Posts Tagged ‘Racism’

Why Donald Trump Needs People To Be Poor

June 6, 2017

In his inimitable, deeply personal manner Newark’s US Representative, Pat Tiberi, emailed his constituents a survey. “What are your priorities to create jobs? Your priorities are my priorities. Your thoughts are important to me.” followed by the GOP house menu. The survey presents the appearance of propriety as the party is now the government, no need to bother. The party itself is now evolving with the “old” guard (McCain, Kasich, etc.) and the new populist/nationalists, again, presenting the appearance of being irreconcilable. Trump came in forming a weird coalition of uber wealth (his cabinet is the richest ever) and those who appear to have not so much (really?). Those who appear to have not so much either find their modicum of success to be a plateau or are without success altogether. Each triumphs the Trump presidency for a different reason. All the statistics from the “Occupy” days haven’t disappeared and the ubers’ wealth is superfluous, i.e. it is not generating more wealth. The not so’s find their overcapacity to work is, in an odd way, superfluous, i.e. that there either is not better compensation for their work, or the expenditure of greater work effort will not greatly improve their economic position. Recent developments in the automotive sector may help shed some light on this. The last couple of years have shown continuous and steady sales of various automotive products. In spite of this, Ford sacked its CEO and is restructuring for change. GM is pondering splitting its stock like airline seating – first class and coach. According to classic capitalist theory, nothing is awry. An investor purchases a scrap of paper and yearly the company selling the paper pays out a dividend. Where’s the hitch? What is destabilizing the auto companies is that the value of the piece of paper hasn’t gone up. In short, the superfluous wealth tied up with this “investment” is not promising a large enough return. Put crassly, the money needs to make more money. In today’s global economics, the auto industry is akin to the stationary industry of 50 years ago. Making an envelope is not all that complicated. Though there once was a steady demand for paper envelopes, nothing would make the producer’s stock price rise dramatically, as the competition was equally adept at producing envelopes. Imagining Ford and GM to be making envelopes brings us back to the weird coalition that supports Donald Trump. The ubers demand a greater return on their wealth. The not so’s would like a greater return on their participation in this enterprise. Unlike colonial imperialist times, no new market or supplier will magically manifest itself in today’s global economics. Everyone, everywhere has access to a mobile device which will tell them what something on Ebay can be gotten for. So the classic “buy cheap, sell dear” model is well worn. Other approaches are available that will make America great again and cause stock value to rise (saving jobs but not necessarily creating them). Early on in their schooling children are taught the Disneyland version – discover something everyone wants and you’ll be a star. This is John Kasich’s methodology in dealing with the drug epidemic in Ohio through research funding. Another approach is by making what is public private, and vice versa. The health care debate swirls around this interpretation, and now the Trump presidency is calling for it with appeals to make America’s infrastructure great (and private)  again. But the tried and true (historical) approach to increasing the value of what you already have is to make sure others ain’t got it. Exclusivity is priceless. This technique increases the value of superfluous wealth without the risk of needing to expend it, creating something new, or tying it up in mundane, long term low yielding envelope company stock. The likewise tried and true method of making people poor (making sure other’s ain’t got it) is through creating an other, someone who is predetermined to be without. The without can be anything from job skill capacity, place of residence, genetic background, right language or learning, etc. This is the glue that bonds the coalition of uber wealth and those who appear to have not so much. Each are looking to enhance the value of what they have, at the expense of some other. Neither are very happy with what envelope sales generate. Analysis concludes by reminding the reader that “creating an other, someone who is predetermined to be without” is the classic definition and function of racism.

Where’s The Crime In All This?

