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Vast Stretches Of Impoverished Appalachia Look Like They Have Been Through A War

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West VirginiaIf you want to get an idea of where the rest of America is heading, just take a trip through the western half of West Virginia and the eastern half of Kentucky some time.  Once you leave the main highways, you will rapidly encounter poverty on a level that is absolutely staggering.  Overall, about 15 percent of the entire nation is under the poverty line, but in some areas of eastern Kentucky, more than 40 percent of the population is living in poverty.  Most of the people would work if they could.  Over the past couple of decades, locals have witnessed businesses and industries leave the region at a steady pace.  When another factory or business shuts down, many of the unemployed do not even realize that their jobs have been shipped overseas.  Coal mining still produces jobs that pay a decent wage, but Barack Obama is doing his very best to kill off that entire industry.  After decades of decline, vast stretches of impoverished Appalachia look like they have been through a war.  Those living in the area know that things are not good, but they just try to do the best that they can with what they have.

In previous articles about areas of the country that are economically depressed, I have typically focused on large cities such as Detroit or Camden, New Jersey.  But the economic suffering that is taking place in rural communities in the heartland of America is just as tragic.  We just don’t hear about it as much.

Most of those that live in the heart of Appalachia are really good “salt of the earth” people that just want to work hard and do what is right for their families.  But after decades of increasing poverty, the entire region has been transformed into an economic nightmare that never seems to end.  The following is a description of what life is like in Appalachia today that comes from a recent article by Kevin D. Williamson

Thinking about the future here and its bleak prospects is not much fun at all, so instead of too much black-minded introspection you have the pills and the dope, the morning beers, the endless scratch-off lotto cards, healing meetings up on the hill, the federally funded ritual of trading cases of food-stamp Pepsi for packs of Kentucky’s Best cigarettes and good old hard currency, tall piles of gas-station nachos, the occasional blast of meth, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, petty crime, the draw, the recreational making and surgical unmaking of teenaged mothers, and death: Life expectancies are short — the typical man here dies well over a decade earlier than does a man in Fairfax County, Va. — and they are getting shorter, women’s life expectancy having declined by nearly 1.1 percent from 1987 to 2007.

In these kinds of conditions, people do whatever they have to do just to survive.  With so much poverty around, serving those on food stamps has become an important part of the local economy.  In fact, cases of soda purchased with food stamps have become a form of “alternative currency” in the region.  In his article, Williamson described how this works…

It works like this: Once a month, the debit-card accounts of those receiving what we still call food stamps are credited with a few hundred dollars — about $500 for a family of four, on average — which are immediately converted into a unit of exchange, in this case cases of soda. On the day when accounts are credited, local establishments accepting EBT cards — and all across the Big White Ghetto, “We Accept Food Stamps” is the new E pluribus unum – are swamped with locals using their public benefits to buy cases and cases — reports put the number at 30 to 40 cases for some buyers — of soda. Those cases of soda then either go on to another retailer, who buys them at 50 cents on the dollar, in effect laundering those $500 in monthly benefits into $250 in cash — a considerably worse rate than your typical organized-crime money launderer offers — or else they go into the local black-market economy, where they can be used as currency in such ventures as the dealing of unauthorized prescription painkillers — by “pillbillies,” as they are known at the sympathetic establishments in Florida that do so much business with Kentucky and West Virginia that the relevant interstate bus service is nicknamed the “OxyContin Express.” A woman who is intimately familiar with the local drug economy suggests that the exchange rate between sexual favors and cases of pop — some dealers will accept either — is about 1:1, meaning that the value of a woman in the local prescription-drug economy is about $12.99 at Walmart prices.

I would encourage everyone to read the rest of Williamson’s excellent article.  You can find the entire article right here.

In Appalachia, the abuse of alcohol, meth and other legal and illegal drugs is significantly higher than in the U.S. population as a whole.  In a desperate attempt to deal with the pain of their lives, many people living in the region are looking for anything that will allow them to “escape” for a little while.  The following is an excerpt from an excellent article by Chris Hedges which describes what life is like in the little town of Gary, West Virginia at this point…

Joe and I are sitting in the Tug River Health Clinic in Gary with a registered nurse who does not want her name used. The clinic handles federal and state black lung applications. It runs a program for those addicted to prescription pills. It also handles what in the local vernacular is known as “the crazy check” — payments obtained for mental illness from Medicaid or SSI — a vital source of income for those whose five years of welfare payments have run out. Doctors willing to diagnose a patient as mentally ill are important to economic survival.

“They come in and want to be diagnosed as soon as they can for the crazy check,” the nurse says. “They will insist to us they are crazy. They will tell us, ‘I know I’m not right.’ People here are very resigned. They will avoid working by being diagnosed as crazy.”

The reliance on government checks, and a vast array of painkillers and opiates, has turned towns like Gary into modern opium dens. The painkillers OxyContin, fentanyl — 80 times stronger than morphine — Lortab, as well as a wide variety of anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax, are widely abused. Many top off their daily cocktail of painkillers at night with sleeping pills and muscle relaxants. And for fun, addicts, especially the young, hold “pharm parties,” in which they combine their pills in a bowl, scoop out handfuls of medication, swallow them, and wait to feel the result.

Of course this kind of thing is not just happening in the heart of Appalachia.  All over the country there are rural communities that are economically depressed.  In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, economic activity in about half of the counties in the entire nation is still below pre-recession levels…

About half of the nation’s 3,069 county economies are still short of their prerecession economic output, reflecting the uneven economic recovery, according to a new report from the National Association of Counties.

So what are our “leaders” doing to fix this?

Well, they plan to ship millions more of our good jobs overseas.

Unfortunately, I am not kidding.

Republicans in the House of Representatives are introducing “fast track” trade promotion authority legislation that will pave the way for rapid approval of the secret trade treaty that Barack Obama has been negotiating.  The following is how I described this insidious treaty in a previous article

Did you know that the Obama administration is negotiating a super secret “trade agreement” that is so sensitive that he isn’t even allowing members of Congress to see it?  The Trans-Pacific Partnership is being called the “NAFTA of the Pacific” and “NAFTA on steroids”, but the truth is that it is so much more than just a trade agreement.  This treaty has 29 chapters, but only 5 of them have to do with trade.  Most Americans don’t realize this, but this treaty will fundamentally change our laws regarding Internet freedom, health care, the trading of derivatives, copyright issues, food safety, environmental standards, civil liberties and so much more.  It will also merge the United States far more deeply into the emerging one world economic system.

Once again, our politicians are betraying the American people and millions of jobs will be lost as a result.

Not that the economy needs another reason to go downhill.  The truth is that our economic foundations have already been rotting away for quite some time.

But now the ongoing economic collapse seems to be picking up steam again.  For example, the Baltic Dry Index (a very important indicator of global economic activity) is collapsing at a rate not seen since the great financial crash of 2008

Despite ‘blaming’ the drop in the cost of dry bulk shipping on Colombian coal restrictions, it seems increasingly clear that the 40% collapse in the Baltic Dry Index since the start of the year is more than just that. While this is the worst start to a year in over 30 years, the scale of this meltdown is only matched by the total devastation that occurred in Q3 2008. Of course, the mainstream media will continue to ignore this dour index until it decides to rise once again, but for now, 9 days in a row of plunging prices is yet another canary in the global trade coalmine and suggests what inventory stacking that occurred in Q3/4 2013 is anything but sustained.

Soon economic conditions will get even worse for Appalachia and for the rest of the country.  The consequences of decades of very foolish decisions are rapidly catching up with us, and millions upon millions of Americans are going to experience immense economic pain during the years to come.

So what are things like in your area of the country right now?  Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

West Virginia

  • Brandon Bowers


  • none

    The jobs will not return to this country.
    After we teach the foreigners how to build the plants, set up p[production lines. Train their engineers, production line employees. Everything else,
    It will not matter if the company returns to the U.S. If they do the employees along with their government will restart the company with foreign logos.
    This is very leagle.?
    I wanted to have time to write out a comment. but have to get back to work, will write more later.
    Just wanted to *be first to comment*..

    • Malcolm Reynolds

      The Chinese very much so steal American invention and industry.
      I’m fairly certain the Saudis, after American companies build their oil industry and got them to stop humping their camels and killing their daughters (or is that the other way around), seized it all.
      No, it’s not technically legal but what are you gonna do start a war?
      *you missed*

  • GSOB

    “Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” – Mother Teresa

    • Anonymous

      And many poor are made to feel the above daily by others that have contempt for the poor. Some of the things I have heard the wealthy say about the poor is disgusting as they talk as those the poor are less than human and have no business on earth. The poor are working as hard and as long as humanly possible. I have met many very intelligent, hard-working people that live in poverty. I have watched the poor give their last dollar to someone in need while the wealthy have called the police on a poor person that even asked for a dollar to get a cheeseburger. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

    • Barn Cat

      No, the most terrible poverty is being without Christ like she was.

  • Day2Day

    I’m from north eastern ky, lived in the ohio, wv and ky tri-state area… and I can attest to the horrendous economic environment that exists…

    Back in 2009, AK-Steel (And I’ve written about this before on this blog) closed down, laying off 10,000 workers in a city whose population is barely over 20k…

    My family whose still lives in KY, tell me that drugs have really taken over, there are very little public works and such, so kids have little more to do but sit around get high and cause mischief…

    It’s a very sad state of affairs…

    • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

      Great to hear from someone that actually lives in the region. Thank you for sharing those details.

      I hope that everyone will pray for those that live in these kinds of conditions in America.


      • raptor45

        I believe in prayer Michael but while we’re waiting, I’d like to see God get involved and wreck the hell out of the devils….and He and they know who they are….that work to create these conditions. Pray is pure BS unless God acts.

      • Tinia

        Longtime reader of yours, love all the common sense approaches that you try to bring to peoples attention. I live in the Huntington, WV area and own my own business, I’m originally from Florida and when I married my wife and moved here to be closer to her family it was like stepping into a different world altogether. People don’t understand how bad the state of affairs are in this part of the country. Thank you for taking the time to highlight some of the issues that are occurring in this part of the country.

    • Malcolm Reynolds

      Have you and yours checked out Alcoa over in Tenn? It’s aluminum, but the overall processing cant be too much different.

    • El Pollo de Oro

      Day2Day: Last summer here in Philly, I met a young woman who was originally from Ghana and had recently visited rural Appalachia. She said that the rural poverty she saw reminded her of the misery back in Ghana.

      • Anonymous

        Yet people wonder why they are self-medicating in those parts. People are miserable in the USA. I can’t tell you all of the businesses I have been to where the employees are just completely miserable and seem like they feel hopeless. People are willing to work but can’t find work. Those that are working often don’t make enough to pay their bills and then they are mistreated by co-workers and supervisors, so they finally throw in the towel and go on welfare. Then, many of their fellow Americans judge these people. I have heard stories of people in Appalachia still having to go to the creek to get water and eating rats and squirrel for dinner. I have heard of some in Appalachia still living in shelter with mud floors. I have heard of others in Appalachia walking 10 miles per day to get to a place that they can earn a GED or job training. Yet, I don’t hear of organizations that advertise on t.v. to please feed these poor children in Appalachia. It almost seems nobody cares about the poor in Appalachia. The t.v. show “Moonshiners” has several views of Appalachia.

        Thank you for noting that many in Appalachia are “salt of the earth people.” Many of them want to learn anything that will provide for their families. Many in Appalachia are Scottish and/or Irish decent and immigrated here to get away from oppressive governments so they could make their moonshine in peace as they believed it had medicinal properties. They just wanted to live in peace and make a better life for their children.

        As far as making babies, that is not unique to Appalachia. Have you ever been in Minnesota or Wisconsin after a winter with a lot of snow? It almost seems like the only women not pregnant there are those who have gone through menopause.

        Jobs has been an issue in Appalachia for a long time. Dolly Parton has told stories about a prostitute that she thought was the most beautiful woman in town in E. Tennessee (another part of Appalachia). Ms. Parton has even started something to give books to children whose familied are too poor to afford books. There are roads in the USS nicknamed “The Hillbilly Highway” due to so many from Appalachia traveling to other areas for work. So, these Appalachian people are people that want to work.

        • El Pollo de Oro

          Anonymous: Having been to both Latin America and North Africa, I can say without hesitation that the economic conditions in this country are looking more and more like Third World conditions. The young African woman from Ghana I mentioned found her visit to Appalachia to be really sobering. She knew there was a lot of poverty but was shocked by just HOW poor it was.

          • xander cross

            I thought Appalachia was thriving? At least years ago.

          • Anonymous

            Poverty in any country is heartbreaking. In America, it is hard to see hardworking family people that can’t pay bills or feed their kids while many that barely work have more money than they could spend in 5 lifetimes. Then they make sure they live in areas where they don’t have to look at the poor, be “bothered” by the poor, or have to face the very people the refuse to pay a living wage to while they make record profits. May we all reap what we sow. It is really heartbreaking that our ancestors built a country with the largest middle class only for us to allow it to become a country with 99% and 1%.

            How do we fix it? How do we restore what was stolen from us?

    • Syrin

      Yep, tons of meth in that area. We are the most addicted society on the planet. Meanwhile, big banks launder literally hundreds of billions of dollars, and the DEA helped the worst Mexican drug cartel establish a monopoly here in the US. Who is the enemy?

      • xander cross

        You already know who the enemy is.

      • Hammerstrike

        The banks are the biggest addicts of all.

        Through money, they are addicted to the producers/makers and this is why they must keep the producers/makers under control at all costs.

        You may wonder, why do they let the economy collapse? THEY CANNOT RELAX THEIR GRIP ON THE HOST SOCIETIES, if they did

        1 ) they would collapse

        2) the host would break free.

    • Appalachia born

      You must be from Ashland, KY if you are talking about AK Steel. Although I have since moved away, I am from nearby Greenup Co. and can tell you that poverty is worsening by the day all along the Ohio River. From Portsmouth, OH to Parkersburg, WV it is becoming a nightmare. As for Ashland, it is sad to see what it has become there. I can remember my mother shopping the downtown stores like Parsons, JCP, and Sears. Now most of downtown is vacant buildings for lease with little to no hope of ever being occupied again. The civic leaders have failed the residents, while they line their pockets and pad their retirement accounts. Seems to be a familiar theme throughout our once great country.

      • Hammerstrike

        What did the founding fathers and their followers do?

    • Hammerstrike

      Not causing mischief to those who caused such terrible situation?

  • James


    One point you made at the beginning of the article about 15% of the population being in poverty. There are many other statisticians and reports saying that the poverty rate is at least 30% in this country the government just measures it in such a narrow way. There have been arguments that had it been measured the same was as when LBJ started the war on poverty the poverty rate would be over 40%.

    • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse


      That is a very good point. I often go with the more conservative number that the government puts out, but the reality is often far worse than what the government portrays.


  • Hope Deferred

    When God levels that town known as “whoreville”, aka Washington D.C. then judgment will have finally arrived in the United States of America.

    • Mondobeyondo

      The real “whoreville” is Las Vegas, Nevada. You want sin? There’s boat loads of it there.

      • jaxon64

        we could heavily debate this one—maybe it’s “Bathhouse San Fran”..or “Hollywood Babylon/Los Angeles”..or maybe Mardi Gras degenerates and drunken nudity and vice in the Big Easy…or maybe it’s Miami Cocaine Captiol of the northern hemisphere…yep..would make quite a discussion…
        PS: as a strange coincidence–for what it’s worth, the last 5 or so of the greatest natural and terror disasters in our country occured in Miami- Hurricane Andrew, LA 1991 earthquake–San Fran 1989 quake, New Orleans- Katrina..and lest we forget the den of vipers, depravity and vice in Manhattan-we have 9/11…hell of a coincidence hunh?

        • Rene Girrard

          Vancouver, British Columbia is way overdue then.

        • Gay Veteran

          I don’t recall people in San Francisco or New Orleans turning this country to fascism (the merger of state and corporate power). That was DC and Wall Street.

      • Hammerstrike

        Not all, there is a big effing difference.

        People go there to spend their money.
        Stupid of them? Yes but Las Vegas does not seek to actively impose that on the rest of the continent and the entire world, now does it?

    • El Pollo de Oro

      Here’s another whoreville: Wall Street. When Whore #1 (the Democraps and Republikkkons of Washington, DC) merges with Whore #2 (Wall Street), you have an unholy alliance known as fascism.

      • Hammerstrike

        Nope it is not fascism, try learning some actual history.

        Remember that a war was fought against fascism by them.
        The banksters had Churchill and Roosevelt demand the complete surrender of Germany and Italy, this had nothing to do with saving democracy or even Poland.

  • Rufus T Firefly

    The inevitable results of generations of in-breeding.

    • wenmklbfwejlhrfwejklwe

      …produces people who think and make comments just like you……..

      • xander cross

        Also, produces people like you who support Rand Paul who works for the bankers while the people he represents, suffer in Kentucky. Just like you blame “black people” for Detroit, I blame “conservatives” for Kentucky and West Virginia.

  • Chris

    And believe it or not I’ve met people that believe that we need more free trade agreements in order to become more competitive. They can’t grasp the idea that the manufacturing sector is the foundation of a country’s economy. Take away the manufacturing sector and sooner or later those high paying jobs at the top (which most people want to have) will eventually become non-existent.

    • El Pollo de Oro

      Chris: Globalists think that The Banana Republic of America needs more globalism in order to recover, which is a lot like a junkie insisting that he’ll get better if he can just get some more heroin. To a globalist, the problem with minimum-wage workers in Mexico is that they aren’t poor enough. Globalism is a bottomless pit of misery just as Ross Perot said it would be.

      • chris

        El Pollo de Oro: Go to You tube and type “A prophetic interview with Sir James Goldsmith” Goldsmith is another individual who was against NAFTA. The interview took place in 1994. All his concerns about NAFTA have come true.

        • El Pollo de Oro

          Chris: James Goldsmith definitely knew what he was talking about. Just as Goldsmith, Perot, Ralph Nader, Patrick Buchanan and others predicted, NAFTA was a disaster on so many levels. When a country thinks of squalid Third World working conditions as an ideal, it becomes a Third World country.

          • El Pollo de Oro

            “I couldn’t have gotten so stinking rich without George Bush, George Bush Jr., Ronald Reagan, even El Presidente Obama. None of them have the cajones to stand up to all the big money that wants to keep this stuff illegal. From the bottom of my heart, I want to say: gracias amigos, I owe my whole empire to you.”—El Chapo Guzman, CEO of the Sinaloa Cartel

      • Anonymous

        The Roman Empire insisted on Globalism too.

    • Anonymous

      Right on. I have met people that say this too. When I ask where we are all supposed to work to get money to pay bills I am told service jobs are our future. Well, not everyone enjoys working service jobs, service jobs rarely pay a wage a worker can actually live on, and how can we afford services if we don’t haveany money to spend on services. Service jobs are supposed to support the other service jobs? That makes no sense. I said this over a decade ago, and people told me I was stupid and that I knew nothing about economics.

      • chris

        Service jobs will be a thing of the past as well. Look at the retail sector: Sears is cutting its work force, Best Buy reported abysmal numbers. I feel bad for the people that have lost or about to lose their jobs, but these big box stores are getting their comeuppance for running all those mom and pop stores out of business years ago.

        • xander cross

          Best buy is doing bad right now and J.C. penny is cutting jobs as well. I remember going to a lot of mom and pop stores back in the day, now, it’s a sad state of job losses.

    • Wizard of Aus

      Car manufacturing is ceasing in Australia in the next few years here due to the high $A & manufacturing costs. The jobs are being sent to Korea under the Free Trade Agreement. The flow on effect of this is huge as up to 45,000 jobs are reported as going to be lost.

      • Chris

        Don’t worry Wizard, they can all get jobs working at Burger King. /sarc. I have a relative who works in the mining industry down there, and he’s telling me that work has dried up in that sector.

      • Rob W

        That is sad – Holden built some cool cars…

  • Mondobeyondo

    No further doubt in my mind, that we are in the midst of a depression.

    In spite of all the government programs of the past – LBJ’s “War on Poverty”, food stamps, etc — this is what we’re left with. How sad.

    • Anonymous

      Ever notice the “war on……” always seems to exacerbate the original problem and be the code words for “We are taking more of your rights and freedoms?”

      The movie “Snitch” (based on a true story) kinda shows how the “War on Drugs” is causing more issues. Of course, there are tons of examples outside of any movie.

  • Tim


    What do you think of these “manufacturing hubs” that Obama announced today? The first one will be in Raleigh, NC. Will this be a repeat of what happened with Solyndra?

  • Mondobeyondo

    I’ve never been to Appalachia, but from what I understand, the main industry there is almost exclusively coal mining (correct me if I’m wrong). The mining industry has steadily declined over the years, until it is now just about dead. Much like Southwestern U.S. cities (Phoenix, Las Vegas, etc) relied heavily on construction and the housing boom in the mid-2000’s.. When the construction industry went belly-up in the Great Recession, um Second Great Depression, it practically killed our local economies.

    In this case, Las Vegas obviously has tourism and the gaming industry to survive. Their economy isn’t great, but they do have Caesars Palace and Circus Circus. Phoenix does not.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, and the Union Coal Mining jobs pay well enough that some with college degrees are mining coal. Of course, before Unions, coal miners could not pay their bills. There is an old song “I owe my soul to the company store” and I think it might be referencing the coins that coal miners got to buy supplies from the company owned stores. When coal miners finally decided that they wanted to be paid fair wages for their work…..well read about Blair Mountain and Mother Jones.

      You can find very hardworking people in Appalachia.

      • El Pollo de Oro

        “You load sixteen tons, what do you get. Another day older and deeper in debt. Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go. I owe my soul to the company store.”

        Tennesse Ernie Ford “Sixteen Tons”

        • Anonymous

          Yep, this is the song. Well, now I will be singing this song all night as the lyrics are stuck in my head now.

    • Annette Smith

      Mondo, Las Vegas is a mess. Their economy is not good. The unemployment is higher than they will report. We lived in Vegas during a ten year boom cycle. It was crazy! Casinos being built. I lived across from the land where the Palms was eventually built. Vegas is hurting in a major way. Look at how their home are now dirt cheap. My friends bought a house and lost 100,000 bucks in equity in a short time. They since have lost the house. The Vegas employers had to cut back in hours. Vegas ain’t a good place, baby!

  • Patrick Williams

    Sad, very sad…

    There are two economies in America – the upper-middle & upper class economy which is actually doing OK and the lower-middle class and poor which are getting destroyed.

    Unfortunately, it seems we are on the trajectory to be a nation of the “haves” and the “have nots” and the vast majority will be in the “Have not” category.

    Although it is more complicated than this, it ultimately comes down to one word for this whole problem which is: GREED.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have a paradigm where business exists for the sake of benefiting the community and providing employment rather than the present paradigm which only consists of making profits for invisible shareholders that have little or no stake in the local economy and peoples?

    • Anonymous

      That is exactly why the wealthy did not want the working class standing together and have been dividing the working class every chance they have. In some other countries, the working class stand together. You are right, we are a nation of rich and poor now. Hard work does not pay anymore as many making the most money are often bullies that rose to the top through fear, deception, and finding fellow bullies to promote them and hire them.

      “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” -The Bible

      “Divide and conquer.” -The 1% / Those in power

    • Wizard of Aus

      Rather than the Fed putting $75 billion a month to inflate asset prices on stock markets, actually put it use & allow the Federal Govt to use this money to create infrastructure jobs in these areas as to lift people out of poverty, earn an income, contribute to society, pay taxes & increase economic activity in their area.

      • Carolyn Flynn

        I’m disturbed at anyone thinking government is the answer to any of these problems. Government is CREATING these problems! The income tax, regulations, imposition of various requirements such as having to provide access for handicapped, or having to provide healthcare for your employees. It seems no one can open their own business anymore without the government regulating them OUT of business. Usually it’s because the BIG corporations have colluded with government to pass laws that keep competition down. We the People have the answers, and none of them include government.

        • Hammerstrike

          Uh no, not at all, the Federal Reserve is a private cartel of banks.
          A cartel the US governement must borrow from in order to spend, with interests of course. It means your taxes goes directly to these banksters.

          So you see, it would not be governement intervention.

    • k

      google is one of them that does its best to help communities. But companies like google are very few. Most of them just buy up congressmen and prez from both parties to do their bidding. And those congressmen and politicians happily do that, so they are equally to blame.

  • Tractor

    We just got to shut down the coal industry you know. To bad Obummer don’t get paid in coal. Maybe you should not have voted for him…

    • Mondobeyondo

      You didn’t hear that song that The Voice finalist sang (forgot his name, sorry) – “Coal Keeps the Lights On”

      • Anonymous

        I just heard something about the new generation of coal plants being cleaner than any nuclear plant.

        You think Appalachia is poor now? Just wait until coal is shut down. Then, instead of a show called “Moonshiners” there will be a new show called “Coal Miners.” The warning at the beginning of the show will read “Mining coal is illegal. Yet, it is a tradition in Appalachia, and once was a legal, honest living. Don’t try what you see on this show anywhere in the most free country in the world.” This week we follow Canary and “The Lung” into a coal mine somewhere in Appalachia, with the Coal Enforcers not far behind them. Will Canary escape the law and warm his family with his illegal coal? Find out this week on Coal Miners.

        • Anonymous

          The show might go on to say: $1 million in taxes are lost annually by illegal coal mining. So, those poor coal enforcers have to spend $100 million annually in aviation fuel, manpower, vehicles, etc. to go catch those terrible coal miners that are warming their families illegally.

    • Anonymous

      What will Santa leave for those on the naughty list? Now we are shutting down Santa!

  • davidmpark

    We’ve been forced into this kind of scenario by our insane leaders, also. I know the pain they’re going through. However, unlike those who turn to drugs to escape their poverty I turned to agriculture and small-scale industry to solve it.

    Let’s take the above photo of destitution; or as I’d call it “ready-made materials.” Separate all the materials into separate piles: metals, plastics, wood, stone and concrete, chemical containers, and miscellaneous. Then separate out all the piles into specific piles according to material and usefulness. For example; the metals would be sorted into aluminum, steel, useful preformed, rusted scrap, etc.

    The next step, since they are in the countryside, is to get a small herd of dairy goats; 1 ram, 4 does. Most goats go around $50 – $150 and will thrive on that space of land since they’re browser-type feeders eating brush, weeds, grass, shrubs, tree shoots and bark, etc. They will fertilize the land and with plenty of feed will take to a tether for a while. In return for the work they do, you can get dairy products, chevon (goat meat), leather, and much, much more.

    While the goats work, the piles are reworked into the necessities of life. Any containers that are air tight, with some pipes and such will make a anaerobic digester (making natural gas). The aluminum is easy to melt and cast into any parts needed. The older, gray wood can be used for firewood or extract the methanol. A new home can be built from hay bales (a hand baler is easy to make) and other leftovers. The possibilities are endless!

    And the more that’s made with what is on their land, the less government needs to spend and intrude. Gov can fire their now unnecessary bureaucrats and stop taking the money.

    They don’t need micromanagement from government; they need their government to act like a government. Let the people assemble in Churches to help facilitate in charity. Let them elect their leaders without interference, overturn the anti-industry laws locally, and get back to creating jobs. They can do this on their own.

    • bigskyman

      Yes, if I lived in that area of the country I would open up a huge junk yard and recycling center. Offer cash for metals and then part out the cars with local hired labor and sell on E-bay and other parts networks.

      • davidmpark

        Why stop there? I say bring back the old-fashioned blacksmith, chemist, druggist, and such for the poorer communities to recycle those wastes. Yes, it’s not the best; but some folks just can’t afford the best. But good enough to thrive would be enough for now.

        • Annette Smith

          This is what will happen. Those that can create or manufacture are the ones that will survive. You can’t eat gold!

          • davidmpark


    • Malcolm Reynolds

      “I turned to agriculture and small-scale industry”
      I’m incredibly interested to know what you mean by this.
      My sis keeps Boer goats.

      • davidmpark

        Here’s the thing: anything that you have to pay big industries and government for, you can produce with the right instructions and tools. Society has decided to make man fail; not nature, or education. Laws preventing personal industry were made to ensure tax dollars from a few easier-to-regulate companies.

        It’s one of those laws of the universe that people can’t alter. If you can nail two boards together, you nail more together, and so on. If you can use a match to light a fire in a trash can; why not insulate the can, add a hair dryer, and melt some soda cans – pour the molten metal into a mold closer to the heart’s desire?

        How hard can it be?

        • Malcolm Reynolds

          Oh Ok. You weren’t talking about what I thought you may be talking about – combining agriculture and industry to basically implement a kind of small scale farm.
          It’s got to be somewhat difficult to handle aluminum. When you throw it into fire, it turns into “ash”. I’ve never tried to “smelt” it

          • davidmpark

            Oh, I did combine ag with industry. Sorry I didn’t emphasize that. The government’s tried to shut it all down, but I just put what I needed into storage and made arrangements for when SHTF.

            And yeah, the aluminum foundry is fun! There are plans online for it. The most expensive and difficult part was finding the casting sand. There’s folks on ebay that sell it.

          • Annette Smith

            Thank you for this. I want to make my own dies to use in what I am manufacturing. I think that I can do this. Thank you!

          • davidmpark

            You’re welcome. If you want a good starter video on it, check out “James May’s Man Lab” on youtube. He did a lemon squeezer project that covers aluminum casting from start to finish. There’s also a lot of free books on foundry work all over the net.

            Good luck!

  • Rob Kinney

    I am from rural south central KY (Brodhead, Rockcastle County) and I can tell you that most of the things described above are exactly how it is here. There are so many people on drugs it’s crazy. First it was the meth, which was more of a problem back in 2002-2007, then the pain pills really started becoming a huge problem, OxyContin and perc 30’s (roxicet) obtained from Florida and Georgia doctors. The pain pills are something that you can’t just walk away from after doing them for a while; they cause people to steal from family, sell everything they own, and/or prostitute themselves in order to avoid opiate withdrawal.
    One thing that’s different here is there’s not a lot of junky metal stuff everywhere (like in the photo) anymore because they load it all up here and take it to the scrapyard for .05 a pound. Back when I did pills, I witnessed more than one fight between addicts over “who found this pile of junk first” to take to the scapyard, and “who gets how many pills first” when the junk is cashed in. It’s a crazy life worrying about where your next pill is going to come from so you can lay down and go to sleep and not have to worry about whether you will feel like getting up the next morning to do it all over again. I can not even say in words how grateful I am to be out of that life, it’s a PURE NIGHTMARE!!
    I apologize for dragging on and on but this article really reminded me of here and I had to comment.

    • 2guest2

      Thanks for sharing Rob. I wish you all the best!

    • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse


      No need to apologize at all. These are exactly the kind of comments that I love to get after my articles. Firsthand accounts like this really help paint a picture of what is going on out there.

      And I am so glad that you were able to escape that life. Many people never are able to get out.


    • El Pollo de Oro

      Rob: Your comments are very informative. I’ve often had the “rural misery v. urban misery” conversation with preppers. Many preppers will tell you that as the economic conditions go from bad to worse in this country, big cities will become more and more dangerous. Agreed. But I often point out that rural areas that are full of economic misery and methhead tweekers galore aren’t necessarily safe either. The difference is that in the urban areas, the misery is very concentrated because of the population density. But if someone lives in the middle of nowhere, they’d better be ready to defend themselves because the nearest police station could be miles away.

      • K

        Answering for myself, and everyone else I know. In this area, N.E. TN Being able to defend yourself is a given. And most people would prefer the police to be many miles away. The deputies around here, are just not looked on as help. The main difference is the good people far out number the bad people, and everyone is armed. In the cities half the good people are unarmed, and defending themselves has never even occurred to them. That is enough difference to keep me rural.

        • El Pollo de Oro

          K: God bless the 2nd Amendment. Here in Philly (where even the trees blindly vote straight Democrat), I’ve had the gun control debate with countless people. Utopians think that disarming decent people will make the streets safer. No, it won’t. When you outlaw guns, only cops and criminals have guns. Gun control doesn’t work any more than Prohibition worked.

          • xander cross

            You speak the truth. I know a couple of people that conceal carry in the city and most people do prefer to be armed. The problem is that in the cities, the churches tell the pulpit to not have a gun in your home.

          • El Pollo de Oro

            Xander: México has fairly strict gun control laws. But I’ve never known of members of La Familia Michoacana or Los Zeta to say, “Órale, mis compas, until we can get all of our guns legally registered, we aren’t doing any more drive-by shootings.”

      • Tom Anderson

        “The chicken of gold”, I like it.

    • Rabid Cat

      Appreciate you’re honesty and tale, Rob. Never give in sport, cheers from AUS.

    • klhayes

      Thank you for sharing. So sad that so many need to numb themselves to make it through life. I hope we can figure out how to deal with this and give people a reason to live.

    • Hammerstrike

      Good on you for getting out of it, good luck.

    • antonio Assisi

      Hello I write from Italy, and the perception that we in the United States is totally distorted by the media. I am saddened that so many people are in poverty and also have fallen in dependence from psychoactive drugs. I am a practicing Catholic Christian and I am committed to helping people who are in need, in my prayers I will add these intentions and I invite all those who are tried by poverty and disease by trusting in Jesus Christ.

    • Ultramaroon

      I’m glad you got out of the drug life, Rob. Thanks for testifying that it can be done. Someone in my family is finally in recovery, seemingly “for good”. I read Nic Sheff’s book “Tweak” and his father’s book “Beautiful Boy” (David Sheff) when our family was being tormented by that one member’s meth addiction. It is the devil’s own poison, that’s for sure. Again, congratulations, and good luck.

  • Mondobeyondo
  • Orange Jean

    And in the meantime… our government has just announced gleefully they have a bipartisan agreement to spend another $1 trillion dollars.

    With what money, I’m asking… not mentioned at all?

    • Chris

      “With what money…”
      The Federal Reserve has that part covered. Don’t you fret, Orange Jean. The USA has the best printing machine money can buy.

      • kfilly

        Yes, it’s called a computer. Why make the money physically when all they have to do is press a few keys on the old keyboard?

    • Anonymous

      If they had given the bailouts to the American people instead of the corporations, how many homeless Americans might still be living in their homes? How many Americans could have gone to college or technical schools?

  • K

    I do not quite live in that area, but I can drive there in 45 minutes. And even here in N.W. TN. if you get into what they call the back hollers, you will find exactly what you describe. These are the ultimate forgotten people. The only place I have been that is at about the same level, is some of the Indian reservations. From my area every December, a train leaves for S.E. Kentucky, It is called the Santa train. Each year donations of toys are taken up, so those kids at least get something for Christmas. I have seen areas that are on level with third world countries. Children that just beam, if you hand them the simplest doll you can imagine. Some of those areas are so remote there is no nearby medical help. The beautiful child you saw that year before, is not there this year. Seems she was snakebit, and they could not get her to help in time. Yes this happens in the U.S.. Michael thank-you for writing this article.

    • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

      You are welcome. And it was actually a reader that got the ball rolling on this one. So I would like to anonymously thank that particular person. 🙂


    • Anonymous

      I second the thank you for writing this article. It does seem people have forgotten the poor in many rural areas, and in the USA as a whole. People are quick to send money to third world countries, yet seem not to know that there are many people not far from them living a life very similar to those in the third world. People don’t want to be poor. I have read many news stories about people in Appalachia freezing to death in their home because they could not afford heat (even though they had a job). I have read about house fires that were caused by more primitive heating methods. It is not uncommon to read an obituary of someone that passed away at a fairly young age. Then, there are others that self-medicate to escape their reality for a while, while others commit suicide (there are also news stories of people jumping out into traffic). On top of all of the suffering in Appalachia, too many stand in judgement of these people.

    • K

      Correction, that should read N.E. TN.

    • OTObamaTruther

      The Santa Train has been an inspiration for over half a century and a bright light for thousands.

  • I see these hillbilly’s are now digging up ginsing root.
    Pays around $550.00 a pound cash.
    At least they have some hope in their new found gold rush.

  • eddiestale

    gary the dutch midget is cheering

  • eddiestale

    gary is a midget, he is unable to put anyone in their place. such is the life of mental midgets like garygirl

  • art simpson

    In Iceland, the people through out the government and bankers and started over completely – but of course our media did not report that.

    • El Pollo de Oro

      Art: And Iceland has one of the lower unemployment rates in Europe. Compare that to the abysmal economic conditions in Spain and Greece, two countries the banksters have by the throats. Nigel Farage of the libertarian Independence Party in the UK has had some great insights on Europe, but our presstitutes never report that.

  • art simpson

    By the way, the government is who is bringing the drugs into the country. That’s why the war on drugs is not a war on drugs.

  • toadsticker

    My wife is from Wheelwright in Floyd County, Kentucky. She is the daughter of a coal miner who died of black-lung.

    • Mondobeyondo

      That’s painful to hear. But one thing’s for certain, hard times, or a hard life, will either make you or break you.

    • Anonymous

      Right on. People in Appalachia are survivors. They are very resourceful and innovative. They might be poor, but they know how to survive. I think the song “A Country Boy Can Survive” by Hank Williams Jr. was probably about Appalachia and her people.

  • eddiestale

    gary is too small to be seen

  • Claire

    If they want to truly escape such a horrible life than self education is the key. How about spending all your free time at the library reading, learning and growing?

    No one is going to pull you up by your bootstraps but yourself. God is not going to come in and rescue you with a powerball win.

    No the hard work must come from a determination that HELL NO I won’t live this way and I won’t let my children live this way.

    We want better, we demand better but the only way to get that is through hard work and determination.

    If you are staying in a depressed area because of family….don’t. Let them stay in the mess but get out and get your family out. Ignore anyone who says you can’t, avoid anyone on drugs and alcohol they will just drag you into their mess of poor me…blah, blah, blah nonsense.

    Be willing to reinvent yourself and put in the time to do that. It won’t happen overnight. But it can and does happen with the right mind set and a big set of balls!

    • Mondobeyondo

      I agree. It takes a great, and I mean GREAT deal of determination to break out of it. If anyone tells you it’s easy, they’re lying, plain and simple. It is anything but easy. But it can be done.

      • Rene Girrard

        I disagree. That tired and worn out “education is the key” doesn’t work in America like it used to. Does it work in 3rd world countries?

        • Claire

          I am not talking about standard education in high school, college, etc. I am talking about learning things from actual books on your own. Get business start up books, books on how to run your own business, books about people who have been poor and succeeded in life, books about stuff like that. Not a useless college education.

          If you are keeping your mind on the right things you are going to keep from doing the wrong things.

          Of course you would rather we just keep doling out the government assistance (seems like this is hurting these people and far from helping them). Most of the parents are unemployed if they were not on drugs they could be supervising their children 24/7 to make sure they were doing the right things. Showing by example (which they are just a very bad example at that).

          • k

            There already are people who are buying them and learning from them. But reading those kind of books cant help everybody. You also need cash to start a business and demand for the goods which you plan to sell/make. Places like these dont even support an economy required to create demand for the goods which people make with businesses grown from reading books about them.

            Startups also need towns and cities with people who have cash to spend.

            Sad but true.

        • Mondobeyondo

          Education is not the key, perseverance is. Although education certainly helps.

        • Anonymous

          There are brilliant minds with little formal education. There is nothing wrong with self educating or being educated, but lack of education does not equal laziness. Some people have dropped out of school to get jobs to help their families financially. So, how does working make a person lazy? There are very educated whistleblowers that now live in poverty due to their blowing the whistle. There is no single reason for poverty. God did not tell me to judge the poor, but He did tell me to have mercy on them. May we all reap what we sow.

          How many stories do we hear about the $1+ trillion in student loan debt and students loan default and college grads that can’t find jobs.

    • Anonymous

      I guess those college grads that can’t find work and are living in poverty better pull themselves up by their bootstraps and work harder. I know people that have tested as “gifted” that live in poverty.

      Poverty is often not due to laziness. I have met plenty of poor people that outwork a wealthy person any day of the week.

      “Judge not lest ye be judged….” -Matt 7:1

      • Grave Digger

        You judged what you saw as good in some people by saying they can outwork a wealthy person any day of the week. If our wisdom allows to judge the good in a person it should also allow us to judge what is not good. God judges the soul but man judges the actions of others on this earth. I Cor 6:2

    • Doug

      You are dead on, My father grew up poor white trash but he worked full time and went to school and made a life for himself. He passed that down to his 2 sons, we had to take on full time jobs and pay our own way through school, which we did. my mom and dad were always there to help us when we needed it but we tried hard to not ask for help because we knew my dad made it and so could we. WE DID, my brother is a Dr. and I am a Cisco Engineer

  • GSOB


  • fuguewriter

    Government can’t win a “war on poverty” when they’re creating it. Economic freedom must be enabled or this will be America.

  • Mondobeyondo

    You know, usually I will try to insert a sarcastic quote such as “Poverty is Over – If You Want It – paraphrase John Lennon” —

    -but in this case – I dunno.

    Appalachia is a region that has suffered generations of poverty. These are strong willed, hard working people. If they really wanted to break out of that lifestyle, they could. Something must be holding them back from climbing the ladder of upward mobility. Could it be that the rungs on the ladder are broken?

  • CitizenS

    I’m a paramedic in Charleston, WV that serves all of Kanawha county. While in training we’re always reminded that we always encounter people at their lowest point in this occupation. Reading about it is one thing, living it is another. WV has always been a poor state, and most of the time you can’t tell much of a difference during a downturn. This time is different. I see an overflow at the shelters, children in clothing the wrong size and unkept, people’s homes with empty pantries and frig’s. Rounding out the misery, we recently had a chemical spill into the main water supply for 9 counties. American water bought up and shut down the smaller PSD’s and moved their monopoly to one location, downstream of a chemical storage facility. However, our public service commision saw nothing wrong with this. Poverty is leading many to turn to drugs and alcohol to turn a buck to buy the needs, and when that goes wrong, EMS is left to deal with the pieces. Thankfully, although poor, many that were not affected by the recent spill were very quick to open their doors and offer a hot shower, a few gallons of water, and most of all encouragement pulling neighbors even closer than before.

  • ad

    The president is doing everything possible to make the economy better. The Affordable Care Act will bring quality, affordable, health insurance to the masses. The unemployment rate has fallen to 6.7% thanks to the president, which means more people have gotten a job. QE is working, as the economy is growing. Companies all across the country are being handed H1B visas to bring top talent to the country, which will get them working so they can start pumping money into the economy. Jobs which are less costly to Americans are outsourced so more money stays in the country. Those who are unemployed are not looking for work. Jobs are out there that need to be done. McDonalds and Wal-Mart are constantly hiring, I suggest those of you who are unemployed apply.

    I’m jk lol

    • Mondobeyondo

      [sarcasm off]
      I applied for a job at Wal-Mart back in October of 2013, thinking I’d certainly be hired for the Christmas rush. I’m still waiting to hear from them.

      • Alasha

        when i was out of work for almost two years 2009, i applied to the Wendy’s down the street from me. They gave me an application in Spanish and noone ever called. that was more depressing than being out of work..

        • Anonymous

          I have read forums where some say they did not get a job because they were not bi-lingual/only spoke English.

          I have yet to see any Americans carry picket signs and peacefully disapprove of being discriminated against.

    • not me

      you forgot about trickle down. The rich are doing all they can for the common man!

  • Rene Girrard

    One of the huge problems is that because Obama is a black guy, everyone is afraid to hold him accountable for fear of being called a racist.

    • Guest

      Rene, is he not half white as well?

  • anonymous

    I live about 15 mins away from Kentucky in Cincinnati. On my street in one week we had two large drug busts, and a attempted bank robbery. I also saw a man shoplift a Walgreen’s in broad daylight. I also am aware of people stealing shopping carts from a family dollar down the street to chop up for metal? I can only assume for what this money (if any?) is being used for. Cincinnati is also becoming like Detroit. If you are thinking of visiting or moving here DON’T!.

    • Anonymous

      …And so goes the reports from most of America’s cities. Many cities are looking more and more like the 3rd world, in my experience. Thank you for the report. It is sad to hear.

  • arthurg

    Maybe the best thing to do is for all to make believe that you’re all the first settlers here and become self sufficient by growing crops and live stock, and building log cabins just like they did in the past. United we stand, divided we fall.

    • tarandfeatherthecrooks

      There are laws passed prohibiting people from growing food on certain percentage of their own land and limiting how much they can actually give to neighbors and friends of their crops. There are reports of destruction of private gardens and crops in order to limit people from living off the grid. I don’t get it.

      • k

        Thank big agro for that with the govts help ofcourse. If people start growing their own food, wont big agro suffer?

  • paul

    I have never seen so many homeless people in my life and conditions are the worst I’ve seen in my 39 years of life and getting worse, Paul, from Fayetteville, Arkansas

    • Anonymous

      Me too. I see so many more homeless people now. Then, some places are doing things to prevent the homeless from finding shelter under bridges and such. Where are all of these human beings supposed to go? Where are the jobs? Meanwhile, houses, apartments, condos, etc. sit empty in America.

  • Roger Smith

    “THE BELL CURVE” should be required reading. This book goes a long way in explaining our problems. Not all of our problems, of course….but a lot of them.

  • Selaretus

    Yet more evidence that Oboob in an insidious evil and an enemy of the people.

  • Ft. Payne

    If you get a chance, come through Fort Payne, Alabama. It was once a textile industry town. It now has vast stretches of empty warehouses and manufacturing facilities with for lease signs falling down and collapsing. It would be very hard to believe that N.A.F.T.A. and other free trade did not ship these industries overseas.

    • Doug

      Yep, that’s how I paid my way through college was working 3rd shift at Johnson’s boarding socks for 8 hours a night. I still live very close by and commute to work because I love my country home and farm

  • Doug

    I have never commented here but I must on this hit piece!! The article you refer to is a hit piece aimed at poor rural whites. This is not the norm of life in Appalachia, How do I know, well i live it in far NE Alabama. Yes we do have poor people but the per capita rate on government aid is far less than the rest of America. We work together and help our neighbors, we farm and live off the land. We also have many great paying tech jobs along the app corridor through the northeast. So before you re post garbage like the white ghetto do some real research. I have read you column for a long time and this is the first time i can remember that you are dead wrong. when the economy does collapse we wont miss a beat while the rest of the country fight over the scraps

    • K

      Doug, your area is very different then E. Kentucky. You have Chattanooga to the east, and Huntsville to the west. Industry from both cities has spilled out into your area. You say yourself, you have some good paying tech. jobs. E. Kentucky has no such equivalent. I have spent time in both places. Difference of night and day.

      • Doug

        The only industry within 1.5-2 hrs form where I am was the sock industry and it died. People here are just as poor and have no employment future. Yes there are drugs here and welfare leeches but the ratio is no where close to the inner city. The white ghetto was a hit piece, if anyone wrote this about a black ghetto they would be lynched by the media. My point is we may be poor but we have not devolved to the savagery of the inner city ghettos and we will adapt and survive we have been for hundreds of years!!!

        • K

          That story was written by an outsider. The bad is always easier to spot than the good. I do not agree with the ghetto designation. But he is not far off with the comparison to some Indian Reservations. Also the areas he visited, were the absolute worst ones. I have a great deal of respect for the folks I live around. They work hard, and the grand majority can be trusted. But Hazzard and that area of Kentucky is a very different place.


      Have you read the Kevin Williamson article? Click the link and check it out. It is excellent and well balanced. You and your family pull together? This is great and wonderful thing. This article is not meant as criticism to people like yourselves. It documents a great American tragedy for people whose lives are in a ditch. If you have it all together, you are very fortunate. The government responds by sending jobs overseas and importing millions of workers from points South. The Native Born are being left behind. This is a catastrophe and we shall all pay.

    • k

      He has also been dead wrong when he said america is heading towards socialism. I could help myself from laughing.

      But he is a nice guy whose heart is in the right place. He genuinely feels for those who really cannot take care of themselves, instead of criticising them. Most of his articles are spot on too except that last one about socialism.

    • k

      I meant i couldnt not help myself from laughing 🙂

  • Bob Hamilton

    Looks like parts of the City of Brevard, N.C. The problem seems to be spreading.

  • 1autumn

    No one in Washington cares, never think anyone does. We’re on our own.

  • tarandfeatherthecrooks

    Is the outcome to “save” the natural resources for another country who has their eyes on our resources? Is there a back door deal we don’t know about yet?


      I tell you we shall stand starving as we watch the rail cars go by carrying our wheat to China.


    Michael, one of your finest pieces yet. It’s enough to make you cry. I recommend the Williamson piece to all readers. It is an eye opener. This is what happens when a government abandons its own people and this in the heart of a region that was Ground Zero for the War on Poverty. Ponder the Trillions spent on the War on Terror and all the Crusades. FOR WHAT?! Just this week, Falleujah, one of the great iconic battles, recaptured in Iraq by the Goons. All the dead and suffering for… NOTHING! We have Catastrophe in our own back yard. We don’t need anymore Crusades. Let us care of our own and while we are at it, dump these trade pacts and seal the border! The government is getting very nervous and not without reason.

    • Gay Veteran

      due to our war of aggression against Iraq we have squandered $TRILLIONS

  • Citizen X19

    Regarding the use of “soda” as an alternative currency, a small correction is necessary. In Hillbillyland, they don’t refer to carbonated soft drinks as “soda.” They call it “pop.” And as far as “staggering” poverty is concerned, you don’t have to go all the way down to WV or KY to see it. Plenty of rural areas in PA, OH, and upstate NY (which are all in the Appalachian region) are in dire straits. Believe or not, there are people still using outhouses in some of these areas–yes in even in 2014!

    • djc

      This is so very true. I live in NE Ohio and its also Appalachia.

  • Great article. It’s good that you pointed out also that the TTP treaty and its predecessors are the real culprits here, not the alleged over-regulation of the coal industry by the Obama Administration.

    We need to effect a massive 180 degree turnaround in our national priorities and focus on America and Americans instead of wasting money trying to rule the rest of the world.

  • DJohn1

    That machine next to the building is a fairly expensive piece of equipment. Does it run?
    I guess Kentucky doesn’t have zoning boards.
    We have jokes that are almost timeless about people coming from Kentucky to take assembly line jobs in Ohio. A lot of people migrated back then to take those jobs that were paid a lot better in benefits and wages than they had at home in Kentucky.
    Kentucky is also known for horses. Some of the prettiest farms I have ever seen were in Kentucky.
    Dr. Paul’s son is a representative from Kentucky.
    Those assembly line jobs were controlled by Unions and Union contracts. Right now Rand Paul wants Right to Work laws enacted in Kentucky. Got to say, I know where he is coming from and I do not like it.
    The only thread a poor working person has is to be covered by good contracts and the hired legal help from professionals to keep a place honest.
    Well that is all gone. You can see the results everywhere you look.
    Less than 11% are covered. And it shows. Companies hire college grads because they are taught to be anti-union. Then they fire or lay them off as they approach middle age because they can hire someone else with no experience cheaper. Or they send it over to countries that have no wages control.
    That is basically the corporate way. It is also the way of Republican Leaders such as the one that was running for President last time. Screw the American laborors any which way you can. It kept him from getting elected because it was just plain stupid to put someone in that job with his background. Republicans tried anyway.
    The problem I see is 99% of the Congress is from the Corporate Rich Crowd and have law degrees. It has become a rich man’s club.
    It is almost impossible for a poor man to get elected. That is because the law is owned body and soul by the CRC(Corporate Rich Crowd).
    “Let them eat cake!” rings down through the years.
    Both Republicans and Democrats come from this club. The incorporated laws say you almost have to be one or the other to get elected in the State of Ohio. There are economic sanctions to keep the club exclusive to this group right here in this state. I have seen them in operation. The CRC does not want the people represented. There is a standard brief put out by lawyers for lawyers that can cost a poor candidate 10,000 dollars or more and can be ordered by a court of law.
    This manipulation by the CRCs is what keeps them in power. The antee to get elected is too high.
    So when you look at all those poor souls out there also look at facts that keep these people in power.
    The other thing that keeps them in power is a PR machine owned again body and soul by the CRC.
    This PR machine has a master’s degree in psychology of the masses. It is in this PR machine that you have massive numbers of people voting for the candidate that the CRCs want elected. In this case it was Obama.
    The way this is done is to put forward a faulty candidate from the opposing party so that this person gets elected that they want elected.
    What does that have to do with the poor? The game rules by which we operate as a country are set up to keep the rich rich and the poor poor.

  • Randy Townsend

    I grew up in east Tennessee, and nothing in this report is new. Things are just as bad now as ever, not worse (except for the # of druggies). Real poverty is in that area, despite the hundreds of billions spent by the feds to improve the lives of people.

  • DaneChile

    1. Saying a woman is worth $12.99 is like saying a milk cow´s value is the same as one gallon of milk.
    2. If Hussein had used just 200 billion of the stimulus to help areas such as this, it would have been better used than paying it to his cronies at GM and the unions. Oh, sorry. These are white people that probably vote conservative….

    • MrsBulldoggy .

      “Oh, sorry. These are white people that probably vote conservative….”
      What are you talking about?

      • xander cross

        He is talking about how conservative owners sent thousands of jobs to china for cheap labor and cheap goods. All of those factories close up and went to China and Mexico. You all blame Detroit decaying city, but not to many you never brought up Kentucky and West Virginia until now. I been knew about Kentucky and the job losses there and the heavy crystal meth use, but somehow, that don’t make it on Fox news.

        • MrsBulldoggy .

          Do you watch Fox News… At all? They do report a heck of a lot more than you give them credit for, Xander. As for conservative owners sending jobs overseas, well, Apple, Nike, Dell, GE and other companies ARE NOT Conservative ran businesses. They are all liberal bastions, sir. Look it up.
          Fox has run pieces on the pill mills here in Florida and the plight of the addicted from far away as Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and others who come to this state. They get phony scripts so they can get oxy, Xanax and other drugs to sell back home.
          My initial question is why ignorant people like you and the original poster always have to bring in race to these conversations. Color of skin is immaterial, yet, fools, toadies and sycophants like you feel the need to erroneously muddy the waters once again.
          I’ll tell you what, why don’t you and your friends just go and rape, pillage and kill all the white people you hate so you can make yourselves feel better. I guarantee that after you are done, you will still have all the same problems after us white people are gone.

          • xander cross

            Oh please, every single article that Michael puts up about Detroit you all blame black people for it’s collapse every single time and I can go back to the articles to prove it. Also, conservative owners sent many jobs to china that ran Nike, Dell, and GE. Also, who said that I hated white people? I am telling the truth about how jobs are being sent to china. Who sending the jobs to china again?

          • MrsBulldoggy .

            Quit stereotyping Xander. You are THE PROBLEM. You help the puppet masters divide and polarize and ultimately conquer all of us by buying into this nonsense. Quit with the Victim Card, the Race Card – it is pathetic.

          • xander cross

            No, you’re THE PROBLEM. I help the puppet masters? You voted them in power in the first place (Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell). Quit with the victim card now that the shoe is on the other foot. It’s pathetic that you defend the very senators that get paid millions of dollars while the people in the conservative states suffer.

          • xander cross

            You sure did not use the “victim card” when you blame the problems of Detroit on black people. See, I actually read your comments a while back saying that it was black people fault for the collapse of Detroit, so now, it’s the fault of senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Quit playing the victim card.

          • xander cross

            You stereotyped when you blame black people for Detroit, so now, I blame Rand Paul for the collapse of Kentucky.

          • xander cross

            See, it’s okay for all you to talk bad about black people when Detroit is facing economic problems, but when half the state of Kentucky and West Virginia is facing economic problems, it’s “you can’t say nothing about our senators”. Rand Paul represents the state of Kentucky so therefore, he is the problem. Oh yes, I remember him saying several times that poor people need to work and pick themselves up but at the same time, he is getting millions from bankers to further their agenda.

      • xander cross

        Oh, by the way. Who runs the state of Kentucky and who is the Senators from Kentucky. No other than Senator Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell.

        • MrsBulldoggy .

          These two senators just can’t allocate monies to their state arbitrarily or unilaterally without consent from the entire Senate. They are just TWO VOTES, they must go through proper channels before they can award their state anything. Also, do you know their voting record? Do you know anything about what they have put forth to help their state? I’ll bet not. And I’ll bet you don’t know anything about their requests being vetoed or struck down, do you?
          Don’t be so daft or thick-headed, it isn’t becoming…

          • xander cross

            Oh really? So Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell don’t get kickbacks from corporations? They don’t get paid to promote conservative viewpoints from companies that send jobs to china? Fox news sure don’t report that.

          • xander cross

            Oh, I know where they both stand on which is on the side that pays them the most. But of course, you would believe anything that Rand Paul says even when he stated that he continues to support aid to Israel to the tune of billions of dollars.

          • xander cross

            My point is since Kentucky is not doing so well, but you have two senators that get paid millions of dollars from bankers to promote their agenda while their state continues to be in decay.

          • xander cross

            I know all about their “request” and of course you fail to mentioned all of the money they received from bankers that go to their “off shore bank accounts”. So, while people can’t make ends meet, their representatives are sure living well.

    • xander cross

      Yes, they do vote conservative and blame everything on “liberals” even though these conservative owners sent the jobs to china in the first place. This is something that most people here always fail to say because it goes against their racist viewpoints. Who sent their jobs to china? White men who happen to be conservative.

      • DaneChile

        Oh, boy. Here we go with the stale ol´ “white male” meme yet again.. Do you truly believe that there are no female black, Asian or Hispanic CEO´s that made the same decision due to laws and regulations imposed by the government? But of corse not! They are all patriotic, America First types of women, right?
        It is rather sexist and racist of you to blame the problem on white males.
        By the way, do you believe Obama is white or black?

        • xander cross

          Oh please, you blame Detroit problems on black people, so come here with that now that it’s happening to a conservative state like Kentucky and West Virginia.

          • DaneChile

            You really need to take your meds. I never once mentioned Detroit or black people And you still have not answered my questions.

          • xander cross

            Yes you did. I read your comments on each article Michael has about Detroit. I have answered your questions. There is not a black owned business that sent jobs to china, none.

