Like A Perfect Storm

June 19, 2018

In the collage of images concerning America’s latest internment enterprise are some detainees dressed in the local native garb of place of origin, usually children. Most are dressed in everyday uniform “camouflage”, the non descript generic fashion offerings of Walmart or Target. Analysis is dedicated to the local, and the interface of the local with what is national or global in scope. Analysis has written (more than once) about public transportation, and the bias for autos and highways dating back to the Eisenhower Federal Highway Act of 1956. Analysis has written about Citizens United (more than once) and the influence of corporate wealth and lobbyist largesse in destroying the urban bus and trolley lines so Americans could “See the USA in their Chevrolet.” Analysis has written about the organizing savvy and expertise (more than once) of those aspiring for a single vision of America as it was (locally as well as nationally) fending off continuous threats in a politics of eternity; where there is no aspired future, no achieved goal, no progress or better but only the continuous replay of threats and adversaries to a vision of angst saturated security. Like a perfect storm, Hiroko Tabuchi headlined How the Koch brothers are killing public transit projects around the country (NY Times 6-19-18). “In cities and counties across the country — including Little Rock, Ark.; Phoenix, Ariz.; southeast Michigan; central Utah; and here in Tennessee — the Koch brothers are fueling a fight against public transit, an offshoot of their longstanding national crusade for lower taxes and smaller government. At the heart of their effort is a network of activists who use a sophisticated data service built by the Kochs, called i360, that helps them identify and rally voters who are inclined to their worldview. It is a particularly powerful version of the technologies used by major political parties. In places like Nashville, Koch-financed activists are finding tremendous success.” “One of the mainstay companies of Koch Industries, the Kochs’ conglomerate, is a major producer of gasoline and asphalt, and also makes seatbelts, tires and other automotive parts. Even as Americans for Prosperity opposes public investment in transit, it supports spending tax money on highways and roads.” “Nashville’s idea to invest in transit got off to a strong start. Introduced in October by Megan Barry, who was mayor at the time, it called for 26 miles of light rail, a bus network, and a 1.8-mile tunnel for buses and trains that would bypass the city center’s narrow streets. The $5.4 billion proposal, the costliest transit project in Nashville’s history, was to be funded by raising the sales tax city residents pay by one percentage point, to 10.25 percent, and raising other business taxes. A coalition of Nashville businesses urged voters to endorse the spending as vital to a region projected to grow to almost 3 million people by 2040, an increase of 1 million.” “Central to the work of Americans for Prosperity is i360, the Kochs’ data operation, which profiles Americans based on their voter registration information, consumer data and social media activities. The canvassers divided the neighborhoods into “walkbooks,” or clusters of several dozen homes, and broke into teams of two.” “Their data zeroed in on people thought to be anti-tax or anti-transit and likely to vote.” Etc. Etc. Etc. And, lest we forget, the (dark) money behind it all: “In Nashville, Americans for Prosperity played a major role: organizing door-to-door canvassing teams using iPads running the i360 software. Those in-kind contributions can be difficult to measure. According to A.F.P.’s campaign finance disclosure, the group made only one contribution, of $4,744, to the campaign for “canvassing expenses.” Instead, a local group, NoTax4Tracks, led the Nashville fund-raising. Nearly three-quarters of the $1.1 million it raised came from a single nonprofit, Nashville Smart Inc., which is not required to disclose donors. The rest of the contributions to NoTax4Tracks came from wealthy local donors, including a local auto dealer. Both NoTax4Tracks and Nashville Smart declined to fully disclose their funding.” Sound familiar? (hint: the VW union organizing effort subverted in like manner, in same state) A new trail of tears? Thursday evening, June 21, 2018 the Freedom School will air their last film of the series – You Got To Move: Stories of Change in the South (7:00 PM GMP Hall 350 Hudson Ave Newark). “In this recently re-released film from 1985, film maker Lucy Massie Phenix interviews people who describe how they learned to set aside their fears and work for change in their own communities on issues as varied as voting rights, segregation, union organizing, strip mining and toxic waste.” (from the promo) Given the ubiquitous use of “latest technology,” like i360, by both political parties as well as special interest groups like the NRA and Americans For Prosperity (all brought to you by the makers of Citizens United), what the local Newark Freedom School offers bears a striking resemblance to the local native garb worn by some of the Central American refugee children pictured on the screens of Americans’ visual device of choice – small pinpoints of genuine intimate color and style awash in a sea of generic conformity made possible by the latest technology.

