Staff – It’s Not Just At Your Hospital Anymore

September 19, 2018

Currently, this blog is following a thread established by the 9-8-18 post, A Tradition Of Americans. That post covered the NY Times Anonymous Op Ed and one of many responses to it. The particular response was by Ari Fleischer, with part of its title being “Staffers don’t get to steer U.S.” Analysis begged to differ citing Michel Foucault. In his history, Discipline and Punish, he interprets the enormous “steering” of social, political and cultural mores and history by management – upper, middle, as well as lower. With the last post, Counter Narrative, Analysis looked at what recently occurred on the west coast with the Berkeley police department’s action on citizens forcibly removed from a demonstration but never charged. The police department stepped out, way beyond their mission as safety forces, to publicize their suppression policy of demonstrations. This management decision involves exposing explicit details and identity photos on social media of those removed (without being charged). The centrality of social media in a large part of the American public makes such activity akin to the scarlet letter of Puritan discipline. 9-17-18 finds Analysis on the opposite coast, in the land of the Pilgrims, considering analogous steering by “staffers” there. An errant screenshot reveals Massachusetts police were monitoring liberal groups The ACLU says the blunder is alarming — and the police response doesn’t add up by Nicole Karlis appeared in Salon. “Last Thursday evening, Massachusetts State Police tweeted a screenshot in regard to a natural gas emergency that affected nearly 8,000 people around the state. The agency’s tweet was meant to display a map of responses to fires and explosions, but the uncropped screenshot showed that the police computer’s browser had bookmarked a select group of left-wing activists, including some police brutality watchdog groups. Facebook groups for Mass. Action Against Police Brutality (MAAPB), the Coalition to Organize and Mobilize Boston Against Trump (COMBAT); and the “Resistance Calendar,” which shares upcoming anti-Trump protests across the country, were among the list of bookmarked tabs on the police computer browser.” The article notes that it was soon after deleted and replaced by a cropped version. Once the genie of public knowledge was out of the bottle (through inadvertent disclosure), the state police began the window dressing of any malice, claiming a “responsibility to know about all large public gatherings of any type and by any group, regardless of their purpose and position, for public safety reasons.” ““Massachusetts State Police doesn’t have jurisdiction over the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Crockford told Salon [Kade Crockford of the ACLU of Mass.]. “Unless a protest is on a highway or at the airport or public location it is none of their business if someone is having a protest. In most areas Massachusetts State Police is not responsible for ensuring public safety, it is local police.” “The other issue is I’d like to see a list of the groups Massachusetts State Police is monitoring for this purpose,” Crockford added. “It seems strange to only monitor a few that only might have a protest someday.”” Analysis found noteworthy from the report: “A peculiar detail regarding the incident is that the screenshot, as mentioned by the state police’s account, was taken at the Commonwealth Fusion Center, an information-gathering center in Maynard, Massachusetts. The center, which was opened in 2005, “collects and analyzes information from all available sources to produce and disseminate actionable intelligence to stakeholders for strategic and tactical decision-making in order to disrupt domestic and international terrorism,” according to its mission statement. “These fusion centers were created in wake of 9/11, and now there are 80 of them nationwide run by state and local law enforcement to fight terrorism, but  instead they are focused on policing left-wing political organizations, and fighting the war on drugs,” Crockford added, explaining that police viewing left-wing groups as extremists likely dates back to the Red Scare.” Yes, Ari, staffers really do get to steer the U.S.