        • xander cross

          Oh, since someone would say “both sides are corrupt” well then why did the vast majority of white people vote for McConnell since he is paid of by bankers?

          • DaneChile

            Just how the heckers does your response address what I wrote? And you did not answer my questions. I think it is past your bedtime.

          • xander cross

            I already answer your question. I know that it’s past your bedtime. Do you believe that Obama is black or white?

          • xander cross

            I already answered your question.

      • djc

        This is so very true. And I’m a white male who is socially conservative. White males destroyed the country. Not blacks, Muslims or any other group.

  • Lappolk

    Here in the Blue Ridge foothills, things are pretty tough for people. There are some new businesses in the larger towns, but not even remotely close to enough to provide for the many who are hurting. During early 2002, I experienced a dream in which I was watching hundreds of crows flying from east to west over our home in Upstate New York. They were morphing into locusts as they flew over. Locusts are a symbol of judgement. One crow swooped by the window I was observing this from in the dram and issued a loud “CAW! CAW!” I instantly woke up. It was midnight, nearly to the second. It shook me up a bit. The next morning, on the way to the supermarket, I told my wife about the dream. When I had finished, we had to come to a stop at a traffic light. There before us was a car the plate of which had several numbers followed by the letters CAW. I knew what all of this meant. It was a warning that we were going to be consumed. That’s what locusts do – they consume. That is why they are a symbol of God’s judgement. There’s a lot of water over the dam since then, but things can get MUCH worse than they are now. The best immediate action any of us in the country could take would be to repent, both for our own misdeeds and “identificationally” for others who for one reason or another won’t. The Church needs to lead in this! It just might be time for the Church to knock off the “business as usual” stuff and start crying out to God! If we don’t do so soon, it makes me wonder what it will take.

    “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return
    to me with all your heart, with fasting
    and weeping and mourning”. Joel 2:12

    • MrsBulldoggy .

      Back in 2008/2009, I had a friend dream of a giant white orb with a stream of people walking into the light. She, herself, entered the white light and knew that she had died on Earth due to an enormous cataclysmic event that took much of the world’s population with it. At first, she was worried, but then she realized that she was going to a better place and quit worrying (she kept having the dream over a year and a half period).
      I think there are people that are given a window to peer into, thru dreams, to see our future. As you stated in your comment, I believe some of these dreams are to warn people of what is to come. And I like your advice because there is no way we can stop Wrath once it is here. Not the type of Wrath we have sown in this country (and the world). Those that have faith in God need to turn to him now, more than ever. Turn away from the material world. I just don’t know how many will get the message, or want to get the message. And many other sites/threads, I’ve seen too many naysayers…

  • Raoul Duke

    Michael & Rob,

    I work in a methadone clinic in New England area. It’s just as bad here in the ” affluent ” part of the country. The fact that we have a disease care

    system and not a health care system certainly doesn’t help!! But hey..there is no money in health right? Just keeping people sick and dependent as major corporations rake in trillions a year from drug sales. What i try to do on a daily basis with my patients is get them back to nature and a natural , organic model to treat their conditions. Congrats Rob…you must have worked hard!!!!

    • MrsBulldoggy .

      Raoul – Exactly! People need to understand that they should take control over the their health RIGHT NOW before it is too late. Don’t become one of the zombies dependent upon the toxic/poisonous big pharma elixirs. I’m glad you are leading people down that path. Bravo, God Bless…

  • Jane Bobsky

    I guess this represents Obama’s transforming America. Won’t be long before the US equals Venezuela. Socialist paradise.

  • Richard O. Mann

    Drugs are used by the government to keep the people passive. England did this for years in China with Opium. It does not surprise me that we are seeing more and more drug use in the country as the economy continues to drop.

    • MrsBulldoggy .

      Yes! Numb, Dumb and Dead the population in order to carry out the agenda at hand.

  • ruki444

    An excellent author to read is Joe Bageant. His blog is still online and he wrote a few great books. As he wrote in Rainbow Pie, the problems started after WWII. Just one example is when Hunt’s started contracting with local tomato canneries (who employed local people, providing them with the cash they needed for the year), and then shut them down, forcing people out of rural areas to try and find work in the cities.

  • gfmucci

    Two things have to happen. One is beyond most unemployed people’s control; one is within their control:
    1) Get rid of the socialists/progressives/environmental Nazis in Washington who are gutting our cheap energy capacity
    2) Identify and relocate to the several areas of the country that are looking for thousands of employees. They do exist. Be willing to relocate.

    • MrsBulldoggy .

      “Identify and relocate to the several areas of the country that are looking for thousands of employees. They do exist. Be willing to relocate.”
      That will work to a limited degree. It happened in the Vegas Valley in the 1990’s when 5,000 to 8,000 people were moving to the Las Vegas Metro area. Unfortunately, it was too much and many left the area when those “plentiful jobs” were all filled. And it is happening in North and South Dakota, and it won’t last as they will get too many people coming in as well.
      Let’s be honest, this country does not have enough jobs for everyone looking for work. We’ve outsourced too many overseas, over regulated our own businesses, and we are of course, the country with the highest Corporate Tax Rate in the World. We are no longer the best nation to start up a business, we are in fact, one of the worst. What a shame…

      • Gay Veteran

        “…the country with the highest Corporate Tax Rate in the World….”
        the big corporations don’t pay high taxes

    • Gay Veteran

      “cheap energy capacity”
      at what price? look what the coal companies have done to West Virginia and Kentucky

  • Wolfy Ghalkhani

    I read this article with a lump in my throat. this isn’t just happening to Appalachia but all over the US. the inner cities are ruined and so are the suburbs. the left had an agenda to destroy this country and they did it without a shot fired by the people. there’s no turning back now. China took our jobs thanks to Kissinger pushing Nixon to grant that nation “favored nation” status and now it basically owns us. No one has the courage to stand up and fight back neither the citizen, soldier or politicians. America is gone and what a shame that is.

    • MrsBulldoggy .

      Just not China, NAFTA and it looks like the TPP (trans pacific partnership) is gearing up to take over in this country. It will be our economic death knell that Obama and his cronies want. Time for civil unrest is coming when more people end up starving and desperate…

    • Gay Veteran

      uh Wolfy, it was conservatives that backed Nixon. Both parties are 2 sides of the same coin, both owned by TPTB

    • CynicalGuy42

      Of course, the cost of doing business here is partially why it went to China.

  • Conscious Black

    we need organic agriculture

  • Mondobeyondo

    One of the movies nominated for a Best Picture Oscar this year is “12 Years a Slave”. I haven’t seen that film.

    Next film the producers and filmmakers should make: “100 Years a Slave to the Federal Reserve”

    • Mondobeyondo

      I should see this film. Matter of fact, I should get out of the humble Mondo abode, and explore the world. Get stuck by some cactus!. Get bitten by scorpions and rattlesnakes.and whatever else.

      Yes! Get out in the world! Explore the local wildlife!
      1) Pigeons
      2) Cockroaches
      3) There’s really nothing else

  • xander cross

    That is a sad picture to see. No good person should live like that.

    • DiscouragedOne

      Some people do just want to live that way though, I had neighbors like that a couple of times (with cars on their lawns, etc.). None of these people were dirt poor, they just lived like pigs. My point is sometimes people do just live like pigs, money or no money.

  • bob cratchette

    these jobs that have `left our country will never be back and it is sad in a way but you can also write your rep in dc but that will not do any good either most of them are bought and paid for, why do you think you have all these industries and companies pushing for more visas and letting more illegals in is so they can hire them for next to nothing and drive down the price of labor so they can force you and ne to take a job that pays enough to live on only if you have a large number of families living in one house which will always have problems also (disease,crime) but the talking heads in dc don’t care all of them are millionaires with the power to make laws the are advantageous money wise to them, let me just say they could care less about anyone but themselves and we as the common people are helpless to do anything about it, what are we going to do vote another bunch of hacks that have the same ambitions so here we sit just waiting for our once great country to disintegrate and our version of the german ss we know as the dhs to show up and make our lives better, sad but what we see going on in our country the founding fathers put the constitution in place to keep the very things we see taking place from happening but with our current fed govt in place it has become just one for the most part a useless piece of paper that only a select few are willing to abide by , Washington dc is like a foreign country any more full of thieves and liars,treasonists and the like telling you just shut up and send us the money we know what is good for you and if you don’t we will put you in prison so there are your choices. what was it Thomas, Jefferson said about the tree of liberty ?

  • Telebender

    I grew up in Boyd County Kentucky,
    joined the Air Force.went to college and
    now live in Austin Texas as an electronic
    technician for Apple Computers.
    Yes you are right about the poverty and
    hopelessness and I remember Hazard,Ky.
    very well..There is an escape if you just
    don’t let yourself get sucked into the drugs
    and revolving door of poverty that so many
    there just accept and don’t try to get
    away from..Leave that hell hole and start
    over and anything is possible..

    A Texan who survived Appalachia

    • 02144pomroy

      Aren’t you going to blame anyone for anything?

    • OTObamaTruther

      I remember Hazard from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. It sputtered at times then, looking to catch growth. Saw it in the late 90’s and it had fallen back.

      In the mid 60’s there were still many “tar-paper” shacks from the depression on the outskirts of town.

      Looking at the census reports it had it’s hey-day in the mid 40’s – early 50’s. Many escaped, some hung on.

  • Mark Caldwell

    I live in one of the more developing rural parts of Appalachia. But that is starting to slow down now.

    This article is spot on but let’s not overlook Ohio, areas around Dayton like Tip City and Huber Heights used to be the prime middle class neighborhoods, but now they have 1200 homes for sale with zero down and payments as low as 80$ a month. You can buy a home up there for 4K$ all day. It’s sad.

    • William Henry Bowen

      Mark, I was shocked the last time I was in Dayton (wife & I came down for the Dayton Hamvention at the HARA Arena in May, 2012). That whole area around the Arena looks depressed, and the condition of the Salem Mall shocked me. This had been the first time I was in that area in 30 years and difference between then and now is mind-boggling.

  • xander cross

    How sad and yet, who sent the jobs from Kentucky to China? Who profited from this?

  • cleudaly

    Southeastern Oklahoma aka Little Dixie. Making meth and driving to Dallas to sell are becoming full time occupations here.

  • MrsBulldoggy .

    Desperate people do desperate things. It is hard to look at starving kids at the table and not stress about how you are going to feed them. Stories like this break my heart. God Bless…

    • xander cross

      But at the same time, you made fun of black people that had the same problems in Detroit. So, as usual, you hypocrites get emotional when conservative states go through hard times, but when Detroit and Cameron, NJ go through hard times, it’s “black people fault”. You make me sick.

  • 2Gary2

    These low info dolts keep voting republican which is totally against their economic self- interest. You can’t fix stupid.

    • xander cross

      They blame democrats for the problems in Detroit. But of course, you can’t blame Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell for Kentucky.

      • DiscouragedOne

        You can’t because it has been that way for generations…Detroit has also been run by Democrats for generations.

    • Mark Caldwell

      We reject the subversion of this nation by the central banking cartel and the infiltration by communist collectivists. Take your Cultural Marxism BS and go entertain the progressive degenerates over at HUFPO.

      It is their agendas that have seen to the evaporation of the middle class.

      “Socialists use power to get wealth, Crony Capitalists use wealth to get power”

      Between the Peto Dollar ponzi and the tax and spend open border Commicrats we don’t have a chance.

    • ME ME & Me

      It does not matter if you vote Republican or Democrat. They are both nothing but criminals.

  • Surita

    what quite a few of us have difficulty with and the “us” being legal entrants to the USA leaving behind our parents,friends,some their language etc–we cannot understand why the majority of the young simply DON’T LEAVE and find a better way and HELP OUT THEIR OWN back home.
    what’s holding them back as Appalachia HAS BEEN this way for decades.
    Sure it’s a shameful situation when you have to leave from your home area but why stay and vegetate ?

