On a campaign swing through the “Rust Belt” of Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton let the truth slip out, saying that the white working class had been “left out and left behind.”
Mrs. Clinton was appearing in Cambria County, which is more than 94 percent white.
Many cities in Pennsylvania are dying coal towns that are fast becoming what a local TV station calls “coal region ghost towns.”
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, has called for more coal miners to be thrown out of their jobs. “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” she said at a town hall in West Virginia in March.
When he ran for president, Barack Obama promised to bankrupt coal plants.
This is a promise that he has followed through on. In 2012, Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, said then-EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson used executive branch rules and regulations to destroy the coal industry. “The Navy SEALs shot Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan and Lisa Jackson shot us in Washington,” Roberts said.
We reported at the time that Jackson was an environmental zealot who advocates “eco-justice.” In 2010, she had received a copy of a “Green Bible” from the liberal National Council of Churches. Obama ordered her to wage war on the fossil fuel industry in order to build a “green economy.”
Mrs. Clinton promises to continue the transition to a “green economy” with no manufacturing jobs.
While jobs are not flowing into Cambria County, drugs are. Cambria County ranked first in the overdose death rate among all Pennsylvania counties from 2007 through 2011. Many were heroin-related opioid deaths.
With major industries having been destroyed by bad trade agreements, much of Pennsylvania is now facing a “heroin epidemic,” as documented by local TV station WJAC. The number of heroin related deaths in Cambria County tripled in a year, the station reported.
A multimillion-dollar heroin operation was just busted, resulting in 33 arrests, after a joint investigation by the FBI, the state, and county and city law enforcement. Authorities said 25 bricks of heroin were being distributed per day, primarily in the Johnstown area of Cambria County.
The implications, ignored by the media, are that President Obama, the first black president, has ignored the deteriorating condition of white America, while also turning a blind eye to the drug problem that has subsequently engulfed the region.
In stark contrast to Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, who appears at public events with thousands of people, Hillary Clinton spoke to “a private audience” of about 200 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania last Saturday.
Ignored by most of the national liberal media were local protesters carrying signs outside that said, “HILLARY THE SNAKE,” “LOCK HER UP!” and even “JAIL OBAMA.”
The Tribune-Democrat captured the image of a sign saying, “Killary Killed Coal & Steel. Vote Trump.”
But the complaints went beyond her indifference to the plight of workers. Local resident Sharon Nagle said, “She had a private server to do our business—our State Department, foreign affairs business—on, and mixed it with her emails and then decides that she has the right to pick which ones are which. No, they’re all ours. They’re ours—not hers—and I want them back. I want to know where our emails are, and I want to know why she had a secret server to keep her business from the people who she serves and works for.”
Another local resident, David Allison, said, “Hillary is a bad choice for president. She should be in jail right now, really. It looks like there’s two standards for citizens in this country. The rest of us and the elite. They have their own set of rules.”
The Daily-American said another local resident, Wes Lauffer, characterized Clinton as a “lying, anti-American, Muslim Brotherhood crony of Obama.”
USA Today said Republican Mitt Romney won 58 percent of the vote in Cambria County in 2012, “despite the fact that registered Democrats outnumber Republicans.” The economic problems have only gotten worse since then.
What’s happening in Cambria County is also the case in other parts of Pennsylvania. The depressed conditions of Mahanoy City in Schuylkill County have led members of Jesus the Divine Word Catholic Church in Huntingtown, Maryland, to make annual mission trips to the region to help local residents. Among other things, parishioners maintain and paint homes, visit shut-ins, and hold worship services at the local Catholic Church, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
On one trip, 48 homes were fixed by the visiting parishioners.
Mahanoy City is a former coal town. “Mahanoy’s population peaked more than a century ago at nearly 16,000 people, four times the number living there now,” the publication Keystone Crossroads reported. “It never recovered after the coal industry collapsed.”
The situation is so bad that Mahanoy City and others are being labeled “ghost towns,” as a result of people leaving. Local TV station WNEP reports that in Mahanoy City, 26.3 percent of the homes sit vacant. “Just a block from the main street a home is selling for less than a price of a used car,” the station said.
In Shamokin, a city in Northumberland County, there is also a vacancy rate of 26.3 percent. “Afternoon traffic rarely stops on downtown blocks that increasingly see buildings for rent or for sale,” the station reported.
The investigation unit of the station, known as Newswatch 16, looked at the vacancy rates for homes in communities with more than 2,000 people. It said the top 10 were:
- Shenandoah 28.9%
- Shamokin 26.3 %
- Mahanoy City 26.3 %
- Mount Carmel 22.7 %
- Ashland 22.4%
- Lansford 20.8 %
- Plymouth 18%
- McAdoo 17.2%
- Coaldale 16.7%
- Frackville 16.2%
Local realtor Erica Ramus told the station that she has a hard time selling property in Shenandoah. She said she shows people downtown properties and they reply, “Why would I want to move my business to a dying old coal town?”
Trump’s campaign has spoken about the population and employment losses in Pennsylvania, promising to bring back manufacturing jobs and stopping bad trade agreements.
Trump has said the nation’s growing heroin problem can be traced to the failure to keep the southern border secure. Heroin is “pouring across” the border, he notes.
In regard to the problem of high-potency marijuana that has been unleashed by Obama’s failure to enforce federal anti-marijuana statues, Trump has indicated that he will reverse course, order enforcement, and crack down on emerging marijuana businesses that profit by poisoning the minds of young people.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected]