I Can’t Decide If He’s Chicken Little Or The Boy Who Cried Wolf

We have lots of Stand With Israel signs in Preble County. One can only speculate what the signs would say if the Shepherd of Hermes, instead of The Revelation of John, had been included in the Bible as originally planned.

Must I fear what others fear, what nonsenseThe Tao

Congressman Warren Davidson definitely stays busy, alternating between warning constituents that the sky is falling to crying wolf over some alleged impending doom.  I say this because the issues he has worked on this year are the work of an alarmist and are of no value to the people he represents.

Take the American Health Care Act. His logic seems to be, if we don’t repeal the Affordable Care Act, the country will go bankrupt (crying wolf). But both the House and Senate versions of the AHCA will be devastating to Ohio, the state he, in theory, represents.

Me And Jesus Got A Good Thing Goin’

Earlier this year, Davidson spearheaded a drive to protect our Religious Liberty and it resulted in 45* signing an executive order ensuring this freedom. I live in a county of 40,000 and, according to an ad in the local paper, we have 92 churches. When one of the student speakers at my daughter’s high school graduation a few weeks ago thanked ‘her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,’ the auditorium erupted in applause. If I were so inclined, like 32 percent of Ohio’s population — I could attend Sunday morning service at a different church each week and it would take nearly two years to attend all the churches in my county.

We have religious freedom here, religious diversity, on the other hand, that is lacking. (Hey 45* can we get a Religious Diversity Executive Order.)

California Is To Blame

But Davidson’s latest fearmongering is more deplorable when you consider the abysmal gerrymandering that exists in Ohio. Gerrymandering is one of the political tactics that has escalated the country’s partisanship during the past two or three decades. Now, according to Davidson’s latest e-newsletter, the ‘sky is falling’ — not in Ohio, the state he was elected to represent — but California — that blue state which, unlike Ohio, has a thriving economy. So as real Ohioans deal with a sub-standard economy, Davidson is crying wolf about the seats in the House. Davidson says,

Did you know that electoral votes and seats in the House are distributed based on the total population of each state? States like California game the system to encourage illegal immigration and are rewarded with 5-7 extra congressional seats by some estimates. 

We lose our sovereignty each day this goes unresolved. This is why I introduced the Fair Representation Amendment.

Although the Amendment is very self-serving in the GOP’s voter suppression drive, it’s an intriguing twist for a party whose current brand supports stronger state rights and less federal interference. Apparently, in this situation though, the feds need to intervene.

Gerrymandering: Legally Gaming The System

Davidson’s Congressional District is the definition of gaming the system. He presides over one of the most noncompetitive Congressional Districts in Ohio. His district is ‘packed’ with a 2-to-1 ratio of GOP to Democrat voters — and it was his Party that imposed the unethical District map on Ohio residents.

This undemocratic approach to democracy is undermining our political institutions causing many to lose faith in the political process. So maybe, to paraphrase Jesus, Davidson should just worry about the plank in his own eye and not the speck in California’s.

Categories: 8th congressional district, My America, Preble County, Religion | Leave a comment

Gun-Toting Liberal Inadvertently Reveals U.S. Healthcare Hypocrisy

About 150-200 people attended the Freedom Rally sponsored by Preble County businesses and churches. The event was designed to address our local drug problem.

No one deserves to be gunned down. Not even a politician with white-supremacy leanings.

The shooting of United States House of Representatives Majority Whip and representative for Louisiana’s 1st congressional district Steve Scalise, one of nine mass shootings in the United States this week, dominated the news cycle this week.

The story brought many oddities to light. Scalise, a man who once referred to himself as David Duke without the baggage, was saved by black officers. This speaks to the officers’ bravery and willingness to do their job to protect everyone and for one day — even for Scalise — Black Lives Mattered. But that sentiment was short lived as a jury in Minnesota decided, in some cases, white lives still matter more.

But, one of the greatest twists was the issue of healthcare.

