Posts Tagged ‘Racism’


July 26, 2020

“Systemic”, “structural” these are two words increasingly used today, especially in light of the Black Lives Matter movement and racism. Most people don’t “see” it. Recent news reporting by Kent Mallett for the Newark Advocate (7-25-20) gives a thumbnail totality of the terms, almost like a little snow globe – a complete environment. Entitled “Fraizer says he’d won Ohio House seat without Householder’s money”, it is accompanied by a photo of Mark Fraizer (and family) being sworn in by Larry Householder as the new 71stDistrict House Representative (why, there’s Bill Seitz in the background!). Householder (and others) are now caught up in Federal charges of a huge bribery scheme with regards to HB6 and the nuclear/coal energy bailout; an involved scheme complicated by money being moved around through PACs and lobbies to fund primary races of candidates who would ultimately support Householder as chair of the Ohio House and thereby insure passage of HB6, et al. Hence Fraizer’s pontificating on eschewing Householder’s monetary support as well as claiming the need for a repeal of HB6 in a separate op ed (7-26-20, Newark Advocate). But that’s the whole point, Mark. The money was spent on getting you elected, which you barely managed to do. Analysis finds context is needed to realize the entire snow globe environment (when you shake it, money appears to float down on the appropriate candidates). Fraizer can self righteously point out that little Licking County Republican funding propelled his candidacy. It was, after all, a GOP primary. But as the convoluted bribery scheme manifests through performance, that’s not the way the system works. The structure of “party funding”, for both parties, involves marginal local funding expenditure with the bulk of money contributed to the local party being forwarded to the central Ohio party. In turn this central party can match the funds with private interests (or PACs, undisclosed “dark money”, etc.) to cherry pick which races and candidates are vital to furthering the party’s interest (and which should be denied for being uppity populists). In turn these enhanced funds can be used to purchase negative ads, directly or indirectly assaulting the favored candidate’s primary opponent. All of which Mark Fraizer can sanctimoniously deny, the negative ads, as being funded by his candidacy. “They come from outside the district.” (hand washing optional) Which ultimately leads up to being sworn in by the House Speaker, who’s bidding the newly elected candidate won’t bother to challenge. That’s the legitimate version which ultimately corrupts into the pay to play scheme Larry Householder is accused of benefitting from. It is systemic, structural in the way it displaces ownership (accountability) of funding and power in order to manage who and what represents citizens through party control. Troy Balderson’s election would be another snow globe structure of displaced power and campaign financing. Now imagine all this as a system or structure to maintain racial supremacy…


No Collusion

July 18, 2019

When one won’t learn in the school of theory, one is forced to live it in the school of hard knocks. For the nearly two years prior to the release of the Mueller report, Americans were inundated with a “no collusion” branding sales pitch from their president and master jingle-ist (as well as jingoist). After the release of the Mueller report Mr. Jingle doubled down on “no collusion.” Many begged to differ, interpreting the report’s findings otherwise, advocating for immediate action. In the end, the jingle permeated American culture and became one with the jingoist (as well as originating jingle-ist). Sigh. Emboldened by this subtle yet extensive marketing strategy, Dear Leader took a varied track this past week. Going overtly racist, then not backing off but doubling and even tripling down on his attack of four US citizens, the master jingoist, as well as jingle-ist, entered the echo chamber of one of his “re-election” rallies in Greenville NC, 7-17-19 (he’s been officially running for re-election since the day he was sworn in as president). The following day USA Today headlined: Donald Trump blames supporters for ‘send her back’ taunts against black lawmaker (Michael Collins, David Jackson, John Fritze, 7-18-19). “”I didn’t say that,” Trump said, referring to the “send her back” chant. “They did.” Asked why he did not stop the chant, Trump said: “I think I did – I started speaking very quickly.” The chant followed an attack by Trump on Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., early in his rally. The first time the chant broke out, Trump continued his speech and did not tell the audience to stop. The second time supporters began chanting, Trump stood back from the lectern, paused in his remarks and listened as the crowd repeated the words nearly a dozen times.” Analysis finds that the master jingoist has been more than successful with branding his “no collusion” jingle.

