Is there a more palatable word to use for lying? It seems to me that calling a person, especially face-to-face, a “liar” is one of the more reluctant, difficult things to do. No one wants to be called a liar; no one wants to call someone a liar.


But, when the truth is discounted, misrepresented or ignored, there doesn’t seem to be a kind or generous way to talk about it. Let’s take Chief of Staff General Kelly’s remarks to the press corps regarding Representative Frederica Wilson and the president’s call to La David Johnson’s widow.

General Kelly totally misrepresented an occasion, during which he was present, when Frederica Wilson participated in the dedication of an FBI building in her district in Florida in 2015. Kelly referred to Wilson as an “empty barrel” focusing “more on her own actions than the heroism of the two FBI agents for whom the new building had been named.”

A conclusive review of the video of Wilson’s speech during the occasion showed that General Kelly was clearly not telling the truth. “Not telling the truth” is a kind euphemism for lying!

The entire subject of the president’s call to Johnson’s widow and the Kelly/Wilson dispute which followed swallowed up at least six days of news cycles. The president responded, according to his practice (tweeting), calling  Representative Wilson “wacky” and denying that he had said anything at all that should have upset the grieving widow.


According to Wilson, the phone call was on “speaker phone,” and was heard by everyone in the automobile when the widow received the call.

The subject matter was not so much centered on “lying,” as it was on the lack of compassion and sympathy shown by the White House. And, it’s notable that no sort of apology for the whole affair was later offered to the Gold Star widow who said the president didn’t even know her husband’s name. Of course, President Trump denied this. The attention to lying came later.

To my way of thinking, the real problem is that the four-star Marine General who is now serving as the president’s chief of staff, publicly lied in an effort to excuse or explain President Trump’s behavior. As a result, until Chief of Staff Kelly offers an apology and/or recants his story before the White House press corps, he is a bold-faced liar–in other words, we cannot believe anything he has to say on behalf of the president.

It pains me, too, that we have a man sitting in the Oval Office who seems not to know the meaning of truth, to put it mildly. To be blunt, the president routinely discounts, misrepresents, and ignores the truth. And, to make matters worse, whenever he is called by the press corps on his obvious lies, he doubles down.


The president is a liar. And there is no more palatable term to describe him. It is most unfortunate that he is deliberately making those around him–especially his spokespersons–liars, too.

The time will come when nothing coming out of the White House will be believed. The time will come when other nations will hold Americans in official positions in contempt.

[(c) 2017, L. Milton Hankins. Hankins is the founder, publisher and editor of Columnist with a View. He is a weekly contributor to the Huntington, WV Herald Dispatch and resides, along with his wife Deborah and Jose, their pet Chihuahua, in Ashland, Kentucky. His e-mail address is:]

UNDER SIEGE by Richard Moberly

UNDER SIEGE by Richard Moberly

The United States of America is currently under siege from multiple fronts. If allowed to continue, the country we all know and love will be unrecognizable in a short period of time. The clock is already ticking.

For decades, the beacon of democracy to the rest of the world, the champion of human rights, women’s rights, rights for the handicapped, the oppressed, and the minorities has been the United States of America. All that has changed since January 2017. It now seems that the federal government is saying to the people, “It is every man, woman and child on their own.” Protections of rights are systematically being eroded and dismantled.

It is not like we, the citizens, were not warned. We saw people with disabilities mocked, women verbally insulted and physically berated, and no one or nothing in society was safe from attack, especially the members of the media. All the while this was happening, we were being assured day after day, “No one has more respect for ________________(you fill in the blank) than I do.” All lies!

At every turn in the last nine months, some of the most vile and unqualified individuals have been nominated to and placed in positions of power. They have absolutely no business being in those positions. Most seem hell-bent on dismantling the government entity in their charge, and/or creating as much chaos and damage to the American people and our institutions as possible. Most are also initiating policy changes based on religious dogma rather than the Constitution. They are not recognizing that the Constitution of the United States has the ultimate power over the people–not the Bible!

As if to add insult to injury, the ugly underbelly of our society which had been a mostly hidden undercurrent of intolerance and violence has been unleashed. Hate groups and individuals now feel that they have been legitimized because they see their federal government “leaders” acting out in vile, despicable, formerly unacceptable ways and even sanctioning without criticism their actions in one way or another. The social fabric of what is acceptable behavior has a huge tear in it, which is ripping wider with each passing day.

The amount of influence from the wealthy and ultraconservative intolerance is at an all time high. They have bought off the Congressmen to do their bidding, which is intended to only benefit themselves and set the country back to the society of the early/mid 1900s with al the prejudice and discrimination that this country has spent decades progressing beyond. Among the greatest influence is the National Rifle Association and the lies that this organization has perpetuated on the American public for the most recent decades. They, more than any other person or organization, should be held accountable for the mass shootings plaguing this country. The blood of the hundred killed and wounded most recently in Las Vegas is on their hands and at their feet.