March 29, 2016

In 2015 Steve Smith, a Newark native, was arrested for receiving a package delivered by an imposter FedEx delivery driver (an undercover police officer). The package, which remained unopened, contained cocaine. On 2-11-16 Mr. Smith was convicted of possession and trafficking, and sentenced to 11 years in prison. There had been no undercover “buy” or exchange, no gunplay or violence. 3-28-16 DEA.gov reports “Ohio Men Plead Guilty to Selling “Blue Drop” Heroin Mixed with Fentanyl that Resulted in Death”. One of the active and admitted Marion Ohio dealers faces 16 years in prison for one count of drug trafficking that resulted in death, the other 9 (less than Mr. Smith). Recently Harpers Magazine reran a 22 year old archive of an interview by John Ehrlichman with writer Dan Baum during which the former Nixon policy chief admitted the War On Drugs was a fabricated contrivance intended to suppress the newly empowered black vote (“”You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman said. “We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.””). Analysis notes that the amount of time elapsed from when Civil Rights and Voting Rights were guaranteed and Ehrlichman’s tenure with President Nixon was about the same as what has elapsed since the financial meltdown at the end of the George W. Bush presidency and today. Just as “too big to fail” banks today are not only much larger, but subprime is back and greatly expanded to include car/boat/RV loans as well as credit line extensions. Within 10 years of Civil Rights passage, racism reaffirmed itself under a different form, the War On Drugs. Suppression of voting rights under the guise of criminal laws or economic regulations have only increased in the ensuing years. Convoluted voter ID requirements are implemented to cut down on the statistically negligibly occurring crime of voter fraud. Polling times and places have been realigned/consolidated in the name of fiscal austerity. Analysis recently witnessed Katrina-like images of voters lined up waiting for hours into the late night in the Arizona primary. Like Ohio, Arizona diminished polling times and places to save tax payer expense (please, don’t speak of early voting by mail, etc. since who was actually still running became apparent only days before the primary itself. Those who voted early by mail, etc. for candidates no longer running essentially threw away their vote, that is, didn’t vote at all). Deeply committed to such austere measures is Newark’s U.S. Congressional Representative Pat Tiberi who defends his vote against funding ongoing children’s services in a recent Advocate Editorial page guest column (3-27-16). Licking County Jobs and Family Services relies on this source to provide needed (and often court mandated) assistance for non-voting native residents – the children of Newark and Licking County. Tiberi states “Instead of funding a patchwork of untested programs, we have a responsibility now to ensure that hard working Americans’ tax dollars go toward programs that deliver results and change lives.” (Analysis notes Tiberi’s reliance on taxing American workers, and not various tax abated and credited corporations. A digression for another time). As Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb blurted out when informed of Tiberi’s legislating “It’s just a (federal) line item, a drop in the bucket, but we would all feel it very painfully, and the children would feel it.” (The Advocate, County lobbies feds to keep Children Services funding, Kent Mallett, 3-17-16) yet it does regulate, it does make law determining what is allowed and what is to be a crime. Newark’s own McGruff might feign agreement with the CDC that America is in the throes of an epidemic disease of narcotics use and addiction while speaking at the Newark Think Tank on Poverty’s February meeting. Newark Police Chief Barry Connell’s empathy certainly doesn’t prevent him from taking a bite out of crime — sicking his dog on a suspected drugged perpetrator (The Advocate, Police: Dog bite during traffic stop was OK, Bethany Bruner, 3-9-16). Ike, the dog, is only another weapon in the arsenal of the War On Drugs. In a guest column that appeared next to Tiberi’s in the 3-27-16 Advocate, David Greene describes one of the casualties in this war, Steve Smith. Greene decries the injustice perpetrated by the lack of due process but not the law itself. Is the criminal the one who transgressed the law? Or is it those who abuse democracy and their elected office by legislating restrictions and laws meant to suppress and disenfranchise? Where’s the crime in all this?

Presto Change O

May 21, 2014

Serendipity finds two online Newark Advocate articles that appear concurrently complimenting and informing each other. Their publish dates differ but their contents symbiotically enlighten. Analysis finds the correlation of “Officials seek variances to expand use of former Licking County Jail” (5-21-14, Joe Williams, Advocate reporter) and “Attorney general cites true threat to civil rights” (5-20-14, DeWayne Wickham, USA Today opinion column writer) intriguing. Seems the Licking County Governmental Preservation Society (No! Not the antithesis of Grover Norquist and his lackeys but a historical society dedicated to the memory of government, er, historical governance, ah, well, dedicated to history, and how things once were.) is requesting that the County building code be relaxed so they can utilize the entire defunct former jail. Something about tourism and haunted tours, or maybe just capitalizing on central Ohio melancholia to see how misery used to be meted out (take a depression selfie seated on a cold iron bed next to a moldy porcelain commode). Suffice to say the Governmental Preservation folks have a hankering for the old jail but can’t afford today’s standards and say they can do it by the ones in play when the jail was built. Would that the Commissioners only return with them to those bygone law and order (and no code) enforcement days of yesteryear. Sigh. If it was good enough for grand dad, it’s good enough for them. Brings to mind Foucault’s masterwork “Discipline and Punish”, but that’s a digression. DeWayne Wickham writes of the US Attorney General’s recent commencement address at the institute of higher learning where Mr. Wickham is the dean of the School of Global Journalism and Communication, Morgan State University. By means of his address, Eric Holder insinuated that the pervasiveness, reproduction and continuance of racism in America is supported and promoted by the actions of the John Roberts Court (the US Supreme Court for those of you keeping score at home). The news-making actions of folks like Donald Sterling and Robert Copeland are only symptomatic of the actual systemic disposition manifested by Roberts and his clan of robed cronies. Wickham quotes Holder as stating that Roberts and the Supremes have “argued that the path to ending racial discrimination is to give less consideration to the issue of race altogether,” and that “This presupposes that racial discrimination is at a sufficiently low ebb that it doesn’t need to be actively confronted.” So what’s the correlation, you say?

No, it’s not that black men “have received sentences that are nearly 20 percent longer than those imposed on white males convicted of similar crimes,” (Wickham quoting Holder) and that the L C Governmental Preservationist Society is enamored with the means by which this is accomplished (Discipline and Punish, as in, prison – see Foucault). Rather, it is the history itself which the Governmental Preservationist Society elides through its request for public safety standards’ variance. Thirty years ago the ostensible and urgent reason for the jail’s demise was touted as a deep rooted and pervasive mold infection throughout the building. Thirty years prior to that, the reason for affirmative action, for civil rights legislation was the deep rooted disparity of racism pervasive within everyday life in America. Now, magically, the mold has disappeared from the former county jail (though we were told that once a structure is infected by it, once the spores have taken root, it is financially unfeasible and next to impossible to remove and return the structure to one again safe for the public). Ditto John Roberts and the Supremes re: racism in the US. It is no longer a consideration so return with them to those thrilling days of yesteryear when it wasn’t a concern, won’t you?

Wiktionary gives the definition of “nonscientific” as “1. Not scientific; involving faith, intuition, or magical thinking”