Archive for September, 2015

Marketing

September 27, 2015

In the spirit of book promotional tours and restaurant openings the 9-26-15 online Newark Advocate as well as the 9-27-15 Sunday edition featured “Newark’s Canal Market District is expected to have big economic impact” by Bryn Bird, Canal Market District Director. This was a brilliant piece of marketing copy that needs to be recognized and acknowledged as such. However, much of what Bryn Bird writes would make even VW blush. Starting with J. Gilbert Reese’s penchant for property accumulation and “the early 1980’s” as a starting point, Bird creates an origin myth of partnerships and property that rivals any Ring Cycle. She begins this product promotion origin story with “Over the past five years,” eventually followed by “Bringing the Farmers Market back to downtown Newark will increase access to fresh and healthy food to residents in downtown Newark.” Contrary to the wonderful tale of “leadership”, “investment”, “partnership” and philanthropy that Bird tries to create, the very same Newark Advocate reported a 180 degree opposite actuality. In “Newark Farmers Market Moving To Wilsons” (5-4-15) Anna Jeffries writes “The chamber started the farmers market about five years ago to support local vendors and bring people downtown, she said.” [Cheri Hottinger, president and CEO of the Licking County Chamber of Commerce] Jeffries begins her report with “After several successful years in the lot next to McDonald’s on South Third Street downtown,” Today’s Advocate finalizes the Canal Market District Director’s infomercial with “Bryn Bird is director of the Canal Market District and co-owner and operator of Bird’s Haven Farms.” It is important to note that during the 5 years Bird writes of, the same five years that Cheri Hottinger spoke of earlier, the identical five years that Jeffries describes as “several successful years”, the Bird’s Haven Farms had absolutely no, zero, nada presence at the Newark Farmers Market “bring[ing] fresh food to residents of Newark.” (Bryn Bird). During this same five years Bird’s Haven Farms maintained a dominant presence at the neighboring Granville Farmers Market; this in spite of the fact that the “successful” Newark Farmers Market was on Friday afternoon and the Granville Farmers Market was and is on Saturday morning. Analysis already covered the travesty of cultivating five years worth of local produce accessibility within downtown Newark (to “address healthy food access in under- served areas” Bryn Bird) only to dismiss it outright (though space and sponsorship were available within blocks of the original site). Maintaining a market downtown in 2015 would have created the inconvenience of having to maintain the connection with that bit of Newark history. Better to make it disappear as the Children’s Home did in order to manufacture a new creation myth conducive to brand marketing. While on the subject of “local produce” and Bird’s repeated reference to “local” as a selling point for the development property of Canal Market District, it is important to note that the Clintonville Community Market Co-op, which opened and has been actively providing “access to fresh and healthy food” (Bryn Bird) since the late 90’s (local and otherwise) while J. Gilbert Reese was only still dreaming of transforming his property acquisitions, has announced it will be closing within a month. Reasons given were not “to spend more time with the family” but rather the sobering reality that all current food markets, Kroger, Walmart, Giant Eagle, Ross’s Granville Market, etc. promote and sell local food products as well as organic. Market is not only a verb (“advertise or promote (something)”), but also a noun – “1. a regular gathering of people for the purchase and sale of provisions, livestock, and other commodities”. With that definition, something more organic than anything produced on Bryn Bird’s Bird’s Haven Farms, “a regular gathering of people” becomes a priority, organic requisite for success. It also differs markedly from “provisions, livestock, and other commodities”. All the foundations, investors, community business leaders, and philanthropists have wholesale disregarded this in their reliance on genetically modified brand marketing.

