Archive for the ‘Ohio’ Category

“I’m sorry it’s been so uncomfortable for you to listen to my truth.”

June 13, 2021

            A funny thing happened on the way to spending $3 million on street paving in Newark this week. Newark residents were told to “Shut up. We know better.” at a City Council Street Committee. The incident was so news worthy that the local paper (?) promptly wrote an editorial for the Sunday edition. This in itself was newsworthy (call the Dispatch! On second thought, fuhgettaboutit. They also are a Gannett publication). “Our view: Newark council Republicans wrong to cut off public input” (the Advocate 6-13-21) basically said “Tsk. Tsk. This is no way to run a government.” It referenced the original report by Kent Mallett, 6-9-21, headlined “Newark council committee cuts off public testimony on road repairs”. In that report Mallett shares “The meeting lasted 40 minutes, with council members and the city engineer speaking for about 30 of those minutes. A local Eagle Scout and a Grant Street resident were allowed to speak before the meeting adjourned.” “William Koser, an Eagle Scout working on his Citizen of Community Merit Badge, urged the city to pave roads, such as Countryside Drive, instead of spending money on continual patching.” And “Before the adjournment, Rebecca Speake, a Grant Street resident, said, “Grant Street connects 79 to Williams. We do get quite a bit of traffic on that street. I’m sorry it’s been so uncomfortable for you to listen to my truth. I’m pretty frustrated.”” The bulk of Mallett’s report covered the brouhaha of “City Councilman Doug Marmie, R-6th Ward, made a motion to adjourn the meeting after one speaker and less than 10 minutes, saying the meeting was unfair because the speakers would only be from a couple wards.” This was eventually (after the fairness folderol) followed by “Marmie’s motion failed with a 3-3 vote. But, Councilman Jonathan Lang, R-5th Ward, later made a motion to adjourn and changed his vote, after addressing a 5th Ward concern about Countryside Drive.” All of which was an accumulation of little lies made possible by the tight Republican embrace of the Big Lie – you know, the fairness, the “public” in “public meeting”, the rules of order, etc. All of which caught the eye of the editorial board. None of which their editorial reveals as concerning them in terms of lies and truth. Something that Rebecca Speake couldn’t keep quiet about. “I’m sorry it’s been so uncomfortable for you to listen to my truth.” At which point the GOP majority committee men adjourned their meeting.

Family Tradition

May 16, 2021

            Talk of the Big Lie is usually filled with names like McCarthy, McConnell, Lindell, Gaetz and Taylor Greene. But never DeWine. Somehow, magnificently, Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine has managed to disassociate himself from anything even remotely emanating the stench of a lie. The Governor appears unscathed. This past week Mike immersed himself completely, and proved it to be quite unremarkable. What was the lie and why the lack of interest? On May 13, 2021 DeWine announced establishment of the Ohio Vax-a-Million program, offering $1 mil to five lucky newly vaccinated individuals as an incentive to get Ohioans vaccinated, and by implication, benefitting Ohio’s economy. The very next day his administration announced that it would be ending the $300 weekly Federal unemployment benefits with the end of June, roughly 2 months prior to when they are scheduled to run out. Let’s get a calculator and compare apples to apples, or rather dollars to dollars. DeWine’s new benefit distribution allocates $1 mil to five individuals for a total expenditure of $5 mil. Simple enough. The termination of $300 weekly benefits checks to one individual, over two months, amounts to that individual not receiving the earmarked $2,400 meant to benefit Ohio’s economy. Both funds, the $5 mil as well as the $300 weekly unemployment, come from the same honey pot. So how many denied individuals would the $5 mil have provided weekly benefits to over two months span? $5 mil divided by $2400 equates to about 2,083 individuals. Not a great number? Which? The 5 lucky ones? The $5 mil? The $1,200 monthly income to live on? Or the 2,083 denigrated individuals? (denigrated by virtue of insinuation, that they are “just not trying”) Enter the Big Lie. It is now exactly 40 years since President Reagan’s Budget and Management guru brought “trickle-down” economic speak into the common vernacular. Since then David Stockman has had a remarkably checkered history of successes and failures, even vaguely disavowing responsibility for what was once termed “voodoo economics.” But one thing for sure is that trickle down never delivered benefits to the people of the US as intentionally projected. It benefitted the few, leaving a whopping deficit for the many. “Ninety-two percent of the wealth is owned by five percent of the people.” (Stockman on Bloomberg TV 2013) But the Big Lie persisted, carefully cultivated and nurtured by the Republican party. In the same year Stockman himself is quoted by Public Affairs as writing “[T]he Republican Party was hijacked by modern imperialists during the Reagan era. As a consequence, the conservative party cannot perform its natural function as watchdog of the public purse because it is constantly seeking legislative action to provision a vast war machine of invasion and occupation.” Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine was just carrying on an old family tradition when he anointed 5 individuals to have a greater impact on “reopening” Ohio’s economy than the 2,083+ affected by the cuts to weekly unemployment benefits. But that’s even less than 92% of the wealth being owned by 5%; more like being owned by .0024%. As Black Lives Matter points out so succinctly: Big Lies morph into family traditions oh sooo easily that it seems almost unnatural to imagine otherwise!

