Hope’s importance


Americans in the 1930s laboring for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a federal agency established to restore hope in a nation struggling through the Great Depression/National Archives and Records Administration

The powerful and yet subtle ways in which work influences lives is writ large in the new look some economists are taking at the dip in U.S. life expectancy.

University of California, Berkeley researchers opened this can of worms in the summer when they published a study showing improvements in public health linked to policies to increase wages among the working poor.

“A way out from rock bottom: Economic policies can reduce deaths of despair,” published at the CEPR Policy Portal in July, argued there is evidence to support a conclusion that “the minimum wage and the earned income tax credit – the two most important policy levers for raising incomes for low-wage workers…significantly reduce non-drug suicides among adults without a college degree, and that the effect is stronger among women. The findings point to the role of economic policies as important determinants of health.”

These findings coupled with others – notably the increase in suicides among white men in economically struggling, blue-collar parts of Appalachia, the Ohio River valley and the Deep South, and substance abuse in many areas – is leading some to take a new look not only at income but at what might simply be classified as hope.

In a mea culpa in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press last month, Minnesota economist Edward Lotterman confessed to being “particularly chagrined about these data because when similar trends were observed in Russia, I took a cavalier attitude in discussing it with students. The decline in life expectancy there in the 1990s came from very similar factors, suicide and alcohol abuse by low-education males. But now our nation faces a similar phenomenon even though our economy is performing well by broad indicators of both output and employment. Not so much for a declining Russia back then.”

Nor for much of rural Alaska then or now, either. The rural parts of the 49th state have for decades struggled with suicide and alcohol abuse among low-education males in a land where the majority of people live lives of comfort.

“…We must ask ourselves: Why so much despair, suicide and engulfment into addiction?” Lotterman wrote.

“And these questions, and the apple-to-oranges comparison with Russia exposes the deepest conundrum of modern economics: What determines happiness or satisfaction in life? And how do these trends relate to monetary measures of income and consumption that economists use to determine human well-being?”

The future

Lotterman continued on for paragraphs in an effort to answer those questions, but they can all be answered with that one word “hope.”

When he finally got around to this important and hard to define human emotion near the end of his column, he observed that “the feeling of hopelessness among white men in the Appalachian coalfields or the industrial Rust Belt of the Ohio River Valley, stems in part from feelings that the economic deck is stacked against them. We bailed out AIG and the big banks through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, but regulators turned a blind eye to mortgage lenders that robo-processed millions of foreclosures with scorn for any legal niceties. Greater international trade may benefit consumers, but those who pay the adjustment costs is concentrated on narrow groups like low-education white males.”

Or, in Alaska’s case, low-education Native males.

The white males these days happen to be the demographic that most supports President Donald Trump. Polls have shown 60- to 70-percent of them in the Trump camp. Some in the media and politics, including Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, have tried to dismiss all of this as simply a vestige of the lingering evil of white supremacy.

There are no doubt white supremacists who back Trump, but there is more to it than that as Lodderman indicated.

“A fundamental failing of conventional economics is ignoring transaction costs,” he wrote. “Models that show how greater trade makes both societies better off assume that labor is mobile. Are appliance factory workers laid off in Ohio on Friday supposed to go to work writing apps on Monday morning in Silicon Valley?”

Trump’s efforts to strike back at China – the cheap-labor capital of the world – resonate with factory workers left jobless by the global economy and U.S. corporate leaders with an eye on nothing but the financial bottom line.

Though former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, has called the Make America Great Again (MAGA) slogan of the Republican Trump a racist dog whistle, MAGA could also be viewed as a call to return manufacturing and associated jobs to the U.S. and with them the stability employment provides in people’s lives, especially in rural areas.

Researchers from The Ohio State University in September fingered “lower levels of education, employment, and household income” as key factors in the rising suicide rate across rural America. The pattern there now mimics what rural Alaska has been dealing with for a long, long time.

“Long-term and persistent poverty appears to be more entrenched and economic opportunities more constrained in rural areas,” the researchers wrote in the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

After examining 453,577 deaths between 1999 and 2016, they concluded that “rural counties consistently have the highest suicide rates and demonstrate the greatest increases over time.”

