Posts Tagged ‘The Right To Look’

The Right To Look

March 13, 2018

“President Donald Trump is telling reporters that he made the decision to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “by myself.”” (Trump choice to oust Tillerson made “by myself” AP 3-13-18). Collateral damage but significant nonetheless is the same AP’s headline from a little later the same day — The Latest: Officials say White House fired Tillerson aide. “The officials said Steve Goldstein, the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, was informed of the move shortly after he released a statement in his name saying that Tillerson was “unaware of the reason” for his termination. Goldstein had also told reporters that Tillerson learned of his firing Tuesday morning from Trump’s tweet announcing he was nominating CIA chief Mike Pompeo to lead the State Department.” Same day, CNN headlined ICE spokesman in SF resigns and slams Trump administration officials (Dan Simon, 3-13-18). “Schwab [James Schwab, a spokesman for the San Francisco Division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement] cited Acting Director Tom Homan and Attorney General Jeff Sessions as being the purveyors of misleading and inaccurate information, following Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s controversial decision to warn the community of an upcoming ICE raid.” “”Director Homan and the Attorney General said there were 800 people at large and free to roam because of the actions of the Oakland Mayor,” he told CNN. “Personally I think her actions were misguided and not responsible. I think she could have had other options. But to blame her for 800 dangerous people out there is just false.” “It’s a false statement because we never pick up 100% of our targets. And to say they’re a type of dangerous criminal is also misleading.”” Simon takes pains to include “The Oakland mayor said in response to the former spokesman speaking out, “I commend Mr. Schwab for speaking the truth while under intense pressure to lie. Our democracy depends on public servants who act with integrity and hold transparency in the highest regard.”” as well as mentioning that Schwab was a 16 year employee, and a democrat. Analysis finds several less than obvious items of interest. Do we want an elected official to act unilaterally “by myself”? Mayor Jeff Hall made the same move with the late night demolition of Newark’s Gazebo. He was unmoved by others in his own party who thought it inappropriate. Isn’t that the rational behind the existence of parties in a representative democracy? That decisions are not with the individual but with a group consensus? Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s referencing “transparency” becomes even more significant in light of the continuous firing and resignations within the current culture of government. Do the American people have a right to look? Finally, it is the entire package of consent, trust and “belief” that the police and prosecutors are involved with keeping crime in check. What happens when we start to question whether or not someone was prosecuted because a crime was committed? Or were they set up because it helps with the “reality TV show” of political party propaganda (an unnecessary contribution inadvertently made by Simon when he couldn’t help but mention that Schwab was a “democrat”)?