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Counter-Narrative

September 15, 2018

Wealthiest Republican supporter in Ohio quits party headlines Justin Wise for The Hill, 9-15-18. “[L Brands CEO Leslie] Wexner, who said he’s been a Republican since college, added that he is now an independent, before saying that he “won’t support this nonsense in the Republican Party” anymore.” This just after former President Barack Obama spoke at a rally in Cleveland. “”What you’re seeing is Republicans in Congress who are bending over backwards to try to shield and deflect oversight of this behavior and accountability and consequences,” Obama said. “This is serious. You know it is. And frankly even some of the Republicans know it is. They will say it, they just don’t do anything about it. … [They say,] ‘we’ll put up with crazy’ in exchange for tax reform and deregulation.”” This just after the anonymous op ed “news” in the NY Times covered by this blog’s post, A Tradition Of Americans, 9-8-18 (You know, the one about staffers). “”I was struck by the genuineness of the man; his candor, humility and empathy for others,” Wexner said.” Analysis wrote all that in order to write Berkeley police posted activists’ mugshots on Twitter and celebrated retweets, emails reveal headlined the day before (9-14-18) by Sam Levin for The Guardian. “The Berkeley police department (BPD) faced widespread backlash last month after posting the personal information of arrested activists online, leading to Fox News coverage and harassment and abuse against the leftwing demonstrators at a far-right rally. New emails have shown that the city has an explicit policy of targeting protesters with mugshot tweets, with the goal of using “social media to help create a counter-narrative”.” Analysis needn’t remind readers that “staff” isn’t always Republican or Democrat as some administration spokespeople would like us to presume. Their allegiances may lie elsewhere, as Levin’s reporting goes on to show. “Police arrested 20 people on 5 August, and all were counter-protesters and anti-fascists who came to demonstrate against a far-right event, according to the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) of San Francisco, which is representing some of the activists. Many arrested were cited for “possession of a banned weapon”, which police said included “anything” that could be used in a “riot”. Some were arrested for bandanas and scarves that police considered “masks” and sign poles cited as “weapons”, according to the NLG, which is representing activists. It appears that none have faced any charges. The records, obtained by police accountability group Lucy Parsons Labs and reported by the East Bay Express, shed light on how officials internally have defined and justified the social media policy for protests. Officials said the “social media-driven protests” have created the need for a “Twitter protocol for mug shots” and acknowledged that the tweets would get “broad national exposure”. One police email had the subject line, “Info flow from Jail to Twitter.” The policy also made clear that police would post mugshots on Twitter only when the arrests were “protest related”, drawing criticisms that the practice was aimed at discouraging free speech activities.” “One protocol document officials wrote last year said police should post the name, age, city of residence, charges and booking photos on Twitter, noting that they would be “quickly reprinted across television, online and print media platforms”. Police received more than 8,000 retweets, 11,000 “likes” and 1.7m “impressions” (times people saw the tweets) in one case, the document said.” “Matthai Chakko, a city spokesperson who outlined the policy in the internal emails, defended the practice in an interview Friday, saying the strategy was a response to “exceptional circumstances” and “exceptional amounts of violence in Berkeley” at previous rallies. He could not, however, provide specific details about any alleged acts of violence on 5 August when police posted mugshots. One individual was cited for “battery”, but he said he had no further information about the circumstances.” “Asked if police considered possible abuse and doxing risks when creating the mugshot policy, Chakko declined to comment.” “Veena Dubal, a University of California law professor and former Berkeley police review commissioner, said the mugshot policy was “really deviating from the role of the police department, which is public safety”. She said she was also stunned by the “counter narrative” language: “If the prevailing narrative is these rightwing, white supremacist rallies should be stopped, and we don’t want them in the city, then the ‘counter-narrative’ is we do want them in our city, and the counter-protesters are the problem.”” ““They broke the law,” he [Matthai Chakko] said. He also declined to comment on why the cases have repeatedly resulted in no formal charges or convictions, saying: “We are comfortable with our arrests.”” Not so comfortable in all this is what former President Obama had to say in a speech at the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign just a week prior: “We are Americans. We’re supposed to standup to bullies. Not follow them. We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination. And we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up, clearly and unequivocally, to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be? Saying that Nazis are bad.” (from the transcript).  Analysis will let Les Wexner have the last word (through the pen of Justin Wise): “The billionaire CEO reportedly said in a speech last year that he was “ashamed” by Trump’s response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that erupted in violence and led to the death of a 32-year-old woman.” Licking County Prosecutor Russell Hayes has a problem with all the homeless accumulating in downtown Newark, Ohio. Arresting, charging and jailing indigents is so inconvenient, and costly! With no gazebo to claim as “the home of the homeless”, exceptional circumstances have him shamelessly looking for a good counter-narrative, one that would make him comfortable in executing the duties of his office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Invisible Hand

