Archive for June, 2019

The Updated New Normal

June 25, 2019

The news of the past week included an allegation of rape. E. Jean Carroll claims the current president raped her in the mid 90’s. The headline of an online The Hill interview says it all — EXCLUSIVE: Trump vehemently denies E. Jean Carroll allegation, says ‘she’s not my type’ (Jordan Fabian and Saagar Enjeti, 6-24-19). In a Washington Post op ed (Republicans believed Juanita Broaddrick. The new rape allegation against Trump is more credible. 6-22-19) George Conway (yes, THAT George Conway) crafts an essay examining why the rape claims of Juanita Broaddrick against Bill Clinton differed or were similar to that of E. Jean Carroll. He also looks at how the current president used the victim’s testimony to distract from the “Access Hollywood” tape revelations and the present use. Did Analysis mention the words “victim” and “used’? Missing in all this is the underlying, near universal (in terms of civilized world) definition of rape as an act of violence, with a perpetrator and victim. A few days earlier (6-20-19) cleveland.com’s Jeremy Pelzer headlined Gov. Mike DeWine: End statute of limitations for rape in wake of Ohio State sex abuse report. “DeWine acknowledged that state lawmakers have been reluctant in recent years to extend the statute of limitations for sex crimes. But he said the statute of limitations should be different for sex crimes because victims often don’t — or can’t — come forward until long afterward. “I would just ask members of the General Assembly, what would you tell your constituents today – or what would you tell your constituents tomorrow – if we come upon another tragedy like this where we have a monster who has been doing things like this and he’s alive, but…we can’t prosecute?” DeWine asked.” Analysis finds that with the POTUS it is not so much the statute of limitations as it is that his justice department will not indict a sitting president. In his defense, the president says “She’s not my type.” He’s said that before when questioned about the other women who’ve made claims of his sexual violence. Analysis finds all this troubling. Rape is troubling enough. But equally, if not more troubling, is the use of such violence as cannon fodder in the political struggle for governance of our democracy, akin to rape as a weapon of war. The most troubling is the sense of normalcy that now accompanies such a response to acts of violence. One critical thinker said we are at the point where diners in a restaurant enjoying an evening out will be completely nonplused by an ICE raid storming in and rounding up the kitchen staff that had just prepared their meal. “Not to bother. Just the authorities doing their job and carting off that type.” Analysis can’t help but wonder what type the president has been violent with?

“Stanley ends the short flick with the acknowledgement that “When Fascism starts to feel normal, we’re all in trouble.”” (This blog, The New Normal, 10-16-18 (video: If You’re Not Scared About Fascism in the U.S., You Should Be. By Jason Stanley, 10-15-18, NY Times,))

Constitutional

June 13, 2019

“In the United States, the term constitutional carry, also called permitless carry, unrestricted carry, or Vermont carry, refers to the legal carrying of a handgun, either openly or concealed, without a license or permit.” (Wikipedia) In March, anti-vaxer Ron Hood and Tom Brinkman, along with 25 other GOP Ohio legislators, sponsored HB 174, a bill to make Ohio a constitutional carry state. Proponents generally stress the 2ndamendment and the Castle Doctrine as justification for the merits of such legislation. In this case the Castle Doctrine is stretched to include self-protection in the case of mass shootings in public spaces as well as in a car, at work, etc. Much has been expounded regarding the pros and cons, motivations and intentions of such a law which Analysis doesn’t wish to entertain presently. Instead, Analysis would prefer to consider the actuality of said legislated right within the context of public health and the present. At one time vending machines sold packs of cigarettes in bowling alleys, eateries, swimming pools, etc., much as canned soda pop dispensers are found today. HB 174 insures the immediate and universal access to firearms, much as a can of soda is presently accessible by anyone. But there is more to ubiquitous access than convenient ownership. Over the past weeks the Newark Advocate has followed the story of a missing early adult white male, the search for a body, the discovery of a body, and the eventual identification. “According to the Licking County Coroner’s report, he died by means of suicide with a firearm.” (Identity of body found in Newark confirmed as missing Heath man, Rainbow Ratliff, 6-12-19). Little more will be officially and statistically noted as Federal law prohibits the tracking of firearm related injuries and fatalities by the CDC. Failed attempted suicides using a firearm are rare. Guns are over 90% effective as a means of quickly ending a life. Pills, hanging, slashing, drowning, etc. are uncertain, and their efficacy is far outstripped by “suicide with a firearm.” Thanks to coroner’s reports, tracking suicides is possible. Though not the leading cause of death, it is on the rise. Along with factual data recording cause of death (“with a firearm”), age, race, gender, etc., trends and rates can be plotted. It turns out that though the rate of suicide for non-whites has not changed significantly within states that have embraced constitutional carry, those for whites has, especially for young white males. The overall trend shows a continuing increase in self-inflicted deaths by firearm in constitutional carry states as opposed to those states without. Given the psychological turbulence and emotional turmoil found in late childhood/early adulthood, with extreme highs and lows, Analysis finds it small wonder since the considered alternative can be accessed as easily and conveniently as a can of soda pop.