“In Greek mythology, Echo was an Oread who resided on Mount Cithaeron. Zeus loved consorting with beautiful nymphs and often visited them on Earth. Eventually, Zeus’s wife, Hera, became suspicious, and came from Mt. Olympus in an attempt to catch Zeus with the nymphs. Echo, by trying to protect Zeus (Zeus ordered her to protect him), endured Hera’s wrath, and Hera made her only able to speak the last words spoken to her. So when Echo met Narcissus and fell in love with him, she was unable to tell him how she felt and was forced to watch him as he fell in love with himself.” (Wiki)

Self Evident

July 5, 2019

“Watch what he does, not what he says.”  This profundity facilitated a byline for many political commentators, pundits and theorists (of all leanings) with the ascendency of the Trump presidency at the end of 2016. 7-4-19 found the POTUS introjecting his by now well established ideology into the nation’s annual founding celebration.  The President chose to speak from the steps of the Lincoln memorial to a crowd divided by a fence erected across even the waters of the reflecting pool. “Trump set aside a historic piece of real estate — a stretch of the Mall from the Lincoln Monument to the midpoint of the reflecting pool — for a mix of invited military members, Republican and Trump campaign donors and other bigwigs. It’s where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I have a dream” speech, Barack Obama and Trump held inaugural concerts and protesters swarmed into the water when supporters of Richard Nixon put on a July 4, 1970, celebration, with the president sending taped remarks from California.” (Trump asks Americans to ‘stay true to our cause’, Darlene Superville, Calvin Woodward, Lynn Berry for AP, 7-4-19) Admission was by authorized ticket only. Of course, in his speech from behind rain drenched bullet proof glass, Dear Leader read the mandatory “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Behind him, in the select “made for TV” entourage representative of his “invited military members, Republican and Trump campaign donors and other bigwigs”, was not a single person of color.

The Updated New Normal

June 25, 2019

The news of the past week included an allegation of rape. E. Jean Carroll claims the current president raped her in the mid 90’s. The headline of an online The Hill interview says it all — EXCLUSIVE: Trump vehemently denies E. Jean Carroll allegation, says ‘she’s not my type’ (Jordan Fabian and Saagar Enjeti, 6-24-19). In a Washington Post op ed (Republicans believed Juanita Broaddrick. The new rape allegation against Trump is more credible. 6-22-19) George Conway (yes, THAT George Conway) crafts an essay examining why the rape claims of Juanita Broaddrick against Bill Clinton differed or were similar to that of E. Jean Carroll. He also looks at how the current president used the victim’s testimony to distract from the “Access Hollywood” tape revelations and the present use. Did Analysis mention the words “victim” and “used’? Missing in all this is the underlying, near universal (in terms of civilized world) definition of rape as an act of violence, with a perpetrator and victim. A few days earlier (6-20-19)’s Jeremy Pelzer headlined Gov. Mike DeWine: End statute of limitations for rape in wake of Ohio State sex abuse report. “DeWine acknowledged that state lawmakers have been reluctant in recent years to extend the statute of limitations for sex crimes. But he said the statute of limitations should be different for sex crimes because victims often don’t — or can’t — come forward until long afterward. “I would just ask members of the General Assembly, what would you tell your constituents today – or what would you tell your constituents tomorrow – if we come upon another tragedy like this where we have a monster who has been doing things like this and he’s alive, but…we can’t prosecute?” DeWine asked.” Analysis finds that with the POTUS it is not so much the statute of limitations as it is that his justice department will not indict a sitting president. In his defense, the president says “She’s not my type.” He’s said that before when questioned about the other women who’ve made claims of his sexual violence. Analysis finds all this troubling. Rape is troubling enough. But equally, if not more troubling, is the use of such violence as cannon fodder in the political struggle for governance of our democracy, akin to rape as a weapon of war. The most troubling is the sense of normalcy that now accompanies such a response to acts of violence. One critical thinker said we are at the point where diners in a restaurant enjoying an evening out will be completely nonplused by an ICE raid storming in and rounding up the kitchen staff that had just prepared their meal. “Not to bother. Just the authorities doing their job and carting off that type.” Analysis can’t help but wonder what type the president has been violent with?