September 14, 2018

Where were you on December 7, 1949, the day Pearl Harbor was attacked? Where were you on September 11, 2001, the day the World Trade Center was brought down? Where were you September 14, 2008, the day Lehman Brothers collapsed?  Ten years ago today the invisible hand of the market became quite visible. The day Lehman Brothers went belly up ordinary people learned that extraordinary deals still left them as ordinary people while Extra celebrities would continue to be promoted as extraordinary. Today, along with other things, Dear Leader says ordinary people are more well off than ever in the history of the US if not the world. Economists, however, are not so sure. Lehman Brothers sobered them to the limits of the invisible hand. Could the not so invisible hand be likewise unabated by greed? To counter this, they pointed to economic cycles; like dark matter, invisible but real just the same. Today market deals promise to solve all of societal ills, from global warming catastrophes to tooth decay. WIKI succinctly states that Adam Smith’s invisible hand “has come to capture his notion that individuals’ efforts to pursue their own interest may frequently benefit society more than if their actions were directly intending to benefit society.” Analysis finds this may well glove the lives of those featured on Extra. The ungloved reality of those featured on the imaginary (and invisible) show, Ordinary, is more that the glove no longer fits while being handed the bill to cover the entire cost of the collapse. After ten years, who has benefitted from the financial crisis? Who has paid for it? Every debt is an asset for someone. To perversely paraphrase Johnnie Cochran, “If it does not fit, you must indict!”

A Tradition Of Americans

September 8, 2018

By now, lest ye be living under a rock, a major source of news/speculation swirls around the New York Times “Anonymous” op ed. One of the responses to this “news event” (the op ed as well as the NY Times running one anonymously) comes from the former White House press secretary during the W presidency. 9-7-18 Gannett’s USA Today ran a response op ed by Ari Fleischer entitled New York Times op-ed betrays Trump, voters. Staffers don’t get to steer US. It is the last line of the title that peaks an interest for Analysis. Both op eds (anonymous’s as well as Fleischer’s) are somewhat mundane, revealing nothing new. Unlike anonymous’s self appointed and self defining “patriotic” tone, Fleischer’s is a bit more jingoistic, even sanctimonious. Given what we all know historically, Analysis found Fleischer’s opinion to border on naïve – “That’s because if you’re going to work for the president, you need to believe in the president. Not just his policies, but the man (or one day the woman).” And what of working for a corporation, deemed to be a “person’ (neither man or woman) by the SCOTUS? Does a recent DU grad obtaining a job in IT for RJ Reynolds need to believe in smoking cigarettes? How about Pepsi? Or Disney? Not much is written about the “underground economy” yet it is an actuality in most larger cities, and to most it is totally oblivious in rural settings. “Underground” makes it sound nefarious like the dark web or bitcoin; more like flea markets, yard sales, unregistered building and maintenance work, dog sitting, trucking, car repair, etc. It is primarily a cash economy. People rely on it. Some even see it as being an originator, if not driver, of fashion and culture (think the history of rap or hip hop, muscle cars, tattoos, hoodies, food trucks, etc.). People employed as staff circulate in the same sort of grey area of oblivion, doing work for pay without having a say in the determination of the operational economy. Not actually in charge like a CEO, COO or President, they still actually run things – make them happen. Along with a slew of other things, French critical thinker Michel Foucault based a lot of his inquiry, research and ultimately conclusions on the workings of “the staff” in history and its influence on culture, politics and world events. One could say his approach is vaguely analogous to that of Howard Zinn (author of A People’s History Of The United States). In a work entitled Discipline And Punish Foucault elaborates how it is “the staff” that determines how things are interpreted and defined. He does this by tracing the history of mental institutions and prison systems from the age of enlightenment to the current era. Someone, after all, has to determine who is actually “acting out” and who is not, how tight restraints need to be and what is cruel and unusual punishment, etc. The administration may hand down policy statements and directives regarding the company or state but it is the staff that ultimately implements them. In today’s culture of information the staff is a kind of interface between the aspired reality and the lived reality or, in the case of the POTUS, the imagined reality and the manufactured imaginary one. After how many police killings of unarmed black men have we not heard “feared for their lives” in immediate conjunction with “not administration policy.” Foucault was definitely on to something. Fleischer sanctimoniously writes “But if staffers can no longer support the president, or as the case with the anonymous author, they doubt the president’s ability to do his job, they need to do the honorable thing and resign. At that point, they can go public and say what they want. There’s a tradition of Americans doing that and it can be a noble one.” (others have just as self righteously said pretty much the same). Yet, that is like saying to those in the underground economy that if you can’t make a living from a real job you should… “do the honorable thing and resign”? “There’s a tradition of Americans doing that and it can be a noble one.”