The study tied a general, national uptick in suicides in part to “the presence of gun shops and a higher percentage of uninsured individuals” in urban areas, but conceded “increases in the presence of gun shops had less association with suicide rates in rural counties” where suicide is at its worst.

“Greater social isolation, challenges related to transportation and interpersonal communication, and associated difficulties accessing health and mental health services likely contribute to the disproportionate association of deprivation with suicide in rural counties,” the study said. “National and global trends associated with improvements in the economic outlook of larger cities and towns, such as advances in automation, information technology, and alternative energy, may bypass rural communities, particularly those focused on farming and extractive industries, such as coal mining. Rural counties may lack the flexibility and human capital necessary to adapt to meaningful changes in the broader economy, leading to greater susceptibility to deprivation than more urban or suburban communities.”

Hello Alaska

The perils of poverty and isolation now being recognized across the country have haunted rural Alaska since the 1970s arrival of television to inform people they were poor and isolated. The Anchorage Daily News (ADN) won a Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for highlighting these problems in a series titled “A People in Peril” although it glossed over the links between poverty, isolation and despair.

The Pulitzers awarded its prize for Public Service “for reporting about the high incidence of alcoholism and suicide among native Alaskans in a series that focused attention on their despair and resulted in various reforms.”

The reforms largely involved increased state efforts to banish alcohol from rural areas. That task proved even harder than the new, national task of trying to reduce opioid abuse in America in general.

The ADN and New York-based ProPublica have now joined in a new effort to link continuing problems in the state’s rural areas to a lack of law enforcement.  U.S. Attorney General William Barr has responded with $10 million in grants for law enforcement and victim services in rural areas. 

Whether adding police will work any better than trying to banish alcohol only time will tell, but the national indications are that the true problems of the region are rooted in deeper issues that in some ways parallel those of the country’s inner cities.

“An overwhelming number of inner-city households are severely distressed by unemployment, lack of education, family dissolution, overcrowded housing, drug abuse and crime,” researchers studying New Orleans noted at the start of the decade. “In the inner city of the nation’s 100 largest cities in 1990, there were only six working adults for every ten unemployed adults.”

The lack of jobs, the study published in the Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse concluded, led to all sorts of dysfunction, and most notably a turn to dealing drugs “as a viable way to obtain much-needed resources like money and social capital.”

help blurb

Similar forces have for decades driven rural Alaska bootlegging and the problems that follow.

As Alaska State Troopers conceded years ago, “bootlegging alcohol of all types has become a very lucrative business in rural Alaska.

“The economics of the illegal sales of alcohol is staggering. For example, a bootlegger can
purchase a 750-milliliter bottle of alcohol legally for $10 or less in an urban liquor store.
The same bottle of alcohol in Bethel, Kotzebue or Barrow may sell for $50. In the more
remote communities, alcohol can easily sell for $150 to over $300 per bottle depending on the supply and demand. The initial purchase for the bootlegger involves a minimal cash investment, a maximum cash return with little threat of being caught or criminally charged.”

Just as the economics of drugs drive drug dealing in inner cities, the economics of alcohol power bootlegging in rural Alaska, but the real issue centers not just on the economics of supply but on the psychology of demand, a subject that has attracted more attention as opioid abuse has spread across the country.

A 2015 study of 79 people being treating for opioid addiction found “94.9 percent of individuals sampled reporting self-medication behaviors. In adjusted analyses, individuals engaging in more frequent opioid use tended to self-medicate negative emotions with opioids more often.”

The study is in line with others that have linked drug and alcohol abuse to chronic stress.  And though many people think of their jobs as being stressful, research from around the world has found joblessness to be more so.

Researchers at University College London reported the stress among the unemployed was so great they could find it in people’s blood.

“Using data on 23,025 participants from the Health Survey for England and Scottish Health Survey, the researchers found that unemployed men and women had higher levels of inflammatory markers than employed counterparts (even) after taking into account a wide range of demographic and lifestyle factors: occupational social class from last job, housing tenure, smoking, alcohol consumption, body mass index, long-term health conditions, and depressive/anxiety symptoms,” Science Direct reported. 

“It is well known that unemployed people are at greater risk of mortality and physical ill-health compared to employed counterparts, but it is still unclear exactly how unemployment damages health.”

One way might be in leading people to self medicate their despair, which often triggers a cascade of other problems.