“Stanley ends the short flick with the acknowledgement that “When Fascism starts to feel normal, we’re all in trouble.”” (This blog, The New Normal, 10-16-18 (video: If You’re Not Scared About Fascism in the U.S., You Should Be. By Jason Stanley, 10-15-18, NY Times,))

Family Tradition

May 2, 2019

White supremacy came out of the closet in August of 2017. Reaction to the terrorist front ran the gamut from “Gasp!” to being poo pooed as only the workings of a handful of wing nuts to “Very fine people…” Of course, white supremacy in the US is nothing new. It has been lurking in the water, mostly below the surface, for over 150 years. It’s that surface that has many concerned, especially when it is broken as it obviously was in 2017. Cultural thinkers and workers say we have become a culture preeminently preoccupied with surface. White supremacy has depth? This is the most shocking concern which Charlottesville revealed (and too numerous racist terrorist attacks since). News outlets focus on the surface, few bother with penetrating the depths. Groups like the ACLU, SPLC, ADL, or Black Lives Matter will say that the depths of white supremacy in the US is found mostly through the stranglehold on institutions that is maintained by those oblivious of its history. May Day (5-1-19) found news exposing this nuanced institutionalization of white supremacy. AFP (one of many) reported US to give migrants DNA tests to prove family ties. “US border authorities plan to give migrant families DNA tests to determine whether or not the adults and children are related, Department of Homeland Security officials said Wednesday. A “Rapid DNA” test program is being launched in several places along the US-Mexico frontier, where tens of thousands of undocumented migrants have been crossing the border each month, many in family units asking for asylum. US officials say some involve adults using unrelated children as a means of entering and remaining in the United States, and the new tests aim at preventing this.” “”We know the problem we are seeing, we know these are fraudulent family units,” an official said on condition of anonymity.” Analysis finds that on the surface this sounds pretty authoritative! Elsewhere, same day (5-1-19), Karen Kasler for reports: Northeast Ohio Lawmakers Hope to Encourage Adoption with Tax Credit Proposal. “There are around 16-thousand kids in foster care in Ohio right now. And two state representatives from northeast Ohio have proposed changes to the current adoption tax credit that they say will help those kids and the families that want to bring them home, as well as the state.” “And the lawmakers said they know well the benefits. [Rep. Reggie] Stoltzfus and his wife adopted six years ago, and [Rep. Janine] Boyd is the adopted daughter of former Rep. Barbara Boyd and hopes to be an adoptive parent herself someday.” Laudatory indeed until someone wants to prove “these are fraudulent family units” through a “Rapid DNA” test. Wherefore problem? Yes Virginia, in societies without deeply engrained bureaucratic institutions, neglected children are often subsumed into existing “family units”. In institutionalized bureaucracies the legal definitions of these same children vary as well as what constitutes adoption. An ideological or philosophical, even religious disposition formulates the interpretation of what is “a child in need”, “adoption” and “family”. The current administration’s Department of Homeland Security’s “Rapid DNA” tests of migrants, to verify “family units”, is based on the racial purity disposition championed by white supremacists (Migrant “family units” might include adoptees? Gasp!). The myth of racial purity is fundamental to the advocates of white supremacy. Such a myth would weaponize DNA testing to serve its pseudoscience purposes of ethnic purity (and cleansing) while eliding the very real, and varied conditions and situations of individual children, families and social communities. It goes without saying that the white supremacist definition of what constitutes a family would exclude any falling outside the white supremacist orthodoxy.