 

Labor Day

September 3, 2018

We All Labor To Support Trump’s Debt (9-3-18, a teaser headline run by Salon’s Bob Hennelly). As mentioned too many times by this blog, one person’s debt is another’s asset. Same day, NY Times’s Campbell Robertson and Jim Tankersley headlined: Growth Has Lifted Counties That Voted for Trump. Mostly, It’s the Wealthy Ones. President Trump’s economy has left the most distressed swaths of the country waiting for their share of the good times. This was a curious, though redundant, analysis of the tale of two counties – one in St. Charles County Missouri, and another in Knox County Illinois. Of note: “The most prosperous Trump-supporting counties — as ranked by the Economic Innovation Group, a think tank in Washington focused on geographic disparities in the American economy — added jobs at about a 2 percent annual rate in 2017. The least prosperous Trump counties, which the group calls “distressed,” did not add any new jobs, on net. As a group, the distressed counties saw more businesses close than open in 2017, and they lost population over the course of the year. St. Charles County, which sits in the most prosperous slice of American counties, saw job growth of nearly 2 percent last year, and business growth of 6 percent. By contrast, about 200 miles north in Illinois, Knox County ranks in the bottom fifth of prosperity nationwide, according to the Economic Innovation Group’s rankings.” “In Mr. Obama’s final year in office, according to data from the Labor Department, Knox County lost 1 percent of its jobs and businesses. In Mr. Trump’s first year, it lost more than 5 percent of its jobs — and nearly 7 percent of businesses. Knox County also continues to see higher unemployment than the nation as a whole. Its unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in July, down only slight from its rate of 5 percent in July 2017.” Analysis found it unnecessary to go that far from Newark to find evidence of this within today’s headlines. Writing for the 9-3-18 Plain Dealer, Susan Glaser headlines Planet Oasis: $2 billion Ohio entertainment complex plans spark debate as new details emerge. This blog covered the zoning controversy that ended with the Tanger Outlet Mall coming to Berkshire Township in Delaware County just west of Sunbury. That agreement opened the door for further development – such as David Glimcher’s Planet Oasis (yes, that Glimcher). “Glimcher said he will finance the massive project via dozens of small deals with individual operators of the attractions, hotels and restaurants. The development does stand to benefit from an already existing tax-increment financing plan on the land, which allows property tax revenue to be funneled back into infrastructure improvements.” Where have we heard that before? (Hint; The author of The Art Of The Deal) “Opponents, meanwhile, are relatively powerless to stop it. The property was rezoned for mixed-use development in 2016, which cleared the way for the development of the Tanger Outlet Mall, which opened last year.” Hmmm, sounds inevitable, or natural, depending on your outlook. “Besides, he [opponent “Joshua Varble, who lives about 3 miles from the project”] said, Delaware County – the wealthiest in Ohio – doesn’t need the economic boost.” Celebrating his own diversity “Glimcher said he has planned the development to appeal to all ages and economic levels, locals and out-of-towners. Central Ohio, he said, is within a day’s drive of 100 million people – a bigger reach than either Orlando or Los Angeles. Despite local opposition, Glimcher said reaction to the development has been largely enthusiastic. “In the 40 years that I’ve been doing this, we have the least amount of negative reaction that I’ve ever seen,” he said. “People need a stress reliever. People are looking for something positive.”” Helping to enable all this positivity “A new highway interchange is planned for the area, about a mile south of exit 131, though construction isn’t expected to start until next year at the earliest.” Polaris (a Glimcher development), which lies just south of Berkshire Township, received a new interchange only after completion and operation indicated a need. Analysis finds much to question here. ODOT will build a road wherever it is told. But it can only do so if transportation funding is provided. Transportation funding expended on new highway construction is transportation funding not invested in public transportation. Who really is benefitting from the transportation funding being spent on a redundant interchange? Who is benefitting from development? A day’s drive for 100 million people wouldn’t be affected too much by developing in a “depressed” central Ohio county, but would benefit so many more people. These same people will be burdened by the debt of state funding for a new highway interchange that benefits “the wealthiest [county] in Ohio.”

