Southern Poverty Law Center Militia Study: Ohio ranked #2

February 10, 2021
excerpted from WOSU/NPR

Ohio ranks second in the nation for the highest number of active, extreme antigovernment groups, according to a recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which found 566 groups in the United States in 2020. Ohio has 31; only California had more, with 51.

“You can have 100 groups, but if there are two members, it’s quite small,” said Glen Duerr, an assistant professor at Cedarville University, who studies terrorist groups. “In general, the core leadership and the core adherents to any of the groups is fairly small.”

And Kaltenthaler said national issues, like overturning the results of the presidential election or protecting against possible firearm seizures, don’t usually drive recruitment.  “A lot of the issues are quite localized,” Kaltenthaler said. “For example, in Ohio, one of the things that really plays a role in militias is local economic issues – farm foreclosures, or like in Southeast Ohio, issues with mining or just a general lack of jobs.”

Aside from problems brought on by COVID-19, the U.S. economy is healthier than it was in 2008, so Kaltenthaler thinks the coming years could see a drop in Ohio’s militia activity. And President Joe Biden is less of a polarizing figure and recruitment tool than Obama or the Clintons.

Read more at WOSU

KCDP President in Mount Vernon News Feb 1

Mount Vernon News

MOUNT VERNON – The top priority of President Joe Biden’s administration should be controlling COVID-19, the chair of the Knox County Democratic Party told the Mount Vernon News.
“The sooner it’s under control, the sooner businesses can get back to normal, schools can function normally and homes can be stable,” Meg Galipault said.

Late last year during the transition period between presidents, there was a period when nothing was being done, she said.

“We’re suffering the consequences of that now,” Galipault said. “It’s going to take time for us to see improvement because of the lag.”

She believes the Biden administration will do a much better job managing the crisis than the previous administration.

The next priority should be legislation to address the climate crisis, Galipault said.

“That could have a significant benefit to Knox County and Ohio overall,” she said. “We are already seeing the effects of climate change. One of the reasons Siemens is no longer in Mount Vernon is because they could have invested in solar and wind energy and they didn’t. The technology they were creating was out of date.”

Siemens announced the closing of the Mount Vernon plant in 2018, a decision that resulted in the loss of approximately 400 jobs.

The trend — with or without government involvement — is renewable energy and related products, Galipault said.

“I’m hoping we’re not too late,” she said. “I think there is a lot of opportunity for us to build an economy around these renewables. You have to build things to do that. Why not build them here?”

Galipault noted that Knox County is centrally located and has a strong manufacturing base.

“This would be a good place for manufacturers and entrepreneurs to locate,” she said. “This is an opportunity for companies that are forward-looking and realize this is where we are headed.”

Losing big companies like Siemens puts an even greater burden on residents to pay for water and sewer improvements and other infrastructure projects, Galipault said. Cities like Mount Vernon have aging water systems and roadways and need federal help to rebuild them, which she hopes the new administration will provide.

“Not only does it make our communities better, it also creates jobs,” Galipault said.

She is also hopeful that former U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio, the new secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will improve the housing choice vouchers program.

“Low-income housing in Knox County is lacking,” Galipault said. “That’s a problem.”

Arlie Hochschild: On How to Build Bridges with the American Red Right

Elder Action, a non partisan national group of activist elders hosted a recorded Zoom talk with sociologist, Arlie Hochschild who studies those of us who follow Red America.

Her introduction begins ~11min into the YouTube video.  She is currently studying folks in eastern KY Appalachia who are strong Trump supporters and provides a strategy for how to build bridges.

There are a number of interesting Arlie Hochschild talks on YouTube . Here are two:

Scaling the Empathy Wall: Listening with Curiosity and Interest – Arlie Russell Hochschild, Ph.D.

How to Fix Democracy, Season2–Arlie Hochschild.

Knox County Dem Activist dies at 98: Mary Finkbeiner

GAMBIER – Mary Moffat Finkbeiner, 98, died on Jan. 28, 2021, and will be remembered as an inspirational mentor and loyal friend by the many people she met during her active and purposeful life. She was born on May 14, 1922, to Edith A. and James D. Moffat Jr. in Washington, Pennsylvania; the fifth of six children: James, Clara, Elizabeth, Charles, Mary and Jane.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Daniel T. Finkbeiner II; her five siblings; and a son-in-law, Harvey Rubinstein.

She is greatly missed by her children, Susan (Donald) Myers, Heidi Rubinstein, Ann Moffat and Kate Baxter; grandchildren, Emily (Dylan) Johnson and Caleb Baxter; and great-granddaughter, Ella Johnson. She was quite fond of her many nieces and nephews, as well as her aunts and great-aunt who lived in her childhood home and helped run a busy household of 11. Learning, teaching and active engagement were lifelong pursuits and her greatest enjoyment. She guided family, friends and many others in math, science, literature, languages, architecture, arts and culture.