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I Scream For Ice Cream

June 17, 2018

One of the first more extensive voting polls since the May primary came out this past week. The Enquirer/Suffolk poll as well as the Quinnipiac University poll showed the Ohio governor’s race (4 months away) to be a statistical dead heat. Who is Rich Cordray? GOP pundits like to scoff that even vanilla ice cream is more interesting. At the same time Mike DeWine isn’t exactly Mister Charisma. Most do agree that Cordray is essentially an unknown (especially if one wants to “bank” on the post Parkland massacre young voter surge), while DeWine rivals reality TV with his preponderance of on stage appearances for “things that really matter.” Only no one remembers what he’s done. A bit of a Johnny-come-lately with the opioid addiction crisis, choosing to sue manufacturers and distributors only after witnessing the success other states were having at doing it (and making sure not to offend Dublin based Cardinal Health). Likewise way late on the ECOT scandal, and whatever happened with the Rhoden family massacre in Pike County when Mike’s best pugnacious face was on the news almost every night? Analysis finds the current race for governor to be very curious once you step away from the hype. It may actually revolve on policy and issues this time, something refreshing given the personality politics on the national level. How so? A recent cleveland.com article (6-15-18) is quite informative. Is Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s boast about jobs gains accurate? by Rich Exner covers the current Ohio Governor’s, and past presidential wannabe’s, recent boast that “Ohio is now creating jobs 48 percent faster than the national rate since the start of the year.” Exner immediately notes “Ohio jobs have increased this year at a faster rate than the country as a whole, for the first time since Kasich took office in 2011, cleveland.com found in reviewing the data.” He then goes on to quibble about the veracity of Kasich’s claim given it is about a half percent increase in job growth (whether that increase is 48% higher, etc.). In short, whether that half a point is itself 48% higher than previous lackluster performance. The pertinence to the excitement of our current “unknowns” vying for governor is buried at the bottom of the article. Exner includes the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics covering the Kasich years:                                                                                                           “2011 – U.S. 1.6 percent; Ohio 1.56 percent.

2012 – U.S. 1.6 percent; Ohio 1.5 percent

2013 – U.S. 1.7 percent, Ohio 1.5 percent.

2014 – U.S. 2.2 percent, Ohio 1.8 percent.

2015 – U.S. 1.9 percent, Ohio 1.1 percent.

2016 – U.S. 1.6 percent, Ohio 0.8 percent

2017 – U.S. 1.5 percent, Ohio 0.6 percent.

2018 (through May) – U.S. 0.7 percent, Ohio 1.2 percent.”                                                   Kasich, the made for TV personality, touted Ohio’s robust and vigorous job growth during his presidential wannabe years and beyond. After all, he was a commentator for Fox prior to his running for governor in 2010, as well as is currently much in demand as a foil for the Dear Leader. Had he not been a made for TV personality pre any of the elections, the veracity of his claims may have had some significance and bearing on the outcome. THAT is precisely the excitement of the current Ohio Governor’s race between two veritable bland as vanilla ice cream personalities.