Privatized Truth And Justice Commissions

December 13, 2018

““We are living in an age of historical reckoning,” Dr. Mohler wrote in a letter prefacing the report. “The moral burden of history requires a more direct and far more candid acknowledgment of the legacy of this school in the horrifying realities of American slavery, Jim Crow segregation, racism, and even the avowal of white racial supremacy.”” What report? What school? And who is Dr. Mohler? Turns out the school and the report are “Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, one of oldest and most influential evangelical Christian seminaries in the U.S., [which] released a report Wednesday detailing the school’s extensive historical ties to slavery, the Confederacy and white supremacy.” “Albert Mohler Jr., the longtime president of Southern Seminary, said that although the denomination had acknowledged its slaveholding roots, it was important to look specifically at the role the school had played. He said he took the investigation Princeton University did into its ties to slavery as a model.” This all from a Wall Street Journal article by Ian Lovett entitled Southern Baptist Seminary Acknowledges Past Ties to White Supremacy Internal reports finds influential Christian school has been ‘intertwined with the history of American slavery’ (12-12-18). Reporting is given of the various “baby steps” that preceded this (such as the Southern Baptist Convention apologizing in 1995, electing its first black president in 2012, and denouncing the alt-right in 2017. Analysis must note that the “alt-right” didn’t just burst upon the scene, fully formed like Athena from the forehead of Zeus in 2017 but had been very much in the works throughout the last century leading up to 2017). “Among the report’s findings are that all four founders of Southern Seminary, which was established in 1859, owned slaves and early faculty and trustees defended the practice as “righteous”; during the Civil War, the seminary supported the Confederacy; and, once the War was over, the seminary opposed racial equality well into the 20th century.” NPR’s reporting on this claims the Southern Baptist Convention itself came about in 1845 after the national Baptist convention, located in the north and opposed to slavery, refused to seat delegates from the south. ““The history of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is intertwined with the history of American slavery and the commitment to white supremacy which supported it,” the 71-page report, which was commissioned a year ago by the seminary’s president, says.” “James P. Boyce, one of the seminary’s founders and the school’s first president, served in the Confederate army. Joseph P. Brown, a major donor and chairman of the board of trustees from 1880 to 1894, earned much of his fortune using the labor of black convicts in coal mines. The report found that many of the black men were entrapped by the legal system and cites contemporary accounts that compare conditions in the mines to “hell on earth.”” Analysis finds this to be another iteration of America’s very privatized version of a Truth and Justice Commission. American allegiance to late term, corporate capitalism proscribes any comprehensive national “conversation” on race or class (ironically during a time of “nationalist” politics!). Approval and preference enthusiastically promote dribbles of isolated pockets of privatized truth and justice commission reports. Analysis finds this to be simply a further continuation of the history of America’s micromanaged recognition of rights – not all at once, not all equally, and for sure, just a little at a time. There are those who will allow for change, but only if they control it. Uncontrolled change might be bad for business, or in this case, the business of religion.