Revolving Door

April 25, 2021

            Ever wonder why the candidate who has raised the most money, has the biggest war chest, is considered to be a front runner for being elected? Despite SCOTUS Citizens United ruling that money speaks, it still remains that money doesn’t do the voting. Or does it? “The Licking County Commissioners approved on Thursday an Alternate Energy Zone for a 512-acre Harrison Township site proposed for a 108-megawatt solar field.” (Licking County Commissioners OK Alternate Energy Zone for solar field; more on horizon Kent Mallett, Newark Advocate 4-25-21). No end to where the public revenue of this project will be distributed in this reporting. Similar articles outlining new corporate investment surrounding Newark usually travel down the road of tax credits, abatements, etc. with no promises of who will get what (“some risk involved”). Why not this one? Could it be that taking credit for “real” market forces at work (Amazon, Google and others need the electricity) rather than the contrived “subsidized” pie-in-the-sky creations is being usurped by GOP county commissioners who otherwise treat climate change/global warming as a preferred whipping boy? But Analysis digresses. Of course we are all familiar with the “revolving door” complaint when it comes to national administration, also state as well as local. How often is it the case that someone appointed to lead a regulatory body, or department has previously been salaried as part of what that body or department manages or administrates (what George W. Bush referred to as its “customers”)? And then, with a new administration (or just time passing), the same gov’t administrators go to work in the private sector for those they previously regulated. But what about elected officials, representatives of the people? Recent news was that central Ohio US Representative Steve Stivers has opted out of running for re-election, as well as seeking a senate run to replace Rob Portman. Stivers has agreed to a leadership role with the state’s Chamber of Commerce that salaries him at twice what he is making now. Just reward for services rendered? We’ve seen this movie before. Several years ago US Rep Pat Tiberi opted not to run and assumed a leadership position with the Ohio Business Roundtable. The similarities are uncanny. Both white men had accumulated vast war chests for whatever position they would run for. Both opted to “double down” on their earnings rather than continue to “represent” the fine people of their district. Both no longer “fight” for their constituents’ values. Why should they? After all, they’ve made it to the top of the public service leadership ladder where they can now be more “quietly effective.” The unmentionable underwear in all this is, of course, where did all the accumulated war chest donations come from? Hint: the very lobbying groups who lured them away to higher salaried positions represent these folks; you know, the people who contrive all the tax credits, abatements, etc. for the sake of “job creation.” Analysis will let Cardi B, who btw nailed it, have the last word: “this is why people gotta vote, elect better people cause you got these dumb asses representing states.”

