Posts Tagged ‘GOP’

The Sound Of Silence

June 1, 2022

“The Gap report released jointly by the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio and the National Low Income Housing Coalition shows a deficit of 254,545 rental units that are affordable and available to the state’s 443,717 extremely low income households. That equates to only 43 affordable units for every 100 households.” The report was issued 4-21-22. It followed data available through 2020 and does not include pandemic related housing stress. As pointed out by the report, rents jumped by an average 11% in major Ohio cities in 2021 (now, well into 2022, probably higher overall). “COHHIO Executive Director Bill Faith called on state leaders to invest $308 million of the $5.6 billion in State Fiscal Recovery Funds that Ohio received from the American Rescue Plan Act to address the affordable housing shortage.” Remember Steve Stivers, former US Congressman from a gerrymandered district that snaked from the margins of Upper Arlington to the depths of south central Ohio? Of course you do. Who could forget his opting out of representing his constituents for a job with the Ohio Chamber, and the Trump intervened special election that followed? ““Employees need a safe, decent, affordable home to raise healthy families and be productive at work,” Ohio Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Steve Stivers said. “This one-time investment of Ohio’s Fiscal Recovery Funds on affordable housing will create jobs in the near-term, and will strengthen our workforce for the long-term.”” Duh? But Steve’s not alone in his public aspiration. “More than 200 companies and organizations are supporting COHHIO’s affordable housing plan, including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio REALTORS, the Ohio Bankers’ League, CareSource, Huntington Bank, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, PNC, and the Ohio Apartment Association.” It would be curious to learn if Park National Bank could be included. After all, Licking County’s Commissioners have a bit of an identity problem round about now. With Intel and all the big bucks development in the western portion, are we an urban center or an “Aw shucks” rural enclave encroached by modernity? No matter, “Erica Mulryan, Director of the Ohio Balance of State Continuum of Care, which oversees the homeless system in Ohio’s 80 non-urban counties, said rising rents and the lack of affordable housing are making it more difficult to get people out of shelter and into permanent homes. “Our agencies’ rehousing programs depend on private landlords to help get people out of homelessness. But it’s getting harder and harder to find landlords who are willing to partner with us,” Mulryan said. “Ohio’s rural and suburban counties desperately need more affordable housing.”” Get people out of shelter? What shelter? The leaders of Newark and Licking County have opted to not-be-able-to-afford-it. Meanwhile, in the county with a rural/urban identity problem, Kent Mallet gave this Economic Statistic in his Newark Advocate Answer Man column roughly a month after the Gap report: “The total volume of sold homes in Licking County through four months was $220,078,195. That’s a 21% increase from last year and a 51% increase from two years ago.” As pointed out in the previous blog posting, the county has increased its revenue stream in the last 2 years. This, in combination with the State Fiscal Recovery Funds included as part of ARP, makes the “can’t afford it” excuse rather disingenuous. Hear that silence? It’s not the duo of Simon and Garfunkel, rather the trio of Bubb, Black and Flowers, Licking County’s Commissioners.

The Mask

March 27, 2022

            “To understand the realities of power, whether in modern or ancient societies, is to acknowledge this gap between what elites claim they can do and what they are actually able to do. As the sociologist Philip Abrams pointed out long ago, failure to make this distinction has led social scientists up countless blind alleys, because the state is ‘not the reality which stands behind the mask of political practice. It is itself the mask which prevents our seeing political practice as it is.’ To understand the latter, he argued, we must attend to ‘the senses in which the state does not exist rather than to those in which it does’. We can now see that these points apply just as forcefully to ancient political regimes as they do to modern ones – if not more so.” (Pg. 430-31, The Dawn Of Everything: A New History of Humanity, David Graeber and David Wengrow) Lots of fanfare accompanied the signing into law of the bipartisan, big bucks infrastructure bill last year. The major political elites promised to finally address the issue of crumbling bridges, highways and other existing deteriorating physical necessities of a functioning community. Barely a whimper was noticed when it was disclosed that, here in Licking County, the petite political elites (the county commissioners) would choose to use the bulk of their allotment to build up the infrastructure required to support the anticipated Intel facility in Jersey Township. Undisclosed, except to the discerning, was the remarkable coincidence that the Intel negotiations took place concurrent with drafting of the bipartisan infrastructure legislation. What’s behind the mask? Currently other petite elites, Ohio House representatives Diane Grendell and Sarah Fowler Arthur, are co sponsoring Ohio HB 327 To amend sections 3314.03 and 3326.11 and to enact sections 3313.6027 and 4113.35 of the Revised Code to prohibit school districts, community schools, STEM schools, and state agencies from teaching, advocating, or promoting divisive concepts. Recently Representative Arthur was on record saying both sides of the holocaust should be presented when discussed. Is the mask a good fit? It was recently pointed out that in Zanesville Ohio “Only around 10% of the people who applied for a [Section 8] voucher in 2021 were actually housed, largely due to a lack of inventory.” “The Housing Choice Voucher Program [Section 8] is a federally-funded program that works as a way to help very low-income, elderly and disabled people pay their rent.” “That means around 90% of the people who currently need subsidized housing in Muskingum County aren’t able to get it. There simply aren’t enough landlords accepting vouchers and available units approved by federally set standards, according to ZMHA.” “”There’s a lot of reasons we struggle, but really right now it’s not as profitable here as it is in other communities,” Zanesville Community Development Director Matt Schley said. “It’s all about what the market can bare.”” (Zanesville’s lack of Section 8 housing leads to homelessness, instability Erin Couch for the Zanesville Times Recorder, 3-27-22) Does the market buy and sell masks?