Scalise underwent several surgeries, in large part, because of the open carry law he supported. His NRA-funded support meant a mentally ill man was able to use a high-powered rifle to attack him, damaging internal organs in the process. Presumably, though, the Congressman received the best health care from the best doctors funded by taxpayers like me and you because his life matters. In fact, it matters much more than the individuals he worked so hard to take health care away from with the American Health Care Act.

His medical treatment is indicative of how unfairly health care is divvied out in the United States.

‘Wrong Job’ Means No Health Care Coverage

Buried inside a story in my local newspaper is the more common approach to health care for ‘real Americans.’

A public servant in Preble County, who works two part time jobs (one for a county agency), was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. Since this individual works two part time jobs, instead of a full time job with benefits, he has no health insurance. This means the full financial brunt of the medical diagnosis is on him. It means raffle ticket sales and fundraisers throughout our community to offset what is certain to be a very costly situation. Although this Preble County man, like the Congressman, is working for the public, unlike the Congressman this local resident does not have the political clout that guarantees high-quality health care.

Political Hate

Warren Davidson, who serves in the House of Representatives for Ohio’s 8th Congressional District where I live, is Scalise’s co-worker. Davidson is also a member of the Freedom Caucus, the group largely responsible for the ‘mean’ (Trump’s words) AHCA that passed a month or so ago. Davidson, placed in the House through heavy funding by Club for Growth, is fond of saying, “It is not compassionate to bankrupt America.” Although his poorly written marketing tagline is not catching on, it does speak to the political tactic which falsely frames dissenting views. When 45* released his draconian budget a few weeks ago, Davidson was one of the first to praise it. He said,

We cannot bankrupt America. Finally, it appears we have a president who takes this problem seriously. President Trump’s budget bends the out of control spending curve in the right direction by making good on his promises to reform mandatory spending, cut wasteful programs, and balance the budget. This is a serious proposal to begin addressing our nation’s fiscal crisis.

I’ll admit I’m a cynic. I’ve heard the fiscal crisis, America is going bankrupt line of reasoning from the GOP my entire adult life. Yet somehow, we always find a way to build more MOABs, spend billions protecting oil interests in the Middle East — causing many in my community — yanked in and out of the Middle East for a decade — to be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as these citizen soldiers experience underreported autrocities. Trump’s budget proposal will continue to fund these imperialistic wars via military entitlement spending while gutting funding for small communities like mine.

One of the proposals in Trump’s budget is to kill the Community Development Block Grant program. A recent front page story in my community paper details what a small Preble County village will do with the $300,000 CDBG funds it received. As a county, we have relied on CDBGs for decades because it is one of the handful of resources we still have to stem our tidal wave of poverty.

Government Is Always Bad

In 1964, John Stormer, a chairman of the Missouri Federation of Young Republicans, published None Dare Call it Treason. I read (most of) the book and will readily admit, I do not have enough fear and am not conspiracy-minded enough to believe half of what is written. But the more dangerous aspect of the book — and the countless like it in the past 50 or so years — is the anti-government rhetoric. It may have inadvertently played a part in the shooting as the shooter may have grown tired of the dismantling.

We have raised a generation or more of anti-government individuals who naively believe that government can only be evil. Many are growing tired of the rhetoric realizing that politicians, not citizens, benefit from the position. But, oddly enough, in the aftermath of the gunfire aimed at the political class there suddenly arose a desire to change the tone. Even ‘Cat-Scratch Fever’ Teddy Nugent backtracked his comments about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Now he wants us all to play nice.

What a cowardly hypocrite.

Hate Is a More Powerful Motivator Than Love

One of the key individuals who unleashed Donald Trump on a government-hating element of our society was political operative Roger Stone. In the documentary Get Me Roger Stone, Stone relays some of his rules which include: Hate Is a More Powerful Motivator Than Love. Stone’s political career began with Richard Nixon (he has Nixon’s face tattooed on his back) and he is the embodiment of ‘government is evil.’ He openly admits in the film that ‘unsophisticated’ (his term) voters would latch onto Trump’s anti-establishment rhetoric. The film is worth watching just to get a feel for how unlike most Americans political operatives can be — they thrive on power, not justice.

