In this brief radio interview Charlotte Pritt talks about the breakdown of the two party system in WV, West Virginia’s progressive movement and the Mountain Party’s role in promoting progressive political leadership.
West Virginia Public Broadcasters Force Second Class Candidates to the Back of the Bus.
Bob Henry Baber, Mountain Party candidate for U.S. Senate, has chosen to participate under protest in an event to be aired by WV Public Broadcasters “WVPB.”
Billed as a “second debate” apparently to make up for an earlier hour long infomercial promoting the two candidates whose views are most politically aligned with WV’s extreme extraction industries, the second event will give all U.S. Senate candidates the opportunity to discuss their views on the closed set of a WVPB studio at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
Those who show up may or may not see their discussions aired on an undisclosed number of WVPB television and radio stations at 7 p.m. that same evening. There has been no word on how much editing will be imposed by WVPB corporate sponsors on the taped-delay version.
The West Virginia Educational Broadcasting Authority, along with its governor-appointed Board, now commonly uses the alias West Virginia Public Broadcasters, apparently having eliminated “education” from its moniker some time ago.
Separate Is Not Equal: Brown v. Board of Education
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education marked a turning point in the history in the United States. On May 17, 1954, the Court stripped away constitutional sanctions for segregation by race, and made equal opportunity in education the law of the land.” source
More recently, WVPB compromised its once high standards to educate the public. The Fake Debate dropped WVPB standards by eliminating of all but certain legally balloted candidates, the two which had been chosen by its primary sponsor.
The previous “fake debate” was viewed by many to have been an hour long advertisement for the two candidates most likely to carry water for the extreme extraction industries most responsible for repressing Appalachian Americans for as long as anyone can remember. Pre-selected questions were lobbed by rightwing radio host Hoppy Kercheival, whose TalkLine program relies heavily on fossil fuel industry advertisements.
West Virginians have long endured class warfare, unscrupulously waged by wealthy elitists of the ruling class known as “robber barons.” That war was, and is, being fought over West Virginia’s bountiful natural resources. Although during the robber baron era the State’s mainstream media downplayed the bloody battles across the coalfields as local labor squabbles, the historic truth about the roots of West Virginia’s ruling class and its propaganda machine have survived.
Today, the historic accounts of a political system corrupted by corporate avarice and subverted by propaganda in the Mountain State are fading fast, largely because the repression of truth and justice through the mainstream media continues to permit modern day robber baron industries to take their toll on the well being of mountaineers to this day.
WVPB set our state back fifty years when it let the powerful insurance lobbying group AARP dictate which candidates would, and would not, get to participate in its glitzy live statewide simulcast from the fabulous Clay Center stage before a live audience.
Coincidentally, health insurance rates in West Virginia have skyrocketed due to industrial pollution of the same extreme extraction industries that backing each of the fuelocrats featured in the original Fake Debate.
QUESTION: Why would AARP make the decision to coerce WVPBS into such a radical move?
SHORT ANSWER: Because it can.
AARP obviously fears that its West Virginia insurance market will naturally start to diminish once Mountain Party candidates begin taking over the Statehouse because that’s when our citizens’ overall health and well-being will start improving.
Coincidentally, health insurance rates in West Virginia are soaring due to the failing health of entire communities caused by the same extreme extraction industries wnich back each of the fuelocrats featured in the AARP’s original Fake Debate.
On Sunday, September 21, over 400,000 people from all across the country converged in New York City. The People’s Climate Change March demonstrated to world leaders that grassroots Americans demand a halt to global climate change.
Folks from across southern Appalachia journeyed to The Big Apple to make the point to political leaders everywhere that the corporate profits of neither Old King Coal nor the New Prince Marcellus are as important as the health, safety, and personal property values of those whom they affect.
Speaking of political leaders, the West Virginia Mountain Party organized a tour bus to that march. Along with Mountain Party leaders traveled three current Mountain Party candidates for the West Virginia state house of delegates. Each had their own reasons for marching.
TRUE ACTIVISTS IN ACTION
Karen White, from Mercer County, went for many of the same reasons that she’s running for the West Virginia House of Delegates. Despite all the propaganda that West Virginia candidates with competing parties spout about the EPA causing job losses across the coal fields, White wanted to deliver the message that it’s simply not true. The reason for coal layoffs is because natural gas is cheaper to extract than coal. Thanks to Governor Tomblin’s far-too permissive Marcellus drilling bill passed by the legislature back in 2013, and the gas-friendly lawmakers that jammed it through for him, natural gas drillers are completely exempt from environmental regulations that are supposed to keep all industries from poisoning us, including coal.