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?

One Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

January 23, 2022

            The latest big news out of Licking County this past week also happened to make the national news. Intel is projecting to build (and install) a 20 billion dollar chip manufacturing facility (no, not the crunchy kind). It is to be located on the western border of Licking County with Delaware and Franklin Counties, just north of the New Albany business park complex. For someone visiting from Mars (no, not Elon Musk) it would only naturally look like an extension of Les Wexner’s New Albany (minus the white fence). Remember the multi million dollar freeway extension built specifically to link Les’s Easton with New Albany? But this digresses. Intel put out many “artist’s renderings” of the proposed project (does any reader recall the excitement over the artist renderings of the proposed “affordable” housing to be located behind Walmart on N. 21st St?). Most are from a drone cam point of view (surveillance is so today!). The prominent one being circulated the most shows a 7 story main building with the fab units receding to the zero perspective point in the back, and the main building surrounded by acres of parking lots (and cars) in the foreground. There is not a public transit kiosk or Disneyesque monorail terminal to be found. So much for IT being concerned with a carbon footprint, or building with the latter part of the 21st century in mind. No, it’s all going to happen by car over freeways, most of which lie outside Licking County. It is a race to the Los Angeles freeway rush hour bottom (or Boston, NYC, Chicago, or even, gasp, Cols.). But the breaking news announcement was staged in Newark, the county seat that identifies itself as just a small, all American town in the middle of a rural Ohio county. The fab plants’ location is a huge feather in the red MAGA cap of the county’s three GOP commissioners. It is something to continue the “Aw Shucks’ rural (us) vs urban (not us) identity paddy cake that has been going on for decades. Since the plant is on the margins of New Albany, and has access to CBus amenities, urban problems like affordable housing, child care, public transportation, hunger or access to medical care are someone else’s (what me worry?). The “Aw Shucks” rural small town of Newark can maintain its timeless aura, and appeal (like the pedestrian friendly downtown “destination” for which you need a car to access). Just so long as the 3,000 projected Intel employees pay the county taxes. JobsOhio has seen to it that Intel and its executives won’t.

White Kid With A Gun

November 21, 2021

            Local news of note this past week was the scheduled Third Thursday Conversations sponsored by The Freedom School in Licking County (11-18-21). It was well attended, primarily by folks deeply committed and involved with various community action groups. As this event took place the evening before the acquittal of the white kid with a gun, the immediate concern felt by everyone was the abysmal voter turnout in Newark with the election held earlier this month. Though not the focus of conversation throughout the evening, it lurked in the background like a malevolent spirit, a truly bad stench that could not be ignored. The next day’s acquittal of the white kid with a gun provided little surprise to conscientious students of American (and world) history as well as culture. On a micro level Analysis found this to replicate what was already written in this blog’s 12-9-18 post entitled Polarity And The Burning Of The Reichstag. In this case, instead of a large political apparatus instigating the creation of a catastrophic conflict in order to use force to justify an illegitimate resolution to the manufactured conflict, one found the essential “manufacture a conflict, find oneself losing (failing), commit murder, and claim self defense.” [For those of you keeping score at home, within the purview of an instituted government with an established justice/security mechanism, vigilantes exist only in response to a manufactured conflict. The rest of the script reads as written on any playground] This movie has played, and been playing, many times before. Analysis references the George Zimmerman defense in the murder of Travon Martin (the white kid with a gun was losing to the black kid with the Skittles who was winning). Which brings us back to the spirit lurking behind the scene, the bad stench which cannot be extinguished. With l8% of Newark’s registered voters determining 80% of the folks governing for the city of 50,000+, it only stands to reason that 82% of citizens who could exercise what democracy privileges them (a say in their governance) chose to say “Why bother?” We’ve all heard the high school STEM teachers say that nature abhors a vacuum. The nature of politics is that it adores a vacuum. Where democracy is absent, authoritarianism fills the void immediately. Analysis finds the 82% complicit in fostering an authoritarian government for the rest of us. Imagine, a white kid with a gun could be the way America governs itself; all in the name of self defense at that!

