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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
The Politics of Indifference

Capito to Citizens: Drop Dead

by RUSSELL MOKHIBER

On June 26, a group of citizens here in West Virginia delivered a petition to their Congresswoman — Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia) — calling on Capito to hold a public meeting in the district during the August Congressional recess to discuss raising the minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.50 an hour.

The petition was signed by 400 citizens of Capito’s Second Congressional District.

“We the undersigned call on Congresswoman Capito to meet with us at a town meeting, during the August recess, at a convenient public space to discuss the legislative necessity of a $10.50 federal minimum wage for the working poor of our country who produce, serve and care for us each day,” the petition read.

“We look forward to an expeditious acceptance with time and place as soon as possible so as to prepare for a thorough dialogue with you.”

One week goes by, no answer.

Two weeks go by, no answer.

Three weeks go by, no answer.

Finally, on July 18 a letter arrives from Capito.

Capito ignores the request for a meeting.

“I appreciate the opportunity to learn your views on this issue,” Capito writes.

The dictionary definition of the word “appreciate” is “to be fully aware or sensitive to.”

A politician like Capito uses the word “appreciate” to mean exactly the opposite.

Capito uses the word to mean — go take a hike, get off my back, or drop dead.

As in — Capito to Citizens: Drop Dead.

Four hundred of you signed a petition calling for a public meeting.

But I am not even going to address the issue.

I’m not going to say I’m going to meet with you.

I’m not going to say I’m not going to meet with you.

I’m just going to ignore you.

After “appreciating” her citizens, Capito then moves on to lay out her voting record on raising the minimum wage.

“I have supported previous efforts to increase the minimum wage to benefit West Virginia workers,” she writes. “I voted for bipartisan legislation that passed the House to increase the minimum wage in 2007. The 2007 legislation garnered 348 bipartisan votes in the House and later became law. This 2007 effort increased the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour.”

“As Congress considers future legislation that would increase the minimum wage, you can be sure that I will keep your views in mind,” she writes. “Again, thank you for contacting me with your views on this issue. It is an honor to serve you in Congress.”

Nothing about the petition of the citizens for a meeting during the August recess.

Adam Tomlinson, Capito’s legislative director, is handling the petition for Capito.

Tomlinson did not respond to inquiries about the matter.

Capito to Citizens: Drop Dead.

Russell Mokhiber edits Morgan County, USA.