.
“He has a thing against women, too. No woman is safe, to me. He wants to tell them what to do with their bodies. Women have been working for years, but he doesn’t want us to have insurance. Everybody came from a mother. Even him. I voted for Hillary. I think most of the people I worked with at Carrier voted for someone. The Trump people really thought he was gonna save our jobs.
“I think the C.E.O. of Carrier and Trump was in bed together the whole time. That day Trump came to Carrier, those two were too chummy. The way they sniggled and giggled. That sneaky kind of ****-eating grin.
“They sat us in the room based on seniority and job classification. On the aisle with me there was ninety-five years of seniority, just with three people: myself, my girlfriend, and this one guy who has been there forty-five or forty-six years. It was an experience, because not only was the media there, there were people from the E.P.A. We met a lot of interesting people that had nothing to do with Trump. I didn’t need to shake his hand.
“I’m going to be taking it very easy for a few months and do some of the things that my dad wants to do. He’s seventy-seven years old, but he thinks Trump blew smoke up our asses, too. We’d like to travel and see family in Cincinnati, Kentucky, Tennessee. I’ve got a little money saved. I’m in no hurry to look for another job quite yet.”
Trump claimed that the head of the boy scouts called him and said Trump's speech was “the greatest speech that was ever made to them.”

The Boy Scouts say that no such thing was said.

What's funny is the Boy Scouts weren't going to let him get away with it.
From ABC news

During his phone call with Pena Nieto, Trump urged his Mexican counterpart to stop saying that Mexico will not pay for a wall on the southwestern U.S. border. A signature Trump promise during the presidential campaign was that he would build the wall and make Mexico pay for it.

"You have a very big mark on our back, Mr. President, regarding who pays for the wall," Pena Nieto said. "My position has been and will continue to be very firm saying that Mexico cannot pay for that wall."

Trump responded, "But you cannot say that to the press. The press is going to go with that, and I cannot live with that. You cannot say that to the press, because I cannot negotiate under those circumstances."

He went on, "But the fact is we are both in a little bit of a political bind, because I have to have Mexico pay for the wall. I have to."

He suggested that they publicly say they're still determining who will pay for the wall.

Trump then threatened, "If you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore, because I cannot live with that."
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