Oh How Time Does Tell

June 7, 2019

This past week’s news witnessed the 75thanniversary commemoration of the D-Day invasion of Europe which precipitated the end of WWII. Along with the speeches by world leaders, and the interviews and stories of the dwindling number of surviving participants, were the archival records of the beach carnage and the iconic image of the landing craft overcrowded with GI’s opening its doors unto the gates of hell. Flying under the radar was the announcement by cleveland.com: New Ohio bill takes shot at employers who want workers vaccinated (Laura Hancock, 6-3-19). “House Bill 268 allows people to sue employers if their employment is affected by their lack of vaccinations. It’s the latest bill in the Ohio General Assembly that gives deference to the theories that immunizations are harmful, amidst a measles outbreak that is in part blamed on people believing misinformation about vaccinations. HB 268 is sponsored by Reps. Ron Hood, a Pickaway County Republican, and Bernadine Kennedy Kent, a Columbus Democrat. “It’s a freedom bill for people who are being coerced into having a vaccination, as a condition of employment,” Hood said. A similar bill has been introduced in the past, but it was only directed at people who refused to get the flu vaccination. HB 268 is for all vaccinations.” For context Hancock later includes: “In March, Ohio Rep. Don Manning, a Mahoning County Republican, introduced a bill that would require school districts to notify parents of how they can keep their child from receiving required vaccinations.” Buried deep in the article is the somewhat provocative, yet insightful: “A George Washington University study found Russian bots exploited the rifts in the American vaccination debate on Twitter – including sending out anti-vax misinformation, according to CBS News.” Also this week, Newark’s Gay Pride event met the authoritarian “keeper of the purse”, Larry Householder, resulting in the cancellation of one of its events by the risk-averse beneficiary of that purse – the Newark Public Library. The Newark Advocate devoted its weekly comment on this news in an editorial entitled Our view: We should be proud of PRIDE in Licking County (6-7-19). The editorial board cements its reasoning with the final lines: “Newark and Licking County should want to be viewed as a community that is welcoming to all. We want businesses to invest here and young professionals to see our area as a desirable place to live. Making it look like our community is intolerant to diversity will not help those efforts.” Excepting the existential alibi – “It was where I found myself at the time” – Analysis can’t help but wonder if those with the slightest ideological reasoning for their participation exited the landing crafts for the definitions of liberty, freedom and responsibility we employ today. Was the “freedom” they were willing to die for “a freedom bill for people who are being coerced into having a vaccination”, or one that was meant to help ensure the overall public good? Entering the gates of hell, did that diverse group of young people “want businesses to invest here and young professionals to see our area as a desirable place to live” or did they risk all because it was the right thing to do?

Silent Ischemia

June 1, 2019

The 5-31-19 online Newark Advocate announced “A Newark city councilman plans to propose an amendment to existing legislation to use new Ohio gas tax funding to target paving for neighborhood streets.” (Newark councilman to propose funds from Ohio gas tax target neighborhood streets, Michaela Sumner) Sumner’s quotes: “I believe that our residents have for years, been talking about wanting to get their roads paved,” [Jeremy] Blake said. “It’s those neighborhood streets that may not have been touched for decades. They’ve been paying their taxes and doing their due diligence and I think it’s time we get onto a regular maintenance schedule of paving these neighborhood roads.” Analysis finds “neighborhood streets that may not have been touched for decades” politely says that the city’s residents of those neighborhoods also pretty much don’t expect anything different. How so? In one section of his recent book, “Dying Of Whiteness”, Dr. Jonathan M. Metzl went to Kansas to consider the impact of GOP fiscal austerity on it’s previously historically great K-12 schools. On pg. 232 Metzl writes: “Pulling money out was not fixed simply by putting money back in. Rather, cutting money from schools cut off perfusion and oxygen as if by heart disease, leading to silent ischemia. Part of the reason why this was the case was because reducing funding and eliminating programs did more than simply reduce school capacities. Budget cuts also narrowed people’s expectations for what was possible from school in the first place and of what it cost to get there. As one superintendent put it to me: “It’s really hard to see the changes unless you’ve been a superintendent that whole time, because I don’t even think principals who change schools really fully grasp what’s going on. And it’s rare to have a board member that’s been on for ten or twelve years, and it’s even more rare to have a board member that’s been on that time that’s so engaged. It’s not anybody saying, “I don’t want this for my kids,” but they just don’t know what we had or what might be possible from great schools.”” It is likewise for the city of Newark. On average, Americans relocate their residence at or around 5 years. Homeowners average 13 years in a residence. With 48% of Newark residences being non-owner occupant, just about half of Newark’s current residents can’t recall what the neighborhood was like when Jeff Hall first took the oath of office as mayor for all of Newark’s neighborhoods (not just the downtown business association). “Budget cuts also narrowed people’s expectations for what was possible” not only with regard to the condition of the streets they lived on, but also any public transportation (which once was part of Newark), city wide public health services, sufficient emergency service personnel, residential building standards (rentals), neighborhood community services and programs such as art and recreation, etc. Non-owner occupant tenants feel little connection to Newark. Most simply assume that, like the building they reside in, the streets are maintained by “someone else”. Does that make the mayor the Landlord of Newark? With the loss of any genuine history with heart (Children’s Home, Gazebo, etc.) in favor of a fabricated history of profit (Downtown Newark manufactured to be Easton Lite), Newark’s current residents “just don’t know what we had or what might be possible from [a] great” city. Vying to be mayor, Analysis forecasts both Jeff Hall AND Jeremy Blake will repeatedly stress “what a great city Newark is” in their pitch to the Newark electorate.

Ischemia – “an inadequate blood supply to an organ or part of the body, especially the heart muscles.”