Archive for the ‘Newark Ohio’ Category

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. Today we are all entrepreneurs. Our equality is purchased by our entrepreneurship. 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”?

 

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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.”

Whiteness

June 21, 2018

“The National Park Service has approved an initial request for organizers to hold a second “Unite the Right” rally, this time across the street from the White House in August — one year after white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville, Va. The park service has given initial approval to an application from Jason Kessler to hold a “white civil rights rally” on Aug. 11 and 12, as first reported by WUSA9. Kessler, along with white supremacist Richard Spencer and others, organized the 2017 rally, during which a woman was killed.” (‘White Civil Rights Rally’ Approved For D.C. In August, James Doubek, NPR, 6-21-18). In his book, Our Damaged Democracy: We The People Must Act (2018) Joseph A. Califano Jr. writes (pg. 137): “Political spending on television ads has soared from about $2.6 billion in 2008 to $4.4 billion in 2016. In 2008, half of all campaign ads were negative. In 2012, 85 percent of ads paid for by super PACs and other outside groups were negative.” Analysis finds TV ads currently being run for Ohio’s 12thdistrict House of Representatives’ double header (for Tiberi’s replacement August ballot as well as for November’s 2 year expired term). Though some of Troy Balderson’s ads in the May primary appeared negative by making him out to be a Trumpier than thou conservative over his more to the right opponent (Melanie Leneghan), the recent ad offerings are meant to placate independents and moderates. Three video ads are accessible to Newark viewers (who are part of the sprawling district from southeast of Zanesville through New Albany/Upper Arlington, Delaware, and finally ending in greater Mansfield). One video on the website is a general “what a great guy Troy Balderson is”. One on network TV shows an “opioid mom” (“He is the compassionate and caring leader.”) and the other shows a Dublin mom raving about the benefits of the Trump tax cuts and how Troy will maintain them. Not much negative there. Troy’s opponent, Danny O’Connor, has also been running an ad. His primary race was not as contentious as Troy’s so we didn’t see his face on TV but did receive his mass mailings (showing what a great guy he is). The same “need new leadership” video appears on his TV ads as well as his website. Nothing negative there. Before the “outside groups” step in and sully everything, Analysis finds the “innocent” ads quite revealing. Not so innocent was the cell phone video of “Antwon Rose, 17, was shot three times in the back while running from a parked car that was stopped by a police officer, Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said, according to the Associated Press.” (Unarmed Teen Fatally Shot by Police While Fleeing Traffic Stop in East Pittsburgh, Mahita Gajanan, Time, 6-20-18). Although Black Lives Matter will only unendingly infer it, whiteness ended another black man’s life. Neither Troy Balderson nor Danny O’Connor will admit complicity in the violent and needless death. Their “vote for me” ads sharply disagree with their alibis. Zanesville, Troy’s political origin, has a very long history of African American population. Non whites account for just over 15% of the population (DataUSA). Wiki gives 13% non white as the population of the 12thdistrict overall. There is not a single non white face (or body) in any of Balderson’s three promotional videos. Nada. Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor doesn’t fair any better with absolutely zero, zip, people of color in his single promotional video. Either non whites don’t vote in the future congressman’s world of whiteness, or black lives don’t matter.

 