Mary’s childhood homes were in Washington, Pennsylvania; Dayton, Ohio; and Fort Wayne, Indiana. She attended Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, Illinois, and in 1943 earned a Bachelor of Arts in French and Spanish from Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio. After graduating, Mary found her first job at the Great Southern Hotel in Hollywood, Florida, as a reception clerk. This was soon followed by a wartime job in Illinois at Alcoa Manufacturing while her fiancé served as a radar specialist in the U.S. Navy.

They married in 1945, and after a few years at The California Institute of Technology and Yale University, they settled in Gambier in 1951, where Dan became professor of mathematics at Kenyon College. His teaching sabbaticals took them to Princeton University in New Jersey and twice to The University of Western Australia in Perth. They traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and the world.

For many years, Mary served enthusiastically as clerk treasurer of the Village of Gambier and as copy editor of “The Psychological Review” at Kenyon College. She volunteered her time to the PTA of Gambier, the League of Women Voters, Knox County Democratic Women, New Directions crisis hotline, Knox County Hospice, the American Red Cross, A Hand at Home and the Western College Alumnae Association. Throughout her life, she was a strong advocate for women and children.

Mary was an avid bridge player, knitter, quilter and reader; and she enjoyed theater, classical music, contemporary architecture, gardens, wildflowers, birds, fine dining and entertaining at home. She and Dan shared a special fondness for collecting owls, singing songs from Camelot and reciting Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet “How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways.” She found ironing to be a relaxing pursuit but didn’t care much for crocheting or the color green.

She was an invaluable mentor to her children, teaching them to accept life as it comes, with optimism and determination. She would often advise, “Know what you’re doing and do it.” She wants all her friends to continue reading, thinking, laughing and making this world a brighter place.

The family extends a depth of gratitude to Brookdale Senior Living for their many years of excellent care.

In celebration of Mary’s life, please consider a donation in her name to the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, to be used for the large-print collection of books at the Gambier Public Library.

The Lasater Funeral Home is handling the arrangements for the Finkbeiner family. Please visit

URGENT: Before Feb 2 Sign Democrat Franklin Walker’s City Council At-Large Candidate Petition

IMPORTANT: Please note that this candidate petition-signing is only for Mount Vernon city residents who reside and vote in one of the four wards.
Franklin Walker needs your help!
Franklin is running for one of the City Council At-Large seats for the first time and needs more signatures on his petition to get on the ballot! If you vote in one of Mount Vernon’s four wards (not the bordering townships), you can help by setting up a time for Frank to stop by your house before Tuesday, Feb. 2. Please email Frank to arrange a time:

Not sure if you vote in one of the four wards? You can look up your precinct here: Your precinct number (example, 3-A) indicates what ward or township you vote in; in the case of precinct 3-A, you live in Ward 3. If you vote in a township, you’re not eligible to sign the petition.

One of our most important objectives for the coming year is to recruit and elect Democrats in Knox County. In addition to Franklin, we’re happy to share that three other Democrats are running for Mount Vernon City Council this year: Lauren Reiss Heffelfinger, 3rd Ward; Samantha Scoles, 1st Ward (incumbent); Julia Glynn Warga, at-large (incumbent).

Show your support for local Dems! Please contact Frank at NOW. Thanks so much for your help!

Warm regards,

Meg Galipault
Chairperson, Knox County Democratic Party

Reconciliation: 4 Truths

Jan 21, 2021, Washington Post
Opinion by Danielle Allen

Danielle Allen is a professor and political theorist at Harvard University, and the author of “Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality.”

Given our descent into political violence on Jan. 6, what is the path of recuperation? I would suggest that we need a reinvigorated commitment to seeking truth. Easier said than done, because it requires four kinds of truth.

First, forensic truth. This permits us to hold people accountable for their actions. Second come the personal truths each of us brings to making sense of our country. We need a moment of hearing one another without judgment. Then we need to achieve a social truth, resting on shared moral horizons. For this, we must pass judgment, but we should seek to do that together. Finally, we come to the path of hope, restorative truth — identification of the policies, institutions and practices that can secure a shareable moral horizon.

Forensic truth is relatively easy. In every courtroom, the plaintiff or prosecution and the defense enter with different versions of what happened. Eyewitness accounts often diverge dramatically. Through the court’s adversarial process, we litigate facts and reach a judgment, laying down a historical record on the soundest possible foundation.

The 64 election lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign, of which 63 were dismissed or yielded rulings against the president, gave us forensic truth: there was no election-changing electoral fraud. Prosecutions against those who participated in the attack on the Capitol and the president’s impeachment trial should, if well conducted, further secure the historical record.

The next steps in healing are difficult. We all bring emotionally resonant personal truths to the table. When conceptions of what is good vary widely, so, too, will perceptions of events. The goal is to understand people as they understand themselves. This requires deep listening that, at the outset, holds moral evaluation off to the side.

The personal truths in play on Jan. 6 diverged wildly. Witnesses on the left primarily saw the many Confederate battle flags and a white-supremacist insurrection. Witnesses on the right may have seen white supremacists — after all, they were trying to be seen — but they also saw a significant number of participants who believed they were embodying the spirit of 1776 in a morally legitimate uprising.