Early Onset Of Collective Amnesia

February 14, 2021

            It has been pointed out by witty pundits that when breaking news, or national news, doesn’t match the Fox network’s outlook, the news conglomerate defers to some totally unrelated story that does, no matter how trivial or absurd. Not reporting the news of the day (or hour) is replaced by something other to occupy the viewer’s interest. This is very reminiscent of a parent’s attempt to assuage a child’s pre-meal hunger with activities in order to occupy their time. A similar deferral is currently being foisted on Newark Ohio. Indeed, this particular form of bait and switch is so ubiquitous that it is taken as normal. The Covid 19 vaccination roll out has been occurring, in Ohio, for quite some time now. Statewide we are told that 1 in 9 have been inoculated. The Licking County Health Department, for some unknown reason, has not been receiving an allotment and stopped their vaccination appointments/inoculations. In its stead, to keep the citizenry occupied, we have received an updated website with all kinds of bells and whistles, but no registry, no online appointment strategy. It is still appointment by phone (with registration to follow appointment confirmation). It is still appointments not being scheduled at the present time. Same cannot be said for LMH, a private hospital, which is still receiving vaccine allotments and scheduling appointments. But that is part of the normal, learned helplessness that Newark residents have been channeled into. Astute readers will recall that years ago the Newark Health Department was eliminated through a merger with the Licking County Health Department. “Greater efficiency and better service” were given as the primary reason for consolidation. It was the same reason given for the unified 911 call center. Ditto for the elimination of public transportation responsibility for its residents by the city of Newark. The demise of the low barrier shelter projected for the defunct Family Dollar building follows the same modus operandi. The deferral of “public” seems to be a particularly GOP characteristic, a party which has dominated city, county and state governance for years; for so long that its privatized outlook has almost become accepted as the norm. Now, with the Covid 19 vaccine, the privatization extends to its distribution (and subsequent deferral). Reliance on the vaccine administration is being shifted to the pharmaceutical monopolies of CVS and Walgreens. Their limited site dominance in the greater Newark area was made possible through buying out local pharmacies (more complicated than that but no space to address). Now they will “lead” in serving the public good. It needn’t be that way. West Virginia’s touted vaccine roll out success is attributed precisely to their abundance of local, non-franchise pharmacies. They, along with other states, register vaccine aspirants and THEN follow up with appointment time calls TO the aspirant, through the Health Department or pharmacy. Privatizing public services, whether health, transportation, housing, safety, education, etc. just doesn’t work and is NOT more efficient. A public service only works if it is always available and accessible to the public. Along with the disappearance of public space, the collective memory of public services is fading fast in Newark Ohio.