Like A Perfect Storm

June 19, 2018

In the collage of images concerning America’s latest internment enterprise are some detainees dressed in the local native garb of place of origin, usually children. Most are dressed in everyday uniform “camouflage”, the non descript generic fashion offerings of Walmart or Target. Analysis is dedicated to the local, and the interface of the local with what is national or global in scope. Analysis has written (more than once) about public transportation, and the bias for autos and highways dating back to the Eisenhower Federal Highway Act of 1956. Analysis has written about Citizens United (more than once) and the influence of corporate wealth and lobbyist largesse in destroying the urban bus and trolley lines so Americans could “See the USA in their Chevrolet.” Analysis has written about the organizing savvy and expertise (more than once) of those aspiring for a single vision of America as it was (locally as well as nationally) fending off continuous threats in a politics of eternity; where there is no aspired future, no achieved goal, no progress or better but only the continuous replay of threats and adversaries to a vision of angst saturated security. Like a perfect storm, Hiroko Tabuchi headlined How the Koch brothers are killing public transit projects around the country (NY Times 6-19-18). “In cities and counties across the country — including Little Rock, Ark.; Phoenix, Ariz.; southeast Michigan; central Utah; and here in Tennessee — the Koch brothers are fueling a fight against public transit, an offshoot of their longstanding national crusade for lower taxes and smaller government. At the heart of their effort is a network of activists who use a sophisticated data service built by the Kochs, called i360, that helps them identify and rally voters who are inclined to their worldview. It is a particularly powerful version of the technologies used by major political parties. In places like Nashville, Koch-financed activists are finding tremendous success.” “One of the mainstay companies of Koch Industries, the Kochs’ conglomerate, is a major producer of gasoline and asphalt, and also makes seatbelts, tires and other automotive parts. Even as Americans for Prosperity opposes public investment in transit, it supports spending tax money on highways and roads.” “Nashville’s idea to invest in transit got off to a strong start. Introduced in October by Megan Barry, who was mayor at the time, it called for 26 miles of light rail, a bus network, and a 1.8-mile tunnel for buses and trains that would bypass the city center’s narrow streets. The $5.4 billion proposal, the costliest transit project in Nashville’s history, was to be funded by raising the sales tax city residents pay by one percentage point, to 10.25 percent, and raising other business taxes. A coalition of Nashville businesses urged voters to endorse the spending as vital to a region projected to grow to almost 3 million people by 2040, an increase of 1 million.” “Central to the work of Americans for Prosperity is i360, the Kochs’ data operation, which profiles Americans based on their voter registration information, consumer data and social media activities. The canvassers divided the neighborhoods into “walkbooks,” or clusters of several dozen homes, and broke into teams of two.” “Their data zeroed in on people thought to be anti-tax or anti-transit and likely to vote.” Etc. Etc. Etc. And, lest we forget, the (dark) money behind it all: “In Nashville, Americans for Prosperity played a major role: organizing door-to-door canvassing teams using iPads running the i360 software. Those in-kind contributions can be difficult to measure. According to A.F.P.’s campaign finance disclosure, the group made only one contribution, of $4,744, to the campaign for “canvassing expenses.” Instead, a local group, NoTax4Tracks, led the Nashville fund-raising. Nearly three-quarters of the $1.1 million it raised came from a single nonprofit, Nashville Smart Inc., which is not required to disclose donors. The rest of the contributions to NoTax4Tracks came from wealthy local donors, including a local auto dealer. Both NoTax4Tracks and Nashville Smart declined to fully disclose their funding.” Sound familiar? (hint: the VW union organizing effort subverted in like manner, in same state) A new trail of tears? Thursday evening, June 21, 2018 the Freedom School will air their last film of the series – You Got To Move: Stories of Change in the South (7:00 PM GMP Hall 350 Hudson Ave Newark). “In this recently re-released film from 1985, film maker Lucy Massie Phenix interviews people who describe how they learned to set aside their fears and work for change in their own communities on issues as varied as voting rights, segregation, union organizing, strip mining and toxic waste.” (from the promo) Given the ubiquitous use of “latest technology,” like i360, by both political parties as well as special interest groups like the NRA and Americans For Prosperity (all brought to you by the makers of Citizens United), what the local Newark Freedom School offers bears a striking resemblance to the local native garb worn by some of the Central American refugee children pictured on the screens of Americans’ visual device of choice – small pinpoints of genuine intimate color and style awash in a sea of generic conformity made possible by the latest technology.