Advertisements

Internationalism,It’s More Informative Than You Think

February 22, 2018

February 22, 2018 disparate professionals walked off the job in equally disparate locations on the globe. “Public schools across West Virginia are closed Thursday as teachers and other school employees hit the picket lines, demanding higher wages and better benefits. According to Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association (WVEA), teachers in all of the state’s 55 counties are participating in the planned two-day walk-out, and a group will march Thursday morning to the capitol building in Charleston. Organizers expect thousands of teachers to participate.” “The work stoppage comes after Gov. Jim Justice signed legislation late Wednesday night granting teachers a 2% pay increase starting in July, followed by 1% pay increases over the next two years. “We need to keep our kids and teachers in the classroom,” Justice said in a statement after signing the pay raise bill. “We certainly recognize our teachers are underpaid and this is a step in the right direction to addressing their pay issue.” But the bill did not address further concerns of teachers, including issues with the teachers’ public employees insurance program, the rising costs of healthcare, and a tax on payroll deduction options, according to Campbell [Christine Campbell, president American Federation of Teachers – West Virginia]. The pay raise, which amounts to 4% over the next few years, is a reduction from an earlier version of the bill that proposed a 5% total increase in wages, Campbell said, also remarking that teachers in surrounding states make anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 more than teachers in West Virginia.” (West Virginia teacher walk-out closes all public schools, Sarah Jorgensen for CNN, 2-22-18) Writing for Great Britain’s Independent, Simon Calder headlines Air France Strike Grounds Dozens of UK Flights, Leaving Hundreds of Passengers Stranded, 2-22-18. “Tens of thousands of Air France passengers have been stranded by a coordinated one-day strike involving pilots, cabin crew and ground staff. The airline’s management has offered a basic increase of one per cent to staff, but the unions are demanding a six per cent rise. They are also unhappy about job losses and staff workloads.” Statista.com (the statistics portal) shows that worldwide, the airline industry showed profits for the last 8 years with each of the last three years nearly tripling that of the previous 5. Projections for 2018 are to be even larger. The wage increase for either public sector or private sector workers was 1%. Any coincidence? Before you answer that, consider the third meeting of the International Trade Union Network of Solidarity and Struggle 2018 recently held outside Madrid Spain; covered by Cole Stangler for In These Times, 2-20-18 (Meet the coalition building a global union movement against capitalism). “a four-day conference in late January attended by nearly 300 labor activists from 25 different countries and 35 different groups”. “A spirit of radicalism and internationalism runs deep within the Network of Solidarity and Struggle, a loose alliance organized by three national-level unions: Solidaires in France, the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) in Spain and CSP Conlutas in Brazil. All of these unions are on the left of their countries’ respective labor movements. “We need to function as a class, and for us having contacts is fundamental,” said José Manuel Muñoz Póliz, general secretary of the CGT, which claims to have grown to nearly 100,000 members in recent years and defines itself as anarcho-syndicalist. “The resolutions that are being passed here won’t be defended by political parties or governments: They’re being defended by workers.” Póliz said ties among union activists in different countries make the movement stronger as a whole — whether that’s by sharing information about broader threats like privatization and employer-friendly legal reforms or by adopting common actions and tactics. Because of the network’s commitment to working-class autonomy, he said it is more effective than the larger, more mainstream international union federations like the European Trade Union Confederation, whose agenda, he believes, is weakened by ties to parties and governments.” “Yet, activists at the conference insisted the U.S. labor movement stands to gain from a stronger dose of internationalism. According to them, it isn’t just a question of principle, but of practical advantage. In the day-to-day tussles between multinational corporations and labor unions, the latter often suffer from information deficiencies that hurt campaigns.” (sounds like something straight out of Hardt and Negri!) This in the age of information, information technologies and multinational media corporation control of information distribution (as well as misinformation dissemination). Though, on the same day, Dear Leader suggested paying teachers packing heat a premium bonus, the 1% pay increase offered WV professional educators differed not from the 1% increase a private corporation offered to its professionals. The only difference is in our ability to know that it is so. Internationalism, it’s more informative than you think.

