Archive for February, 2022

Adding Insult To Irony

February 24, 2022

            Although the major news event of the week is happening overseas with the fascist takeover of the sovereign nation of Ukraine by we-never-can-forget-being-Soviet Russia, S*** still happens here in Ohio. The super majority GOP Ohio legislature has been busy, though not on the constitutionally mandated, and Ohio Supreme Court ruling required, drawing of non-gerrymandered redistricting maps. It must be in the genes, this disregard of what 70% of the electorate voted in, as well as contempt for Ohio Supreme Court rulings (see school funding rulings for the last 20+ years). No, Ohio’s GOP legislators have been so traumatized by the events that happened in the nation’s capital on January 6, 2021, that they could only focus on affairs of the heart (Ohio being the heart of it all, etc.). All GOP (all the time) sponsored Ohio House Bill 109 just passed the house and is currently in the Senate (on its way to the governor). It seeks “to increase penalties for certain assault, vandalism, and riot offenses, to allow peace officers to bring civil suits against persons participating in a riot, and to prohibit bias motivated intimidation of first responders.” Although not a co sponsor of HB 109, Newark’s own Mark Fraizer IS a co sponsor of sister legislation, Ohio HB 325, currently wooing support in the Ohio House. This proposed revision of the Ohio code is “regarding a political subdivision’s emergency powers when suppressing a riot, mob, or potential riot or mob and the preservation of rights regarding firearms during an emergency.” The allure that seduced Mr. Fraizer is the staunch protection of Second Amendment Rights during a riot, mob, or emergency (or all of the above). Briefly stated, it disallows Ohio Constitution Home Rule provisions during such events by disallowing any action restricting firearm, ammunition or explosives sale or possession, etc. in managing such events. You can close the liquor stores and gas stations, but you can’t shutter the gun dealers. Ohio HB 109 takes what is already legislated as unlawful (your assaults, vandalisms and sundry riot offenses), and makes them even more illegal with the added onus (à la Texas abortion ban) of allowing civil suits to be brought against demonstration organizers (organized demonstrations corrupted by already illegal violent acts). Analysis can only show that these legislative ventures are meant to aid GOP political subdivision administrators and prosecutors to follow the law in such emergencies, especially after the directive by the Republican National Committee that such occurrences are “legitimate political discourse.” Atta Boy, Mark! You let ‘em know a thing or two about legitimate political discourse. Returning to the major news of the week, happening overseas but once again in everyone’s living room, Analysis marvels at the President’s chutzpa in requesting that Americans look to tighten their belts during a war we are not even engaged in. This, since the inception of the all volunteer professional U.S. military, after how many active wars (your Gulf War, your Iraq War, your 20 year Afghanistan War, your War on Terror, etc.) where Americans were specifically instructed to go out and buy Hummers and spend like there’s no tomorrow. And now, all of a sudden, tomorrow is here?

