Archive for July, 2018

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.

 

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Unspoken

July 29, 2018

Stacey Abrams Could Become America’s First Black Female Governor reads the headline of Molly Ball’s recent Time reporting (7-28-18). Unspoken is “if people will actually fill out the ballot and vote.” Ball says as much with her headline by adding the addendum “—If She Can Turn Georgia Blue.” Analysis can’t help noting that this doesn’t say the same as the unspoken “if people will actually fill out the ballot and vote.” Ball preemptively undermines the democratic process by phrasing things in the “traditional” strong person “leader” rhetoric that has become just all too natural – that Abram will somehow or other magically make it happen (“if she can turn Georgia blue”). And if she doesn’t make it happen, well, er, she was not “strong enough.” The gubernatorial candidate says as much in the article: “Abrams says her biggest obstacle is getting people to believe victory is possible. “Georgia is different now, but it’s hard for people to believe that change happens,” she says. “You don’t notice change when it’s gradual. My campaign seeks to harness it, but I’m asking people to not believe their eyes.”” Analysis finds it significant that Stacy Abrams describes herself as “asking people.” The onus still falls on the people in this electoral process, not on the strength of the “leader.” Her opposition in Georgia is about ditto that found in Ohio. It prides itself on having used various means, like dark money, gerrymandering and coded rhetoric, to dominate state government. Democracy is also pretty humbling; something not apparent when it is interpreted as simply clicking a “like” box, signing an online petition, or feeling self-justified by the latest polling figures. “It’s hard for people to believe that change happens” but actually filling out a ballot and voting on August 7 is how it gradually comes to be in Newark Ohio. Analysis finds it important to vote in the August 7 special election.

What Is This Nameless…

July 19, 2018

July 13, 2018 reporting for The Newark Advocate Kent Mallet wrote about Downtown Benches Becoming Beds For Some. The bulk of the article was about the Newark Development Partners, Safety Director, Mayor and how this is carryover from when the Gazebo was there (and why it had to go!). The buried lead at the bottom of the article (“Donna Gibson, director of operations for St. Vincent Housing Facilities, said they do drug testing for the 26-bed St. Vincent Haven men’s shelter and the 24-apartment Gardens on Sixth transitional housing. Those who test positive are not allowed in the facilities, but they try to get them help, she said. “We’ve seen a huge influx in people coming and asking for food, a huge influx of homeless people,” Gibson said. “We do the best we can with what we have. We’re full. We’ve never had a waiting list, but we’re telling people to come back.” Drug use has become an even bigger problem recently, Gibson said. “It’s been overwhelming lately,” Gibson said. “We’ve moved beyond an epidemic. It’s a plague. Meth seems to be the biggest problem we’re dealing with.””) speaks rather succinctly of the enormous reality of American bodies infected by addiction having no place to call home in contemporary America (literally homeless). Analysis finds many corollaries that illuminate this tragedy, outlining its invisibility. In his book, Between The World And Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates quotes from another author, another book (Thavolia Glymph, Out Of The House Of Bondage) – “And there it is – the right to break the black body as the meaning of their sacred equality. And that right has always given them meaning, has always meant that there was someone down in the valley because a mountain is not a mountain if there is nothing below.” In one of his lectures at The College Of France, Michel Foucault (French social/cultural critic and philosopher) asked two simple questions —

Question: What is a wage?

Answer: It is an income.

Q: What is an income?

A; It is a return on capital.

As Analysis has often indicated, with the collapse of the Berlin Wall there is only one game in town (or globally). That is capitalism. Like it or not, we are now all capitalists. Only no one told that to those bodies sleeping on the courthouse benches. Which makes for the quandary posed to the DeLawders and Laymans of the Newark Development Partners Community Improvement Corporation, and for Newark’s Safety Director Steve Baum as well as the unawares Mayor Jeff Hall (“said he had not heard about people loitering downtown or sleeping for extended periods on the benches.”). Without capital there is no income. Without income one cannot play the game, the only game in town. Those without income are not only homeless but likewise useless and worthless within capitalism (they have no capital). Today we are all entrepreneurs. Our equality is purchased by our entrepreneurship, some more equal than others. To be an entrepreneur requires some capital, any capital, even if only that of a body to be sold. What is this nameless body sleeping on a bench, this “someone down in the valley because a mountain is not a mountain if there is nothing below”?

 

OMG

July 16, 2018

This just in: Andrew J. Tobias for cleveland.com headlines Southeast Ohio Republican Party leader resigns over Trump-Putin meeting (7-16-18). Chris Gagin, Chairman of the Belmont County Ohio Republican Party, sent out these two tweets today:

“I remain a proud conservative and Republican, but I resigned today as Belmont Co Ohio GOP Chairman. I did so as a matter of conscience, and my sense of duty.”

“The President is entitled to GOP party leaders, at all levels, fully committed to his views and agenda.  Following today’s press conference with Pres. Putin, as well as certain policy differences, most especially on trade, I could no longer fulfill that duty.  Thus, I resigned.”