Not Voting Is Government By Other Means

June 13, 2018

News out of SCOTUS this past week affected Ohio and the rest of the nation. Almost every news source covered the story. For this essay Analysis will reference New York Times’ Supreme Court Upholds Ohio’s Purge of Voting Rolls by Adam Liptak (6-11-18). For those of you keeping score at home the ruling concerns Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, No. 16-980. The “Husted” is Jon Husted, current Ohio Secretary of State as well as current candidate for lieutenant governor in the upcoming 2018 election (timing is everything). For the namesake of the Institute on the obverse side WIKI gives “In response to the 1963 Children’s Crusade and the passage of the Voting Rights Act, A. Philip Randolph, former head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, an early black trade union, and Bayard Rustin, founded the APRI to forge an alliance between the civil rights movement and the labor movement. These efforts got them on the master list of Nixon political opponents.” (obviously not running for anything). Lots of handwringing and OMG accompanied this story in terms of national elections, voter suppression as an instrument of one party domination, etc. In an ambivalent gesture of affirmation with regard to these concerns Husted tried to minimize them by asserting Ohio would not “enforce” the ruling until after the fall election (appearance of conflict of interest and all). His official response (according to the NY Times): ““Today’s decision is a victory for election integrity,” Mr. Husted, a Republican, said in a statement, adding that “this decision is validation of Ohio’s efforts to clean up the voter rolls” and could “serve as a model for other states to use.”” (A veritable “C’mon down” call on The Price Is Right). Writing for the majority “Federal law, Justice Alito wrote, “plainly reflects Congress’s judgment that the failure to send back the card, coupled with the failure to vote during the period covering the next two general federal elections, is significant evidence that the addressee has moved.”” (from whence most of the outrage flows given that statistically, not as many people as get purged move within that period of time – in Ohio or elsewhere.) The Times relays his succinct reasoning: ““The dissents have a policy disagreement, not just with Ohio, but with Congress,” he wrote. “But this case presents a question of statutory interpretation, not a question of policy. We have no authority to second-guess Congress or to decide whether” Ohio’s notification program “is the ideal method for keeping its voting rolls up to date.” “The only question before us is whether it violates federal law,” Justice Alito wrote. “It does not.”” Analysis finds the reasoning to be flawless. Eliding the “political” questions of voter suppression, rigging the game through voter ID, or “use it or lose it” requirements, or discount double check those weekly mailings that all look like official car warranty, healthcare, or government benefit notices, Analysis finds the significance of the ruling more in line with the economic stimulus endeavors following the financial meltdown during the Bush administration. How so? Given the ruling and the current Ohio Secretary of State, it is difficult to ascertain what percentage of Ohioans eligible to vote are registered and really can vote, especially if they haven’t voted. One figure from 2012 gives 70% registered. It is important to bear in mind that in addition to the countless ways to register  (library, DMV, etc.) there is also the political theater of interest groups energetically soliciting the remaining 30% to register at large public gatherings (festivals, rallies, etc.). Yet after the registration comes…what? It is akin to all the unmarried couples who live together and introduce their significant other as their “fiancé.” No one bothers to equally forcefully get people to the polls to vote in innumerable local elections. Why? Because most elections concern mundane local concerns, not the stuff of national news (and populist outrage). Analysis finds the significance of the ruling, its stimulus character, to be that to change the “Congress’s judgment that the failure to send back the card, coupled with the failure to vote during the period covering the next two general federal elections, is significant evidence that the addressee has moved” doesn’t require changing the US congress. It does require changing one’s local Ohio representative or senator which requires actually voting in the mundane local elections that determine these members of the Ohio legislature. Not only does voting make the ruling moot (since the registered voter is active) but also makes it possible to improve the state’s voting policy to be more inclusive (EZ). According to the NY Times “The case concerned Larry Harmon, a software engineer and Navy veteran who lives near Akron, Ohio. He voted in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections but did not vote in 2012, saying he was unimpressed by the candidates. He also sat out the midterm elections in 2010 and 2014. But in 2015, Mr. Harmon did want to vote against a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana and found that his name had been stricken from the voting rolls. State officials said that they had done so after sending Mr. Harmon a notice in 2011 asking him to confirm his eligibility to vote and that he did not respond. Mr. Harmon said he did not remember receiving a notice, but he was dropped from the voter rolls.” As pointed out in a past blog post, no government is politics by other means. Not voting is government by other means. By not bothering with mundane local elections, Mr. Harmon inadvertently affirmed Ohio’s purge policy.

 

 

 

 