Extraordinary Measures

October 4, 2016

The 10-1-16 Newark Advocate ran a Gannett article entitled “Ohio cities target vacant houses, crime havens” by Adrian Burns. As if the association of vacant homes and crime insinuated by the headline weren’t enough, the first line of the article reads: “Murder. Theft. Drug use. Sexual Assault. Vandalism. Squatting.” Followed immediately by “These are the sorts of things that go on inside vacant and abandoned homes – and Ohio’s cities are home to an estimated 100,000 of them.” Analysis isn’t much interested in the “640 such vacant or abandoned homes in Newark” that the census found in 2010. Rather, Analysis would like to consider how the entire article would read if instead of “vacant homes” being associated by correlation with “Murder. Theft. Drug use. Sexual Assault. Vandalism. Squatting.” it was guns being associated by correlation with “Murder. Theft. Drug use. Sexual Assault. Vandalism. Squatting.” One could just as glibly say “Houses don’t kill people. People kill people” as “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” After all, guns and homes share one very important aspect in common – they both are considered private property in the eyes of the law, and can be addressed as such legally. The various municipalities, land banks and conservancies described in the article bend over backwards in their legal maneuvering to employ the extraordinary measures of ridding the community of this crime associated private property. How many guns sit unused in closets, drawers, basements, etc. (originally obtained for sport purposes, self defense, etc. but over time neglected due to lack of interest)? Could municipalities, county governments and the state do more, let alone take extraordinary measures to rid the community of this crime associated property? Why haven’t they? The reluctance on the part of elected officials to do anything, let alone take extraordinary measures to deal with such private property, lies primarily with the exception made for this property as a right within the US Constitution. Something NOT given as a right within the US Constitution would be what Analysis has often referred to as “the right to look”. Though not given as a right, the “looking” aspect (through various audio/video recording devices) has created a correlation association of guns with “Murder. Theft. Drug use. Sexual Assault. Vandalism. Squatting.” Not only that, but with those held in the public trust to protect and keep that very public from “Murder. Theft. Drug use. Sexual Assault. Vandalism. Squatting.” Al Jazeera reports “NY man who filmed Eric Garner’s death heading to jail. Ramsey Orta took plea deal on unrelated charges but says police harassed him after filming officers killing his friend.” (Anealla Safdar, 10-2-16). “Garner, a father of six, was selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island, New York, when officers tackled him. His case was ruled as a homicide, meaning that his death was caused by human beings, but [NYPD officer Daniel] Pantaleo was not indicted.” A grand jury decided not to indict the police officers involved (including Pantaleo). “After filming Garner’s death, they [Orta’s lawyers] claim, he was increasingly harassed and targeted by police and was arrested at least eight times in fewer than two years.” Analysis finds these lines from the end of the article to be especially pertinent in light of the recent Midland Theatre reasoning re: Michael Moore’s presence in Newark – “In August, filmmaker David Sutcliffe wrote an open letter in favour of the “right to record”, which was signed by more than 100 documentarians, including Asif Kapadia, Laura Poitras and Nick Broomfield. “Armed only with camera phones, citizen journalists have shattered America’s myth of racial equality,” the letter said. “Instead of garnering Pulitzers and Peabodys, they have been targeted, harassed and arrested by members of the very institution whose abuses they seek to expose.”” In regards to exposure (of what is not to be seen) Robert Higgs, writing for Cleveland.com (Ohio Supreme Court considers lifting secrecy that shrouds grand jury process 9-29-16) reports: “The proposed rule changes would allow members of the public to petition for release of the proceedings in cases where the grand jury, a system enshrined in both the U.S. Constitution and Ohio Constitution, chooses not to indict.” Not exactly a right to look, but an extraordinary measure in the right direction.

Lest We Forget

September 9, 2016

The international news this week is of the outrage expressed by a Norwegian newspaper (Aftenposten) blasting Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg. The newspaper had been running an inquiry into the impact that images have on war utilizing this online platform. Zuckerberg had censored the Nick Ut photo image of a naked Vietnamese girl running terrified from the napalm bombing that had burned off her clothes. Facebook defends the decision by saying the platform cannot distinguish between images of naked juveniles. They are all considered equal. The paper’s front page editorial finds such carte blanche treatment of images to be frightening. Analysis finds the entire matter to be analogous, if not a reenactment, to considerations of race here in the US, specifically policies of affirmative action and Black Lives Matter. The response to Black Lives Matter is the knee jerk “All Lives Matter” while to affirmative action policies it is that to be considered equally requires a disregard of difference. The similarities and resemblances are uncanny. Approximately 100 years ago a European named Walter Benjamin addressed this question in a rather oblique manner, but what he had to say definitely bears on this. In an essay entitled “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” Benjamin considered the difference between an original and the various printed copies that were immensely popular at the time. The Columbus Museum of Art recently ran a show of Picasso’s work from this time. In its little gallery store are many incredible reproductions (copies) of artworks that people buy and hang up at home. All the reproductions are “equally” saleable, one no better than another. Benjamin alludes to aura in his attempt to differentiate the material images (one original, one a copy). The copies have no aura, or only that of a mechanically (technically) reproduced material while the aura of an original is its history and nuance found in the work having been expressly (and intimately) created by the artist, and the object’s continued material involvements after that (provenance). That was a hundred years ago. And yet today we have Facebook acting without regard to what an image is about, its “aura” (digital or otherwise). “All Lives Matter” likewise categorically dismisses the nuance of history and the “provenance” of a people. The algorithms that Facebook relies on to make its determinations treat all zero’s and one’s as equal (to zero’s and one’s). What Analysis finds frightening is that this form of “equality” (the equality of mathematics found with algorithms) is embraced and has gained acceptance by so many Americans who likewise value and insist that history not be dismissed. Does 9/11 possess an “aura” or is it best described by an algorithm?