Two Johns

September 26, 2015

Big news in the nation this week. No, not the visit by “Frankie of the animals” (still in progress), nor even the more grossly under rated, under reported, and very much pre-arranged and designed to undermine visit by the leader of Communist Capitalism (Gasp!), Xi Jinping. It needs to be noted, it must be noted, it is significant to note that, upon arrival, the dyed in the wool (red) “Communist” Capitalist Xi Jinping first met with his fellow Capitalist leaders (though belonging to another “party”. Which one?) while the ostensibly Marxist Francis chose to expend significant time and personal capital on interaction and exchange with “the masses” (both kinds). What a digression! John Boehner made the news by withdrawing from his leadership position along with his role as representative of a staunchly conservative and Republican western Ohio district. Boehner cited the inability to lead his party in the U.S. House of Representatives, or rather, the petulance within his own party created by his leadership, for his exit. (Thank gawd it wasn’t another “to spend more time with his family”!). It is significant (and ironic) to note that Kim Davis’s argument of being elected by her constituents to serve her constituency never entered the resignation decision making process of the leader of the U.S. House of Representatives (the contract theory of representative democracy. You remember, John Locke. So much for the sacred contracts with America. Now the only ones that matter are the financial kind. Forgive the digressions of Analysis. Sigh). John Boehner identified with representing the aspirations of his party, though he always campaigned for re-election as a candidate claiming to desire representing the people of his district, promoting the good of them all, but (of course) not in “common” (an arcane term employed repeatedly by the Marxist Pope in his addresses but completely lacking within the speeches of our own Capitalist political leadership. Oops, another digression). Fellow Buckeye John Kasich has not opted out of political leadership. Rather, he continuously celebrates rounding up more financial backing and big name endorsements, though he is slipping markedly in the polls of likely Republican voters. The reader can decide which is more important in the run for the roses, er, White House. It cannot go without note that the two Ohioans (the potential future president as well as the third in line of accession) were significant factors of super PACs and organizations like ALEC in the architecture of restoring America its greatness. Now making America great again has been copyrighted and branded as personal property by one of the candidates in the struggle for leadership of the Republican Party. This conflict has become openly contentious, on all levels, both ideologically as well as personally. It is significant to note that along with being President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping is likewise Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and General Secretary of the Communist Party (that is, he leads the party). Unlike China’s Communist Capitalist struggles for leadership (and direction), the openness of the Republican turmoil informs the under rated and under reported contest by the “other” U.S. political party. Like anything having to do with the Chinese Communist Capitalists, what the Democratic Party is about is simply assumed to be predictable, not unexpected, of no news coverage worthiness. Like Xi’s visit, it has no infotainment value. Other aspects likewise parallel the two ongoing international party events – mostly in secret and behind closed doors, mostly about image, protocol, and ritual recognition (OK, so no Nobel Prize winners this time). Pundits (so far) have failed to take note of the significance and impact Boehner’s resignation has, and will have on the John Kasich candidacy for president along with the “winning” of Ohio, even if Kasich is NOT the nominee. Let Analysis be the first. With Boehner’s resignation, Kasich’s central P.R. hype, his message, his appeal, his core reason for being the next president of the U.S. has become irrelevant. It now has come down to representing and serving the party, not the demos (the root of the word “democracy”).