Genuinely Authentic Destination

June 11, 2018

Week end of June 10, 2018 found The Newark Advocate become an oxymoron. OK, the politically correct term would be the newspaper became an antinomy. Highlight of the week end news, with articles, photos and video, was Newark Pride 2018. A rather lame attempt to “support” this was made by the Sunday (6-10-18) Our View editorial, Big things ahead for Newark’s past, future (written by the editorial board; a collaborative effort indeed!). Kurt Snyder’s Hundreds spread positive message during Pride (6-10-18) covered the Saturday’s festivities in the Canal Market District “before later heading to Thirty One West and the Denison Art Space. Attendees enjoyed music, dancing and fellowship on a hot, sunny afternoon.” The previous evening, Saturday’s revelers creatively resisted the Licking County Commissioners refusal to light the court house by shining gelled rainbow colored flashlights over its west side (also covered by The Advocate in photo’s, etc.). In the Our View editorial, the editorial board feigned support for multiculturalism by highlighting the great “tourist” draw to be found in the greater Newark area. “And while we all will get a new way to look to the stars, an effort to appropriately showcase our history got a major boost. The U.S. Department of the Interior made a formal invitation to make the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks the next United States nomination for World Heritage designation. Sites with such a designation include the Great Wall of China, Statue of Liberty, Vatican City, the Taj Mahal and Yellowstone National Park.” Wow! The editorial board makes it sound like Newark has finally made it to the Bigs. Don’t put your flashlights away just yet. Further on the same board writes of the increase in tourism to other such sites in the U.S. and finally “Giving people who visit the earthworks a place to eat, shop and sleep is critical to maximizing its potential. The conceptual plan for the former Meritor site is one intriguing idea for how to do this. Turning the vacant and contaminated site into an inclusive visitors center would be amazing, but it would not be cheap. Frankly it would be impossible for Newark, Heath and Licking County to develop the site to its potential without assistance from the state and federal governments.” Kurt Snyder wrote “Long-time Newark residents and those new to the area were equally pleasantly surprised at the positivity throughout the afternoon. Pride organizers were disappointed during the spring the Licking County Commissioners refused to light the courthouse for the event, and it caused division across Licking County and on social media.” But this is much more than an oxymoron of LC Commissioners (and the Newark mayor’s office) choosing to enact the will of “the people” to mean “our people.” May 25, 2018 Time.com’s MONEY put out clic bait entitled This Is the Best Park in Every U.S. State. Ohio finds that park to be Washington Park adjacent to Cinci’s Over The Rhine area. “Newly renovated and expanded less than six years ago, Washington Park is at the heart of Cincinnati. The park’s amenities include a playground, a dog park, and a “civic lawn” used for concerts and cultural events. During summer months, locals can grab a craft beer or glass of wine on the Southwest Porch and play games like chess (using an oversized set) and ping-pong.” Google the park and one sees something very familiar. Indeed, it is so central to the park (“a “civic lawn” used for concerts and cultural events”) that MONEY’s photo also includes it. The “it” is a gazebo that looks a lot like the one that used to grace Newark’s downtown “tourist” destination. Money’s short paragraph also seems to accurately describe what was once the courthouse square before Jeff Hall and Tim Bubb prioritized “security” at the cost of an expendable “civic lawn.” Other news of the past week included business owners of various downtown entities not finding their locations to be enough of a business draw and pulling out. Antinomies like an “inclusive visitors center” while  city (and county)  governments choose to enact the will of “our people” certainly don’t “spread [a] positive message” of what “is critical to maximizing its [marketing] potential.” As MONEY pointed out, a “civic lawn” is an irresistible gathering place, a genuinely authentic destination without the covert guile of profit design.

 