Where Credit Is Due

July 11, 2016

The news out of South Africa in the past half year is of public demonstrations, some of which have turned violent. The demonstrations are instigated by the perceived inequality, or lack of equal opportunity within the population. It primarily centers around the increase in the cost of public higher education, which in theory is to be available to all. The Zuma administration has met these protests with a censorship program based on a policy of “to show violence is to encourage it” resulting in a ban on news coverage of these demonstrations. This fueled a popular response, “Right2Know”, which in turn has ramped up even more demonstrations. Readers of this blog will recognize that the South African “right to know” appears quite akin to the “right to look” requisite for Analysis. Such measures to quell public unrest, and violence, would fail here in the US. The horse would never leave the gate. No, not because of opposition from the ACLU. “To show violence is to encourage it” underlies the nuanced, unmentionable marketing of the NRA and US gun manufacturers (“unmentionable” making for a twisted kind of self censorship). Sales of firearms (and the stock of their producers) are rising. Guns aren’t marketed like new cars or cell phones. Their marketing strategy is more like that of the Trump presidential campaign, reliant on current events and subtle insinuations (such and so MAY be…). Having the CDC study guns as a source of death, as a public health concern is a subtle encroachment of the constitution’s 2nd amendment (so celebrate your 2nd amendment rights by buying a gun. Hint, hint). The police themselves are under continuous imminent threat for their own safety. It is the citizen’s duty to help in keeping us all protected (purchasing a gun would contribute to public safety. Hint, hint). If only those good people victimized by mass shootings had each been carrying, the carnage would have been stemmed immediately (the only recourse to a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun. Hint, hint). A “show violence but don’t encourage it” campaign would be of no consequence. It is the current status quo. “Just say no” (to showing or encouraging) was what Nancy Reagan championed with regards to the drug epidemic, and probably would be of equal effectiveness with gun violence. Analysis finds the last option, “to not show violence but encourage it”, to be the most intriguing. It almost sounds un-American. Scrutiny reveals it has the closest real life applications within US culture, primarily when it comes to marketing. “Don’t show it but encourage it” is almost the attitude toward pornography, gambling or bankruptcy. No need to look historically at the heady days of the Bush economy with its sub prime bundled securities and derivatives (all variations on don’t show but encourage). A recent Newark Advocate article (North Park Place project receives $250K in tax credits, Kent Mallett, 7-5-16) sheds light on the “don’t show but encourage” practice right here in downtown Newark. “Sarah Wallace, board chairwoman of First Federal Savings, and her husband, John, join Teri and Fred Lowinger, of Chicago, as building owners and partners in the project. Teri Lowinger’s grandfather was Herman L. Art, founder of nearby business H.L. Art Jewelers. “The tax credits make it possible for the numbers to work, to renovate these older buildings,” Sarah Wallace said. “My motivation is what can I do, personally, to help move Newark further forward.”” “Teri Lowinger grew up in Newark and wants to restore the building her grandfather once owned. The upper floors have been vacant for decades. “Teri is very excited about keeping the building,” Sarah Wallace said.” One aspect of the right to look is the right to entertain the question of why were these properties derelict and left neglected over the past 30 years? Aren’t the owners of these self same properties the very civic leaders who continuously championed Newark, and resented any criticism during this same time? If these self same properties had been left neglected and derelict within a residential neighborhood, like cars up on blocks or vacant houses and apartments (with “potential” value in their owners’ dreamed of future), would they still be around, let alone qualify for public funding and tax credits to “realize their potential” after 30 years? The reality with regard to the neighborhood, like that of the “endless” campaign to stem gun violence, is no. Public money would be found to demolish the structure and/or clean up the site (the self same public money that “demolishes” any restraints on gun ownership). What Analysis finds to be the insidious not shown, unseen here, is the certainty that many of these business (and civic) leader landlords who today celebrate their downtown revitalization (thanks to credits and breaks) promoted the development of Newark’s margins over the last 30 years. Their downtown holdings remained neglected and derelict while they hedged their bets. These self same likewise owned a stake in developing condominiums, housing and medical offices on the west side, and big box stores with strip malls on the north. Uptown, downtown, all around the town, credit is given to those who don’t show but encourage.