Between The Lines

September 16, 2015

The 9-16-15 online Advocate reported “Dan Evers leaving as economic development director” (Kent Mallet). “NEWARK — Dan Evers, director of Grow Licking County and economic development director for the Licking County Chamber of Commerce, leaves Oct. 2 to become executive director of the Clinton County Port Authority.” The usual spend-more-time-with-the -family was given as the reason for the departure (“Family considerations also played a role in the decision, Evers said. “It enables me to be closer to my parents and children at a time when being closer to them is important,” Evers said.”). Of course, unmentioned was monetary remuneration, something arrived at only by reading between the lines (“ Rick Platt, executive director of the Port Authority, said he’s confident the county can find a successor, but he said a review of the position is in order. “We lost someone to another county, so we have to make sure we’re being competitive in personnel offerings,” Platt said. “We have to evaluate was there something we could have done to have prevented that.”). Remembering history also helps in reading between the lines, but then again, after the dissed pleas to remember history during the decision to destroy the old county children’s home, analysis shows that memory just can’t be taken for granted. Besides, a smartphone does it so much better! But remember please, dear reader, the plea made by Chamber President and CEO Cheri Hottinger to the county commissioners to increase enormously the amount budgeted for the Chamber, er, Grow Licking County public private partnership. Which, after this blog’s previous “Junk Science” post (9-10-15), really does beg the question of who was Dan Evers’ employer or boss – Mrs. Hottinger? The county commissioners? The tax payers of Licking County? Or the businesses which not only were his clients but also his employers (the Chamber, after all, runs Grow Licking County which is a public-private partnership run by the Chamber which itself is a private endeavor comprised of the folks who were Evers’ “clients”)? Did he even have a boss? ‘Nuff said, as mentioned in the “Junk Science” post, reading between the lines here was something more of an exercise in “an unthinking understanding, passed down through the years, about who and what deserves to command our attention” which most everyone already does without thinking! HOWEVER, Mallet’s line (from the article) of “Licking County’s employment and workforce have reached all-time highs this year as companies move to New Albany, Pataskala, Heath, Hebron and Johnstown. The number of manufacturing companies considering Licking County development sites has continued to increase during the last few years.” did not escape Analysis. Reading between the lines here requires a bit of an assist. That same day (9-16-15) online Reuters reported “U.S. household incomes slip, poverty rate up slightly in 2014” (by Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu). “”In 2014, real median household income was 6.5 percent lower than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession,” Census researchers wrote [U.S. Census Bureau]. At the same time, the poverty rate ticked up to 14.8 percent from 14.5 percent in 2013, the data showed. Census researchers said the changes in both the median income and poverty rate were not statistically significant.” Reading between the lines of Mallet’s glowing assessment of Licking County progress, growth, and job creation under Evers’ Grow Licking County directorship requires asking a question the Advocate (definitely Kent Mallet’s employer) refuses to allow to even be asked: “What have we got to show for it?” One cannot answer this question in English. Speak American Sarah Palin insists! Au Contraire. Only by lapsing into European (or Asian) reverie and entering into a dream world (found there) do we answer the question. Yes Virginia, other modern industrial states have dependable public transportation whereby the residents of a county’s government and population center, like Newark, could access all these jobs in “New Albany, Pataskala, Heath, Hebron and Johnstown”. Remember history? Not too hard to recognize that Newark was not included with the “all-time highs.” And the streets still cry out for pavement. Analysis won’t even begin to address the obvious “U.S. household incomes slip”. Once again “Our news agenda reflects not a smoke-filled room but rather an unthinking understanding, passed down through the years, about who and what deserves to command our attention.”

Fie!

September 15, 2015

“ORIGIN Middle English: via Old French from Latin fi, an exclamation of disgust at a stench.”

While on the subject of referencing dictionary erudition, the Newark Advocate ran a self-aggrandizing editorial in its Sunday 9-13-15 edition (what other day could, or would, the Advocate bother to editorialize?). Shearer and company jumped on the all too obvious, overcrowded, and self-righteous opposition to the proposed “Marijuana legalization amendment” (Issue 3) by waxing eloquent on the wickedness of monopolies. “Most dictionaries define monopoly as “complete control of the entire supply of goods or of a service in a certain area or market” or “the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service.”” Where’s this definition when it comes to the Advocate (with its Grow Licking County partners) championing the ”jobs created” at the various industrial parks sprouting up in Etna, New Albany and Heath/Hebron? Today’s (9-14-15) online New York Times brought gravitas (and relevance) to bear on this question (Who’s the Boss When You Work for a Franchise or Contractor? 9-14-15). “In a decision that’s been called the greatest expansion of union rights in decades, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that if a corporation uses contractors or franchisees, contract workers who unionize can negotiate with the parent company and their direct employer. Previously, unions could often only deal with the contractor or franchise owner, greatly limiting their bargaining power. Critics of the ruling say it unfairly makes corporations responsible for workers they haven’t hired and conditions over which they have no control.” In an accompanying article (Companies Must Take Full Responsibility for All Workers) Ruth Milkman writes “An even more significant ruling came in last week’s National Labor Relations Board decision involving Browning-Ferris Industries, which found that the corporation and its subcontractor were “joint employers,” each obliged to bargain with the union seeking to represent workers at a recycling plant. The reason is straightforward: Browning-Ferris sets the working hours and tasks to be performed, the subcontractor handles hiring and payroll, and both hire supervisors. This is all standard practice when large companies contract with staffing firms.” And staffing firms are definitely the only entry to jobs at these new Licking County work sites. Analysis detects a noticeable stench when temporary staffing firms are somehow deemed exceptional to the definition of ““complete control of the entire supply of goods or of a service in a certain area or market” or “the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service.””

