Posts Tagged ‘Voter Suppression’

Whatever Is Good Will Appear

February 9, 2020

In the previous post (Food For Thought, 2-6-20) Analysis wondered what the barriers of voter suppression were in Newark Ohio. Even more importantly, why was no one speaking of them? As a partial response to the novel coronavirus, a 1,000 bed hospital was just built in China in 10 days. The Empire State Building was built in one year, in the midst of the Great Depression. Last year an abandoned 9,000 square foot Family Dollar building was purchased with the announced promise of becoming a homeless shelter in the heart of Newark Ohio (Evans Foundation to buy former Family Dollar for Newark homeless shelter, Kent Mallett, Newark Advocate 7-27-2019). Also in 2019 the city’s public/private partnership, Newark Development Partners Community Improvement Corporation, “announced the purchase of the Arcade. The purchase includes all real estate located at 15 Arcade Place, including the entrances facing North Third and North Fourth streets, commercial property extending east and west between the entrances, approximately 22 commercial spaces inside the arcade and the potential for 15 to 20 residential units above the area.” (Historic downtown Newark Arcade sold, renovations planned, Benjamin Lanka and Kent Mallett, Newark Advocate, 11-23-19), also in the heart of Newark Ohio. Which development do you believe will be completed first? Indeed, to call the Family Dollar building a ‘development’ would be a gross misnomer, verging on (Gasp!) misinformation. Though the word ‘development’ appears in the name of Newark Development Partners, which was involved with both projects (along with Newark’s shadow prime minister, Dan DeLawder), the word ‘development’ doesn’t appear at all in Mallett’s Evans Foundation article. But the final lines of Lanka and Mallett’s Historic downtown piece say it all: ““Our community is excited about the progress that has been made downtown.  Sustainable success requires patience and investment into various aspects of the area, from physical improvements to business climate to residential opportunities and more,” [NDP Executive Director Fred] Ernest said in a release. [NDP Chairman Dan] DeLawder added, “This purchase was made possible through extraordinary philanthropic support from several local parties. We are grateful for the continued generosity of the Newark community in helping accomplish the goal to promote and foster economic development in our city.”” Through the legal entity (corporation) of a public/private partnership, public government becomes an enabler of private corporate development (not far removed from an addiction enabler). The Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority is an excellent example of this, constantly touting its money making commercial development adjacent to the Newark Heath airport. Indeed, it has been so successful in money making money that some years ago it purchased the PIME Seminary property for projected development 20 years in the future. Development is simply money making money. Only catch is that one has to have the money to make the money, which is where the government’s public financing comes in (along with tax abatements, credits, infrastructure improvements, etc.). Roughly half the residential housing in Newark is non-owner occupant (rental). It is easy to correlate 40% of Newark’s population with that of the rest of the country in terms of having less than $1,000 in liquid assets in case of emergency (one step away from being in need of a homeless person’s shelter). Add to this the average debt load (student, credit card, medical, etc.) and job precariousness… Where’s this population of citizens’ capacity to develop? Why bother? Best to leave it to the pros. This is readily evidenced by the recent replacement of banker Mark Fraizer’s Newark City Council seat by, you guessed it, NDP’s marketing salesperson Spencer Barker (touché, it is a time of no need for evidence or witnesses). Analysis concludes that pubic office seeking candidates touting the merits of development are one of the major vote suppression barriers utilized in Newark Ohio. When a candidate says “good for economic development” what she or he is really saying is “No need to come out and vote, folks. We’ve got this.” THAT’S voter suppression.

“Everything that appears is good; whatever is good will appear.” (Guy Debord)