Aldi Evangelicals

July 5, 2016

Evangelize 1. to preach the Christian gospel to 2. to convert to Christianity 3. to preach the gospel; act as an evangelist
Those church goers not heading home after Sunday services usually end up at a restaurant or grocery store. The Aldi shopper’s tee shirt identified her as one of the latter. It read: “I am protected by the good Lord and a gun.” Her evangelizing may be a badge of honor to her. Then again, the tee shirt slogan could just be considered cool, provocative. A lot of tee shirts are sold because, like bumper stickers, they say what the wearer wants others to read (the wearer is the billboard promoting the message). Either way, for evangelicals evangelizing is an active verb. Such evangelizing was what got W elected and re-elected. The evangelical electoral clout appears to have subsided with B Rock’s two subsequent victories. Recently Focus on the Family’s James Dobson rather tepidly embraced the Trump campaign. Analysis finds this to be in line with current polling statistics swirling around the two presidential candidates. Dobson probably proclaimed Donnie as born again because it was less distasteful than being with her. An Independent Lens documentary, Armor of Light, shows national evangelical leader Rev. Rob Schenck wrestling with the Christian gospel, political conservatism, and his fellow evangelicals’ embrace of guns and the 2nd amendment. It is the conjunction “and” in the tee shirt slogan that tripped him up, instigating the documentary. The dictionary gives several uses and meanings for “and”. The initial definitions cover connectivity related uses, such as “with”, “as well as”, “in addition to” or “added to”, “then”, “also, at the same time”. The meanings expand after that as the usage changes from one specifically concerning connectivity. These latter usages are totally inappropriate for our tee shirt evangelist. “With, as well as, in addition to” work just fine in place of “and”. “Added to” doesn’t change the meaning. “I am protected by the good Lord then a gun” is an insightful substitution (in the event the good Lord is distracted or preoccupied by more pressing concerns). Finally, “also, at the same time” appears to give the most appropriate meaning for the Aldi evangelical’s usage of “and”. This is where Analysis uncovers a slippage with the meaning of “evangelize” and its contemporary American usage. The original dictionary definition definitely implicates Christian religious belief and the gospel. Any SCOTUS style strict textual interpretation of the gospel readily renders an absence of guns, let alone 2nd amendment. Yet as Rev. Rob Schenck showed, his contemporaries evangelize the importance of “the good Lord and a gun.” Aggressive marketing, resulting in the ever growing increase in gun ownership, coupled with the continuous rise in the value of Smith & Wesson, Sturm Ruger, etc. stock may have more to do with evangelicals obsessing on the security and reliability of a gun (in the event the good Lord may be distracted or preoccupied by more pressing concerns). It is also what these evangelicals currently evangelize. To preach the gospel of the 2nd amendment, to convert infidels to the everlasting salvation of gun ownership may likewise be more about something other than protection or security. It just may be about creating and maintaining believers faithfully and zealously committed to the gospel of individual property ownership- bought, paid for, “and” yours to do with as you please because you own it.