Genuinely Authentic Destination

June 11, 2018

Week end of June 10, 2018 found The Newark Advocate become an oxymoron. OK, the politically correct term would be the newspaper became an antinomy. Highlight of the week end news, with articles, photos and video, was Newark Pride 2018. A rather lame attempt to “support” this was made by the Sunday (6-10-18) Our View editorial, Big things ahead for Newark’s past, future (written by the editorial board; a collaborative effort indeed!). Kurt Snyder’s Hundreds spread positive message during Pride (6-10-18) covered the Saturday’s festivities in the Canal Market District “before later heading to Thirty One West and the Denison Art Space. Attendees enjoyed music, dancing and fellowship on a hot, sunny afternoon.” The previous evening, Saturday’s revelers creatively resisted the Licking County Commissioners refusal to light the court house by shining gelled rainbow colored flashlights over its west side (also covered by The Advocate in photo’s, etc.). In the Our View editorial, the editorial board feigned support for multiculturalism by highlighting the great “tourist” draw to be found in the greater Newark area. “And while we all will get a new way to look to the stars, an effort to appropriately showcase our history got a major boost. The U.S. Department of the Interior made a formal invitation to make the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks the next United States nomination for World Heritage designation. Sites with such a designation include the Great Wall of China, Statue of Liberty, Vatican City, the Taj Mahal and Yellowstone National Park.” Wow! The editorial board makes it sound like Newark has finally made it to the Bigs. Don’t put your flashlights away just yet. Further on the same board writes of the increase in tourism to other such sites in the U.S. and finally “Giving people who visit the earthworks a place to eat, shop and sleep is critical to maximizing its potential. The conceptual plan for the former Meritor site is one intriguing idea for how to do this. Turning the vacant and contaminated site into an inclusive visitors center would be amazing, but it would not be cheap. Frankly it would be impossible for Newark, Heath and Licking County to develop the site to its potential without assistance from the state and federal governments.” Kurt Snyder wrote “Long-time Newark residents and those new to the area were equally pleasantly surprised at the positivity throughout the afternoon. Pride organizers were disappointed during the spring the Licking County Commissioners refused to light the courthouse for the event, and it caused division across Licking County and on social media.” But this is much more than an oxymoron of LC Commissioners (and the Newark mayor’s office) choosing to enact the will of “the people” to mean “our people.” May 25, 2018 Time.com’s MONEY put out clic bait entitled This Is the Best Park in Every U.S. State. Ohio finds that park to be Washington Park adjacent to Cinci’s Over The Rhine area. “Newly renovated and expanded less than six years ago, Washington Park is at the heart of Cincinnati. The park’s amenities include a playground, a dog park, and a “civic lawn” used for concerts and cultural events. During summer months, locals can grab a craft beer or glass of wine on the Southwest Porch and play games like chess (using an oversized set) and ping-pong.” Google the park and one sees something very familiar. Indeed, it is so central to the park (“a “civic lawn” used for concerts and cultural events”) that MONEY’s photo also includes it. The “it” is a gazebo that looks a lot like the one that used to grace Newark’s downtown “tourist” destination. Money’s short paragraph also seems to accurately describe what was once the courthouse square before Jeff Hall and Tim Bubb prioritized “security” at the cost of an expendable “civic lawn.” Other news of the past week included business owners of various downtown entities not finding their locations to be enough of a business draw and pulling out. Antinomies like an “inclusive visitors center” while  city (and county)  governments choose to enact the will of “our people” certainly don’t “spread [a] positive message” of what “is critical to maximizing its [marketing] potential.” As MONEY pointed out, a “civic lawn” is an irresistible gathering place, a genuinely authentic destination without the covert guile of profit design.

 