People in peril

“The consequences of alcohol misuse extend beyond its potential to cause self-harm,” the Alaska Section of Epidemiology noted last year. “The growing interest in the broader societal concerns associated with alcohol consumption has evolved to characterize alcohol misuse as an agent of social harm.

“Examples of such harm include the breakdown of families, child neglect, domestic violence, material welfare of families, and mental health problems in family members and close friends (including suicide).”

The problems caused by people abusing alcohol are well documented. Less so the factors that lead to alcohol abuse, but Florida researchers in 2013 took a look at labor market statistics and alcohol-abuse statistics.

“We employ various fixed-effects models to address potential bias from unobserved and time-invariant individual heterogeneity. All results show a positive and significant effect of unemployment on drinking behaviors and the findings are robust to numerous sensitivity tests,” they later reported in Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society. “Perhaps macroeconomic policy decisions intended to stimulate the economy during economic downturns should also consider the avoided personal costs and externalities associated with alcohol misuse.”

This unemployment-related connection is not unique to the U.S. or to Alaska.

As researchers in Australia noted, “low socio-economic status communities (which would define many Alaska villages) are often characterized by high unemployment, drug use and drug availability, crime etc, which provide a cultural environment that is conducive to problem drug use.

They made some of Australia’s problems sound a lot like some of Alaska’s problems:

“The health, well-being and drug-use patterns of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
peoples are significantly worse than for the rest of the Australian population. A multitude of reasons have been found or hypothesized to explain this situation. While the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are not the same, many experienced brutality and trauma from the European usurpation of their lands.

“This was followed by successive policies of ‘protection’ and ‘assimilation’, one objective of which was to reshape Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples societies in the image of the dominant society, with all the undermining of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples cultural practices, languages and so on that this entailed.

“These experiences weakened communities, the authority of elders, and family strength, as well as contributing to stress and trauma, loss of culture and loss of parenting skills. Policies that deprived Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of status, power or self-determination contributed to feelings of inferiority, powerlessness and hopelessness.”

A sense of hopelessness makes life difficult for any humans, and in Australia is reported have “resulted in:

  • “poorer educational attainment
  • “unemployment, which contributes to welfare dependency, apathy, boredom, loss of
    self-esteem and economic disadvantage
  • “physical and mental health problems, including self-harm and suicide
  • “alcohol and other drug use, crime rates and violence,” the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales reported.

“All of the above contribute to many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples feeling
hopeless, angry, traumatized and ashamed, and being stigmatized (victim blaming) and
marginalized (socially excluded). These outcomes further contribute to their alcohol and
other drug problems.”

The situation is much the same in parts of rural Alaska. The problem is complex and compounded by joblessness on various levels.

Law enforcement might help protect the innocent when things spin out of control, but it really does nothing to solve the larger economic issue that in Alaska, at least, has gone underreported and largely undiscussed for decades while its symptoms – alcohol abuse, drug abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, hopeless and despair – attract all the attention.

















25 replies »

  1. Craig, This article took a quick drive into details. How about the 10,000 foot view? Fear and hope go hand in hand. Fear is often the driver for hope. If you fear you will starve to death and die, action and hope come to life and you make changes. If white guys in Appalachia fear they will perish because the coal mine shut down, a few of them will medicate themselves to death. But most of them will pick up and leave for a place that they hope offers a better chance of survival. Fear drives action, and hope.

    Compare that to Natives in Alaskan Bush villages. There is no fear of starving to death. It is the only place in American where welfare payments are guaranteed for life. Why should Natives hope or take action for anything better, when they are paid to do nothing? And paid too much. The cost of bootleg booze is often paid for with federal welfare money. American tax payers support Bush alcoholism.

    The solution: Stop perpetual welfare payments to Bush Natives. That will force Natives to take action. Yes, it will also force Natives to leave villages and villages to become ghost towns. But so what? Alaska has hundreds of white man ghost towns from gold, trapping, oil and transportation booms and busts. If white man can be forced to move due to economics and leave ghost towns behind, so can Natives.

    • “But most of them will pick up and leave for a place that they hope offers a better chance of survival.” Yeah, come to the end of the road here in Alaska. You can get a $100 a ton for picking coal off the Homer beach or try to get a job with Joe! Imagine how many entities Joe has turned down…

      Better yet, Learn how to produce infomercials! Hey, a 45 year old coal miner has the world as his oyster and could easily become the president’s next ‘guy.’

