Archive for October, 2019

Learned Helplessness Spectatorship

October 19, 2019

The News has been prominent of late. No, that’s an understatement. Akin to a Punch and Judy show, or a 1920’s burlesque, it mesmerizes while stupefying. The power plays, between power players, completely normalizes the 99% / 1% economic makeup of the US of A. Everything that is being done appears totally out of reach of the ordinary person who admits their learned helplessness through the total passivity of mere spectatorship. The “anti-globalism” GOP expand their political control through buying and selling on a global scale while the “down home” Democrats insist on economic viability to account for a leadership position on their stage. Either way, whether it be the international 1% financing “populist” agendas or the “aw shucks” home spun buying their way to exclusive representation, Analysis discerns it to be democracy of money (matters), not people (matters). Peripheral to the News of late, receiving mere sound bytes and then readily dismissed for the preferred gaslight melodrama of grandiosity, is the drips and drabs of democracy uprisings from around the world. These are not “revolutions” in the sense of overthrow or toppling but rather affirmations that people matter. Without researching dates and times for specificity (which only invites correlation), Analysis can draw attention to the over 4 month, near continuous street demonstration for universal suffrage in Hong Kong. During that time there have been short lived as well as sustained actions in Egypt, France, England, Mexico, Poland, Ecuador, Chile, Venezuela, South Korea, Russia, and most recently Lebanon and Guinea (as well as others). The closest thing to “people matter” actions in the US are the recent union labor engagements – the UAW as well as city educators in Chicago. The news treats these more as an inconvenience than reflective of human priority. The mega bucks Ohio HB6 battle is much more deserving of media attention than the intricacies of the UAW / GM livelihood determination. Or so Analysis finds the News emphasis to indicate. The nepotism of the ruling 1% is much more titillating to spectate than the livelihood issues of employee “surrogate parent” teaching in our schools. Or so Analysis finds the News emphasis to be. The learned helplessness of the American spectator came out most clearly in the recent meme of Nancy Pelosi and Dear Leader at their recent White House meeting. Most significant is what didn’t appear in the news making image (the absence of women and people of color / ethnic origins in a room full of primarily older white males). Analysis finds it significant not because it did not represent the actual “people matter” make up of the US, but because it was subsumed in the normalization of learned helplessness spectatorship – “we can’t do anything about it.” Can’t we?

Home Rule

October 3, 2019

It has been about a year since Analysis wrote about Cleveland’s attempt to craft legislation creating a program of public defenders for those being evicted (Will The Real Governing Body Of People Please Stand Up 11-29-18). This legislation was to be modeled on a hard fought, and somewhat imperfect, similar one in New York City. Analysis questioned whether the GOP legislature of the State of Ohio would allow such city rule to be implemented. They have, and had, neutralized home rule through gun control legislation and, with Cleveland, outlawing their percentage of Cleveland resident workers/contractors on city funded projects legislation. 10-1-19 Robert Higgs for cleveland.com reports: Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson signs into law program to provide lawyers for impoverished families facing eviction. With Cleveland’s creative solution to stem the growing problem of people without housing (nothing comes from nothing. One is displaced from some “place”) Analysis finds notable: “Cleveland City Council approved legislation to create the program Monday evening. The program is an effort to ease the upheaval that families face from eviction by giving them the ability to negotiate a better outcome through an advocate who knows the law. City Council President Kevin Kelley has said he hopes the program can be up and running by June 2020. United Way of Greater Cleveland is expected to manage the program, coordinating training for lawyers and getting them assigned to cases. Housing Court Judge Ronald O’Leary said Monday he expects a lot of eviction cases will be referred to mediation for settlement.” “Roughly 10,000 eviction cases are filed each a year in Cleveland, according to the Legal Aid Society, which provides lawyers for some clients with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty rate. Landlords have a tremendous advantage when the cases come to Cleveland Housing Court because only 1% to 2% of tenants have legal representation, Legal Aid’s research shows. About 75% of landlords appear with lawyers for eviction proceedings.” How many eviction cases are filed in Newark each year? With a census figure of approximately 48% of Newark residential housing being non-owner occupant, Analysis would surmise quite a few. Is such a creative solution to a justice disparity on the horizon of any of the candidates running for political office in Newark in 2019? The “legacy” minded incumbent for mayor is mum, hoping his “Outside the city” solution is not memorialized. The “cheerleading” challenger finds little enthusiasm amongst voters for tackling the inequity of eviction (private property rights and all). And those vying for the various city council positions? They’ve all committed to a vow of silence. The good news is that so far the legislators in the Ohio House and Senate haven’t quashed Cleveland’s creative attempt to stymie the national housing crisis. Let them know. Contact Republicans Scott Ryan and Jay Hottinger and thank them for allowing cities to exercise home rule with regards to the problem of those without housing.