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The real ugliness of coal company hogs

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POSTED September 27, 2012 11:11 p.m.

You can put earrings on a hog… but it won’t hide the ugliness.

A huge coal conglomerate learned this lesson the hard way in Eastern Kentucky’s sixth congressional district, represented by Democrat Ben Chandler. In Mid-September, a TV ad suddenly appeared featuring a coal miner denouncing Chandler on behalf of the Republican lawyer running against him. The miner was decked out in bib overalls, T-shirt, and a hard hat – but the outfit was nothing more than earrings on a hog.

This “miner” didn’t have a speck of coal dust on him, had soft hands and an unlined face, and looked like a guy who’d be more comfortable in a suit. In fact, Heath Lovell is a suit – a coal company executive and Republican campaign funder from corporate headquarters in Western Kentucky. Yes, they couldn’t even get a bossman from the district to wear the garb and do the dirty deed, instead importing Lovell. “You have a pencil pusher acting like a coal miner,” hooted a union representative for real coal miners. In fact, the United Mine Workers have endorsed Democrat Chandler, particularly because of his stand for stronger mine safety rules – something the company has fought.

In the ad, Lovell poses as a local and, standing along an empty train track, declares that Democrats in Washington “are killing us.” Us? He’s an outsider who can’t even vote there. He adds that Chandler and Barack Obama “are putting the coal industry out of business” – yet his corporation pocketed some $300 million in profits last year. Later, he couldn’t even remember the name of the small town where his political stunt was filmed. But he is said to be tight with Karl Rove and Mitt Romney, two other guys who are happy to compromise miner safety for mine company profits.

These honchos seem to think that these hoaxes are a plus for them – but, then, every hog thinks it’s good looking.

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