  2. The real trends show Amerika’ transforming into a modern Oligarchy in which more and more wealth is transferred into fewer and fewer hands.
    “In the 1950s, approximately 50 percent of the population was in the middle class.
    In addition, the economy grew 8.7 percent. It was part of an expansion that lasted until 1975.
    In the 1970s, 71 percent of the population was in the middle class…
    Today, according to the Pew Research Center, just 49 percent of the population is in the middle class while 70 percent believe they are.
    Growth has dipped to 3 percent and it is projected downward (2.3 percent) for 2019.”
    This why the GOP touts claims of low unemployment and high stock market numbers in the face of growing disparities in wealth among working class people.

    • Steve Stine,

      We heard this lament, back when Bill Gates was turning Microsoft into a seeming unprecedented colossus.

      Researchers soon dug up, however, that in times past the wealth of a tycoon in the mold of say Rockefeller could pay the wages of all Americans for 6 months. Gates & Microsoft, otoh, could pay everyone’s wages for 6 days.

      Another ‘hoot’ quote that was even more popular & sensational, made the rounds in the Hippie Days, relating to the decline & degeneration of The Youth. Their laziness, their indulgence in hedonistic entertainment, and especially their disrespect of Authority & Elders regaled the nodding, head-shaking, tongue-clucking reader. Only to see on the bottom credit-line that these words were lifted VERBATIM from the works of a famous Roman, some 2,000 year ago.

      Truth is, the wealth-poverty Gap was much wider, in times past. And worse still, the prospects & paths available to a serious person intent on raising herself above it were far more limited. And when these existed at all, they were far more costly – especially for females.

      No … if the way you choose to spell America was accurate, the border would not be hard to control, and there would not be millions of undocumented in Sanctuary Cities.

    • Wealth is not a fixed pie, that one person has more than another is a meaningless statistic. Wealth “disparity” in a wealthy society such as the United States, where even the majority of our “poor” would be in the top percentiles of even European nations, is nothing but the politics of envy and neo-Marxist nonsense. Particularly when the “wealth disparity” as typically calculated ignores payments in kind.

      • Matthew,
        No need to devolve into the realm of “Marxism”.
        This is about corporate welfare from the government enriching those on the “inside”.
        It is not Capitalism that is to blame, but the lack of stability in leadership at the top (in both parties).
        Just look at the hedge fund financial debacle of 2008 .
        The losers were 8 Million Americans who lost their homes.
        The winners were Trump’s hedge fund bankster cartel who swept in and grabbed each mortgage one by one!
        “Steven Mnuchin, now Treasury secretary, led a group of investors who bought a failed thrift with government help and then sold it at a profit.
        Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, then CEO of a buyout firm, also made money from U.S.-backed purchases of failed banks.
        Former White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, then president of Goldman Sachs, once touted that the investment bank brought in $373 million in a single day betting against the mortgage market.”

        This is a creation of a modern Oligarchy in every sense of the term.

    • The rising tide has floated a lot of boats. What passes for poverty nowadays was not too long ago how the top 1% of the top 1% would have lived. There are a few Americans who might live in actual poverty, third world type conditions. Those who do so in this country do so by choice.

      Your partisan slant and blaming the GOP is a joke. Both parties claim low unemployment to serve their political purposes, both claim inflation is low to serve their political purposes, both are serve their corporate sponsors…look no further than all of the wasted money under the Obama administration Solyndra ring any bells, how about GM, or all those banks that Obama bailed out? Neither the GOP nor Democrats have a monopoly on graft.

      • Steve O,
        Apparently you missed above where I wrote:
        “It is not Capitalism that is to blame, but the lack of stability in leadership at the top (in both parties).”
        Yes, Obama’s cabinet is as much to blame for the corruption in the banking industry as is the current GOP (who are once again allowing derivatives and hedge funds to do what they wish on wall street).
        As far as the middle class is concerned…I think you will see the problem come to a forefront in 15 years when Gen X tries to “retire” but the gig economy has no retirement plans.
        More and more Americans are working low paying jobs (adjusted for inflation) without retirement packages and the civil servants in local government all have huge fiscal debts attached to the pension systems they retain.
        This is not a sustainable employment model by anymeans.