Increasingly Unbearable

August 24, 2018

8-22-18 Dear Leader tweeted “I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.” @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews”. What is this all about? “Large scale killings of farmers”?? Analysis is not alone. Many news sources have pondered this as there is no indication of mass killings in this part of the world. Corruption in government, yes. Mass killings, no. The South African government was outraged by this reference to something that is not (remember the illegal voters and the president’s electoral commission which, along with the claims for the biggest inauguration crowd in history, just got replaced by other newer non events?). But asking the Secretary of State to closely study a non event is quite another matter (especially when you’ve recalled him from continued talks with North Korea after signaling that the breakthrough merited a Nobel Prize for the POTUS). The Washington Post gave some background to a very prickly situation in Zimbabwe and South Africa: “stretches back to the early 20th century, when South Africa’s Natives Land Act of 1913 stripped black people of the right to own land outside specific plots set aside for them. The restriction tightened during the apartheid era, as the governing National Party created desolate ‘homelands’ for black people.” Although a legal framework for land restitution emerged with the end of apartheid in 1994, the process has been “slow and riddled with bureaucratic uncertainty.”” Salon’s Chauncy Devega cites “In the Huffington Post, Jessica Schulberg and Akbar Shahid Ahmed explain that 25 years after the end of apartheid, South African whites (about 8 percent of the population) still own 72 percent of privately-held farmland, while about 10 percent of the total population — overwhelmingly but not exclusively white — control 90 percent of South Africa’s wealth.” (Trump goes full white supremacy with South Africa tweet: Does he want a “race war”? 8-24-18). Devega goes on to reference that “Meanwhile the Guardian’s Jason Burke debunks the claim that white farmers are being singled out for racist violence, writing that murders of farmers are at a 20-year low, and have declined consistently since the late 1990s. These lower numbers “contradict recent reports in Australian and other western media describing white farmers in South Africa facing ‘a surge in violence,’” he writes, adding that dozens of nonwhite farmers have also been killed in recent years.” Devega, being interested in the white supremacy motivation of the POTUS policy, disregards the global implication. Burke’s colleague at The Gaurdian takes up where Devega fails to go. The banner line of Jason Wilson’s in depth study reveals the story – White farmers: how a far-right idea was planted in Donald Trump’s mind. The far right: The idea that there is a ‘genocide’ of white farmers in South Africa was once the province of conspiracy theorists but, thanks to News Corp’s media promotion, it has moved into the policy realm (8-24-18). The incestuous relationship between News Corp, white supremacist groups and Donald Trump becomes apparent. “The Charleston shooter Dylann Roof was obsessed, like many other white supremacists, with “Rhodesia”, as Zimbabwe was known under white minority rule. As the Christian Science Monitor reported in the wake of his massacre, the fates of the two countries are “held up as proof of the racial inferiority of blacks; and the diminished stature of whites is presented as an ongoing genocide that must be fought”.” The POTUS connection lies with the former Australian immigrant, now American citizen, and loyal friend of the prez, Rupert Murdoch (founder/owner of News Corp, Wall Street Journal, Fox News, etc.). “In March, the alleged plight of the farmers became the subject of a campaign by News Corp tabloids in Australia. In a preview of Trump’s response, the News Corp intervention led the then home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, to float a short-lived proposal to give preferential immigration treatment to farmers. The move was praised by white nationalists on forums like Stormfront, and cited by rightwingers of all kinds as evidence of the issue’s importance.” “But, as in Australia, the crucial step in creating a policy proposal issue appears to have been advocacy by a News Corp outlet, in this case Tucker Carlson’s program. Indeed, News Corp now appears to be a crucial conduit for far-right ideas to reach governments. This development has been celebrated overnight by the racist far right, but so too has the whole process by which “white genocide” has become a matter of broader public debate. Earlier this year, an anonymous podcaster on the white genocide-focused “White Rabbit Radio” said: “This was the province of Stormfront five, 10 years ago, white genocide in South Africa. Now it is mainstream.”” The human toll of this collaboration of manufactured non-existent issues and episodes, and their strong armed dissemination can be evidenced by an unrelated report of the same day. Salon’s Rachel Leah headlines: Why are Fox News reporters fleeing the network? Two reporters reportedly cited objections to the direction of the network since Donald Trump became president (8-24-18). “Two Fox News reporters in the last three weeks have departed from the network, reportedly after feeling frustrated with the cable news giant’s direction and tone in the Trump era. Adam Housley, a Los Angeles-based reporter who had been a part of the network since 2001, plans to depart the network soon. Two former Fox News employees told Politico that Housley complained of a decline in opportunity for non-pundit personalities.” “Conor Powell, who served as Middle East correspondent at Fox News for nine years, reportedly left Fox News for similar reasons. Powell’s former colleague and friend told Politico that the reporter felt like network had moved away from news in favor of opinion. Both Powell and Housley’s reasons for leaving the network after years of working there, signal frustration over a network that seemed to marginalize the news and those who were reporting it, a problem that has become increasingly unbearable with President Donald Trump in office.”