    • Anonymous

      What parts of the USA can people find good paying jobs in to justify their moving? Where can they find money to move, put up deposits, etc.? Many in Appalachia cannot afford college and it is getting almost impossible to find a job without a degree.

    • D.B

      I left and when I tried to send money back home I was snubbed. There is a culture of doing for yourself and if you make a certain amount of money you are “too good” for everyone else. Also, when I did send money back, it suddenly disappeared for no good reason. The things I bought to send were traded or given to others that needed it worse. I came home because it’s safer here. I can get by here….even if I am no longer considered “too good.”

  • dan

    i hiked the appalachian trail from GA to WV 10 years ago. and ive also lived in bolivia (2nd poorest country in western hemisphere) and i know the bolivian countryside. unless appalachia has changed really really drastically in the last 10 years, or i wasnt seeing the poor parts, then i can say that bolivia is far more poor and dangerous with less opportunity.

  • TZ

    I live in eastern Kentucky. My wife and I moved here from just north of Charleston West Virginia. I am originally from Wisconsin (besides the point). I have been blessed so far, but times are getting worse. We live paycheck to paycheck. Day in, day out. My wife and I are raising our four children here. Making the ends meet, barely sometimes, but getting by. Many are not so blessed, for whatever reason, their lot hasn’t been as good. There are so many pills around. We don’t use them, but they are so much blatantly plentiful around that you just end up in contact with them in some way.
    My type of work allows me to come in contact with all manner of people. Its the type of situation that you can’t help getting to know many of the people in the area. Me being a very social person, and compassionate, I can’t help talking and sharing. So many people here and in West Virginia know EXACTLY what is going on. Those that don’t are either too rich, or too poor to care. This is why the Middle Class is so important. We’re not so rich to become arrogant and naive, and we’re not so broke in poverty that we just don’t care anymore. But this is also part of the bible belt. Many of the counties are what is called ‘dry counties’ where the sale of alcohol is prohibited.
    So instead of a barrage of alcoholics I’m used to in Wisconsin (which they are still around here too, just not nearly in the numbers), people instead resort to heroine, pills, and meth.
    Like the posting above, where they are giving out alternatives to the pill addicts, the methadone clinics also, just keep them wanting, keep them strung along on addiction. You can’t fight this with a placebo or substitute. ONLY intervention can help, if anything can at all. Many people just don’t care anymore. Its not that most of them are bad people. Most of them are very humane, but losing their will because of the poverty.
    It makes me SO SAD sometimes when I stop at the gas station, and see people using up their last two bucks on lotto, just to throw them in the trash. Our property here has been stripped of metals and copper before, but its so rampant, the supposed peace keepers can’t (or won’t) do much about it. There were even tracks in the snow going to my door from a neighbor’s and back again one day, and because the ‘peace keepers, lol’ had shiny new over expensive Chargers instead of cheaper trucks in a mountain region, they wouldn’t even come to investigate. That’s how so much of this is allowed to go on. In some places not far from me, entire police forces are made up of mainly rejects who were in trouble for one reason or another with other departments, so rest assured, many time you can not count on them except as a clean up crew for things that happen, after the fact. And many of those also have their own illegal dealings. People are resorting to whatever means necessary to make a buck. Even mayors have been busted dealing drugs out of their own hands.

    I pray that it will get better, but I know it can only get worse. My advice is, to anyone moral and with two brain cells working together. 1st, get out of the cities and towns. 2nd, learn the importance of hunting, fishing, and growing your own food, as well as wild edibles and natural treatments. We can’t count on ‘them’ anymore. We can only count on ‘us’.

  • West Ky Poor

    I live in far West Ky, about 7 miles from Mississippi River. I assure you that it is no better here. Those pics are the same here, could be worse here. I know in Fulton County, Kentucky when a small company closed it led the country in the unemployment rate. Everything is gone here except the walmart and liquer stores. The reason those are still going is because of the dry counties in Tn and the state tax in Tn they come to walmart to shop and buy their alcohol. Their is some bright spots in the state like around Hopkinsville, Bowling Green, Lexington, Louisville.
    This is all apart of agenda 21 where they are driving the people out of small towns into larger cities. If you do not know what agenda 21 is then you need to take some time out to read up on it.
    You would think industry would flock to areas where they have a huge selection of eager workers who work at near minimum wage instead of going to places like Nashville and pay $30 an hr for the same job.

  • America

    What else do you expect from white trash? They’re obviously lazy & stupid. They’ve basked in their own filth for decades.

    Instead of trading in food stamps, which they’ve been on for generations, for Mountain Dew, they should have traded in their cesspools for a better economic environment.

    They could move. No one’s stopping them. People move all the time to go where the jobs and better neighborhoods are. Itinerate farmers do it all the time. It’s an American tradition. Even Obama’s favorite people, the illegal immigrants do it. So these people, who give America a bad name, can do it too.

    They stay in poverty because they deserve poverty. They had and still have the freedom to get an education, save their money, and move out of their goat-infested trailer parks.

    They won’t buy a one way ticket out, but they’ll buy a used Harley so a Duck Dynasty lookalike and his equally functionally illiterate ol’ lady can go down to the 7-11 or WalMart to get drunk on Thunderbird.

    Nobody forces these people to put out broken down refrigerators on their front porches. Or, to park their trucks on their front lawns. Some of these people don’t even have the decency to cover their windows with window shades.

    What baffles me is why do they have to bring kids into that environment? That’s almost criminal. They know the environment sucks, but they give birth to illegitimate brats who then become future welfare recipients living off my tax dollars.

    And don’t fool yourself into thinking that they still don’t have incestuous cousins giving birth to their own nephews & nieces.

    As the article said, this has been going on for decades, thus for generations. Fifty to sixty years is a long time for people to read the handwriting on the wall and still not do anything about it. Or, as in their case, the graffiti on their shacks.

    For people, over the course of generations, not to take fate into their own hands and raise themselves up by their bootstraps is disgusting.

    Lots of people have been born into Virginia or Kentucky or Tennessee poverty. But they manage to get the hell out. So these losers can too. But no, they would rather get drunk and whine and spend their food stamps on lobster and beer. If they don’t want to sacrifice their immediate worthless pleasures for the sake of their children’s future, then this is where they belong.

    They’re like human sloths except that sloths know better.

    It’s such a shame they were actually born in this great country America, otherwise we could ship them back to the lands of their peasant heritage.

    • Alleena

      You are one nasty person.

      • xander cross

        You are one nasty person blaming all of Detroit’s problems on “black people” That’s all you do on here.

        • k

          She isnt blaming black people.

        • ME ME & Me

          I think it is wrong to blame poverty on someone whether it is a black in Detroit or a poor white in Kentucky. Judge the rich bankers, elitist government, and big corporations who are doing this to us not the people who are the true victims.

          • DiscouragedOne

            They don’t deserve blame IF they really want to work and IF they really can’t find a job or a way out, otherwise, yes they are part of the problem.

          • ME ME & Me

            The ones who are the problem are the ones who resort to drugs to escape it.

    • k

      whats with the hate dude? The problem is not white or blacks or latinoes or asians or chrisitians or muslims or legals or illegals.

      The problem is too many human beings!!

      There are just too too many people in the states and in world than the economy can support. Some of these can go but most cant cuz they wont get student loans to study, nor banks will give them loans to start a business. And even if somehow they start a business who will buy their products when most of them in that area are just as broke.They can move to other states but what if they dont find a job there or even qualify for benefits?

      The problem is the american economy and the global economy is producing less and less jobs every year while more and at the same time more and more people are being born and more and more people are entering the workforce. This is the ultimate cause of unemployment worldwide.Because even many qualified and skilled people arent getting any jobs.

      These kind of situations are not just confined to america. Reading only about america can make you think the rest of the world is very prosperous and laughing at america, but the reality is far worse. A simple google search will tell you how it is in the rest of the world.

      The growth rates of other countries in the last one year….Brazil down, china down, india down, SA down, europe..circling the drain, japan down, australia the boom they got from china is coming down and a lot of mining jobs are being lost over there too.

      • xander cross

        Who sent the jobs to china in the first place? White men. Who makes millions of dollars white representing Kentucky? Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell and what color are they, that’s right, they’re white men who work for bankers and yet, you voted him into power.

        • k

          I never voted them to power.

          And this is more of a symptom of a global problem. Even china is facing unemployment problems, same with india and the rest of asia.

      • OTObamaTruther

        Haters gotta hate and stupid’s gotta stupid.

    • xander cross

      I agree with you all the way. They got money to spend on crystal meth, then they can move and get a job at another area.

    • OTObamaTruther

      Inflammatory garbage, born of an acculturated stupidity.

    • Sandbagger

      Hard times brings out the worst in some people. You’re harsh.

    • Anthony

      Now thats something ive never tried before …. washing down my lobster with thunderbird.

    • D.B

      As a person that “got out” let explain why I was dying to get back in. I lived in a backwater town called Confluence in Pennsylvania. My mother moved to the “city” of Somerset when I was 6. She married a Navy man and we traveled the eastern sea board from one city to the next. Most of my years from 9-15 were lived in some city. I had a child at 16, I married at 17 to a man that worked 2 full time jobs that paid 13$ and hour and 10 dollars an hour in 1999. That was about 47k a year for 3 people to live on. Then he got a raise, he got his benefits, and everything. We lived very nice for a while. However all of the rats that live in the city wore us down.

      We bought a nice house out in the suburbs, but the commute killed him. Before long he only came home on weekends and then not even on weekends. Our marriage died because of his commute and because he worked his fingers to the bones to make a nice living for us. In the end we divorced. We sold the house and split the difference.

      I moved back to the middle of no where because people aren’t such nasty jerks that shoot at each other, act like hood rats, or forsake everything for money here. My kids are safer here. As far as I am concerned the money grubbing self serving jerks that consider people from Appalachia losers should look in the mirror. The only loser I see, are those that think they are better than everyone else. Also, I finished college, bought a house, and started a micro business to support my kids. I saw more drugs in the city than I EVER did in the country. In the city you can turn the corner and find it. I do not know how people find it out here. It doesn’t matter though. I’m just a loser because I live here.

  • William Henry Bowen

    My dad’s family is from Mingo County, WV and Martin County, KY. Last summer my wife and I traveled through that area (came down Rt. 52 in WV side of Tug River from Huntington, WV) for the first time in 40 years.

    Some things I saw where better than they where in 1973 (a real concrete bridge over the Tug River between Kermit, WV & Warfield, KY to replace that old dilapidated toll bridge of old), and the dirt road from Warfield to Crum on the KY side of Tug River is now a paved road and there are telephone & cable TV wires along that road – in 1973 there was still no telephone service available to houses along there.

    All the stores I used to know in Warfield (Tripletts, for example) are gone – replaced by national chains like Rite-Aid. My grandmother’s sister’s house is gone – replaced by a quick oil change place. But I also see a lot of the same rundown places from back then, and a trip through Williamson, WV was really depressing. Williamson used to be the shopping hub of that area – now it almost looks like a ghost town. Louisa, KY (county seat of Martin County) was no better. The trip was kinda depressing – the best way I can describe it is to use a title from an old movie “The Land that Time Forgot”.

  • Paul Patriot

    When are the apathetic, sheeple American people, who have been given a Republic that other nations dream of, going to force these politicians either out of office or to represent the Constitutional precepts that brave Patriots shed their blood to obtain???

  • Alan

    I live in the panhandle near Pensacola and its getting bad there too, much worse over in Alabama. Copper wire theft, air conditioners and home appliances from foreclosed homes is getting to be a big problem. There is a war and looks like the South took a direct hit. I can see desperation and despair on peoples faces the mood is somber now. You want to see economic collapse come on down and take a good look. If there is going to be a revolt it will start down here, that’s my gut feeling. Stay safe everyone!