      • Steve,

        I must admit I didn’t miss where you said “both parties”. I’m just pointing out how you rail against the GOP, your timeline completely skips the Obama Administration, and you somehow blame the Trump Administration for actions taken under the Obama Administration. Your token “both parties” comment belies the entirety of your posts. You dismiss one party and blame the other with your most recent yes…but comment. It’s OK man, your are a very partisan commenter no harm no foul. But to completely skip the Obama Administrations contributions to what it is you are ranting against with “Amerika” and the “modern Oligarchy” is dishonest at best.

      • Steve O,
        My comments towards the current lack of leadership in the GOP is not meant to cover any mistakes or wrongdoing by the Obama (or Bush or Clinton Administrations)…it is just that currently the GOP (under Trump) has control of policy and cabinets in DC.
        There is nothing we can do about the past so I do not tend to dwell on it.
        This is not a partisan approach, but one of a more practical and pragmatic way to tackle the problem currently at hand.
        And make no mistake there are no shortages of “problems” to tackle across the nation…just as their are no shortages of Oligarchs in Amerika’.
        We just now call them Billionaires these days!

      • Steve,

        You tend to dwell on the parts of history that suit your narrative and you gloss over, dismiss, or outright ignore those that do not. No big deal, you push your partisan narrative where you blame the GOP and dismiss Democrats…just don’t pretend to be nonpartisan when you aren’t and your writing bears it out.

      • Steve O,
        I guess the same can be said of you…do not claim to be a Libertarian when your responses clearly indicate that you are a “dyed in the wool” conservative to the core.

      • Libertarians are conservative. You choose to not understand what either term means even after I’ve explained them to you and there is a plethora of information available at your fingertips that you could use to inform yourself of.

        I’ve never claimed to be a Libertarian, I have said I am libertarian and hold libertarian views. For all your talk about not assigning labels, you sure like to assign labels…and incorrectly so. I’ve explained all of this to you before, first and foremost I am a strong fiscal conservative and I hold libertarian social views. I don’t pretend to be something I’m not, I’m honest about what I believe and what I write.

      • Steve O says:
        “I’ve never claimed to be a Libertarian, I have said I am libertarian and hold libertarian views.” 
        Glad you clarified that for me…
        I think your problem with understanding of non partisan or centrist political views is that everything viewed as liberal to you is on the left.
        The reality is our country is changing and what was once thought of “on the left” is quite “central” in today’s world.
        An article that I just was reading on explains this:
        “Whether it’s healthcare for all, whether it’s climate change, minimum wage, mass incarceration.
        Go down the whole list,” continued Moore.
        “So the center is now more of these sorts of things.
        This is what we believe.”

      • Steve,

        You can think what you want about my understanding of the political spectrum, but when you use a left leaning progressive site to try and convince yourself that the whole county has moved left and the left is now the center you do yourself a disservice. When the article you use to convince yourself of this says things like “This is what we believe” you should look at sources like this skeptically, a left leaning site telling you they believe the country is moving left…whodathunkit? I appreciate that you occasionally step out from these sites that are nothing more than an echo chamber for leftists, but when you drag that nonsense with you it only further proves just how partisan you are. I understand nonpartisan and centrist views just fine, and you are neither. Take a look at this site, take the test first and be honest with yourself I’m going to guess that you will be surprised by your results.

  3. Greenland is in the news, mainly because Denmark and its cultural allies at the UN, the EU and activist NGOs ganged up to suppress traditional Native culture. That Greenland could in the near to intermediate future switch teams to the USA, is thanks mainly to Environmentalism.

    Males there were – and still are – heavily into kayaks, dog sleds, firearms, and hunting & trapping.

    Females, as seen elsewhere in pre-Western cultures, gravitated readily to externally provided & funded public jobs. From teacher’s assistant to local gravel runway Airport Manager.

    The men once had a lucrative business in the white pelts of seal pups. Often posed as a victory for animal-rights NGOs, it was the Nations who passed the new laws specifically targeting this particular (male dominated) economic activity (while allowing other 100% equivalent versions of the same activity).

    Ending the seal hunt was about an effort to turn Native men into teacher’s assistants and gravel runway Managers. “Protesters” were conveniently pointed to as “causing” this change … but actually, Nations chose to use the protests to justify moves they wanted to make, to undercut traditional Hunter-Gatherer culture.