The Healthy Practice Of Democracy

February 12, 2022

            In the news this past week was a city council meeting in Yellow Springs Ohio. Or shouldn’t we rather say the news was Dave Chappelle at a city council meeting in Yellow Springs Ohio? After 4 years of the Trump Presidency, we’ve all learned that celebrity place-ment makes a difference, especially in regards to civic proceedings. And the place of the celebrity in this proceeding made all the difference in the world. It also gives an enhanced meaning to “legitimate political discourse.” Like the January 6 original “legitimate political discourse’’, this one was also recorded on video. What we all can see, time after time, is a man getting up to address the city council with regard to proceedings over projected residential housing development. In no uncertain terms the man addressed the council as “clowns’ and told them he would withdraw his own projected development investment if the plan under consideration was passed. There was no back and forth, question and answer for the man was a celebrity. The celebrity was area resident, Dave Chappelle. After the “exchange’ (Not!), rather “legitimate political discourse”, the council withdrew the plan under consideration and approved the one amenable to the celebrity. End of story. Not! The media, both social and commercial (though both are commercial) picked up on the local Ohio story and made it national news.  Some critiqued the celebrity as stifling the development of affordable housing. Others claimed that to be a “smear” of the man. Celebrity smeared or not smeared became the focus of the news story. Analysis finds the event to be very informative and instructional for why, in our contemporary moment, we cannot deal with any of the “crisis” situations that confront us and grow with continued inattention. The Yellow Springs city council was considering two projections for residential land development. One, limited by the land size, offered roughly 100 single family homes to be built on the parcel. The other offered roughly 50% more units but in a mix of single family houses, town houses and apartments. This latter plan offered 2 acres for development as “affordable housing” (built by someone, at some time not specified). After the videotaped “legitimate political discourse” the council opted for the lesser unit single home plan. Not part of the celebrity obsessed media coverage was the ordinary acknowledgement that such council considerations are taking place practically everywhere nationwide. Nor was any attention paid to the fact that continuous expansion through single family housing developments is central to sprawl. And sprawl is unsustainable. The discourse or reasoned exchange (when it doesn’t include celebrities) usually is around low density single family residences and high density multi family housing. The MAGA dream of the 1950’s single family home promise (along with a chicken in every kettle) is incredibly outdated for the current time and concern with global warming. Celebrity investors rely on the promise and keep it on subsidized life support. In the end, there is zero affordable housing projected for Yellow Springs. Again, the same scenario finds itself repeated nationwide. Butt weight, there’s more. Part of the celebrity’s defenders  say new housing is win-win no matter what, and the ripple effect is that it opens up older “undesirable” units as  affordable housing (the rising tide lifts all boats argument). Not necessarily so. The moneyed are always at hand to buy up older residential units to convert (invest) into medical offices, strip malls, convenience store gas stations to serve the new arrivals to the upscale single family housing development. Chappelle himself was threatening to pull just such an investment in a projected comedy club in town. Again, the folks who will be employed at these newly created “jobs” enterprises will need to find affordable housing somewhere else as there will continue to be none in the town where they are  employed, necessitating a lengthy daily commute. This also is unsustainable for global warming, and any public transit solutions are doomed to meet the same fate as affordable housing (public transit fits in well with high density neighborhoods). Once again, the same scenario is replayed across the US. But not covered at all by the celebrity obsessed  media is the debilitating damage  wreaked on democracy when a wealthy celebrity, one member of the 1% in this country, can so easily and effortlessly determine institutions and policy for the entire community. This is not only unsustainable, but detrimental to the healthy practice of democracy.

Olympic Schemes, Er, Dreams

February 6, 2022

            Much as it may come as a surprise to Whoopi Goldberg, the 1936 Summer Olympics was organized specifically to frame the superiority of the master race that was hosting them. Adolf Hitler was still somewhat stuck in the past by intending to accomplish this outcome (of racial superiority) through what manly man Charlie Sheen would call “Winning!” Hitler relied on past precedence to showcase this “winning’ as making for an irrevocable argument of dominance. Whoopi would be not as surprised to learn that the Third Reich’s Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, was way ahead of the curve in terms of framing the accomplishments of the Third Reich and doing what we call today “marketing.” Most would be surprised to learn that the closest of Hitler’s cronies, the self same Goebbels, was an exceptionally well educated man with what would be considered today as a high IQ. But Goebbels’ (along with Hitler) subordinated this mastery of propaganda for the end of “Winning.” Such was the still prevalent mindset of the 19th century well into the 1930’s. Today, with the 2022 Winter Olympics, the propaganda itself is the desired end. Winning is irrelevant. Whereas Goebbels tried to market his message to any and all comers, Xi Jinping confidently has chosen his audience strategically (much as gerrymandering chooses voters for the party that draws the maps). In a way, he is preaching to the choir. The Olympics (and its athlete participants) have been usurped, co opted as a spectacle to highlight the future. And the future is manufactured. China is the world’s manufacturer (the recent Christmas “supply chain disruption” confirms this). Everything at the current games presented to those privileged to look is manufactured – the snow, the ice, the robots, the robot prepared and served meals, the mountain, etc. The “winter time sports” is completely divorced from anything winter (natural or historic). Xi’s mastering and maturing of Goebbels origination by making propaganda the end (and leaving the “Winning” to take care of itself) is not only brilliant but very instructive and informative of the time we live in. The 2022 Winter Olympics is more of a World’s Fair than a celebration of seasonal sport. Global warming scientists say such spectacles are limited in site and duration. Analysis finds all this informative and insightful with regard to the recent projections of the Intel chip manufacturing facility in Licking County. Like the renovation of the Arcade in downtown Newark, it looks like it will happen as long as the public money is there. Should supply chain issues be once again assured, not so much. The curious analogy which the two Olympic examples suggest is that the reception of the announcement by local county and state leaders of Intel’s decision closely mirrors that of Goebbels and the Nazi’s in the 1930’s.  It is couched and mired in the past, the 20th century outlook with its factory production thinking. Whereas Intel’s disposition is more in line with Xi’s China, the future, and fabricating everything with no regard to context or surrounding. Intel will have its way no matter the burden placed on the surrounding community, be it water supply, environment, housing, traffic congestion, or quality of life.