Posts Tagged ‘Corporate America’

C U And US

February 28, 2020

The daily news of “the 2020 Presidential election,” with all its analysis, projection and punditry, borders on boredom (noun, the state of being bored. Bored, adjective, feeling weary because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one’s current activity). The GOP has its anointed candidate. The Democrat’s don’t. Amidst their embarrassment of riches they cannot seem to coalesce around a single precious gem, hence the ongoing contested spectacle. Each attempts to out-differentiate the other. All claim difference with today’s front runner, Bernie Sanders. Even Mr. Sanders’ closest kin, Elizabeth Warren, asserts major difference from Mr. Sanders. Analysis can’t help but wonder what the situation would be if there were two democratic socialist candidates in the contested field of Democratic Presidential wannabe’s. There are, after all, two self-funded billionaires. There are two women. There are two flyover country aspirants. And two east coast senators. What if there were two democratic socialists? Being able to imagine two greatly clarifies the muddled contested Democratic spectacle. What is grossly apparent, but goes completely unseen, would become categorized as one of many (two), and therefore not novel or unique. The “naturalness” of two of a kind (two self-funded billionaires, two Midwesterners, etc.) would offset the current outrageous audacity of difference presented by Mr. Sanders. After all, it is difference within ubiquity that becomes the natural prey of bullies. But who is the bully? In 2010, just a couple of years after George Bush’s financial meltdown, barely one year into the Obama Presidency, and well before the ACA or Occupy Wall Street, the SCOTUS handed down its Citizen United ruling, essentially extending the rights of personhood to corporate entities (on the basis of the 14thAmendment to the US Constitution). Money is speech. This was greeted with much handwringing, consternation and prognostication by the pundits and political class. What would become of our political process in this American democracy? Well, we’ve witnessed it. Voices, organizers and rallies by self-funded billionaire candidates are, yawn, part of the boring political spectacle (see “feeling weary…” above). Which brings us to the obvious that an imagined pair of democratic socialists would reveal: all the currently vying candidates for president of the US in the 2020 election, save one, want to reserve a place at the table for corporate persons (even though they don’t vote). Some want all the chairs filled by corporate persons (like the incumbent). Some a lot, some a few, some not many but still feel a need for their presence at the governing table. The only one who doesn’t believe that corporate persons (who do not vote) have a place at  the table in the governance of democracy is the democratic socialist. Right now there is only one. What if there were two?

Remember The Alamo

January 6, 2020

From the 1-5-20 Newark Advocate editorial (Our view: Local news is critical for a thriving Licking County, The Advocate Editorial board):

“As The Advocate celebrates its bicentennial in 2020, we felt it was appropriate to tout the importance of having a hometown news organization. It is especially important given the state of the news business.”

“The reasons for the decline of newspapers are many and extend far beyond the borders of Licking County. For example, classified revenue was decimated by the emergence of online sites like Craigslist, Cars.com and others.”

“While probably not a shocking stance for a newspaper editorial board to make, we believe the existence of local newspapers is vital to the health of a community. Local newspapers share what is going on at your schools, your City Councils and in your neighborhoods.

At its best, journalists hold those in power accountable and give voice to the disenfranchised. While pressing community leaders is not always popular, it does serve an important purpose. As has been said for ages, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” If politicians knew their actions would go unreported, we believe they would be far less responsive to the electorate.

“Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it,” Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Jay in 1786.

Locally, if The Advocate didn’t dedicate so many stories to the plight of area homeless, would the community have responded in such an aggressive way to address it? If the Advocate didn’t highlight the misguided effort to raise Newark salaries after an election, would the council have later trimmed those raises?”

“For without The Advocate, who are we to go to? Social media and message boards are great for gossip, but they lack the ability to confirm facts and dispel rumors. In fact social media is increasingly being used to spread misinformation.”

Analysis finds it to be of the utmost significance that the day after the paper copy of this editorial was disseminated, the “local news” in central Ohio was the closing of the Dispatch printing facility on the west side of Columbus (with the loss of close to 200 jobs). Gannett, the owner of The Advocate and new owner of The Dispatch, has moved the operation to its facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Wolf family (which also owned WBNS) sold The Dispatch to Gatehouse Media which last year sold it to Gannett. Astute readers will recall that Gannett closed its Newark printing facility (next to its now “for sale” downtown Newark office building) with a substantial loss of jobs, opting to sub contract the production of the paper newspaper to the Dispatch west Columbus printing facility. At the same time, Advocate local news acquired a “lag time” which did not permit the reporting of events within 12-16 hours of their occurrence. Because of the correlation of the paper copy with the online copy, items do not appear in a timely manner. Now “Local news is critical for a thriving Licking County” will have to accommodate an even longer “lag time” as it will be printed in another state, an additional 4+ hours drive from Newark. So much for “the importance of having a hometown news organization.” “The reasons for the decline of newspapers are many and extend far beyond the borders of Licking County.” The examples given are the dumb down cliché standards. No mention is made of the corporate greed that claims monopoly ownership of the local without any commitment to that very same local, let alone investment (no physical office, no printing, fewer employees, etc.). The body of the editorial is filled with the self aggrandizing “If politicians knew their actions would go unreported, we believe they would be far less responsive to the electorate.” But what of the corporate authorities who manage the politicians? In spite of the lofty “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it,” the “hometown news organization” feels free not to report corporate activity which is detrimental to those residing in Licking County. “Locally, if The Advocate didn’t dedicate so many stories” championing the ever growing prosperity of corporate authority then  local residents wouldn’t know they are so well off. Undercover investigative reporting? Not! (Gannett can’t afford to let its own workings be known by its customer base). “For without The Advocate, who are we to go to? Social media and message boards are great for gossip, but they lack the ability to confirm facts and dispel rumors. In fact social media is increasingly being used to spread misinformation.” And the Advocate is complicit in spreading NO Information. As of this posting, no news of Gannett’s closing of the Dispatch printing facility appears on the Advocate online news site.