    Think only Denmark is that dumb? In Alaska, villages are so short of people to fill positions in local law enforcement (police officers), that they are hiring convicted criminals who would never to able to so much as fill out an Application, anywhere else.

    As a Public Job, being a female police officer should work well in Alaska. In fact, there is a strong Matriarchy base throughout most Alaska Native communities. Females sat at the table hammering out ANILCA and ANCSA and their hand is visible in the outcome. The status & role of the Village today, and their attached Land Claims, reflects mainly the interests & priorities of … Grandma.

    Across much of Alaska, villages are NOT pre-white traditions. Away from the coasts, villages as we know them did not exist. They arose as Missionary outposts, as early (White Man) trading-posts, then as state-selected sites for schools, and federally sited post offices. At the time, around 1970, chiseling villages into the legal stone was controversial.

    One of the key allies of the Matriarchs, was somewhat paradoxically the more-traditional elements of male-centered culture … guys who wanted to continue hunting, trapping, sealing & whaling. They could see that staying out of the cities, remaining in the villages, would keep them more in touch with the Land.

    So who’s fault is it, that villages can’t make better use of female talent, in the struggle to fill needed police officer billets? The Village’s, which is by definition an expression of Native Matriarchy? Or is this more likely a ‘trip’ being laid on the Native scene, by outsider entities both Official and otherwise?

    The masculine urban police officer model is almost an open chuckle in rural Alaska, especially in the smaller village. But trying to impose it serves two important goals:

    1.) The village/rural-crisis is maintained (not fixed). A good crisis is a terrible thing to waste. Just ask Revs. Sharpton & Jackson.

    2.) It pits male-against-male, among Natives. The externally-provided village-cop plays the White Man role, even when he’s Native (and in most cases will be non-Native, and alien). His duty in the village becomes mainly to glare at the traditional male-Native, who is at best a throw-back anachronism.

    Otoh, the bottom-of-the-barrel ex-convict, recovering alcoholic, dope-dealer, alcohol smuggler, damaged goods native/local male police officer … has much in common with the struggling village male; has some bedrock credibility.

    Alaska should talk to Greenland, about prejudicial laws that suppress obvious renewable resource harvesting occupations & their associated external Markets, for products that are core aspects of their millennia-old cultures. Trying to get rid of the real Indian is by now as obviously-stupid as exporting America’s jobs to China.

  4. Great workup, Craig. The solution, at least a big part of it, appears to be simply holding a job. With that in mind, consider the astounding obstruction to jobs in Bush Alaska.

    BBNC is virulently anti-Pebble. So are Bristol Bay commfish and regional lodge owners. You can do both. Neither want to even try. Losers in all this? Young males in one of the poorest parts of the state.

    Regional village corporations a month or two ago changed their minds, coming out in opposition to Donlin Creek. More jobs down the drain.

    Local natives push for restricting the Ambler Road to only commercial traffic, hardly a way to energize job creation in the region.

    Kivalinia got themselves involved, using a variety of clean air complaints against a drilling rig 75 mi offshore in the Chukchi several years. This domino helped kill new oil patch jobs offshore, some of which would have employed their young men.

    Today, we have the Trump administration effort to roll back the Clinton-era Roadless Forest rule and bring logging jobs back to the Tongass. Native corporations are opposing this and the jobs logging will bring to SE AK.

    A subsistence lifestyle worked, however poorly because if you didn’t work for your food, you and those you love didn’t make it thru the winters. A subsistence lifestyle in the middle of a welfare state is little more than a recipe for death for your young men, something that may be as deadly to young men in Bush Alaska as WWI was to the generation of young men who died in the trenches. And the elders continue to oppose new jobs at every single turn. Perhaps they have learned the lessons in life. Cheers –