Junk Science

September 10, 2015

Writing for Salon Jack Mirkinson submitted an essay entitled “The media vs. the American worker: How the 1 percent hijacked the business of news This Labor Day, we have one simple question for media professionals: Why don’t you care about the middle class?” (Salon 9-7-15) Mirkinson writes:

“Now, this is not to say that there is an overt conspiracy going on at CBS News or NBC News or wherever else to crowd out coverage of labor issues and stories of working people, or that there is never any good coverage of these issues to be found these days. The news just doesn’t work that way. But media ownership matters because the owners hire the people who hire the people who hire the people, and what are all those people going to be taught? So much of journalism today consists of an elite class covering the world, and you’d be crazy to think that that has no impact on the way journalists think. Our news agenda reflects not a smoke-filled room but rather an unthinking understanding, passed down through the years, about who and what deserves to command our attention. Labor issues and unions inevitably lose.”

Yawn. It’s not like this hasn’t been said repeatedly (“Billionaire CEOs, meanwhile, got lots of chances to put forward their vision of the American economy: Guests that were identified as current or former corporate CEOs made 12 appearances, including former AOL head Steve Case (Meet the Press, 4/6/14), Apple CEO Tim Cook (This Week, 3/30/14) and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (Fox News Sunday, 6/22/14). Former Hewlett Packard CEO and Republican political candidate Carly Fiorina made four appearances.”). Rather, it’s the insidious “un” spectacular occurrences that underscore how corporate ownership has determined who, what, where, how, and when. The latest is Rupert Murdoch’s purchase of National Geographic, the science publication that most readers cut their teeth on. Reuters reports (9-10-15) U.S. court finds EPA was wrong to approve Dow pesticide harmful to bees By Carey Gillam. “The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, is significant for commercial beekeepers and others who say a dramatic decline in bee colonies needed to pollinate key food crops is tied to widespread use of a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids. Critics say the Environmental Protection Agency is failing to evaluate the risks thoroughly.” To which “Agrichemical companies that sell neonicotinoid products say mite infestations and other factors are the cause of bee demise.” What happened to “science” and a government agency that stakes its being on scientific criteria? Somewhere in the Bush years it was determined that the clients these agencies serve are the large enterprises, the very ones regulated by these government entities, and not the public (W is quoted as prescribing just that). But wait, there’s more! Same day Reuters also reports from Europe that “French court confirms Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning” “A French court upheld on Thursday a 2012 ruling in which Monsanto was found guilty of chemical poisoning of a French farmer, who says he suffered neurological problems after inhaling the U.S. company’s Lasso weedkiller.” “Lasso is not Monsanto’s sole herbicide accused of being harmful. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), said in March that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, one of the world’s most used herbicides, was “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Monsanto reacted to the finding in June by demanding a retraction, labeling the findings by a team of international cancer scientists as “junk science.”” Now we have Sarah Palin rebutting President Obama’s recent visit to her home state with claims that he got it all wrong. Glaciers are growing. Is it any wonder that no reports of anything said by Bernie Sanders ever appear in the Newark Advocate? Or that no reports surfaced this summer that “Thousands gather to protest government corruption in Guatemala By Associated Press 13 Jun 2015 Every Saturday for nearly two months, Constitution Square outside Guatemala City’s National Palace has overflowed with thousands of protesters demanding an end to corruption and the resignation of President Otto Perez Molina.” (from the UK’s Telegraph) These demonstrations (unprecedented given the repressive history of Guatemala) originated in April of this year, have continued unabated since, and ultimately resulted in Molina’s ouster. Who knew that people could accomplish such things on their own? Mirkinson got one thing right. “Our news agenda reflects not a smoke-filled room but rather an unthinking understanding, passed down through the years, about who and what deserves to command our attention.”