The culmination, however for me, was the United Nations vote on the ban against murdering LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender) individuals just for being who they are. For the United States to vote in opposition with some of the most oppressive countries in the world is unconscionable. [Editorial Note: “The Shocking US vote not to condemn the death penalty for LGBT”] The United States has been at the forefront in promoting equal protections for the LGBT community and women’s rights around the world for decades. To now vote against our own philosophy and reputation in the world is appalling.

The responsibility for these changes lands squarely on the shoulders of the current resident in the White House. He alone has set the tone and policy for the governmental departments and Nikki Haley, our current United Nations representative.

We, the people of the United States have the opportunity and the responsibility to stand up against the current attack on our collective values. We must come together and say loudly and clearly, “Enough is Enough! We do not accept this insanity. This is not who we are as a people and as a country in the 21st century.” We can do this. We have to find our unified voice and shout loud and clear. We cannot be passive and sit back and wait for someone else to act. Each person must be the one to act and act now–LOUD AND PROUD! The future of our country and world reputation is literally on the line NOW.

[This article is original to Columnist with a View. Richard Moberly, an outspoken critic of bigotry, anti-social behavior, totalitarianism and the current administration lives in Jacksonville, Florida.]



“IT’S DARK AS A DUNGEON…” by Ernie Tucker

“IT’S DARK AS A DUNGEON…” by Ernie Tucker



Here is what coal mining was like before the coming of power-driven equipment. It was a labor intensive, dirty, dangerous job. Cave-ins and explosions were a constant threat. Water and rats were always present. A six-day work week with ten-hour days was the rule. Miners went to work before dawn and didn’t emerge until after dark, seeing daylight only on Sundays. Permanent injury was a possibility. Black lung disease loomed in the future.

Why, then, did so many men take up underground mining as a profession? First, it was a job, and there weren’t many jobs in the region. And, it was a macho-man’s world. Fearlessness and physical strength were much admired. Claustrophobia was not tolerated. There were no sissies in the mines. It was a hard, dirty, dark, physical, man’s world.


The end product in our region was the relatively soft bituminous coal. The tools and devices used in those times were simple and few. The miner began with an auger, a six-foot long hand-held drill about 1-1/2 inches in diameter, sharpened regularly by the blacksmith. Using a hand crank built into the auger, the miner drilled a deep horizontal hole into the coal seam. He was often working on his knees in our shallow seams of coal. The auger rested on an iron breastplate worn over the chest for added leverage. A “real man,” I was told, was able to run that bit all the way into a seam without taking a break! That would have quickly separated me from the pack.

The hole was then cleared with a scraper, and a charge of black powder was gently shoved to the base of the hole with a six-foot tamping rod tipped with brass to prevent a spark. Next, a “needle,” a pointed iron rod about six-feet long and 1/4 inch in diameter was run to the back of the hole to puncture the paper-wrapped powder charge. Waste material was then packed tightly around the needle with the tamping rod. Sliding the needle gently from the hole left a small tunnel leading back to the powder. A 6 x 1/8 inch rocket-like “squib” was then placed in the hole and lighted. It shot back into the hole, setting off the powder. It sounded like a shotgun blast.

Using a pry bar, a pick, a shovel, and bare hands, the coal was broken up and loaded onto a small cart and pushed on wooden rails to the mine entrance. Waste material like slate or clay was not permitted in the cart. A miner was paid by the number of “clean” carts he filled in a day. He marked his carts with his own numbered brass tags. Even with all the danger, dust, dirt, disease, and long, hard hours, I never heard an old miner complain. Mining to him was the best job in the world, the United States the best country, and his state and town the best places on earth to live.

I’m not at all sure their women felt the same way. I asked a waitress friend where her family was from originally. She said her grandfather was a coal miner in West Virginia but had moved to Ashland, Kentucky many years ago to work at the steel mill.


It seems that her grandmother had tired of the cave-ins and explosions that happened all too often, and after one more such incident, she confronted him and said, “I’m leaving!” And he, in good Eastern Kentucky-West Virginia fashion, replied, “Well, alright.” She said, “I don’t think you understand! I’m leaving, and I’m leaving the children with you!” As he grabbed his coat he said, “Where are WE going?” They moved to town and, we think, lived happily ever after.

[Ernie Tucker is a retired college professor, and his articles appear regularly in Columnist with a View. He lives in Ashland, Kentucky where he encounters some of his past students daily. He is also an avid collector of antique automobiles, tools and ephemera. You can contact Ernie at:]





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It is with considerable painful regret that we announce that, effective the end of October, 2017, we will cease publication of COLUMNIST WITH A VIEW. Simply put, we can no longer afford the costs associated with this grand endeavor. On a retirement income, with increasing personal expenses, it seems a good step. Sometimes, it seems, dreams simply do not come true!

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