  5. I just got back from China recently. Of course I’d never support Communisn and the silly college students, Democrats, and journalist (but I digress) who push for it have no clue of the meaning. They just like the control and the death aspects of it. What I saw was ONLY Chinese..No blacks, whites, Hispanics, etc.. Zero! The place was spotless and if you didnt work you got NOTHING from the government. Everybody worked. If you were caught dealing drugs or doing hard crimes your organs were harvested. There was zero crime to speak of. Also, I didn’t see a lot of “victims” raging about one sorry excuse after another about their failures. A Chinese lady said to me, “I cant believe you dont have the death penalty, we would just kill those criminals”. Amen I said. Again, not promoting Communisn but, at one time America had that pride, work ethic, and distaste for criminals. Look at the mess now.
    On a sorta side note, anybody remember Obama attending a black supremacists church for 20yrs, or Skip Gates, or Obama’s race war on the police? Anybody remember all those racists in the Obama Admin? Anybody remember Obama sending 52 FBI agents to that black thug, Michael Brown’s funeral in hopes of “lynching” the “white” police officer?
    Trump’s pride in America or the military is “white supremacists”? Wonder what the black Trump supporters think? Guess they don’t fit the identity politics mold.

    • Bryan,
      You did not see any of the 1.6 million muslims in China because they are all locked in a huge Chinese government prison where they are forced to eat meat and learn “Animal Husbandry”.
      Even from a neo con avatar like yourself, this is a new low supporting a Chinese Communist party state.
      Good grief, there are no American values in China…most citizens are forced to work menial jobs to just put scapes on the plate.
      We had the “Molly Maguire Era” in America, especially Appalachia…and you can bet your corporate paycheck that we will never go back!

      • Steve Stine,

        You did not see any of the 1.6 million muslims in China because they are all locked in a huge Chinese government prison where they are forced to eat meat and learn “Animal Husbandry”.

        Uyghurs already ARE great animal husbandry farmers. They slaughter and butcher all sorts of critters … as Muslims, with the presumed exception of pork … and eat them in their diverse ethnic dishes, with gusto.

        Isn’t China giving these people a hard enough time, without adding insult to injury?

      • Steve, come on, bit extreme no? I adhore Communism and Socialism..But, I actually spent some time in Xi’an and there is a Muslim Village and mosque there. Do I generally agree with the Chinese “re-education” camps for muslims? I’d have to say yes, because as I sat on a bench overlooking the skyline of Shanghai, I had to ask – could 9/11 happen there and the answer would be a no. I don’t believe it could. While I do not support the police state and all it’s cameras, one could not argue with being able to walk down any street at any hour. Crime was nonexistant. Also, you speak of “most citizens are forced to work menial jobs” when in reality what I saw was that to live within the “Ring Road” of Beijing (24 million people) you needed to have Bachelors degree or higher. To live within Shanghai’s city limits (26 million people) you needed a Masters, preferrably a Doctorate. It is true though, if you do not work, the government does not reward you. This I agree with also. Criminals are dealth with harshly and I agree with this as well.
        So basically in China the people work for the government and the government does not trust the people. Here, the government is supposed to work for the people while most people do not trust the government. It will be interesting to see 20-30yrs from now, if todays younger generation and all their feel-good crap are able to survive.

      • Ted,
        My comment was not derogatory towards the muslims in “captivity” in China.
        On the contrary…it was mentioned to shine light on the atrocities that are perpetrated by one of America’s largest trading partners.
        “Chinese authorities have reportedly forced Muslims in the Xinjiang region to eat pork and drink alcohol during the country’s lunar new year holiday amid an alleged crackdown on Islam.”
        I guess the want to “westernize” them…weird since China is in the East?
        (Independent. com)

      • You did not see any of the 1.6 million muslims in China because they are all locked in a huge Chinese government prison where they are forced to eat meat and learn “Animal Husbandry”.

        I guess the want to “westernize” them…weird since China is in the East?

        Sad to say, China will have an easier task replacing Western ethnic Uyghur culture with their approved Han norms, than you will depicting them as PETA groupies.

        You could buy one helluvan Alaska Homestead, with what Big Media will pay for that one decent picture of “a huge Chinese government prison” with 1.6 million Muslim Uyhurs locked inside.

        Artistic license … or just an overwrought imagination?

        The Uyghurs, and their minority Muslim compatriots, have done alright in the shadow of China, for centuries. But after our 9/11 their radical Islam element decided to try some good ol’ homegrown terrorism.

        It’s not American to punish the group, for the crimes of individuals, or even substantial minority elements within the larger group. But this is China, with a famously low tolerance for both religion and diversity. And none whatsoever for terrorists.

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