Tobias gives this background info: “Gagin is a former staffer to ex-Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson who switched parties in 2013. He ran this year as a Belmont County commissioner, but lost in the Republican primary in May. In the 2017 fight for control of the Ohio Republican Party in the aftermath of Trump’s electoral victory, Gagin was an ally of then-Ohio GOP Chairman Matt Borges, who lost to now-Chairman Jane Timken, for whom Trump personally lobbied. The leadership fight generally was seen as a proxy fight between Trump’s and Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s political teams. Belmont County is among the historically Democratic counties in Ohio that have swung into Republican control in recent years. In November 2016, thanks in large part to Trump’s popularity, Republicans took control of the Belmont County commission in what may have been the first time in history.” Analysis must note that St. Clairsville is the county seat of Belmont County. During the heyday of coal strip mining Belmont County contained more than its share. It also contains Dysart Woods. Don’t know what Dysart Woods is? Wiki it.

Not Worthy

July 12, 2018

July 12, 2018. Not appearing as news in the Newark Advocate today would be the news about John Schnatter (a perversion of Wayne’s World “not worthy”). You remember John, founder of Papa John’s (the one time official pizza of the NFL). He stepped down as Chairman of the Board of the company he founded (and still owns majority of the stock). Eh, just another case of whiteness in America, nothing to note (“not worthy”). But wait, there was a prequel to this episode. From the 12-21-17 Washington Post business section  Marwa Eltagouri headlined: Papa John’s founder will step down as CEO after criticizing national anthem protests in the NFL. “In November, Schnatter sparked outrage by blaming sagging sales at Papa John’s — a top NFL sponsor and advertiser — on the league’s “poor leadership” in response to the demonstrations during the national anthem. He said the practice of players kneeling during the anthem to raise awareness of police brutality and social injustice hurt the NFL’s TV ratings, which in turn hurt sales of his pizza, which is advertised heavily during games. “You need to look at exactly how the ratings are going backwards,” said Schnatter, who donated $1,000 to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. “Last year the ratings for the NFL went backwards because of the elections. This year the ratings are going backwards because of the controversy. And so the controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country.”” Analysis surmises The Newark Advocate doesn’t wish to get involved with polarization when it comes to its customer base, its advertisers (its readers being “not worthy”). But then again “In the days after Schnatter’s remarks, white supremacist publication the Daily Stormer dubbed Papa John’s as the official pizza of the alt-right. Papa John’s spokesman Peter Collins told the Courier-Journal that the company was caught off-guard by the endorsement and condemned “racism in all forms.”” Do tell. Obviously not an advertiser but big news just the same, the huge rally by organized labor at the Ohio statehouse was also deemed “not worthy” by The Newark Advocate. After the financial meltdown at the end of the Bush presidency, multi-employer pension funds were thrown into a tailspin. Wall street got bailed out, as did GM and Chrysler along with farmers. Now the unions, who bargained in good faith with a pension plan as part of their wages, want a fix to the mess the demise of Lehman Bros. left (you remember, John Kasich’s old employer). “Republicans on the [House and Senate Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans] committee oppose a bailout for the plans, which are essentially private contracts.” “”We don’t want to be bailed out, but we want a little assistance to give us a leg up,” [Dave] Kalnbach [retired ironworker from Michigan] said. “We built America. We built all these buildings.” (Multi-employer pension rally draws thousands to Ohio Statehouse, Jackie Borchardt, cleveland.com, 7-12-18). Elsewhere in the Op Ed section of the same publication Brent Larkin headlines; For Senate hopeful Jim Renacci, Ben Suarez is baggage that will not go away, nor should it (7-12-18). “Suarez was convicted of witness tampering and spent about a year in federal prison.” “A July 6 story by Dayton Daily News reporter Laura Bischoff revealed telephone logs obtained by federal investigators found Renacci and Suarez exchanged more than 40 calls between late 2010 and May 2012. Evidence in Suarez’s 2014 criminal trial showed that in 2011 Renacci wrote a letter to Gov. John Kasich complaining about an investigation into the business practices of Suarez’s company being conducted by the state of California. Renacci’s letter proved profitable.  Days later, checks from Suarez employees were headed to the congressman’s campaign treasury, eventually totaling a reported $100,000.” “Of the 40 or more telephone calls, government exhibit 802 in the Suarez trial shows:

*Eight telephone calls between Renacci and Suarez in the week before the tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions began to arrive.

*A call on the day before Renacci wrote the letter to Kasich.

*Another call within hours after the Associated Press reported on May 21, 2012 that the donations were the subject of a federal investigation.” Larkin’s finale informs The Advocate’s choice for what is news worthy: “Suarez’s sick brand of vigilante justice includes raising money to defeat Dettelbach and Brown. And he’s offering rewards to anyone providing dirt on any of these four targets. Republican David Yost, Dettelbach’s opponent in the contest for attorney general, has already denounced Suarez’s effort, tweeting, “Mr. Suarez was convicted – by a jury of his peers. Politics and retribution have no place in the criminal justice system. This nonsense needs to stop.” Contrast that exercise in honesty with this from Renacci campaign spokeswoman Leslie Shedd: “Both the Obama Justice Department and the FBI conducted a thorough investigation and repeatedly made clear neither Jim Renacci nor his campaign engaged in any improper conduct. This is just another embarrassingly desperate attempt by Sherrod Brown to deceive voters and deflect from his liberal record in Washington.” That’s the new Republican way. When cornered, always obfuscate, mislead, change the subject. And make sure you include at least one mention of Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president.” When the reader is the product and the customer is the advertiser, then, during election years, such news is definitely “not worthy.”