Not A Winner, Try Again

June 6, 2018

“The number of hate groups rose to 954 in 2017, from 917 in 2016. Within the white supremacist movement, neo-Nazi groups saw the greatest growth – soaring by 22 percent.” (Southern Poverty Law Center) In the May 27, 2018 blog post, Thoughts And Prayers, Analysis described fascism as “thinking associated with myth, fiction, duplicity, violence and the incessant manufacture of enemies.” The new Oxford American dictionary (on this operating system) gives “an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization. • (in general use) extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice.” as a definition for Fascism. But that only rather further describes the activity (than defines it) so the dictionary supplements its “definition” with history: “The term Fascism was first used of the totalitarian right-wing nationalist regime of Mussolini in Italy (1922–43), and the regimes of the Nazis in Germany and Franco in Spain were also fascist. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group, a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach.” The same dictionary defines demagogue quite succinctly, “a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.”  In that same May 27 blog post Analysis referenced Timothy Snyder’s account of history entitled The Road To Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America (2018). Early on (pg. 16) Snyder writes: “The fascism of the 1920s and 1930s, [Ivan] Ilyin’s era, had three core features: it celebrated will and violence over reason and law; it proposed a leader with a mystical connection to his people; and it characterized globalization as a conspiracy rather than as a set of problems. Revived today in conditions of inequality as a politics of eternity [think Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day], fascism serves oligarchs as a catalyst for transitions away from public discussion and towards political fiction; away from meaningful voting and towards fake democracy; away from the rule of law and towards personalist regimes.” Much closer to today he writes (pg. 269-270) “To proclaim “America First” was to deny any need to fight fascism either at home or abroad. When American Nazis and white supremacists marched in Charlottesville in August 2017, Trump said that some of them were “very fine people.” He defended the Confederate and Nazi cause of preserving monuments to the Confederacy. Such monuments in the American South were raised in the 1920s and 1930s, at a time when fascism in the United States was a real possibility; they memorialized the racial purification of Southern cities that was contemporary with the rise of fascism in Europe. Will Rogers, the great American entertainer and social commentator of his time, saw Adolf Hitler in 1933 as a familiar figure: “Papers all state that Hitler is trying to copy Mussolini. Looks to me it’s the KKK he’s copying.” The great American social thinker and historian W.E.B. Du Bois could see how the temptation of fascism worked together with American myths of the past. He rightly feared that American whites would prefer a story about enmity with blacks to a reforming state that would improve prospects for all Americans. Whites distracted by racism could become, as he wrote in 1935, “the instrument by which democracy in the nation was done to death, race provincialism deified, and the world delivered to plutocracy,” what we call oligarchy.” In his Epilogue summation Snyder further defines the workings of fascism while valuing the counter virtues necessary for democracy: equality, individuality, succession [think inauguration], integration, novelty [think new ideas, disruptive process], and truth. (pg. 278-279) “That no country stands alone is the truth of integration. Fascism is the falsehood that the enemy chosen by a leader must be the enemy for all. Politics then begins from emotion and falsehood. Peace becomes unthinkable, since enmity abroad is necessary for control at home. A fascist says “the people” and means “some people,” those he favors at the moment. If citizens and residents are recognized by law, then other countries might also be recognized by law. Just as the state requires a principle of succession to exist over time, it needs some form of integration with others to exist in space.” According to the SPLC neo-Nazi groups grew by 22% from 2016 to 2017. Analysis is a firm believer in the colloquialism that “nothing comes from nothing.” History, as practiced by folks like Snyder, is grounded in facts and events that cannot be disappeared (as with a Kent State parking lot). Culturally, facts are not as readily available to account for what contributes to the attraction that fascism holds for current Americans. Given the descriptions and definitions of fascism just surveyed, Analysis would like to proffer a condition, atmosphere, or milieu that cultivates a fascist outlook completely unawares. Video games have a long history within formative youth culture and beyond – all those players who are forever young (the eternity thing). The shoot ‘em up variety differ from their sports or skill contemporaries by always requiring a creation myth or fiction as an alibi. Virtual violence is de rigueur to participate. The core duplicity is that the player never actually dies. There is no game over. It can always be repeated ad nauseam (a bizarre interpretation of a politics of eternity where nothing ever really progresses but always returns as a threat). Central to all of these games, whether early variations or the latest incarnation, is the incessant manufacture of enemies. Everything is defined in terms of enemies and threats. Needless to say, the player’s enemy is always determined by the unseen leader, the game’s creator.

I Beg Your Pardon

June 5, 2018

This Thursday, June 7, 2018, in Newark there will be a short town hall meeting on Addiction and Recovery. It is at Newark high school from 6:30 – 8:30 PM. There will be a panel of speakers, folks actively involved with the everyday of the subject on behalf of some institution or organization meant to address the issue. Some attending will likewise be given the opportunity to speak, address the panel or ask questions. Serendipity would have it that the New York Times presents an inquiry which gets to the heart of the tragedy: She Went to Jail for a Drug Relapse. Tough Love or Too Harsh? (Jan Hoffman, 6-4-18). “Should an addict’s relapse be punished with a criminal sanction?” “In Commonwealth v. Julie Eldred, the [Massachusetts] justices, presiding over the state’s highest court, are wrestling with whether this condition of her probation amounts to cruel and unusual punishment for an offender with a substance use disorder. In reaching a decision, expected imminently, the justices must weigh competing scientific studies. Is addiction a brain disease that interferes with one’s capacity to abstain? Or a condition, rather than a disease, that is responsive to penalties and rewards?” Prior to a knee jerk response, Analysis bears in mind other aspects from the article: “Ms. Eldred’s lawyers rely on a 1962 United States Supreme Court case, Robinson v. California, which struck down a statute making it a crime for a person “to be addicted to the use of narcotics” — noting that while selling or possessing illegal drugs was against the law, the state could not punish people solely for the status of their illness.” “Law enforcement officials argue that the threat of jail protects not only offenders but society from potentially more drug-related crimes. Yet numerous addiction specialists say that the criminal justice system is the most blunt and clumsy of instruments for addressing a public health disaster.” “In a brief supporting the prosecution, psychiatrists, psychologists and legal scholars assert that the brain-disease model is contested. Changes in brain structure from drugs do not necessarily translate into an inability to resist them, they said. With carrot-stick prompts, many addicted people can choose to abstain. And, prosecutors said, two such prompts include an expunged record for completing probation or, for relapse, jail. A brief submitted by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals on behalf of 3,400 drug courts noted that the success of these programs depends on a judge being able to apply graduated sanctions, to propel a defendant through treatment.” On the town hall panel will be institutional health and addiction specialists (people paid to be there) as well as those employed by law enforcement and the courts (also paid to be there); the former experts on disease but not so with the law, the latter officers of the law but uncertain of pathology. Analysis is disinterested in the answer. Like it or not the court will decide. Whether that happens in Ohio is a completely other question. Analysis is interested in the disposition of those asking the questions. A disposition assuming the “inevitability” of the disease diagnosis doesn’t translate into inevitable material outcomes, only a rather insecure sense of self righteousness. Those embracing this “inevitability” need also consider embracing the mundane (and political) nitty-gritty of changing the law, and those employed or elected to interpret it. The law itself is no guarantor of security. And as we all know way too well, innocent folks have been convicted, even executed, by solemn, dutiful, and sober officers of the law.