Another Lesson In The Reproduction Of A Learned Lack Of Imagination

November 6, 2021

            The 2021 election was this past week. All 8 Newark City Council seats were contested. All 8 went Republican though two races involved incumbent Democrats and one open seat was previously Democrat. The national news spotlight was on what took place in states like Virginia, New Jersey, or cities like Seattle, Minneapolis, etc. Their spin and prognostications were all about the upcoming 2022 mid terms as well as 2024 presidential election. But Newark reality speaks even more sadly than any of these Nostradamus’ crystal ball gazing’s. Conventional analysis swirls around turnout, charisma and politics as a game. The Licking County Board of Elections gives county wide registered voter turnout at 24.2% of total eligible. Since the GOP won, there is no talk of fraud or the election being rigged. Low turnout seems to favor the GOP. Yet precinct statistics show that is primarily who turned out, with the 1st and 7th ward having a percentage of eligible voters casting ballots at just above 11%, and the  5th showing a close to 30%. Margin of victory, even with low turnout, was consistent with the state average of 55% to 45% (with Newark roughly 60/40). Flag loyalty (party designation) appears to continue as the dominant factor in voting preference. This was evidenced by the veritable lack of charisma with the majority of winning candidates. Given a police line up, most voters who cast ballots couldn’t pick out their next batch of city government, let alone individual ward representative. Veritable unknowns now decide for the residents of the 1st and 7th district. Again, low turnout has much to do with where to reside made by aspiring politicos. Finally, politics as a game. If it were so, then the next two years will witness a game played with all the playing pieces having the same color and significance. A perverse kind of equality by virtue of no difference. And that’s where Newark’s outcome speaks sadness. Difference has no seat on the 2022 Newark City Council. Difference will have no representative to plead its case, promote its ideas. Nothing to temper power or ambition. Main street has become a one way. Analysis finds a learned lack of imagination to be the primary reason for the abysmal voter turnout. Newark’s 2021 election results provide another lesson in the reproduction of a learned lack of imagination. Will a lack of imagination help solve the city’s very real problems in 2022?

Punch And Judy 2021

October 25, 2021

            In a news exclusive, Rolling Stone headlined: “Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff” (Hunter Walker, 10-24-21). The article swirls around the accounts of two anonymous individuals involved with the planning and organizing of rallies and events prior to the grand finale of January 6. The members of congress included “Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)” as well as Georgia’s Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Walker reports that in an email to Rolling Stone “Nick Dyer, who is Greene’s communications director, said she was solely involved in planning to object to the electoral certification on the House floor.” “Dyer also suggested the public is far more concerned with issues occurring under President Joe Biden than they are with what happened in January. “No one cares about Jan. 6 when gas prices are skyrocketing, grocery store shelves are empty, unemployment is skyrocketing, businesses are going bankrupt, our border is being invaded, children are forced to wear masks, vaccine mandates are getting workers fired, and 13 members of our military are murdered by the Taliban and Americans are left stranded in Afghanistan,” Dyer wrote.” Analysis finds that to be a pretty gloom and doom, negative and dire to say the least, assessment of America today. Shelves were empty, unemployment was skyrocketing and businesses were going bankrupt in 2020 when Biden wasn’t President. Just trying to steer the conversation like Youngkin is doing with school board controversies in Virginia? Perhaps. But Analysis is intrigued by the description of America presented by Dyer, not in the strategies of rhetoric. What if it is true? If it were true, one would expect the repercussions to be pervasive, across the board. September 2021 unemployment rate was at 4.8%, the lowest since before the pandemic. Supply chain issues are causing shelves to be emptied. Economist point to the pent up demand creating a tsunami of buying as one of the factors involved with this gap (and our methodology is as old as the extinct Sears Roebuck catalogue – we order it and expect it to arrive on demand). As for businesses going bankrupt, as of this writing the S&P was at 35,700. It has and continues to rise. In the past that would be an indicator of confidence in the ability to make money in America. But wait, didn’t we just assume that Dyer’s description of America was true? If the dire assessment is so, that conditions in America suck, then what creates the rising value of stock certificates, continuously increasing the wealth of the 1% who own most of it? Analysis finds a disjunct between what Dyer says (as spokesman for MTG) and what the financial wealth actually being made and determined says. Analysis finds that, true or false, Dyer is trying to steer the conversation (and have MTG benefit from the fear and anxiety it creates). But Analysis also finds that, true or false, the controversy and strife caused by “the conversation” has not dampened the ability of the wealthy to make more money from their money. It seems that the greater the chaos and crisis, the more opportunity there is to reap financial reward for those not caught in the fray. Analysis finds it all to be an obverse Punch and Judy Show, where the puppet masters are heartily enjoying (and benefitting from) the spectacle of their audience pulling each other’s strings while beating themselves senseless.

