Archive for May, 2017

Why I Would Prefer Not To (Talk To My Brother)

May 25, 2017

Guns and butter, part of the political choice. Butter comes from the milk of a cow which grazes on the earth. Guns originate with metallic ore, part of the composition of the very same earth that nourishes the cow. Both are a product of human ingenuity and skill, labor and work. Guns and religion, part of today’s American politic. Unlike guns or butter, religion is never considered a “product” of human ingenuity and skill, labor and work. Religion, by definition, is not of this earth though found extensively upon it, and only within the social make up of its human inhabitants. Many human-like behaviors, social or individual, are “found” with other creatures populating the earth. Religion has yet to be identified as one of them. Religion is not attributed to ants, ospreys, whales or the great apes. Today, the American politic swirls around loyalty and fidelity. Religion without these is not. Religion, not being of the earth, begs a different origin. The Judeo/Christian creation myth charges humans with dominion over the earth. It likewise requires fidelity and loyalty by doing what you are told. This link of loyalty and fidelity with “to do what you are told” runs deep within Western social evolution. It is fundamental to law, military organization and government institutions – the stuff of politics. It is not integral to the free market though capitalism is lost without it – the stuff of violence. Religion placates the disparity. For those who have done what they are told, loyalty bestows the social self esteem that bonds a brotherhood. Semper fi. In this all, the gun is very telling. Within the cliché of “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is the creation origin account that humans have been given dominion over the earth along with the onus “to do what you are told.” The implication of human ingenuity and skill, labor and work having some say has no cotton with this religious perspective. Guns and religion differ fundamentally from guns and butter in that they are not the same. Guns and butter are products of human interaction with the earth. Guns and religion compliment each other, make demands on each other, excuse each other. Religion sanctions the human to differentiate the gun from any intent. Since it is of the earth over which humans maintain dominion, the gun is unintentional. Only humans are held responsible to do what you are told. And killing is telling some being to die. Along with cows, the gun is part of the dominion humans have been given over the earth, as it (the gun) is of the earth. The gun is simultaneously exceptional in that it enables dominion over the earth. Religion privileges its use by providing an alibi, an excuse. “To do what you are told” is just such an alibi. Loyalty becomes sacrosanct within this brotherhood of the gun. “To do what you are told” now has become a, if not the, political choice. To which Herman Melville’s Bartleby responds “I would prefer not to.” What other response is there when politics has become guns and religion?

Move Over Golden Calf, There Is A New American Idol

May 11, 2017

The other morning, as part of the ongoing reality TV show called Our Government, an interviewed Texas congressman justified the apprentice president’s firing of the FBI director by saying James Comey was getting too much face time on TV. As FBI director he shouldn’t be so popular. News broadcasters, who make up the interviewers, often attribute the apprentice president’s electability to popularity, on being a populist. Recently Ohio’s Secretary of State and newest Ohio Governor wannabe spoke in Newark on Monday the 8th (Husted addresses Newark GOP on Ohio governor’s race, Newark Advocate’s Sydney Murray, 5-10-17). Covering the speech Mr. Murray writes: “But before he entered a life of public service, he was adopted as a baby and grew up in a working class family in the small town of Montpelier, Ohio. At one point, Husted said his dad lost his job and they had to leave Ohio, something he doesn’t want for anyone else’s family. “I want to help Ohio. And more importantly the people, with a bright future, and no matter how you grew up, I wanna make sure that Ohio is a place where you can live the American Dream.” Husted said.” On 5-7-17, writing for McClatchy, Julie Carr Smyth headlines “Ohio elections chief Jon Husted joins 2018 race for governor”. Ms. Carr Smyth reports “Capitalizing on divisive remarks that came back to haunt high profile Democrats, the Republican says Barack Obama was right when he said midwesterners cling to religion and guns and that Husted’s family “would firmly fit in Hillary Clinton’s ‘basket of deplorables.’” Clinton used the reference in her presidential campaign against Donald Trump, whom Husted voted for.” Analysis of these short bits of insight shows that in addition to voting Jon Husted intends to emulate the apprentice president’s formula for success. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! And like the apprentice president’s penchant for exaggeration and hyperbole, he likewise intends to outdo the current governor’s formula (being a mail man’s son from McKeesport Pa. aw shucks and all). Analysis finds this all creates a new form of reality show government, where the contestants for public office will each try to out populist the other. This revival of the American Idol campaign for popular support will leave the discerning electorate aghast at the derogatory costuming of contestants, the various made-up sets masquerading as the current conditions of the state of Ohio, capped by each idol’s uplifting songs of redemption for a future state-wide resurrection. “no matter how you grew up [with or without guns and religion], I wanna make sure that Ohio is a place where you can live the American Dream.” Amen.

What We Have Learned From The Past Election

May 3, 2017

No, not the one in 2016 (that’s so yesterday). The recent one this past Tuesday, May 2nd. But first, as an opening act, Analysis would like to go back a little to a pre-election announcement, one not directly concerned with “local” politics (though all politics is local). On April 21st The Newark Advocate reported local civil engineers Jobes Henderson’s upcoming change of ownership. Actually the announcement was more in terms of their leaving the business on account of that pesky old ACA (Health insurance costs factor in Jobes Henderson sale Kent Mallett , Reporter). But the buried lead in the article was that they were being bought out by Hull and Associates which itself didn’t seem to be too bothered by that pesky old ACA (well, not enough to keep them from growing larger by buying out Jobes Henderson). Hmmmm, curious how business and the market work. Back to the election which is already in progress (CNN refused to run a political ad for the 2020 re-election of the current apprentice, er, president). The events of this past Tuesday refuted the leadership of Licking County’s own “brand” Commissioner (and the Advocate’s go to commission spokesperson), Tim Bubb. A minor, within the GOP family, dust up occurred between County Auditor Mike Smith and the commish. Seems the commissioner took it for granted that the business of government is business, and assumed 911 services are not unlike parks, aging or disability services, to be franchised separately by the county. Au contraire said Mr. Smith shortly before the election (Analysis finds it is always better late than never). The business of county government IS social concerns, and services like 911 are just that. The levy proposal was just a property tax increase dressed up like a township fire or school levy (and we all know what happens when you mix lipstick and pigs). The voters, those who bothered to vote, agreed. What we’ve learned: That capitalism is about capital. That the market is predicated on capital, and not social concerns (remember Jobes Henderson?). That government is about social concerns and services – keeping the water safe to drink, ensuring that sewage disposal is treated properly, maintaining public health and safety in more ways than that (including police, fire, emergency rescue and their dispatch), etc. May 3rd NPR’s Market Place reported, as a side bar, that on account of the current environment of mergers and takeovers, even large companies like General Mills are taking steps to avoid getting gobbled up (both literally and figuratively) (well, OK, they want their products gobbled up, literally). Mr. Bubb has been the champion of public subsidy for business and the market through everything from tax credits, specialized individual infrastructure improvements, to funding Grow Licking County, Newark Port Authority, yadda, yadda while cutting services in public transportation, Jobs and Family Services, housing and public health. With the recent election Analysis finds an inkling of discernment. The business of government isn’t “all about jobs.” The business of government is not to subsidize and fund the market. The business of government is social service, and government needs to address that concern.