“The fact that they’re now dumping frack waste into our abandoned mines is extremely troublesome, considering the number of rural communities throughout our coalfields that draw their water from those deep mine pools” White said, adding, “The ban on hydrofracking here in New York was supposed to have lasted only six months, but it’s now well into the sixth year. That’s because New York’s health professionals joined together to tell this state’s lawmakers just how poisonous this new version of hydrofracking is, and what a heavy toll on the health and safety of New Yorkers that it would surely take ”
Asked why he traveled all the way to New York City just to endure another thirteen hours return bus trip afterwards, candidate Cook felt that it was important to let the world know that West Virginians want to stop the destruction caused by the extreme extraction of fossil fuels. Cook also wanted to make the point that the industry has caused worst damage to Appalachian American communities over the longest period in the history of the U.S.
It’s also one of the main reasons he chose to run for office.
Cook, who served as a First Responder in his southern coalfield community, observed, “If you’re not healthy, you can’t work. So sacrificing our health just to take our natural resources is not a good option.”
According to a recent nationwide study, the well-being of West Virginia citizens is the lowest rated in the entire nation. West Virginia has been at the bottom of that annual study for a long, long time, despite having been “blessed” by extremely rich deposits of both coal and gas, thanks to our broken political system.
Jefferson County’s Daniel Lutz decided to temporarily set aside his hometown campaigning for Statehouse delegate to join the People’s Climate march in response to an invitation from NY Teamsters. Lutz figured that it would be a good way to demonstrate to his fellow Appalachians that in New York, Union locals are solidly behind the move to curb pollution from our over- dependence on fossil fuels.
After hurricane Sandy flooded New York City, New York Teamsters were not just instrumental in clearing away the damage. They also teamed up to volunteer with the Red Cross to do everything from distribute bottled water to evacuate patients from hospitals affected during the storm siege.
Lutz, who as a farmer has observed the recent extreme planting season shift first hand, finds it difficult to understand how people can not notice the effect that burning fossil fuels is having on the earth.
Lutz explained, “It’s got to be pretty tough for even urban climate change deniers over on Wall Street to ignore the impact that CO2 buildup in the ozone from burning fossil fuels causes after more than 900 buildings were destroyed right here in New York City. Especially when that’s never happened before.”
Prior to the trip, Mountain Party Chair Elise Keaton was asked why her political party would choose to organize transportation from West Virginia, a fossil fuel extraction zone, to a Climate Change march aimed at curbing the use of fossil fuels.
Keaton pointed out that unlike its competitors, her Party has never been afraid to honestly and directly address major problems long ignored by state leaders, because the Mountain Party does not depend on corporate support. So making the trek possible for fellow concerned citizens is just one example of how different the Mountain Party is from West Virginia’s other mainstream political Parties.
Keaton stated that she personally made the march “To unlock the grip that fossil fuel extraction industry has on this country.” Keaton, whose Party Platform prominently includes environmental justice, added, “We must oust the politicians who vow to continue the policies that have led us to this point. We can no longer sacrifice our water, our air, or the well-being of our future generations just for a small number of shareholders’ profit. We demand that they cease the devastation caused by their reckless actions and their endless greed.”
When asked prior to the march about going to New York, State Senator Charlotte Pritt stated, “I plan to let the world know that not all West Virginians have been seduced by the international fossil fuel industry’s slick media campaigns.”
The Mountain Party Chair Emeritus was determined to join the march because, as she put it, “West Virginia has been identified as a sacrifice zone to corporate fossil fuel profits,” adding, “Many-feel helpless and hopeless about the destruction and deaths that have resulted from this exploitation. But now we have an opportunity to make our voices heard because the Mountain Party has arranged for a bus to take us to NYC .”
Pritt put into action the sentiment of the entire Party by asking all of her friends to consider marching with her, explaining, “We need as many West Virginians as possible to show the world we care about what happens here.”
The major problems that West Virginians have long endured continue to fester. The oppression all across the State is so overwhelming that people are leaving, their communities collapsing, and small businesses fold even as our state infrastructure crumbles and our economy continues to falter. Because of their dependence on corporate support, the Mountain Party’s competitors have always avoided seeking solutions by ignoring the root cause of the problems.
Only under real political pressure will the State’s current leaders ever begin to admit to the problems caused by West Virginia’s extreme extraction industries. But even after problems have been exposed to the point where they’ve been forced to recognize they exist, lawmakers historically still avoid actually solving the problem. So re-electing the “lesser evil” instead of promoting Mountain Party candidates will only continue to prolong the situation.
.Mountain Party political activism provides clean, direct action towards solutions by promoting candidates who are good, honest citizens seriously dedicated to solve problems most other candidates won’t even recognize exist.
All photos by Tom Rhule