Loopholes, Not For Everyone

January 29, 2021

            Warren Buffet is quoted (somewhere) as claiming his secretary pays taxes at a higher rate than he does (though she certainly is less wealthy than he if Capitalism is as Capitalism does).  As our former president pointed out, Buffet is smart and takes advantage of all the loopholes legitimately available to him. According to conventional capitalist wisdom, all perfectly reasonable. To paraphrase a popular TV drug advertisement: “Loopholes, not for everyone…” Speaking of taxes, the Licking County Treasurer, Roy Van Atta, recently mailed out the semi-annual real estate tax bill. Along with the bill was a separate sheet headlined: “To limit in-person payments and potential exposure to Covid-19, we encourage payments to be made by one of the below options.” One of the payment options is the use of a drop box. In addition to the one located at the Newark South Second Street Administration Building, there is a drop box in Pataskala. America is notable for its collective amnesia with regard to all things cultural or historical. Prior to the recent 2020 election, Ohio’s Secretary of State, Frank LaRose, ruled that counties could only have one drop box for ballot collection (ostensibly for the sake of security!). Both Roy and Frank are Republicans. “Loopholes, not for everyone…”  While on the subject of collective amnesia with American history and culture, how about that Rand Paul? The GOP’s Kentucky Senator argues that since the insurrection against the Electoral College procedure took place on January 6, 2021 and the impeachment trial is to take place in February, 2021, it is unconstitutional as the impeached one, whose guilt or innocence is on trial, is a private citizen and no longer president. Analysis finds the implication to be that the president committed the crime (for which he was impeached), not American citizen Donald Trump. Elected public officials are not citizens. Jimmy Stewart’s Mr. Smith left for Washington as just another citizen but became…? Analysis finds it ironic that both citizen Jimmy and elected official Rand share the same party affiliation. “Loopholes, not for everyone…” While on the subject of irony, the 1-29-21 online Newark Advocate comes to mind. “Ohio House committee leader’s call to ‘stop this vaccine s***’ featured in new video” by Jackie Borchardt (1-29-21) is notable for the buried lead, located waaay at the end of the report: “Meanwhile, Ohio has administered just under half of the vaccine doses sent to the state. Ohio ranks 41st in administering doses on a per capital basis, giving 6,384 shots per 100,000 residents as of Thursday, the CDC reported. At least 682,705 initial doses – about 5.8% of the state’s population – have been given in Ohio, the state reported Wednesday.” Same day, same online Newark Advocate, Michaela Sumner headlined “Limited by COVID-19 vaccine supply, Licking County pauses registrations for next week.” Need more be said? “Loopholes, not for everyone…”

Free Market Economics

December 31, 2020

            “In our culture the concept of the market is akin to religion. In fact, for many people the fantasy that their life is shaped by a market is a substitute for thinking that it was shaped by a deity, or else the market itself is understood as a deity.” “A market is a way for people to distribute resources and goods. That’s all it is. The human race for most of its history has not used markets to do that. When I say distribute resources, I mean land. Who’s going to get what piece of land to cultivate?” (Richard Wolff from Occupy the economy: challenging capitalism by Richard Wolff; interviews with David Barsamian) 12-30-20 Henry Fountain writing for the New York Times headlines: Sale of Arctic Drilling Leases Draws an Unusual Taker. It May Be the Only One. “After a three-year push by the Trump administration to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling — an effort that culminated in a rush to sell leases before the White House changes hands — in the end the only taker may be the state of Alaska itself. With a Thursday deadline [12-31-20] for submitting bids for 10-year leases on tracts covering more than 1 million acres of the refuge, there is little indication that oil companies are interested in buying the rights to drill under difficult conditions, to extract more costly fossil fuels for a world that increasingly is seeking to wean itself off them. Amid the uncertainty, a state-owned economic development corporation voted last week to authorize bidding up to $20 million for some of the leases.” In Ohio, JobsOhio is “a state-owned economic development corporation”. In Licking County it would be Grow Licking County. And in Licking County’s seat of government, Newark, it would be Newark Development Partners. You can throw the Port Authority in there too as it likewise is an “economic development corporation” and covers a multitude of “governments.” The gist of Fountain’s article, you ask? “But if the development authority proceeds, it sets up the possibility that when the sealed bids are opened on Jan. 6, the state may find itself the sole owner of leases.” “He [Frank Murkowski, Lisa’s dad] also pointed out that because leasing revenue is split equally between the federal and state governments, if its bids were successful the state would be getting a unique deal. “You’re going to get half your money back,” he told the authority’s board. Only the state, he added, “can buy at a 50% discount.”” “In the [2017] tax bill, the sales were presented as a way to raise $900 million over 10 years for the federal treasury to help offset more than $1 trillion in tax cuts. But that figure has long been questioned by outside experts. An analysis last year by The New York Times suggested the actual amount would be about $45 million.” “The group [Taxpayers for Common Sense] said its most recent estimate showed that the federal treasury could receive as little as $15 million from the lease sales.” Where’s the market in all this? Indeed, where’s the market in the various tax abatements, credits and infrastructure enhancements offered by JobsOhio, Grow Licking County and the Port Authority in their offerings to secure corporate “investment” in Etna, Pataskala and the Rt 79 corridor? It certainly is about “Who’s going to get what piece of land to cultivate”. And what about Newark Development Partners purchase  and projected multi-million dollar “development” of the Newark Arcade being totally contingent on receiving government funded “historic tax credits” while the low barrier shelter “projected” by these same folks goes nowhere? “A market is a way for people to distribute resources and goods. That’s all it is.” Free and equitable, it’s not.