It’s Football Time

September 17, 2021

            Roar, roar. The fans are back in the stands. America’s beloved cultural pastime is back. Roar, roar. Football forms character, team loyalty, and leadership ability. All in the face of adversity! Want to be a stand out? Include football on your résumé. Mike Gibbons touts his football background as reason to nominate him to run as the GOP candidate to fill Portman’s senate seat. And what about Anthony Gonzalez? Groomed in the gridiron of the Horseshoe by the best (and most highly remunerated) football program in the country, Gonzalez parlayed his “name recognition” to pull in a US Rep seat from north east Ohio. Folks were a bit disappointed that he unquestioningly subscribed to the Trump agenda during his tenure but salvation came after the January 6, 2021 terrorist takeover of the Capital. Gonzalez voted to impeach the former president. Perhaps a modicum of leadership and character rubbed off on the former star OSU wide receiver. Until, that is, the news on 9-16-21 announced that he would not run for reelection, essentially caving to the vitriol of the Trump dominated GOP. “What he’s saying: “Please know that every word has meant the world to me and given me hope that the chaotic political environment that currently infects our country will only be temporary,” Gonzalez said in announcing his retirement. “While my desire to build a fuller family life is at the heart of my decision, it is also true that the current state of our politics, especially many of the toxic dynamics inside our own party, is a significant factor in my decision,” he added.” (Julia Sclafani for Axios, GOP Rep Gonzalez retires in face of Trump-backed primary, 9-16-21) “”I don’t believe he can ever be president again,” Gonzalez told The New York Times of Trump. “Most of my political energy will be spent working on that exact goal.” Of the broader GOP, Gonzalez said. “politically the environment is so toxic, especially in our own party right now.”” (CNN’s Chris Cillizza, This retiring Republican just handed more power to Donald Trump, 9-17-21). Analysis shows the obvious — if you can’t win, you stop playing; unless you believe the “Most of my political energy will be spent… (along with fellow football great O.J. Simpson)”. Which begs the question “What team was he on?” Was it his party (the GOP), his constituents that he represented, or his sense of what is morally right? To highlight Mr. Gonzalez’s callowness (though his “football” background would never allow for such a description) Analysis considers North Carolina’s Reverend William J. Barber whose Moral Mondays were opposed by jailing’s and death threats (including his own), all in the name of standing for what is morally right. Now THAT’s a leader and team player. Roar, roar.