‘There is the employer’s sabotage as well as the worker’s sabotage. Employers interfere with the quality of production, they interfere with the quantity of production, they interfere with the supply as well as with the kind of goods for the purpose of increasing their profit. But this form of sabotage, capitalist sabotage, is antisocial, for the reason that it is aimed at the benefit of the few at the expense of the many, whereas working-class sabotage is distinctly social, it is aimed at the benefit of the many, at the expense of the few. —- Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, 1916

 

Increasingly Unbearable

August 24, 2018

8-22-18 Dear Leader tweeted “I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.” @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews”. What is this all about? “Large scale killings of farmers”?? Analysis is not alone. Many news sources have pondered this as there is no indication of mass killings in this part of the world. Corruption in government, yes. Mass killings, no. The South African government was outraged by this reference to something that is not (remember the illegal voters and the president’s electoral commission which, along with the claims for the biggest inauguration crowd in history, just got replaced by other newer non events?). But asking the Secretary of State to closely study a non event is quite another matter (especially when you’ve recalled him from continued talks with North Korea after signaling that the breakthrough merited a Nobel Prize for the POTUS). The Washington Post gave some background to a very prickly situation in Zimbabwe and South Africa: “stretches back to the early 20th century, when South Africa’s Natives Land Act of 1913 stripped black people of the right to own land outside specific plots set aside for them. The restriction tightened during the apartheid era, as the governing National Party created desolate ‘homelands’ for black people.” Although a legal framework for land restitution emerged with the end of apartheid in 1994, the process has been “slow and riddled with bureaucratic uncertainty.”” Salon’s Chauncy Devega cites “In the Huffington Post, Jessica Schulberg and Akbar Shahid Ahmed explain that 25 years after the end of apartheid, South African whites (about 8 percent of the population) still own 72 percent of privately-held farmland, while about 10 percent of the total population — overwhelmingly but not exclusively white — control 90 percent of South Africa’s wealth.” (Trump goes full white supremacy with South Africa tweet: Does he want a “race war”? 8-24-18). Devega goes on to reference that “Meanwhile the Guardian’s Jason Burke debunks the claim that white farmers are being singled out for racist violence, writing that murders of farmers are at a 20-year low, and have declined consistently since the late 1990s. These lower numbers “contradict recent reports in Australian and other western media describing white farmers in South Africa facing ‘a surge in violence,’” he writes, adding that dozens of nonwhite farmers have also been killed in recent years.” Devega, being interested in the white supremacy motivation of the POTUS policy, disregards the global implication. Burke’s colleague at The Gaurdian takes up where Devega fails to go. The banner line of Jason Wilson’s in depth study reveals the story – White farmers: how a far-right idea was planted in Donald Trump’s mind. The far right: The idea that there is a ‘genocide’ of white farmers in South Africa was once the province of conspiracy theorists but, thanks to News Corp’s media promotion, it has moved into the policy realm (8-24-18). The incestuous relationship between News Corp, white supremacist groups and Donald Trump becomes apparent. “The Charleston shooter Dylann Roof was obsessed, like many other white supremacists, with “Rhodesia”, as Zimbabwe was known under white minority rule. As the Christian Science Monitor reported in the wake of his massacre, the fates of the two countries are “held up as proof of the racial inferiority of blacks; and the diminished stature of whites is presented as an ongoing genocide that must be fought”.” The POTUS connection lies with the former Australian immigrant, now American citizen, and loyal friend of the prez, Rupert Murdoch (founder/owner of News Corp, Wall Street Journal, Fox News, etc.). “In March, the alleged plight of the farmers became the subject of a campaign by News Corp tabloids in Australia. In a preview of Trump’s response, the News Corp intervention led the then home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, to float a short-lived proposal to give preferential immigration treatment to farmers. The move was praised by white nationalists on forums like Stormfront, and cited by rightwingers of all kinds as evidence of the issue’s importance.” “But, as in Australia, the crucial step in creating a policy proposal issue appears to have been advocacy by a News Corp outlet, in this case Tucker Carlson’s program. Indeed, News Corp now appears to be a crucial conduit for far-right ideas to reach governments. This development has been celebrated overnight by the racist far right, but so too has the whole process by which “white genocide” has become a matter of broader public debate. Earlier this year, an anonymous podcaster on the white genocide-focused “White Rabbit Radio” said: “This was the province of Stormfront five, 10 years ago, white genocide in South Africa. Now it is mainstream.”” The human toll of this collaboration of manufactured non-existent issues and episodes, and their strong armed dissemination can be evidenced by an unrelated report of the same day. Salon’s Rachel Leah headlines: Why are Fox News reporters fleeing the network? Two reporters reportedly cited objections to the direction of the network since Donald Trump became president (8-24-18). “Two Fox News reporters in the last three weeks have departed from the network, reportedly after feeling frustrated with the cable news giant’s direction and tone in the Trump era. Adam Housley, a Los Angeles-based reporter who had been a part of the network since 2001, plans to depart the network soon. Two former Fox News employees told Politico that Housley complained of a decline in opportunity for non-pundit personalities.” “Conor Powell, who served as Middle East correspondent at Fox News for nine years, reportedly left Fox News for similar reasons. Powell’s former colleague and friend told Politico that the reporter felt like network had moved away from news in favor of opinion. Both Powell and Housley’s reasons for leaving the network after years of working there, signal frustration over a network that seemed to marginalize the news and those who were reporting it, a problem that has become increasingly unbearable with President Donald Trump in office.”