  • Kent Harris

    The federal government is evil. I pray that Isaiah 9 will come to pass. God has said that the head which is the prominent leaders and elders would be cut off.

  • ME ME & Me

    I live in Appalachia in PA and I am considered poor like most of us here but I do not do any drugs, don’t watch TV and my kids don’t do any drugs either. I spend most of my time reading and writing articles. Everything is falling apart here and very few jobs but very low paying jobs. It was once a very beautiful place here and now the infrastructure is collapsing and everyone cannot afford very nice clothes and half the people have to rely on food banks. People are very wonderful with helping each other here and especially the Catholic churches where I live. I notice that these people are getting kinder as things get tougher for them as well. The worse it gets, the more people work at helping one another and that is the way it should be. There is always something you can give to return favor even if it is your time.

  • Colin

    Our house is like the nation. Our family is now in the middle class, for a little while, as my mother is making $48/hr. Yet, we have household projects we can’t afford to have someone to repair and/or replace. An example is a new AC/Heater unit for our home. We use the money for the basic needs to keep us going and to pay for bills we have accrued.

    The nation has serious infrastructure issues. To repair and/or to replace our infrastructure, it would cost the nation several annual budgets over. In other words, it would take trillions and trillions of dollars. It simply isn’t going to happen. Our nation is attempting to pay the bills it has accrued and keep the status quo continuing, which is becoming more expensive to maintain each year. It has become inevitable that our country’s infrastructure will collapse utterly. Natural and manmade disasters may hasten the collapse. I forsee the day when our nation will be a decayed ruin, where every state will be populated by decaying cities with abandoned properties and a network of unsafe roads and bridges. The rich and powerful will retain title to the best lands and properties, while everyone else will be living in a dystopian America.

    • DiscouragedOne

      So I guess the rich and powerful will have alternate transportation or never go anywhere?

  • Priszilla

    In Britain I see more construction projects.
    Houses are insulated, new shops are built and restaurants. Old and empty industrial sites that were bombed in the war get cleared up.

    • When are you Brits ever going to get over that War of the Roses?

      • Priszilla

        it may take a while. still cleaning up from the blitz.

  • SRVES339

    A sad state of affairs for these innocent victims of corporate greed, and the corruption at all levels of government enabling their nefarious activities.

    Even worse is the fact that this has been going on for decades (Robert Kennedy was shaken at what he saw when visiting in the mid 60s).

    It’s a story that must be told… but was it really necessary to point out (hopefully inadvertently) they are “salt of the earth” citizens who “want to work” and only do drugs to “help ease the pain”… inferring their situation is somehow more worthy of empathy than “those lazy minorities gaming the system” in the cities!

    Time to end the stereotypes and begin the unwinding of the corporate takeover of America (please read the Powell Memo from the early 70s for the blueprint) and the rest of the western world.

    All poverty is immoral, and all citizens deserve a basic standard of living free from demonetization as parasites (a sentiment cultivated by the same corporations who believe every dollar allotted the poor is lost profit)…. yes corporations are people indeed… sick, evil people. The company responsible for the ongoing drinking water disaster filed for bankruptcy yesterday… the filing was financed by the major stockholders, putting them first in line to pick up the pieces for next to nothing, while avoiding any financial claims against their corporate malfeasance… and on it goes!

  • T

    I grieve primarly for the white American race here; cuz that’s what it is: they’re dying.
    The dying of Sears bothers me too: I grew up with fond memories of going with Mom to go shopping there. It was so “southern Californian” , what with the Googie architecture and all.

  • T

    You know, somehow I wonder if the gov’t isn’t involved in keeping the traditional white population down, here.
    The economy left them behind. On purpose.
    Wonder if they make it easy for them to stay high.
    We sure could use their help in fighting this evil gov’t of ours.

    • klhayes

      The first sentence you wrote is something people have been saying about the inner city for a long, long time.

    • Priszilla

      not voting them out of office with new parties will keep them there.

  • Gankfest

    Jesus can fix it!

    • Popo

      You can fix it, only you

      • Gankfest

        I’m just a vessel…

  • Annette Smith

    Good news, Michael! My son and I are starting a home based business. We will be manufacturing items. They sell for a nice enough price/profit. If we could get more people to come together and open their own businesses, we might start building our way out of where we are. Buy American should be a bumper sticker on every car!

  • prut

    And you blame Obama for trying to “kill the coal industry.” It’s the coal industry that has wrought what you described here. Maybe it should be killed? How much worse could things get? It’s doubtful the people would be any less poor, but at least they might eventually have decent water to drink and air to breathe.

  • NoMo MrNiceGuy

    Keep up the fight ! each man must act individually as an individual doing what he can individually accomplish to awaken others, defeat the sprit of progressivism and restore freedom. And as individuals we will create a great individual collective, not a collective of individuals.

  • SummerLynn

    I live in southwestern Pa in the mountains and we are not far behind. Jobs have been shipped overseas for years and Walmart shut down even more. I would venture to say 70% of the local population is on some form of assistance and the rest are barely making above minimum wage. Drugs are a problem, especially pain meds and the methadone clinic a few miles away made it worse. Most people have piles of junk in their yards. Alcoholism is high here along with depression. Everyone has some form of ‘disorder’ so they can get SSI. I work in a local factory for $8.56ph and barely get by. I myself have considered going the ‘disorder route’ just to make my life a little easier but I still have my pride. Things will only get worse here and I can only pray I can move away from here before then.

    • Nickelthrower

      My father always told me that if i wanted to be a winner then I needed to surround myself with winners. If your town is dying then you must go somewhere where there are still winners.

      Don’t give up.

  • roger gibson

    Floods. The ones in ’03 were awful, with landslides everywhere. At least this is my first impression seeing the pics.

  • Hammerstrike

    fc01.deviantart.n et/fs71/i/2011/327/b/e/blood_for_the_blood_god_by_nataku956-d4h3s71.j pg

  • 0jr

    regardless what the economy is like zeke and elmo did it to themselves and deserve it

  • Ultramaroon

    Michael, et al.,
    After reading your article I found a photo series on the “MailOnline” site in the UK entitled “Baltimore’s People of the Woods…”. While that was surely terrifying, it made me start looking around here in Houston. Within line-of-sight from any freeway, one can see tents, lean-tos, and other temporary shelters. People are barely hidden, and there seem to be more of them near downtown. Perhaps it’s because there is more open, public land on which to pitch a tent.
    I have lived here since the ’60s, and I used to hitchhike downtown when I was a kid. Even slept under a bridge a time or two. I’ve seen the seedy side of life up close and personal, but I never saw so many people camping out as I have seen just quite recently.

  • JahRW

    We’re on the same boat peoples. They make issues about race, when that’s a distraction from the real issues. They want to divide us. Robbing us blind, while we worry about the next man and what they’re doing and who they’re sleeping with, and how they’re a part of the problem when problem is in the mirror. We have not demanded what is ours. The super rich and corporations are good at keeping us dormant with all the distractions.

  • Bob Smith

    I grew up there but moved out years ago. I often think of how I wished I could have stayed to be near my family who are all now mostly gone. But these stories show it was indeed a wise move to get out. I think Johnson’s War on Poverty was in reality an early test of policies and procedures that are now being used on the nation as a whole. America, when you look at Appalachia, you are in reality looking at your very own soon-to-be reality. Michael, I hope to see future updated reports – especially about Obama’s war on coal which affects all of our electric bills – on the Appalachian region. Thank You.

  • Dewey Olsen

    The Struggle within America—Isaiah Saw It All!
    by Avraham Gileadi Ph.D.

    Many regard Isaiah’s prophecy as a sealed book. Who does it address, only people in the past? A key to this mystery exists in the linear and synchronous structures that govern the book of Isaiah. These enable us to read it as a prophecy about the past but also as a prediction of the future. The book of Isaiah, in other words, serves a twofold purpose. Without taking anything away from what happened in the past, it uses the past as an allegory of the future. In that case, persons and nations of Isaiah’s day typify ones who perform similar roles at the end of the world. The names of past persons and nations function as codenames for their endtime counterparts.

    The importance of understanding Isaiah’s message increases daily as world events line up like planets for the fulfillment of his prophecy. Under the codename “Egypt”—the great superpower of Isaiah’s day—America is predicted to suffer spiritual decline, political ineptitude, economic collapse, internal anarchy, and invasion by a foreign military world power from the North—a latter-day “Assyria.” On the other hand, a community of covenanters in “Egypt” will turn back to Jehovah,
    who will send them a savior and deliver them. In the end, at the commencement of the millennial age, America will again become “my people”—a covenant people of God (Isaiah 19).

    5. 20. 2010

  • Dewey Olsen

    The book of Isaiah—Blueprint of Our Time
    by Avraham Gileadi Ph.D.

    What sets the book of Isaiah apart from all other prophetic writings is its all-inclusiveness in depicting an End-Time scenario. More complete in its portrayal of that time than even apocalyptic writings such as Daniel and Revelation, it spells out a great confluence of events to which humanity may look forward. Using Israel’s ancient history as an allegory of the end of the world, it predicts the future by drawing on events of the past. Only a prophet–poet with extraordinary literary skills could have predicted “the end” based on the world’s beginnings (Isaiah 46:10). Only a visionary who saw both time periods could have crafted such a prophetic masterpiece.

    While the book of Isaiah’s apocalyptic message accords with Jewish tradition, and while literary structures provide proof of its twofold applicability—Isaiah’s day and the end of the world—it still requires a leap of faith to believe that this is indeed a handbook for our time. For one thing, it may mean discarding much or all of what we have been taught. Isaiah foresees this confusion when he speaks of the deaf “hearing” and the blind “seeing” the words of his book. Only then will “they who erred in spirit gain understanding and they who murmured accept instruction” (Isaiah 29:18, 24). Fortunately, not all of God’s people fall in that category (Isaiah 66:2, 5).

    10. 12. 2011

  • Dewey Olsen

    End-Time “Egypt”—A Superpower in Decline
    by Avraham Gileadi Ph.D.

    Isaiah’s use of types of ancient world powers that foreshadow End-Time ones extends to the great superpower Egypt. As with all nations and persons who appear in the book of Isaiah, their true identity emerges when we observe how Isaiah characterizes them, not when we apply historical or archaeological data, though at times that may help. In searching the world today for a nation that matches Isaiah’s description of “Egypt,” the sole candidate is America. That connection is further strengthened by the fact that God’s people anciently dwelt in Egypt, that Joseph ruled Egypt, and that the birthright tribe of Ephraim sprang from Joseph and Asenath, an Egyptian woman.

    Isaiah’s “Egypt,” however, is a superpower in decline: “The ministers of Zoan have been foolish, the officials of Noph deluded; the heads of state have led Egypt astray. Jehovah has permeated them with a spirit of confusion; they have misled Egypt in all that it does, causing it to stagger like a drunkard into his vomit. . . . Manufacturers of combed linen and weavers of fine fabrics will be dismayed. The textile workers will know despair, and all who work for wages suffer distress. . . . I will stir up the Egyptians against the Egyptians; they will fight brother against brother and neighbor against neighbor, city against city and state against state” (Isaiah 19:2, 9–10, 13–14).

    11. 16. 2011

  • Amanda Ham

    My family is from Barbourville Ky, my mom is buried there and every couple of years or so I am able to make it down there (well technically up since I live in Oklahoma). I went last year and was shocked to see that the whole town looked dead, and driving by street after street of closed business and emptiness… it was like the very air was depressing.

  • rawhunger

    Screw country-ass Southerners…

  • carlota pigott

    Interesting blog post – I learned a lot from the information ! Does someone know where my company would be able to obtain a fillable UK VAF1A document to fill out ?

Finca Bayano

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