Vigilante Justice – it’s not your grand dad’s variety anymore

September 2, 2021

            The news today was of the SCOTUS 5-4 decision to let stand, for the time being, a new Texas law outlawing abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy. What makes the law unique and different from other state early pregnancy termination legislation is that it also outlaws state enforcement of the law’s mandate by government entities. It does, however, make provisions for a kind of citizen arrest, allowing for civil suits to be executed on anyone violating the law through being involved with the facilitation of an abortion after 6 weeks. This citizen enforcement, through civil suits, is a kind of vigilante justice in that the prosecution, as well as the police power, is left up to individual citizens. In the case of the Texas law, these vigilantes would be the collective of citizens found in the various right to life organizations. And Governor Abbot’s vigilante posse is saddled up and ready to ride. The AP’s Stephen Groves headlined “GOP-led states see Texas law as model to restrict abortions” (9-2-21) signaling that other states with GOP legislatures and governors are ready to follow suit (especially given the SCOTUS imprimatur). Based on its track record with ALEC and other “model” legislation, Ohio will no doubt join the other ditto heads. Today news pundits and analysts have parsed the SCOTUS decision with an eye on Roe v Wade. Analysis shows there is more at stake than that since at its core the law is about outlawing something locally which is currently legal federally by means of locally legitimated vigilante justice. It is the obverse of present day marijuana legislation locally made legal while federally being illegal. What if the federal law allowed for marijuana (or alcohol) possession/consumption and the local (state) law was modelled after the Texas anti abortion legislation that just went into effect? No government enforcement allowed but individual citizens could sue anyone aiding, abetting, or providing marijuana (sold or shared) with a minimum award guaranteed (essentially a bounty for enforcing the law). Hitting closer to home, or rather the homeless, we have Newark Ohio’s Mayor Jeff Hall who is all for homeless shelters, as long as they are not in the city of Newark. What if the GOP dominated city council would oblige the Mayor a’ la the Texas model? SCOTUS has ruled repeatedly that being homeless is not illegal. The Newark city council, with the mayor’s approval, could now enact a legitimate end run, forbidding government enforcement but allowing any citizen or posse to sue anyone who provides comfort, aids or recognizes the homeless within the city of Newark. This legal methodology could also be used to reintroduce legitimate redlining and racial segregation. The possibilities are endless. Vigilante justice – it’s not your grand dad’s variety anymore.

Live Free Or Die

August 29, 2021

            “Live free or die.” May be the New Hampshire state motto, but it could also be applied to the logic of many staunch anti vaxxers. In characteristic analytic gallows humor fashion, Analysis wonders if, at the funerals of anti vaxxers who have succumbed to Covid 19 (recently Caleb Wallace in addition to the previous passing of Marc Bernier, Dick Farrel, David Parker, et al.), attendees didn’t casually remark that the deceased died doing what they loved – being free. Liberty IS an oft repeated core rationale of those opposed to vaccines. “Mitt Romney to unvaccinated: ‘Your liberty affects my health.’” By Bryan Schott for The Salt Lake Tribune (8-27-21) gives one pro vax rebuttal by a former presidential candidate: “The most vocal anti-vaccine and anti-mask citizens like to point to individual liberty to justify their choices, Romney said. “People say, ‘I want my liberty.’ Well, your liberty affects my health. When that occurs, we have to come to some sort of agreement,” he said. Romney also favors vaccine mandates for private businesses. If he was still in the private sector, he said he would require his employees to be vaccinated or be responsible for getting tested every week.”CNN EXCLUSIVE ‘Something has to be done’: After decades of near-silence from the CDC, the agency’s director is speaking up about gun violence by Elizabeth Cohen, John Bonifield and Justin Lape, CNN (8-28-21) “For the first time in decades, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the nation’s top public health agency — is speaking out forcefully about gun violence in America, calling it a “serious public health threat.” “Something has to be done about this,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in an exclusive interview with CNN. “Now is the time — it’s pedal to the metal time.” This summer alone has seen a spree of gun injuries and deaths, and the weekends have been especially violent, with an average of 200 people killed and 472 injured by guns each weekend in the United States, not including suicides, according to an analysis done by the Gun Violence Archive for CNN. That’s nearly 3.4 people shot every hour every weekend.”The scope of the problem is just bigger than we’re even hearing about, and when your heart wrenches every day you turn on the news, you’re only hearing the tip of the iceberg,” Walensky said. “We haven’t spent the time, energy and frankly the resources to understand this problem because it’s been so divided.” Kinda sounds like Walensky is talking about the same subject that Romney is. Not. Romney is on a slippery slope. He is cognizant of the rational basis of public health regulations and licensing (everything from air quality to machine safety to beauty shops) which is why he unabashedly states “your liberty affects my health.” But he is oblivious to the inadvertent kinship he forms with Walensky. After all, accounting for gun related deaths/hospitalizations, regulating ownership as well as availability, etc. is very much akin to keeping tabs on Covid deaths/hospitalization, requiring masking, vaccines and/or tests, etc. Then, again, Walensky’s low key “it’s been so divided” keeps the Republican Romney ever ready to jettison reason for the sake of maintaining ties with “live free or die.”