Charleston Gazette-Mail. August 17, 2023.
Editorial: Mooney’s cut-and-paste rhetoric on Trump
Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., wants you to know that he is bigly mad over former president Donald Trump’s fourth criminal indictment this year.
A statement from Mooney’s office this week was pretty boilerplate, following the same formula from the other criminal indictments.
If you’ll pull your bingo card out, there’s “witch hunt,” “Biden DOJ” and “radical leftist prosecutors” all in the first paragraph.
Mooney goes on to attack the prosecutor in the Georgia case, in which Trump and 18 others are charged with a laundry list of crimes stemming from the former president’s alleged illegal efforts to overturn the election there, calling her “a corrupt, soft-on-crime radical.”
Indicting a former president who has used his stooges and fanatics to go after his enemies, including his own vice president, poll workers, attorneys and judges, doesn’t seem soft on crime. Also, nowhere in his statement does Mooney claim Trump is innocent of the charges. But facts and context don’t matter much here, especially given Mooney’s closing lines, dragging out the old chestnut that the prosecutor should be focusing on murders in her district instead of prosecuting what appears to have been a very concerted effort to derail the will of the people.
Mooney knows this is all spastic flailing. He just hopes his constituents are dumb or mad enough to buy it. He also has to do this because he’s in a Senate primary where the numbers show he’s way behind West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.
Trump is a bona fide loser who has cost the Republicans dearly in every election since 2016, while also drawing legal attention for reportedly authorizing hush money payments to a porn star, making alleged threats toward Georgia election officials on recorded phone calls and summoning a mob to attack the U.S. Capitol in an effort to subvert democracy and cling to power, among other things. But he’s also got a death grip on the GOP, and, like any cult leader, he’ll sacrifice anyone or anything to spare his own hide. Anyone who steps out of line exposes themselves to reap the whirlwind of wrath that is the orange tornado.
He’s still very popular in West Virginia, where he carried the state by huge margins in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.
So, Mooney and Justice have to debase themselves at Trump’s twisted altar in hopes of an endorsement. Mooney got Trump’s stamp of approval in his 2020 reelection bid — which was big, because Mooney had a tough primary against fellow incumbent Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., who, unlike Mooney, showed flashes of competent governance. Mooney is unlikely to get Trump’s blessing this time, though. He’s said as much. Justice and Trump are old pals who share thin-skinned narcissism and a perception of being quite wealthy despite disastrous business practices. Plus, Justice switched to the Republican Party at a rally with Trump in Huntington back in 2017.
Mooney, who has his own share of problems in the form of two House ethics probes, is hoping he can suck up enough, while stirring up as much muck as he can around Justice’s legal and financial problems, to just maybe make Trump think about it.
That’s all this is really about, which is sad, but hardly surprising.
The Intelligencer. August 22, 2023.
Editorial: Fixing Corrections in Mountain State
The lawsuit filed this month is meant to force the state to spend $330 million to improve prison and jail conditions and fill worker vacancies, according to the Associated Press. It alleges “inhumane living conditions” in the correctional facilities and accuses the governor and others of ignoring overcrowding and failing to provide regular funding for upkeep.
Lawmakers’ efforts indicate they know they have work to do. Bills passed will provide $21.1 million to increase starting pay and change pay scales for state correctional officers, and will provide nearly $6 million for one-time bonuses for support staff in the correctional system.
Meanwhile, another piece of legislation will extend the expiration date on temporary photo identification provided to those released from incarceration, from 90 to 180 days.
“Passage of this will help reduce recidivism of inmates,” said Delegate Larry Kump, R-Berkeley. “Many times, when inmates are released from prison, he or she has no identification, no means to procure employment and other things. This extension of identification cards for inmates really helps them get on their feet, provide themselves some employment and keeps them out of jail.”
There were other related bills passed — requiring large municipalities to reimburse counties for up to five days of regional jail per diem fees, for example. But it must be just the beginning.
Lawmakers and other public officials will be playing catch-up for a long time to do right by both those who work so hard in our correctional system and those who become wards of it.
Parkersburg News and Sentinel. August 19, 2023.
Editorial: Employment: Officials must work harder to boost options
Most employers will tell you that if you want a job in West Virginia, you can find one. And those are just the employers who are hiring now. What about all those big names we know are building and will be ready to hire soon? What about the employers we hope to recruit?
WalletHub’s “2023’s States Where Employers Are Struggling the Most in Hiring” ranks the Mountain State 2nd. Only Alaska is having a harder time of it.
A WOWK report on Workforce West Virginia’s new ad campaign suggests some state officials are aware of the urgency in tackling this challenge. In its report, the station notes West Virginia is unusual in that 13% of state residents are employed in another state.
” … One of the goals we’re trying to do is to reincorporate those folks who are working across the border, to take a look at jobs opportunities here in West Virginia,” Scott Adkins, of WorkForce West Virginia, told WOWK.
Fine, but what are we doing to address the issues that drove those employees to seek work in another state in the first place? Employers are struggling to find the balance between maintaining a healthy bottom line (helped along by being fully staffed) and being able to pay a competitive wage. Some may be hampered by policies that prohibit hiring someone whose record reflects challenges associated with the substance abuse epidemic. Plenty are having a hard time finding job candidates with the education and training necessary.
And, again, these challenges are right now. How do we tell the next headline-grabbing employer there will be workers to fill their jobs, if they decide to come to West Virginia?
Lawmakers and other public officials must work on rules and regulations that help employers provide the pay and benefits sought by good employees — even if that means simply getting out of the way. Educators and policy makers must be focused on providing a quality education that prepares the next generation of workers for an evolving array of fields.
And our communities must move forward as though they are ready to welcome all those new residents we hope will move here. We’ve got to give them reason to believe living and working here is what is best for ALL of their family.
Once we’ve laid that foundation, we can really get to work.