The Quality Of Enabling Is Not Strained

August 17, 2018

In a recent NY Times Op Ed (The Debt-Shaming of Stacey Abrams: Our pernicious double standard on politicians who owe money. 8-17-18) Michelle Goldberg elaborates the blatant class bias found within our democracy regarding debt. This is of interest after considering Abrams’ run for Georgia Governor in the 7-29-18 posting entitled Unspoken.  Analysis isn’t considering the national debt soaring to over a trillion here. More something along the lines of the previous posting (How Sausage Is made). Goldberg writes: “But Republicans think they can damage Abrams by going after her on the issue of her personal debt, which totals more than $200,000.” She goes on to mention other candidates receiving like treatment during this midterm year, NY’s Jumaane Williams (“for owing money on a failed restaurant venture and for losing a house to foreclosure”) and Wisconsin’s Randy Brice (“faced criticism for his debt, including $1,257 in late child support that he paid off last year, as well as a 1999 bankruptcy”). The reasons for the debt are various: Abrams for her education and caring for family crisis while Brice struggled with cancer without insurance, a personal crisis. Goldberg goes on to point out that our president had 6 bankruptcies on record when he ran, his son-in-law “paid a record-setting $1.8 billion for a tower at 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007, near the height of New York City’s real estate market. His family’s company struggled to deal with the resulting debt before being bailed out this month by Brookfield, a real estate company whose investors include the Qatar Investment Authority. Any ordinary person who repeatedly squandered family money on bad bets the way Kushner has would most likely be seen as a deadbeat and a loser.” and Abrams’ GOP opponent, Brian Kemp, “a multimillionaire who is being sued for allegedly failing to repay a $500,000 loan used to buy supplies for an agricultural company he invested in.” In a nutshell, “This line of attack throws a pernicious political dynamic into high relief. The financial problems of poor and middle-class people are treated as moral failings, while rich people’s debt is either ignored or spun as a sign of intrepid entrepreneurialism.” But Goldberg’s assessment is pretty topical – class and race. “If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface; of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.” (Andy Warhol) This seems to satisfy most people. Digging a little deeper we have the unspoken, but recurrent, theme of solving Ohio’s (and the nation’s) substance abuse and addiction problem – to solve a problem requires actually recognizing and admitting there is one! Analysis can’t disregard the 1%, 99% dichotomy that is America. Not included in the economic statistic of 1%, but considered as such by the SCOTUS (Citizen United ascribes personhood), would be corporate accountability, which deals with enormous sums of electronically available wealth. Recent revelations, disclosed with the Paul Manafort trial, reveal corporate eagerness to make jumbo loans (and indebtedness) to those who travel in the upper echelons of the 1%. Locally we find the 7-24-18 Newark Advocate headlining Park National announces increased income for quarter, year. The corporate person’s accountability of assets and debits is impeccable. Can as much be said for the human persons charged with running the corporate entity? ““We continue to focus on long-term plans to fuel and sustain loan growth and strong overall performance,” Park CEO David Trautman said.”” “Park National Corporation had $7.5 billion in total assets, as of June 30.” Goldberg’s double standard is rooted in a single fundamental economic standard – a bank’s assets primarily consist of the loans it has extended, the money it is owed, the interest and fees it collects. Even the POTUS mouths support for suing the enablers of addiction. What about the enablers of debt? To quote Abrams: “it’s hard for people to believe that change happens.”