I Beg Your Pardon

June 5, 2018

This Thursday, June 7, 2018, in Newark there will be a short town hall meeting on Addiction and Recovery. It is at Newark high school from 6:30 – 8:30 PM. There will be a panel of speakers, folks actively involved with the everyday of the subject on behalf of some institution or organization meant to address the issue. Some attending will likewise be given the opportunity to speak, address the panel or ask questions. Serendipity would have it that the New York Times presents an inquiry which gets to the heart of the tragedy: She Went to Jail for a Drug Relapse. Tough Love or Too Harsh? (Jan Hoffman, 6-4-18). “Should an addict’s relapse be punished with a criminal sanction?” “In Commonwealth v. Julie Eldred, the [Massachusetts] justices, presiding over the state’s highest court, are wrestling with whether this condition of her probation amounts to cruel and unusual punishment for an offender with a substance use disorder. In reaching a decision, expected imminently, the justices must weigh competing scientific studies. Is addiction a brain disease that interferes with one’s capacity to abstain? Or a condition, rather than a disease, that is responsive to penalties and rewards?” Prior to a knee jerk response, Analysis bears in mind other aspects from the article: “Ms. Eldred’s lawyers rely on a 1962 United States Supreme Court case, Robinson v. California, which struck down a statute making it a crime for a person “to be addicted to the use of narcotics” — noting that while selling or possessing illegal drugs was against the law, the state could not punish people solely for the status of their illness.” “Law enforcement officials argue that the threat of jail protects not only offenders but society from potentially more drug-related crimes. Yet numerous addiction specialists say that the criminal justice system is the most blunt and clumsy of instruments for addressing a public health disaster.” “In a brief supporting the prosecution, psychiatrists, psychologists and legal scholars assert that the brain-disease model is contested. Changes in brain structure from drugs do not necessarily translate into an inability to resist them, they said. With carrot-stick prompts, many addicted people can choose to abstain. And, prosecutors said, two such prompts include an expunged record for completing probation or, for relapse, jail. A brief submitted by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals on behalf of 3,400 drug courts noted that the success of these programs depends on a judge being able to apply graduated sanctions, to propel a defendant through treatment.” On the town hall panel will be institutional health and addiction specialists (people paid to be there) as well as those employed by law enforcement and the courts (also paid to be there); the former experts on disease but not so with the law, the latter officers of the law but uncertain of pathology. Analysis is disinterested in the answer. Like it or not the court will decide. Whether that happens in Ohio is a completely other question. Analysis is interested in the disposition of those asking the questions. A disposition assuming the “inevitability” of the disease diagnosis doesn’t translate into inevitable material outcomes, only a rather insecure sense of self righteousness. Those embracing this “inevitability” need also consider embracing the mundane (and political) nitty-gritty of changing the law, and those employed or elected to interpret it. The law itself is no guarantor of security. And as we all know way too well, innocent folks have been convicted, even executed, by solemn, dutiful, and sober officers of the law.

Who Hit The Snooze Button?

June 1, 2018

Two items of note in the news with regard to public transportation (you remember public transportation – what most growing areas of the world rely on to move their population from home to work in an accessible and affordable manner, reliably, sustainably). In a mostly promotional press release, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance headlined Downtown Cleveland’s commuter options drive economic development (6-1-18). The opening line reads: “In cities across the U.S., businesses are beginning to think differently about the importance of mobility options when it comes to talent attraction and real estate decision-making.” The centrality of public transportation is underlined a few lines later by “A robust and growing multi-modal transportation system fuels this growth.” Of particular interest to the public transportation infidels in Newark and Licking County is “Recognized by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy as the leading example of bus rapid transit (BRT) innovation in North America, the Healthline connects Downtown Cleveland and University Circle — Ohio’s largest and fourth largest job hubs — with 24-hour service. Since its inception, the Healthline has helped attract more than $6 billion of investment along its route. RTA continues to build upon this innovation with additional BRT service like the Cleveland State University Line and MetroHealth Line, making downtown employment further accessible to residents of surrounding neighborhoods and suburbs.” Butt weight, there’s more! Remember the chatter about Mound Builders State memorial (Great Circle Earthworks), World Heritage status and converting the old Meritor factory site into a “tourist destination”? Of course you do. In Ohio, the two major tourist destinations are western Lake Erie (the islands, Cedar Point, etc.) and the Hocking Hills. The AP, through US News, headlined Shuttle Expected to Ease Parking Headaches at Hocking Hills (5-28-18). “Officials say the shuttle bus between downtown Logan and Old Man’s Cave will run on weekends through Oct. 28.” “The shuttle departs downtown Logan beginning at 10 a.m. and runs every 30 minutes, with the last shuttle at 6:30 p.m.” It’s reliable, sustainable, affordable and accessible public transportation that will draw people to downtown Logan when their destination is really the Hocking Hills parks. Even Logan has recognized it is of value not to be stuck in the past. Analysis wonders when Newark and Licking County will wake from their Rip Van Winkle Z’s. Who hit the snooze button?