A New Normal Christmas Carol

December 20, 2020

[originally posted December 19, 2014, and apparently still even more relevant today]

The previous post (The New Normal) left Analysis in a most dystopian Yule time reverie. The religious admonition is to beat swords into plowshares. Christmas present indicated otherwise. The spirit of Christmas present toasted the excellent success of marketing firearms and ordinance to all. Plowshares are being beaten into swords. Small wonder law enforcement is becoming paramilitary. Christmas present disclosed there is a 50/50 chance that someone is carrying. Christmas past stepped in to remind Analysis of the NRA’s admonition that a world where all did carry would be a respectful one, filled with courtesy and deference. Christmas future pointed to a world where everyone assumes the other actually is carrying. Analysis found that everyone Christmas future showed had only one arm. The other hand tightly grasped the gun they carried. Analysis recounted that disease is always prevalent, that many ill procrastinate or simply do not wish to admit infirmity, and that mental and emotional disorders are very real maladies afflicting a given percentage of the US population at any given time. Christmas future showed it was only “common sense” to “be prepared”, vigilant for the ever present possibility of others using the firearms they carried inauspiciously, unannounced. No matter where the spirit of Christmas future pointed – the work place, the home, the halls of education or government – no one would collaborate, help or work with each other. It was impossible to “lend a hand” for these citizens of the future only had one. Without that hand, they would be completely disarmed. The spirit showed a citizenry where each was completely responsible for their own life. No one would assist the other. Releasing the gun hand’s grip meant losing the ability to defend one’s self, something now totally necessary given the future this spirit exposed. Analysis begged to be taken back.

“Last night I had a dream about reality.

It was such a relief to wake up.”

(Stanislaw J. Lec)

In The Heat Of The Night

December 9, 2020

            Not! Some of the news of the past week reinforces why the more things change, the more they stay the same. In The Heat Of The Night romantically tried to suggest change, or the mechanics of inevitable change. But this week’s news, taken together, gives a totally different and more sobering portrait. President elect Biden has proffered retired General Lloyd Austin as incoming Secretary of Defense. Upon retiring Austin gladly joined the board of Raytheon, a major defense department contractor and proud member of the military industrial complex. Now Austin will leave the “selling” side and be on the “buying” side of the equation. The revolving door continues to spin with the transition of power. Closer to home preliminary autopsy results indicate Casey Goodson Jr. suffered a homicide at the hands of Franklin County SWAT deputy Jason Meade. Meade shot Goodson multiple times in the torso at the doorstep of Goodson’s residence. Goodson was not under any investigation or warrant for arrest, etc. What the motive for shooting multiple rounds into an innocent man remains to be manipulated though “the deputy feared for his life” whispers in the bushes. Indeed, in the midst of the BLM protests re-elected Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther painted an equally romantic portrait of change for Columbus city administration as well as policing. Double indeed, this rhetoric of change within the department of policing was mouthed by Ginther when the new chief was hired to replace outgoing chief Kim Jacobs in 2019. The new chief, Tom Quinlan, was specifically chosen over his out of state contender because Quinlan had risen through the ranks of the Cols. PD and was therefore more “familiar” with the workings of the department, as well as the city. The Dispatch reports that Ginther had directed Quinlan to have the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation run the Goodson homicide investigation (rather than the Cols. PD). OBCI (under the direction of Ohio’s Attorney General Dave Yost) deferred, claiming they were asked to take over too late (3 days in). So much for being “familiar” with how the city and department of policing works. Even closer to home, Newark, this week’s news is a BOGO. We have the revolving door AND the “familiar” raison d’etre combined! Headlined “Mayor appoints former police sergeant to Newark safety director” Victor Black reports on the transition of power (Advocate,12-8-20). “Newark Mayor Jeff Hall announced Monday the appointment of [Tim] Hickman to replace Steve Baum, who became police chief in July. Hickman spent 32 years in the police department before his retirement and the last two years with the Department of Development, primarily supporting property maintenance.” “The new safety director, who was sworn in on Monday, said he does not plan on making any major changes to the position.” “”Tim brings years of experience with our wonderful city and displays great leadership skills and enthusiasm,” [Newark mayor Jeff] Hall said. “I congratulate Tim on his new position and look forward to working with him as we continue to move the city of Newark forward.”” Folks, you can’t make this stuff up. Put away your fictional reality of change presented by a book, movie or TV series. The mechanics of inevitable change, not!, is present, front and center, everyday. Just follow the news!