In the New York Times, columnist Ross Douthat describes conservatives as having coalesced in a fight “against consolidated liberal power.” We heard that same point in the streets. As one participant told a reporter, “The left has everything: the media, organizations, the government. We have to organize if we’re going to fight back and be heard.” This testimony should stick; it isn’t just window-dressing.

Earnest invocations of 1776 go back to the emergence of the tea party in 2009, when tea partiers around the country wrote “Declarations of Independence” that railed against “power drunk” Democrats, biased media and “smug elites” who were “imposing a Socialist agenda” and “‘transformational change’” and “repeatedly slander[ed] American citizens with false accusations of racism … and hatred.”

For those previously convinced the Democratic Party exercises power abusively, the pandemic-related decisions in 2020 to allow or expand mail-in and early voting — changes instituted only a few months before the election — were perceived as a last-minute effort to skew the vote. This sparked a for-real revolutionary current.

How should we think about the emotional truth coming from the right? Stoked though it has been by conspiracy theories, it has a hook in recognizable reality. Elite organizations — universities, media, tech, corporations and civil-service federal appointees — are, in fact, generally left-leaning and have sufficient combined power to squelch socially conservative ways of life, particularly those linked to traditional family structures.

To slap the simple label of white supremacy on the Capitol rioters is to take the easy way out. Extremists led the charge, yes. But why were so many others with them? Why do so many who voted for Trump still think the election was stolen? Not only disinformation is at work; so is people’s real sense of loss of agency and control over the lives of their families and communities. Some of this loss is a result of the effects of globalization; some arises from our cultural fights over gender, sexuality and religion.

Understanding people as they understand themselves gives us a chance to pursue a shared social truth. We can begin the process of moral sorting — of trying to identify which views are out of bounds (white supremacy), and which have recognizable validity as one option among many on contested terrain (traditional family structures). Our renovated social truth should combine recognition of people’s hunger for personal empowerment with an embrace of deep pluralism.

If we could achieve that social truth, incredibly hard work would remain, indeed the hardest part: reconciliation. That tantalizing and still doubtful prospect would depend on concrete steps. What approach to economic policy will secure people’s dignity, restoring access to good jobs and control over one’s working life? What are the resolutions to the numerous fights we are having where securing the rights of sexual minorities appears to be in conflict with religious liberty?

Achieving a culture that both empowers people and embraces deep pluralism will require a degree of creativity we have not yet begun to exercise. But our times call for moral imagination.

Hard Lessons Democrats Have to Learn for 2022

Jan 21, 2021
Ezra Klein, New York Times Opinion

President Joe Biden’s inaugural address was an extended argument for why America, with all its faults, is still worth believing in. “Through struggle, sacrifice and setbacks, our better angels have always prevailed,” he said. “In each of these moments, enough of us have come together to carry all of us forward.” It was a far cry from Donald Trump’s inaugural speech, four years ago, which was an extended argument for believing in Donald Trump.

Still, Biden takes office in a country where nearly two-thirds of Republicans believe Trump won the election. The idea that a decisive speech can change everything, or anything really, reflects an older era of political communication, when more of us listened to the same outlets, and when political identities were less entrenched. Today, the best hope Biden has of bringing the country together lies in policy, not rhetoric. As I write in my column this morning, he needs to make people’s lives better — and fast.
To do that, Democrats are going to have to learn some hard lessons from both the Obama and Trump eras. From the Obama era, they need to learn that excessive complexity, or delay, robs policies of their political power. The central tax cut in the 2009 stimulus was designed to be invisible. The Affordable Care Act didn’t begin delivering health insurance on a mass scale until four years after its passage. Both policies were too small to solve the problems they confronted, in part because congressional Democrats thought voters cared more about legislative price tags than actual outcomes. The Democrats’ disastrous 2010 wipeout was, in part, the result.

From the Trump era, Democrats need to learn that paralysis empowers populists. When government stops working on people’s behalf, or seems to, voters will turn to charismatic outsiders who promise they alone can fix it. As such, if Democrats want to avoid future Trumpian figures, they can no longer meekly accept congressional dysfunction and federal incompetence. That begins with fixing the filibuster, which is, today, the central impediment to Democrats fulfilling the campaign promises they made to Americans. But it doesn’t end there: Democrats need to do more than state the importance of democracy. They need to actually deepen American democracy. This is their chance, and their true principles will be revealed by what they do with it.

In all this, Democrats face a ticking clock. Midterms are typically rough on the president’s party, and losing even one Senate seat would end Democrats’ control of Congress and thus their ability to govern. That gives Democrats much less room for error than they had in 2009. Then, their congressional majorities reached 60 in the Senate and 257 in the House. They will start this session with 50 senators and 222 House members. If they are to avoid a midterm wipeout — and a possible rehabilitation of the Trump brand — they need to govern well, and they need Americans to feel the benefits of their governance fast.
“This is a fight not just for the future of the Democratic Party or good policy,” Senator Bernie Sanders told me. “It is literally a fight to restore faith in small-d democratic government.”