Non News News

June 1, 2018

The end of May saw news affecting the residents of The Newark Advocate’s coverage area. And news not included in this area. The Advocate chose the latter, not bothering with the former at all. Has The Newark Advocate branched out into the business of cultivating mushrooms? The online 6-1-18 Advocate runs a story on “9 new stores to check out at Easton Town Center.” Old timers will recall that at the time of Easton Town Center’s opening, most area business proprietors predicted the decline of the local crown jewel for shopping in Newark/Heath/Granville – Indian Mound Mall. The reader can judge the outcome over the years. The Newark Advocate’s customers are its advertisers. A story on something outside the “news” source’s present coverage area makes excellent business sense. By expanding its coverage area, it can grow its potential customer base. Within the “heirloom” coverage of The Advocate, the Zanesville half marathon received reporting space. Not covered, though encompassing all of The Advocate’s coverage area, was the news that Melanie Leneghan has requested a recount of the May GOP primary results where Troy Balderson (from Zanesville) squeaked out a win by just more than 600 votes (for Pat Tiberi’s 12th congressional seat). The Advocate is quickly becoming like syndicated radio stations pre-programmed to give ostensibly “local news” (the local sports coverage or a local resident’s obituary) while grinding out infomercials 24/7 – all the non news news that’s fit to report (digitally or otherwise).

No Government Is Politics By Other Means

May 22, 2018

Well, this is actually quite old, only now it is so much more overt than covert. How so? News blackout in Newark, The Advocate has definitely NOT been covering the Payday lender news in its editions. As pointed out in this blog’s Buried Lead posting (4-18-18), the resignation of House Speaker Cliff Rosenbeger had beaucoup to do with the definitely weird and unaccountable primary reelection campaign ads by Larry Householder (whose win was, to use the liberal term for a conservative cause celebre, “inevitable”, aside from also being within The Advocate’s coverage area. As mentioned in previous posts, The Advocate’s customer base is its paying advertisers, not readers). Those ads positioned Householder (and the various other state rep candidates he backed so they would back him) for election as Speaker of the House in 2019. Though a bit odd, he is not one of the candidates to replace Rosenberger who resigned, to run out the rest of the Speaker’s term in 2018. Most voters will find this strange as there were two separate lists of primary candidates for the 12thUS Congressional district – one to fill out Pat Tiberi’s recent term, and one to run for the next term. These two lists included the same names. Ditto for Ohio House Speaker? Emphatic nyet! Yet Householder’s “inevitable” campaigning was all about the speaker’s job. Confused? Following all this for the Dayton Daily news, Laura Bischoff headlined Payday lender made 3 international trips with ex-Ohio House speaker (4-25-18). In it she reports on various overseas trips to China, Great Britain and France by Rosenberger accompanied by Advance America exec Carol Stewart. “Advance America, which has 2,000 stores across the nation, employs lobbyists to influence legislation, including House Bill 123, a payday lending reform measure that had been stalled in the Ohio House for months.” Since then, other lobbyist for various umbrella groups of the Payday Lending industry have been named as being involved in financing other such trips (as well as accompanying Mr. Rosenberger). For Cleveland.com Jackie Borchardt headlined Payday loan ballot measure advances while Ohio lawmakers debate bill (5-21-18). After originally refusing to allow a citizen initiative petition, Ohio Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine eventually certified the Short Term Loan Consumer Protection Amendment. “The effort now goes to the Ohio Ballot Board, which will decide whether the proposal is one or multiple ballot issues. After it clears the Ballot Board, supporters can begin collecting the 305,591 signatures of Ohio registered voters to put the measure on a statewide ballot. The deadline for the November ballot is July 4.” The citizen Amendment initiative is in response to the constipated effort of the Ohio House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee to move HB 123. As mentioned in this blog’s posting “Buried Lead”, the committee moved the bill along immediately following Speaker Rosenberger’s resignation. Committee member and House Speaker candidate Ryan Smith supports and promotes the bill as is. Smith is running for filling out the unexpired speaker’s term as well as opposing Householder for the next session. What does this have to do with The Advocate and all the trips to China, etc.? The House Speaker’s position is one of the most powerful in the legislature, determining not only what legislation moves along (and what never sees the light of day) but also what is funded, etc. For the unfulfilled speakership term the GOP caucus is currently deadlocked which means no special sessions of the house can be assembled. Though a vote on HB 123 is on tap for the regular scheduled session later this summer, the bill still needs to pass the Senate in the fall (an election year) before seeking Governor Kasich’s lame duck approval. With a new session (and speaker) in 2019, HB 123 would need to start all over again from scratch. Rosenberger’s trysts with the Payday lenders association, along with Mike DeWine’s footdragging and now the failure of the GOP to fill out Rosenberger’s unexpired term have effectively killed the possibility of any meaningful short term loan regulation. None of which is newsworthy for The Advocate. It is often said that “war is politics by other means.” In the US today it is more like “No government is politics by other means.”