Out Of The Closet

June 25, 2016

The last of the Wolfe family to have been a publisher of the Columbus Dispatch passed away recently (The Dispatch having been sold last year). Obituaries, accolades and tributes remember him as being passionately involved in the formation and direction of Columbus though he preferred to work “behind the scenes”, not getting directly and openly involved in politics. Kinda like being a closet politician, huh? Newark appears to have a plethora of these, both currently in the political closet as well as those outed in passing. Presidential wannabe Donnie Trump has often described himself as such. A previous Newark Trump was a man named Kraner who piloted his own helicopter (OK, it was no jet). When one of the first area cell phone towers sprang up on Welsh Hills Rd. adjoining his estate, he declared it to be ugly, a hazard to his flying and swore to bring it down. It still stands. Mr. Kraner has passed on. This week America’s Trump appeared in Scotland at one of his golf courses. Coincidental with the UK’s Brexit referendum, media world linked the voting outcome with Mr. Trump’s own aspirations. Of course, the master of Twitter obliged. Analysis finds media world’s scoop to be incredibly incomplete, almost a tweet. Scotland had overwhelmingly voted in favor of remaining in the EU. Mr. Trump promoted the outcome as an awesome benefit for the Scots. The Scots themselves feel otherwise. They now want to break away from Great Britain and reconnect with the EU. Trump was at one of his newly developed golf courses to tout (what else?) its wonderfulness. Media world failed to mention that the golf course is an actual, historic wall built by Mr. Trump. Like Wexner’s buy out of properties to create the new (and improved) New Albany, Trump gobbled up properties on the site of his projected golf course. However, there were holdouts. Like Kraner, Trump declared these to be ugly and built an enormous earthen wall immediately adjoining their property in order to completely block their exposure to his golf course. The golf course side of the wall is landscaped to look like hills around the margins. Gated communities employ this same form of landscape architecture. Walls keep out more than just people. They also keep out what can be seen, and sees. For the Trumps of the world, there is no right to look. Like media world, Analysis does find a parallel between Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential marketing, er, campaign and that of Brexit. Standing there in Scotland, saying that leaving the EU created greater value for Scotland (like tourism to fill his golf course) was superlative marketing. This was akin to selling coal to Newcastle considering that Scotland (like North Ireland) voted otherwise and are now moving to exit the UK. Here at home Analysis can imagine Trump appearing at a hospital proclaiming that it is in the best interest of public health not to have comprehensive national health care. Or consoling the next gun induced massacre occurrence by encouraging everyone to be armed at all times. Or telling precarious, part time, and temporary workers at a living wage rally that they should be thankful for a low minimum wage making their jobs possible. Like the Wolfes, Kraners, Wexners, etc. of the world, Trump is using his wealth and marketing to materialize his own personal vision. Unlike our local versions, he is not operating behind the scenes but in the open, out of the closet.