Polarity And The Burning Of The Reichstag

December 9, 2018

In the previous posting Analysis looked at the lame duck fever in Ohio, the symptoms of which did not appear until after the midterm election. Ohio is not alone though it differs somewhat from its “rust belt” neighbors, Michigan and Wisconsin. In Ohio, the GOP dominance of the three branches of gov’t continues with the new administrations whereas in Wisconsin and Michigan, there will be newly elected opposition administration to the previous GOP hegemony. In a flurry of last minute activity to cash in on their current trifecta of power, those state legislatures, in co-ordination with the governor, have passed legislation limiting and altering the powers of upcoming executive administration as well as voting rights. Though a last grasping of power for the GOP, it is likewise apparently quite legal for the legislature to act thusly. Meanwhile, in another state with similar GOP dominance, the possibility of a non-GOP win in the midterms could not be left to the chance of democracy. Caught with their pants down, one North Carolina congressional race was not certified due to election “irregularities” so blatant that a fraud investigation ensued. “The head of North Carolina’s Republican Party says he would “not oppose” a new election in the state’s 9th Congressional District if allegations of fraud by a GOP operative prove true. “If they can say with a strong degree of certainty that the outcome of the race was changed or there is a substantial likelihood that it could have been, the law requires that there be a new election, and we would not oppose,” said Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, in an interview with NPR.” (N.C. GOP Leader Open To New Election As Fraud Investigation Continues, Miles Parks, NPR, 12-6-18) A magnanimous gesture? Earlier the same director was quoted as saying “”This is funny business on the part of Democrats, in part to try and steal this race,” Woodhouse told NPR on Monday.” Analysis would like to consider this “funny business” in light of the recent revelations regarding the Bundy’s of “Do Not Tread On Me” fame. Reported variously, Newsweek gives Militia Leader Ammon Bundy Quits ‘Patriot Movement’ After Criticizing Trump’s Rhetoric On Immigrants, Jenni Finks, 12-7-18. Back in the latter part of November Ammon posted disagreement with the GOP policy regarding migrants, the caravan, their treatment as well as perception. His father, also of Don’t Tread On Me Fame, essentially said ditto in support of his son (and received the same response). “On Tuesday, Bundy shut down his social media accounts and said he was stepping out of the public spotlight. After seeing the militia movement’s opposition to the migrant caravan and blind support for Trump, Bundy also decided to leave the “patriot movement” he was once seen as spearheading.” “”It’s like being in a room full of people in here, trying to teach, and no one is listening,” Bundy told BuzzFeed News. “The vast majority seemed to hang on to what seemed like hate, and fear, and almost warmongering, and I don’t want to associate myself with warmongers.” Analysis utilizes Wiki to go way back in the way back machine. “Reichstagsbrand was an arson attack on the Reichstag building (home of the German parliament) in Berlin on 27 February 1933, one month after Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany. Hitler’s government stated that Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch council communist, was found near the building and attributed the fire to communist agitators in general—though in 1933, a German court decided that van der Lubbe had acted alone, as he claimed. After the fire, the Reichstag Fire Decree was passed. The Nazi Party used the fire as evidence that communists were plotting against the German government, and the event is considered pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany. The term Reichstag fire has come to refer to false flag actions perpetrated or facilitated by an authority to promote their own interests through popular approval of retribution or retraction of civil rights.” Analysis finds that the voting fraud perpetrated by the GOP operatives in North Carolina could eventually (when the news cycle has passed) become more than adequate justification for even greater voter suppression legislation enacted by GOP dominant state governments. This would be in keeping with what is currently occurring in other states dominated by the GOP (including Ohio). When the opposition (Democrats, etc.) are considered as “the enemy” determined to “try and steal” any election, then is it any wonder that the country is polarized? It becomes no mystery that the GOP legislatures, whether lame duck or recently elected, would pass election law meant to suppress the vote rather than encourage and enable it. Using Ammon Bundy’s words to describe the GOP instead of the Patriot Movement, it appears that “The vast majority seemed to hang on to what seemed like hate, and fear, and almost warmongering.”

Voter Suppression – A Transparently Slippery Slope

November 6, 2018

Tuesday November 6, Voting day 2018. Judge Rules Against Georgia Election Law, Calling It A ‘Severe Burden’ For Voters (Shannon Van Sant for NPR, 11-3-18). Gasp! A ‘Severe Burden’ to vote? “In a 2013 ruling, Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, which stipulated that states like Georgia, with a history of racial discrimination, had to get changes to voting measures approved in advance by the federal government.” There’s those ‘activist judges’ making law again. The results? “In Iowa, the Republican secretary of state is phasing in a new voter ID law, and in Dodge City, Kan., a federal judge has denied a request to reopen the city’s longtime polling site in the city. The location of the new polling site is outside the city limits, and more than a mile away from the nearest bus stop, making travel there difficult for some potential voters.” Another good reason to get out of Dodge? Brilliant. Newark hasn’t had any reliable bus service since the last century. Butt weight, there’s more. “The debate over voter suppression in the midterm elections extends to multiple states. In North Dakota the Republican-controlled government has implemented a controversial new law requiring residents to show identification with a current street address. But as Ruben Kimmelman reported for NPR, “Many residents of Native American reservations — who tend to vote for Democrats — do not have street addresses. They have Post Office box numbers, and those don’t qualify.”” Well, ya can’t live in a post office box, or on multiple friend and family couches, or tent under a bridge or in a public park. Obviously makes everything peachy keen as in Georgia: “The “exact match” law flags voter registrations that have discrepancies with other official identification documents used by the state. Mismatches can occur under the law for such reasons as missing hyphens, accent marks and middle initials. Those who are flagged can still vote if they settle the discrepancy by providing proof of identity.” One X, or two? Well, at least we don’t have such pedantry in Ohio. Here, a registered voter just needs to get to a polling place. And, as we all know, everyone drives so everyone has a photo ID to show the poll worker who asks a few questions from off of the photo ID, like “Is that you?” “What is your home address?” “What is your middle name?” “What is your date of birth?” “How do you pronounce your name?” “Please sign the screen…” Of course the screen is on the surface of a folding table and the cursor doesn’t work if it touches the screen (so no pen to paper technique allowed) and the registered voter is bent over at the waist (you’ve been to the Y and done your regular bendy stretchies, haven’t you?), trying to write their “official” signature in mid air, a fraction of an inch in front of the screen (no touching, no leaning on the table to steady your hand). That virtual signature is then “exact matched” to the one done with pen and paper from GOK when you registered to vote (Gawd Only Knows). What could be simpler? Analysis finds that time does strange things to a registered voter’s physiology. Today Phil Mickelson is known more for his psoriatic arthritis than his game. Whose handwriting, let alone signature, hasn’t “evolved” after a lifetime of signing odious checks and mundane documents (in duplicate!)? Analysis finds contemporary voter suppression to be a transparently slippery slope, from virtually inaccessible polling places to hand waving signatures in front of a screen.