How Sausage Is Made

August 11, 2018

As Analysis has repeatedly revealed, news media and journalism are for the most part fueled by ads. True, true, true, some news sources have various other means of financing their operations – religious affiliation (Christian Science monitor), grants (NPR and PBS) or hefty subscriber funding. Still, source advertising stains the news, from whatever source. A hefty source of revenue in election years are political ads, something the outlets try to disown on the Zuckerberg model of “we’re only a platform.” So the news becomes the news unwittingly and inadvertently. There appears to be no “outside” this Catch 22 pact with the devil. Yet there is good journalism that pervades this environment of easily dismissed bias. Julie Carr Smyth’s recent AP report (Democrat Richard Cordray says GOP ads in governor race false, 8-10-18) performs the balancing act marvelously. “Lawyers for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray demanded on Friday that Ohio television stations pull a Republican Governors Association ad alleging a consumer agency Cordray led secretly collected and left vulnerable Americans’ personal financial data.” “Spokesman [for the RGA] Jon Thompson said, “We stand by the ad.”” Just another example of the alt right’s victimization by a conspiracy assault on the 1stamendment? Long time news junkies will recall an analogous situation with the John Kerry swift boat ads (recent junkies ought to Google/Wiki this). Veracity of the claims hinged on the opinion of the witnesses, something implicated by time, money and political leanings. He said, she said? Older junkies will recall the sinking of the John McCain challenge to George W’s anointment as GOP presidential standard bearer. Innuendo that McCain was the biological father of a child of color spread throughout South Carolina before the 2000 primary. DNA takes time. The existence/non-existence of truth becomes irrelevant in the short span of a primary. The racist damage left a stench. Guilt by association? Classically, this is referred to as “My opponent’s sister is a thespian.” political smear from the 19thcentury. Thespian “sounds” like lesbian. And the beat goes on, damage done, when accompanied by rhythmic bible thumping. The new and improved digitalized 21stcentury version is called “fake news.” News or “fake news”? Carr Smyth is careful to point this out without actually calling it that. “The ads, paid for by the RGA Right Direction PAC, say Cordray “secretly collected personal information from hundreds of millions of accounts” and didn’t protect it. They also claim the consumer bureau was “hacked over 200 times,” presumably under Cordray’s watch though that’s not directly stated. Cordray’s lawyers wrote station managers that the claims are not true.” “The letter [from Cordray’s lawyers to the stations] notes that Cordray’s successor, Mick Mulvaney, ordered a review of the bureau’s “externally facing” systems when he took over in May and concluded they were well secured and ordered data collection to continue. The letter says the bureau was never “hacked.” Cordray’s lawyers further argue that the bureau’s collection of consumer information was not a secret but extensively debated, including at a public hearing. Cordray also wrote about it in the American Banker, noting in a 2013 op-ed that much of the data the bureau collects was already publicly available.” Carr Smyth is an excellent journalist. In our “everything is up to date in Kansas City” age, data collection and hacking go together like a horse and carriage. “Fake news”, news, or just a reminder of how sausage is made?

 

The Girl Next Door

August 5, 2018

Absent (again) from any coverage in the August 5, 2018 Newark Advocate was any news of the big event held the previous day in Genoa township (home of Newark’s former US congressman, Pat Tiberi). That evening the POTUS came to the area to hold one of his massive campaign rallies. This one was to stump for the GOP candidate anointed to fill the vacancy left by Mr. Tiberi. Multiple national media sources provided coverage. Analysis even found photos of the “faceless majority” provided by Jeremy Pelzer of cleveland.com (Here’s who we saw at Donald Trump’s Ohio rally, 8-4-18). Image perusal left one with a déjà vu all over again sensation; retro in the sense of being overwhelmed into the era and culture surrounding the origins of Hugh Hefner and the phrase “the girl next door.” Only lending credence to the creation myth was the remarkable double take of the POTUS on stage before the adulating crowd, face covered in sweat, bearing an uncanny resemblance to “The King” in his white rhinestone encrusted jumpsuit, also covered in sweat surrounded by adoring fans. Speaking of “The King,” that was likewise part of the news explosion during this same period (also not covered by Newark’s hometown media outlet). The Prez tweeted derisively about LeBron James, somewhat unexpectedly as in the past he has only had all good things to say (or tweet) about his equal, er, fellow millionaire (Donald Trump has repeatedly made it clear he has no equal). But then again, no surprise there as King James said the President was a bit divisive in a recent interview with CNN’s Don Lemon.  The Pres doubled down on his derogatory diatribe (tweet) according to one of the coverage articles of the Delaware rally by The Hill’s Morgan Gstalter (Trump: I ‘destroy’ careers of Republicans who say bad things about me, 8-4-18). Gstalter witnesses, and writes “”I only destroy their career because they said bad things about me and you fight back and they go down the tubes and that’s OK,” he [Donald Trump] added.” From the Pelzer cleveland.com article: “Philip said he and his 7-year-old son Thomas drove from Indianapolis just to attend the rally and “show support” for the president. Asked why he supports Trump, Philip said, “He says what he thinks. I mean, he’s really blunt and to the point.” Thomas chimed in: “And he’s kind of funny, too!”” James Alicie and Richard M Birchfield were pictured wearing identical “I’d rather be a Russian than Democrat” Tee shirts. “The two friends from the city of Delaware said they came out to the rally because they’ve never seen a president in person before. Asked about their shirts, Alicie (left) said he didn’t understand why Trump is getting so much criticism about Russia when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama weren’t similarly scrutinized. Asked what he would tell Democrats, Alicie said, “To jump on board this train and give him a chance.”” Given half the chance, being OK to destroy someone because they said “bad things” is just a hop and a skip from destroying someone because they disagree with you. Gstalter shows just that by elucidating the various human detritus left in the wake of the President’s policy (after all, careers are human aspirational characteristics). Analysis finds it to be a slippery slope to eventually simply justifying the destruction of those who disagree with the central authority, who in this case happens to be the POTUS; something found in totalitarian regimes like Russia. Sigh. The imperative becomes one of only having all good things to say about “the girl next door.” Failing that, Analysis concludes the choice becomes “the girl next door,” or no girl at all.