Who Hit The Snooze Button?

June 1, 2018

Two items of note in the news with regard to public transportation (you remember public transportation – what most growing areas of the world rely on to move their population from home to work in an accessible and affordable manner, reliably, sustainably). In a mostly promotional press release, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance headlined Downtown Cleveland’s commuter options drive economic development (6-1-18). The opening line reads: “In cities across the U.S., businesses are beginning to think differently about the importance of mobility options when it comes to talent attraction and real estate decision-making.” The centrality of public transportation is underlined a few lines later by “A robust and growing multi-modal transportation system fuels this growth.” Of particular interest to the public transportation infidels in Newark and Licking County is “Recognized by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy as the leading example of bus rapid transit (BRT) innovation in North America, the Healthline connects Downtown Cleveland and University Circle — Ohio’s largest and fourth largest job hubs — with 24-hour service. Since its inception, the Healthline has helped attract more than $6 billion of investment along its route. RTA continues to build upon this innovation with additional BRT service like the Cleveland State University Line and MetroHealth Line, making downtown employment further accessible to residents of surrounding neighborhoods and suburbs.” Butt weight, there’s more! Remember the chatter about Mound Builders State memorial (Great Circle Earthworks), World Heritage status and converting the old Meritor factory site into a “tourist destination”? Of course you do. In Ohio, the two major tourist destinations are western Lake Erie (the islands, Cedar Point, etc.) and the Hocking Hills. The AP, through US News, headlined Shuttle Expected to Ease Parking Headaches at Hocking Hills (5-28-18). “Officials say the shuttle bus between downtown Logan and Old Man’s Cave will run on weekends through Oct. 28.” “The shuttle departs downtown Logan beginning at 10 a.m. and runs every 30 minutes, with the last shuttle at 6:30 p.m.” It’s reliable, sustainable, affordable and accessible public transportation that will draw people to downtown Logan when their destination is really the Hocking Hills parks. Even Logan has recognized it is of value not to be stuck in the past. Analysis wonders when Newark and Licking County will wake from their Rip Van Winkle Z’s. Who hit the snooze button?

Non News News

June 1, 2018

The end of May saw news affecting the residents of The Newark Advocate’s coverage area. And news not included in this area. The Advocate chose the latter, not bothering with the former at all. Has The Newark Advocate branched out into the business of cultivating mushrooms? The online 6-1-18 Advocate runs a story on “9 new stores to check out at Easton Town Center.” Old timers will recall that at the time of Easton Town Center’s opening, most area business proprietors predicted the decline of the local crown jewel for shopping in Newark/Heath/Granville – Indian Mound Mall. The reader can judge the outcome over the years. The Newark Advocate’s customers are its advertisers. A story on something outside the “news” source’s present coverage area makes excellent business sense. By expanding its coverage area, it can grow its potential customer base. Within the “heirloom” coverage of The Advocate, the Zanesville half marathon received reporting space. Not covered, though encompassing all of The Advocate’s coverage area, was the news that Melanie Leneghan has requested a recount of the May GOP primary results where Troy Balderson (from Zanesville) squeaked out a win by just more than 600 votes (for Pat Tiberi’s 12th congressional seat). The Advocate is quickly becoming like syndicated radio stations pre-programmed to give ostensibly “local news” (the local sports coverage or a local resident’s obituary) while grinding out infomercials 24/7 – all the non news news that’s fit to report (digitally or otherwise).