We Pretend To Work; They Pretend To Pay Us

December 3, 2020

            Wall Street’s DOW set a record high by going above 30,000 Tuesday (11-24-20). Many alibis were given. None explained how money could be making money when financial and personal misery is the coin of the kingdom. Analysis found a modicum of explanation for the financial sector outperforming amidst the otherwise abysmal condition of what ostensibly supports the market – employment, production and service. The late David Graeber is primarily remembered for his voluminous Debt: The First 5,000 Years. His last book came out in 2018. It is entitled Bullshit Jobs. What is a bullshit job? 

“consider the following quote, from an interview with then US president Barack Obama about some of the reasons why he bucked the preferences of the electorate and insisted on maintaining a private, for-profit health insurance system in America: “I don’t think in ideological terms. I never have,” Obama said, continuing on the health care theme. “Everybody who supports single-payer health care says, ‘Look at all this money we would be saving from insurance and paperwork.’ That represents one million, two million, three million jobs [filled by] people who are working at Blue Cross Blue Shield or Kaiser or other places. What are we doing with them? Where are we employing them?” I would encourage the reader to reflect on this passage because it might be considered a smoking gun. What is the president saying here? He acknowledges that millions of jobs in medical insurance companies like Kaiser or Blue Cross are unnecessary. He even acknowledges that a socialized health system would be more efficient than the current market-based system, since it would reduce unnecessary paperwork and reduplication of effort by dozens of competing private firms. But he’s also saying it would be undesirable for that very reason. One motive, he insists, for maintaining the existing market-based system is precisely its inefficiency, since it is better to maintain those millions of basically useless office jobs than to cast about trying to find something else for the paper pushers to do.” (pg. 157) A more contemporary and local example would be Ohio’s HB6 debacle which props up 2 scheduled-to-be-decommissioned nuclear power plants as well as two completely redundant coal fired power plants while dissing more efficient and sustainable forms of energy production. So much for bullshit jobs though it is important to understand the function they play in the “market” and why their existence is deemed desirable (Hint: they justify the funneling of money from the bottom to the top, as in 1%). Graeber does let drop some insights that contribute to our question regarding the current record DOW in really abysmal  times: “It’s almost impossible to get accurate figures about what proportion of a typical family’s income in, say, America, or Denmark, or Japan, is extracted each month by the FIRE sector [Finance, Insurance, Real Estate], but there is every reason to believe it is not only a very substantial chunk but also is now a distinctly greater chunk of total profits than those the corporate sector derives directly from making or selling goods and services in those same countries. Even those firms we see as the very heart of the old industrial order – General Motors and General Electric in America, for example – now derive all, or almost all, of their profits from their own financial divisions. GM, for example, makes its money not from selling cars but rather from interest collected on auto loans.” (pg. 177) So much for the stock market being about employment, production, and service. But wait, he has more: “It just seemed to make sense that, just as Wall Street profits were derived less and less from firms involved in commerce or manufacturing, and more and more from debt, speculation, and the creation of complex financial instruments, so did an ever-increasing proportion of workers come to make their living from manipulating similar abstractions.” (pg. 150) Almost prescient of what the current pandemic has revealed he writes: “if you complain about getting some bureaucratic run-around from your bank, bank officials are likely to tell you it’s all the fault of government regulations; but if you research where those regulations actually come from, you’ll likely discover that most of them were written by the bank.” (pg. 17) “JPMorgan Chase & Co., for example, the largest bank in America, reported in 2006 that roughly two-thirds of its profits were derived from “fees and penalties,” and “finance” in general really refers to trading in other people’s debts – debts which, of course, are enforceable in courts of law.” (pg. 177) “There’s a lot of questions one could ask here, starting with, What does it say about our society that it seems to generate an extremely limited demand for talented poet-musicians but an apparently infinite demand for specialists in corporate law? (Answer: If 1 percent of the population controls most of the disposable wealth, what we call “the market” reflects what they think is useful or important, not anybody else.)” (pg. xx) For Graeber the contemporary stock market is all about trading in debt. This contributes substantively as to answering why Wall Street’s DOW is continuously in record breaking territory during these abysmal times; abysmal because debt is implicated in everything, even in “gov’t bailouts.”