 

Heartland Must Embrace The Innovation Economy

July 31, 2018

July 30, 2018 Vice President Mike Pence came to Newark to “get out the vote” for Troy Balderson in the upcoming 12thcongressional district special election (August 7). Analysis can’t help wonder “why Newark?” Speculative guess would be that Newark was the safest venue – all the downtown construction limits the entrance/egress routes thereby making for a veritable fortress of security. Another possibility would be that Zanesville and Mansfield are too much on the periphery, while Delaware is too iffy politically, and might only reinforce the image of the GOP as the party of wealth. The online Newark Advocate gave 40 photos of the event. Keeping with the trend of current day lean journalistic austerity, roughly half the photos were of the event, half were of the demonstration that greeted it (a twofer coverage of one event). But a critique of the media is too EZ. It was what the images showed that was intriguing. 17 were very carefully crafted, professional quality images of the Veep, with and without Balderson (ya gotta appreciate the lighting and pitch black background). Two of those were of GOP Party Chair Jane Timken. Anyone tracking the aesthetic of TV ads, of and by candidate Troy, would have to admit that The Saint came off looking pretty good in those photos. Then there were the crowd shots, both of supporters as well as demonstrators. Analysis would have liked to have seen more showing the faces of those who RSVP’d their support. Only six images gave the faithful, one of which was just a sign. In almost all of the “other side’s” 17 images, the demonstrators were clearly recognizable. Analysis would indicate this to be the 21stcentury variant on “the silent majority.” Only in this case, the GOP is the faceless majority. Analysis would surmise a proxy preference for Fox and Friends or Hannity (or a faceless radio voice). What wasn’t seen in either, would be a preponderance of young faces. Where were they? Academicians who study such things have an inside joke about 1968, the year of young people and workers in the streets of cities worldwide. “The revolution was in 1968. We lost.” So where were the young people, both physically as well as spiritually? An article by Peter Krouse in today’s cleveland.com sheds some light on that (7-31-18), Ohio and heartland must embrace the “innovation economy,” reports says. “Clearly, Ohio can do better, and can take steps to improve its standing, according to the report by the Walton Family Foundation of Bentonville, Ark., entitled, “The American Heartland’s Position in the Innovation Economy.”” You remember the Walton’s of Bentonville? No, not the TV ones but the Walmart owners, richest family in America (far outstripping the Koch’s, Mars’s and Cargill’s). “That index looks at data in five areas, including research and development inputs, risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure, human capital Investment, technology and science workforce and technology concentration and dynamism. That last item represents the increase in high-tech firms compared with all new businesses.” Clearly the missing young people chose to embrace the innovation economy. Their absence was more than excusable. They must have been too preoccupied pursuing their passion as human capital. To paraphrase the antique Peter, Paul and Mary song – Where have all the young people gone, long time passing? Gone to embrace the innovation economy, every one. Analysis finds no need to indicate the song’s last line.