Subtle Creep

May 2, 2018

In these recent years one often encounters articles and essays suggesting that democracy is on the decline. Could democracy have reached its end? With the various “revolutions” (velvet, orange, etc.) as well as the various “springs” (the Arab spring, etc.), great promise was forecast on behalf of democracy around the world. That all changed with the recent elections, in America and elsewhere. Head scratchers have attributed this to divisive power structures, social media, global technologies, etc. ‘Nuff said. Democracy is suspected of being under siege or threat locally as well as globally. Ever since the collapse of the Berlin Wall in the late 80’s, begrudging accolades have been festooned on the triumph of, not democracy, but capitalism. It has literally become the only game in town. Formally communist or socialist regimes have divested themselves of strict adherence to ideology and become, well, capitalist. Few holdouts remain in the world. “Communist” China is actually a state capitalism. Karl Marx (remember him?) couched much of his prognostication within the logic of dialectic. The online dictionary gives one definition as “inquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions. • the existence or action of opposing social forces, concepts, etc.” It informs this with several examples, one of which is “Hegel applied the term to the process of thought by which apparent contradictions (which he termed thesis and antithesis) are seen to be part of a higher truth (synthesis).” Marx was much taken with Hegel and formulated most of his thought along Hegel’s dialectic. Put crassly, Marx’s dialectic follows the simplistic interpretation that as one aspect increases or grows, another diminishes and dies. This happens at one and the same time. Few who bemoan the demise of democracy, as well as those celebrating the success of capitalism, link the two. After all, western European democracy (which includes the U S) was established by avowed capitalists to function as democracy. So one would think the two would thrive together and be mutually compatible. Wrong. As capitalism succeeds world wide, democracy disappears. The antithesis of capitalism is not communism, but democracy. Case in point would be the recent courthouse lighting for the first Pride event in downtown Newark, Ohio. The back story is that 3 GOP commissioners, Duane Flowers, Rick Black, and forever commissioner Tim Bubb, formulated a strict ideological courthouse lighting policy after receiving a written petition to light the courthouse in rainbow colors for the first Pride event. The policy stipulates 19 colorations with no exception except if the commissioners decide to make exception (outside input excepted). Tim Bubb’s newly renovated courthouse, which includes fully computerized lighting, is now an issue of contention within the county seat. Analysis calls the reader’s attention to the 4-29-18 Newark Advocate Our View, submitted by the “editorial board” (they all sat together in one room and collaborated on the essay? Who wrote it? The reader is to believe that this is “the view” of the corporate entity): “But more importantly, the policy adopted is wrong for the community. The county should have an inclusive policy that allows outside civic organizations and events to petition for the courthouse to be lit in their colors. Such petitions should require those groups to cover the entire cost of programming and operating the lights, whether that’s $100, $1,000 or more.” This resembles a “reasonable” resolution until one does the math – the computerized lighting is already installed and paid for, there are 365 days in the year (not 19), and any teenager who has a smart phone where their hand ought to be could program the lights in less than half an hour. The Advocate’s resolution of this contentious issue embraces the SCOTUS Citizens United ruling whereby corporations are deemed “persons” and money is speech. What else would one expect from Our View’s corporate speak? No, it is a dialectical matter. As the purchase of elected officials and policies becomes more “natural” (capitalism) so the self-governance of the actual living inhabitants by the actual living inhabitants diminishes and dies (democracy).