Trouble In Mind

April 15, 2016

Analysis always finds it disconcerting to pick up on area news from an outside the area source (see archive Not News, 3-9-16). Again, “Ohio State Turns the Concept of ‘Safe Space’ Against Student Protesters; Activists were cleared from a building by officials who claimed that they were making university employees feel scared.” By Conor Friedersdorf for The Atlantic (4-14-16) creates this disruption of confidence in local news access. The story itself is troubling. “At Ohio State last week, a sit-in and protest inside a university building was cut short when students were warned that they would be forcibly removed by police, arrested, and possibly expelled if they did not vacate the premises within a few hours, by 5 a.m.” Again, from “outside the bubble” as Harry Shearer would say, we learn that outdoor demonstrations against new labor law reforms in France have been taking place nightly in Paris since March 9, 2016. The movement, entitled “Nuit Debout” (Standing Night) has since spread to 30 cities outside Paris, with the latest confrontation involving the arrest of children in Montpellier (France: Riot police spray Montpellier students with tear gas during protest By Alex Wheeler, International Business Times, 4-14-16). All very much akin to last summer’s unreporting of “Every Saturday for nearly two months, Constitution Square outside Guatemala City’s National Palace has overflowed with thousands of protesters demanding an end to corruption and the resignation of President Otto Perez Molina.” (from the UK’s Telegraph) You may also like the AP’s More UMass student protesters arrested during second sit-in (4-14-16). “Police say the 19 students booked on Wednesday were protesters who did not exit the building peacefully after a dispersal order was issued. They were charged with trespassing and were arraigned in Eastern Hampshire District Court. Fifteen protesters were similarly arrested at Tuesday night’s sit-in.” Then again, a Yuuuuge demonstration has evolved on line for tonight in front of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Manhattan where Donnie Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich are scheduled to speak. But back to the unreported Ohio State Student Union demonstration which is much more troubling in its broader implications. Just a little over a year ago a non-demonstration outside the Ohio Student Union was brutalized by Columbus police using horse mounted officers and pepper spray (Riot Cops Use Tear Gas on Columbus Crowds After Ohio State Win, NBC News, 1-13-15). Bear that violence in mind as Friedersdorf quotes Dr. Drake’s representatives: “Our goal, because I want you to understand why we would do something like this—I didn’t think we were going to—but the consensus of university leaders is that the people who work in this building should be protected also. They come to work around 7 o’clock. Do you remember when you all made the rush down there and chanted to the folks outside the doors a minute ago? That scared people.” Friedersdorf goes on to write: “That elicited disbelief from protesters. Who was scared, they scoffed, the police officers with guns? Said the university messenger, “If you refuse to understand what I’m trying to tell you—I’m not going to answer that question,” meaning he refused to say who it scared. Soon after, his sidekick steps in, saying, “It would scare employees who are wanting to do their work in this building.” Added the first messenger, “The employees who work past five o’clock left early this evening. Do you know why? Because they were scared you were going to do something.” Said messenger two, “That’s the truth you guys. I talked to several of them when they walked out of here.” Their consensus position: “The people in this building have a right to a safe environment, and to an environment where their jobs won’t be interrupted.”” Analysis wonders if this is a new variation on the ongoing Right To Work laws or something else. Analysis finds this to be something else, a new variation on the oft repeated theme for police/paramilitary shootings where the shooter “feared for their life” as justification for the shooting (George Zimmerman’s purported rationale, repeated since ad nauseam by various shooters). This is particularly insidious in light of the Constitutional Rights which are disregarded (trampled on) for the sake of being scared, in fear of one’s life, terrified (which leads into the war on those who terrify, the war on terror). While the second amendment right of bearing arms, whether through concealed or open carry, is not sufficient cause for being scared, in fear for one’s life, or terrified, people assembled or exercising speech is considered scary. This new line of policing is even more pernicious in light of the SCOTUS ruling not allowing for “safe spaces” in front of abortion clinics in order to keep those entering or working there from being scared, fearing for their lives, or being terrified by the folks outside exercising their Constitutional Rights of assembly and speech. Analysis finds all of this occurring within the Patriot Act environment, manufactured specifically to protect citizens from being scared or terrified, to be quite troubling.

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?

Not News?

March 9, 2016

Or at least not for central Ohio. 3-8-16 Alex Zielinski reports online for ThinkProgress “Ohio Planned Parenthood Clinic Vandalized, Called ‘Den Of Babykillers’”. Newark’s only newspaper, along with the Cols. Dispatch and TV channels (one of which is owned by The Dispatch’s former owners and two others affiliated with Fox) found no need to headline this on the 7th and 8th. Zielinski begins the report with “Staff of a Columbus, Ohio Planned Parenthood clinic were greeted Monday morning with a freshly painted message in red scrawled on the outside of their clinic: “SATAN DEN OF BABYKILLERS GOD SEE ALLLL Mark 9:14.”” Of note: “Monday’s graffiti is the first major act of vandalism to a Planned Parenthood clinic since an anti-abortion extremist killed three — and wounded many others — at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood in November.” “The act of vandalism comes exactly two weeks after Ohio Governor and presidential hopeful John Kasich signed a bill that would pull all federal funding from state Planned Parenthood clinics.” And ending with: “Similar to other state bills aiming to cut ties with Planned Parenthood, Ohio’s reasoning to enact this bill is entirely based on the misleading video campaign that says the women’s health organization profits off fetal tissue — a campaign that has been discredited by nearly a dozen state courts. More broadly, Ohio is one of the states with the most stringent abortion restrictions in the country. The rapid pace of clinic closures there over the past several years is second only to Texas.” Analysis questions whether this is not news because it is (Christian) domestic terrorism not affiliated with Islam and at a nascent stage, is politically inconvenient for a newspaper (The Advocate) that places its hopes with the Republican Party (see this blog’s 12-29-15, The Year In Review), or an embarrassment to an out of touch presidential wannabe who hearkens his bygone glory days on the campaign trail as reasons for being elected.