Solipsism

December 1, 2020

            The news seems to be that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Indeed. No, not the Covid 19 news, which is the real news, though there is a vaccine on the horizon (along with a hidden army of anti-vaxxers just over the ridge). Rather, the presidential election of 2020 appears to be reaching some sort of definitive finality. Unhidden is Dear Loser, er, Leader who can’t bear the thought of the spotlight not being on him, and him alone (he feels so naked without it). The pesky winners justifiably shine the light on the enormous turnout. 75% of registered Columbus Ohio voters did so. Unheralded is that, save for the top of the ticket, voting trends maintained the status quo, if not grew it nationwide. The party that hopes to be in the White House in 2021 actually lost traction with their other candidates on the exact same ballot. Like with the corona virus, the nation, and pundits, seem to be so fatigued that the only worthwhile news is something that projects a different future. But the well has been poisoned, and because of the fatigue, no one dares speak of holding anyone accountable for the devastating vandalism. GOP representatives and leaders who previously enabled and capitalized on Dear Leader’s lies (they are actually called lies in the vast majority of press coverage today. Finally) today are trying to distance themselves from the embarrassment. The Washington Post interviewed and found only 2 of the 53 GOP senators would admit Biden was the president elect the week immediately after the polls closed. Ohio Governor Dewine, who leads from behind a facemask, is now struggling with the state’s hospitals filling to capacity, not allowing space or staff for other medical conditions to be addressed (the normal function of a hospital). All because the well has been poisoned and the state’s constituents believe mask wearing and pandemic precautions are a matter of personal choice (conveniently referred to as a “political statement”). Who will be held accountable? But wait, the poisoning extends well beyond the alternate “personal choice” attitude as to what is science, and whose (as well as what is speculation, real or fancied). It hits at more nitty-gritty things such as relying on our institutions when the needs arise (established institutions which exist precisely to fill that need). The 2020 Census, upon which so many official decisions and policies rely, has been put in jeopardy (not the Alex Trebek kind). The EPA is no longer a source of clean water and air. The Dept of Ag can no longer be relied on for food security, whether the growing or distribution to those without (SNAP). Ditto Homeland Security, Dept of Justice, FBI, etc. ad nauseam. Even the courts role as arbiter of final resort is subject to personal interpretation. The poison seems to be that if all is in doubt then anything can be believed. And who is to be held accountable? Has culpability also succumbed to the solipsism of personal choice/interpretation?