At the end of the day, though, one has to question who wins in this environment of hate, propaganda and politics by marketing?

I believe Scalise will come through his health care crisis financially unscathed.

I don’t feel so optimistic for the Preble County man.

Categories: 8th congressional district, health care, My America | Leave a comment

Walking The Tightrope Of Drug Addiction

Sadness is what I wake to this morning. It permeates my very core. Last night convinced me that I, like the popular Podcast, live in S-Town.

This week’s local news flow includes the story of a young man who escaped Ohio State Patrol custody in Eaton after about a half-milion dollars of heroin was allegedly found inside his vehicle. The escape meant a helicopter was dispatched, guns drawn, people advised to stay inside their homes. It had a ‘Cops’ feel to it, but the real drug news here is significantly less dramatic — and more toxic. It’s someone’s son or daughter — mother or father — unable to kick the habit — a habit that drains the pocketbooks and emotions of untold families in the county.

Some days I do ponder how we got here as a community. What was the tipping point? When did we enter a world where drugs consume our resources and our hope? Was it the 90s? The new millenium? It’s difficult to know the exact tipping point even though what goes on here is hidden in plain site.

You can see it in our yard signs (some mystical, above), our billboards, the tents hidden just out of view in the city parks, and in the rumors that abound.

Allegations exist of a couple local police officers mishandling suspects — usually miscreants and petty criminals — ‘shaking them down’ and conficating their backpacks without cause. I do not know if its true — and both sides have a vested interest in their version of events. But backpacks can be a problem. As pointed out in Methland, some dealers use backpacks to create a meth lab on wheels. They fill a 2-litre bottle and let the meth ‘cook’ as they ride around town. What appears to be a drug house also exist just out of eyesight of one of our Neighbors Against Crime signs. And, according to the latest rumor, a new drug house opened just three or four blocks from the Eaton Police Station.

Regardless of the accuracy of the rumors, one thing is certain — there is a thriving drug market in Preble County.

Whether the market is created by the lack of hope, economic opportunity (rumors say some drug dealers here net $2,000 a week) — or it’s a situation expasperated by the more highly addictive drugs flooding our community — is anyone’s guess. Even marijuana, considered benign by many in Preble County — including many in my generation, is 8-10 times more potent that the marijuana from the era I grew up in (70s-80s). While proponents of marijuana ignore its downsides, a tight link to depression and anxiety complications is revealed in medical studies.

Until our drug problem is solved, nothing else matters.

Drug addiction is draining our resources. At the time of this writing, the county jail has 83 inmates in custody — many associated with drug issues. The facility is designed to hold about 70 so some inmates are being housed in another county — at taxpayer expense. The number of incidents handled by the Eaton Police Department has grown here as well — by about 25 percent in a decade. In 2006, the EPD handled about 2,000 incidents. Last year it was close to 2,500. This is in a city of about 8,000 with a steady to declining population.

Admittedly some of our problems are self-inflicted. Our population is largely high school educated — only about 10-11 percent with advanced degrees. This impacts local job options. We are also fiscally and politically ultra-conservative creating a tendency to slowly crawl to No instead of Yes when solutions are proposed. Our heroin problem is also partially self-inflicted as our doctors have — for nearly a decade — prescribed opioids at a higher rate than other counties in the state. And, in the bizarro legal world of the United States, doctors will never be criminally prosecuted — only the addicts.

I’m certain the sadness I feel this morning will fade because time does heal, but when I look at what my county needs to solve, I’m not convinced we, as a community, have the fortitude and intellectual drive to do it. I know we’re not afraid to work — I’ve seen hundreds of volunteers cleaning up our parks, but this is a much more difficult task.

It requires working on our perceptions. It requires educating ourselves about chemical dependency.

And, most difficult of all, the work requires giving a chemically-dependent person one more chance — even when you’re exhausted by the predictability of the disease.

Categories: 8th congressional district, My America, Preble County, Understanding Trump Counties