Thoughts And Prayers…

May 27, 2018

Memorial Day, when we remember. Memory is often conflated with history, the two being not the same. But memory always feels historical while history none too often relies on memory to jar open the doors of the past. Memorialized this week were the victims of the again repeated school student shootings, in Santa Fe Texas. Writing for the Washington Post Tim Craig and Brittney Martin covered some of this with Praying the pain away: Christianity’s presence at Santa Fe High grows after shooting (5-26-18). Same day the NY Times ran an article on When Anti-Trump Evangelicals confront their brethren. Other news outlets have been tracking the recurring ritual of memory, history and “coping” that repetitively follows these killings, almost as if scripted. In 2016 nationally recognized Evangelical minister Rob Schenck (who had previously come to the defense of Roy Moore’s 10 Commandments monument) and Lucy Bath (mother of senseless and racist gun violence victim Jordan Davis) embarked on a soul searching encounter of the relationship of gun ownership and Evangelical faith in a documentary titled The Armor of Light. Americans seem almost obsessed in wrestling with “the gun issue” while eliding questions of memory, feeling and history. “Memory is often conflated with history, the two being not the same.” Part of American History that is never memorialized and hardly ever remembered would be anarchy and fascism. The former is quickly mouthed with the travesty of Sacco and Vanzetti. The latter, if mentioned at all, with the likes of Charles Lindberg, Henry Ford, the KKK and a host of other Americans from the first half of the 20thcentury. Anarchy has loose and vague affiliations with some philosophical/theoretical roots (Wiki gives Proudhon, Analysis suggests Thoreau). But what are the philosophical/theoretical roots of fascism? The knee jerk response is “Oh, Nietzsche and Wagner’s operas” in regard to the Nazi contemporaries of Lindberg and Ford. Little energetic inquiry is made as to the origins of thinking associated with myth, fiction, duplicity, violence and the incessant manufacture of enemies. The violence of Santa Fe materialized a specific manifestation covered by the Craig and Martin report: “Communal displays of faith have defined this district’s response to the shooting that left eight students and two teachers dead inside Santa Fe High on May 18. While some other schools affected by shootings have turned to politics — whether calling for armed teachers or demanding gun-control measures — Santa Fe’s concerns have been less about guns than God.” “Danielle Mason, 35, also has memories from her years as a student at Santa Fe High. There was prayer at lunch, prayer at graduation. Around Easter, churches set up tables inside the school and gave out Bibles near the building entrance, she said. Though she was raised Southern Baptist, Mason and her parents were uncomfortable with the ubiquitous presence of Christianity in the school. When Mason chose not to take one of the Bibles that a group was handing out at the school, students started treating her like an outcast and called her a Satanist, she said. “The town, from what I know from when I lived there, would rather have Bible study and prayer, then arts and music,” Mason told The Post in a Twitter direct message. Mason left Santa Fe in 2003 but still has relatives there. She said she’s been told the town’s views on religion haven’t changed: “A prayer and god will stop gun violence,” she said.” “On Sunday night, Arcadia First Baptist Church hosted the town’s annual baccalaureate service for Santa Fe High’s graduating seniors. About 100 graduates attended, as did the schools superintendent, who was recognized from the dais. Jack Roady, Galveston County’s district attorney, spoke to the students from the pulpit. His office is prosecuting Pagourtzis. “You are entering into a war zone, and it’s a spiritual war zone,” Roady, a Republican, told students. “And you are entering into an area where you will have to deal with — and you are already dealing with — the full effects of sin in our world. “For those of you who know him, truly know him — Christ — this time is for you,” Roady continued. “Because, believers, we shouldn’t be surprised about what we’re seeing.”” In a recent book (The Road to Unfreedom: Russia Europe America, 2018) Yale historian Timothy Snyder considers the politics and motivation of Vladimir Putin and Russia, and its spread westward. He spends considerable attention on Putin’s revered (and frequently iterated) Russian philosopher of fascism, Ivan Ilyin (Putin even going so far as likening himself to Ilyin’s aspired strong man). From page 25: “The men who redeemed God’s flawed world had to ignore what God said about love. Jesus instructed his disciples that, after loving God, the most important law was to love one’s neighbor… For Ilyin there were no neighbors. Individuality is corrupt and transient, and the only meaningful connection is the lost divine totality. So long as the world is fractured, loving God means a constant struggle “against the enemies of divine order on earth.” To do anything but to join this was to enact evil: “He who opposes the chivalrous struggle against the devil is himself the devil.” Faith meant war: “May your prayer be a sword and your sword be a prayer!”” Analysis finds a contemporary American update would read “May your prayer be a gun and your gun be a prayer!” Thoughts and prayers…