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,, 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.”


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.


Cream With Your Coffee?

January 18, 2018

As part of its MLK Jr. Commemoration 2018 OSU Newark presented A Dream Deferred: The Uncertain Future of DACA and Dreamers by Derek DeHart. It was a short, informative talk followed by a Q&A. DeHart introduced himself and his “Owner Product,” DACA Time. His power point presentation covered how it came to be, its growth and how it was funded, etc. There was even a visual with all the corporate sponsors and their size of support (kinda like a NASCAR racing suit). He covered just about everything you would like to know about DACA – the less than 20 year history, the current situation, the pro’s and con’s, etc. Analysis found the sterling presentation troubling. No, not on account of what was said, or the DACA situation, but rather on account of what was not said, and the speculative reasons for its absence. After the given history of the legislation (introduced during the Bush presidency, reintroduced several times during the Obama years only to become an executive order by that president until its vehement dismissal by the current administration) the various descriptions, pro’s and con’s as well as responses to questions were a bit too antiseptic. There was no racial undertone or component given as reasons or descriptions for the many abysmal legislative failures (especially the Obama years attempts). There was no racial reason or logic given in the responses to the questions. We were mainly to believe that “dreamers’ could be anyone from any country – pretty generic. It was as though the entire matter was primarily an administrative concern, something to be managed much as a soft ware program.  The following morning Reuter’s headlined “Trump administration bars Haitians from U.S. visas for low-skilled work” by Yeganeh Torbati. Today’s media kerfuffle’s are over whether a given personality is a “racist.” Analysis would like to point out that during the MLK years the struggle was around institutional racism. Policies and laws were deemed racist. The “conversation” (if one would like to politely call it that) was around this state of affairs being unacceptable within the constitutional framework of the U.S. And it was spoken as such, named as such. The institutions, laws and policies of the state of Alabama were openly spoken of as racist, discriminatory and demeaning. That the person of its governor was also such was somewhat secondary. The prize was changing the institutions, laws and policies. DeHart’s presentation, as well as his responses to audience questions elided race and spoke of it not at all. Why was this? Analysis proffers this from Reuter’s Magazine: The One Percent War by Chrystia Freeland 1-26-12, a very long and astute article of particular interest to students of social change and its history: “Branko Milanovic, a World Bank economist who is one of the leading students of global income distribution, writes in his latest book, “The Haves and the Have-Nots,” that it is far easier to secure funding for research about poverty than about income inequality. The reason for that is “rather simple even if often wisely ignored,” Milanovic says. “Inequality studies are not particularly appreciated by the rich.” Indeed, Milanovic says he was “once told by the head of a prestigious think tank in Washington, D.C., that the institution’s board was very unlikely to fund any work that had income or wealth inequality in its title. Yes, they would finance anything to do with poverty alleviation, but inequality was an altogether different matter. Why? Because ‘my’ concern with the poverty of some people actually projects me in a very nice, warm glow: I am ready to use my money to help them… But inequality is different. Every mention of it raises in fact the issue of the appropriateness or legitimacy of my income.”” Analysis can’t help but note that the struggle led by MLK Jr. was not introduced or preceded by a flow chart showing its inception, justification and source of funding. In turn, Analysis notes that those involved in the “conversation” spoke out and said things that today are not said (as evidenced not only by DeHart’s presentation but local group “conversations” that rely on corporate sponsorship for their very existence). In an analogous way (though he eventually regretted saying it) Malcolm X was pretty insightful: “It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What you do? You integrate it with cream; you make it weak. If you pour too much cream in, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it’ll put you to sleep.”