No Government Is Politics By Other Means

May 22, 2018

Well, this is actually quite old, only now it is so much more overt than covert. How so? News blackout in Newark, The Advocate has definitely NOT been covering the Payday lender news in its editions. As pointed out in this blog’s Buried Lead posting (4-18-18), the resignation of House Speaker Cliff Rosenbeger had beaucoup to do with the definitely weird and unaccountable primary reelection campaign ads by Larry Householder (whose win was, to use the liberal term for a conservative cause celebre, “inevitable”, aside from also being within The Advocate’s coverage area. As mentioned in previous posts, The Advocate’s customer base is its paying advertisers, not readers). Those ads positioned Householder (and the various other state rep candidates he backed so they would back him) for election as Speaker of the House in 2019. Though a bit odd, he is not one of the candidates to replace Rosenberger who resigned, to run out the rest of the Speaker’s term in 2018. Most voters will find this strange as there were two separate lists of primary candidates for the 12thUS Congressional district – one to fill out Pat Tiberi’s recent term, and one to run for the next term. These two lists included the same names. Ditto for Ohio House Speaker? Emphatic nyet! Yet Householder’s “inevitable” campaigning was all about the speaker’s job. Confused? Following all this for the Dayton Daily news, Laura Bischoff headlined Payday lender made 3 international trips with ex-Ohio House speaker (4-25-18). In it she reports on various overseas trips to China, Great Britain and France by Rosenberger accompanied by Advance America exec Carol Stewart. “Advance America, which has 2,000 stores across the nation, employs lobbyists to influence legislation, including House Bill 123, a payday lending reform measure that had been stalled in the Ohio House for months.” Since then, other lobbyist for various umbrella groups of the Payday Lending industry have been named as being involved in financing other such trips (as well as accompanying Mr. Rosenberger). For Cleveland.com Jackie Borchardt headlined Payday loan ballot measure advances while Ohio lawmakers debate bill (5-21-18). After originally refusing to allow a citizen initiative petition, Ohio Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine eventually certified the Short Term Loan Consumer Protection Amendment. “The effort now goes to the Ohio Ballot Board, which will decide whether the proposal is one or multiple ballot issues. After it clears the Ballot Board, supporters can begin collecting the 305,591 signatures of Ohio registered voters to put the measure on a statewide ballot. The deadline for the November ballot is July 4.” The citizen Amendment initiative is in response to the constipated effort of the Ohio House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee to move HB 123. As mentioned in this blog’s posting “Buried Lead”, the committee moved the bill along immediately following Speaker Rosenberger’s resignation. Committee member and House Speaker candidate Ryan Smith supports and promotes the bill as is. Smith is running for filling out the unexpired speaker’s term as well as opposing Householder for the next session. What does this have to do with The Advocate and all the trips to China, etc.? The House Speaker’s position is one of the most powerful in the legislature, determining not only what legislation moves along (and what never sees the light of day) but also what is funded, etc. For the unfulfilled speakership term the GOP caucus is currently deadlocked which means no special sessions of the house can be assembled. Though a vote on HB 123 is on tap for the regular scheduled session later this summer, the bill still needs to pass the Senate in the fall (an election year) before seeking Governor Kasich’s lame duck approval. With a new session (and speaker) in 2019, HB 123 would need to start all over again from scratch. Rosenberger’s trysts with the Payday lenders association, along with Mike DeWine’s footdragging and now the failure of the GOP to fill out Rosenberger’s unexpired term have effectively killed the possibility of any meaningful short term loan regulation. None of which is newsworthy for The Advocate. It is often said that “war is politics by other means.” In the US today it is more like “No government is politics by other means.”