Another blow to the American dream

Come to America, where everyone can become a millionaire.

Thing is, a million ain’t what it used to be.

It’s been a long time since I served with the U.S. Army Special Forces. We liked to think of our special operations units as the “quiet professionals.” We didn’t like to have our pictures taken, we’d keep a low profile, identifying marks on our bodies that weren’t put there by god weren’t approved of. (A friend, Tim G., got busted 2 ranks and put in a shit job for getting “YANKEE” tattooed across his chest just before being shipped to Nicaragua to train people we had no business training). When “Mark Owen” wrote the book “No Easy Day” about the operation to get Bin Laden, I pre-ordered it and read it the weekend I got it.

I didn’t see anything that even remotely seemed like a security leak, or disclosure of classified info or special ops weapons or tactics. I’d read most of Dick Marcinko’s “Red Cell” books- and gleaned a lot more there.

And while it’s OK for Hillary, Bill, and Barack to make millions from their books- apparently, it’s not OK for an enlisted man to make a dime.

Matt Bissonnette, a former member of Navy SEAL Team 6, will probably have to forfeit at least $4.5 million in book royalties over his failure to allow the Pentagon to review his best seller on the Osama bin Laden raid for possible security breaches, according to court documents filed by his lawyer. The documents say Mr. Bissonnette would also have to give up movie rights to his book “No Easy Day,” worth at least $900,000, and would lose the security clearances needed to do military-related consulting work.

via Former Navy SEAL, Author of Bin Laden Best Seller, May Face Costly Penalties, Lawyer Says – NYTimes.com.

Let’s see the differences:

Bissonnette signed a blank check to the people of the United States guaranteed with his life. He trained harder than 99.99% of Americans. He risked his life many times over.

Hillary, Bill and Barack- got elected. They smiled and waved at cameras, told people what they wanted to hear, and took billions in donations to reach their goal. Hell, even Monica Lewinsky got paid for her near toppling of our government over her sloppy blow job.

Charlie Sheen pretended to be a Navy SEAL- and got paid millions. Why shouldn’t Bissonnette? He’d even promised most of the proceeds to go to families of Navy SEALs who were killed in action, although the foundation refused his donations according to Wikipedia sources.

Generals have made millions from their book deals- I’ve got a signed copy of General Tommy Frank’s book, Colin Powell has a book, McChrystal has a book- after he had to resign for talking to Rolling Stone while still on duty. Look at what all the generals get to do once they retire- sit on boards, work for defense contractors, lecture tours.

Guys like Matt who did their dirty work, make up the largest segment of America’s homeless.

The American dream isn’t what it used to be. Even the guys who make it possible for it to continue to survive- have to fight tooth and nail to get their share.

I hope the Pentagon drops this stupidity before they make bigger fools of themselves.

The Sexist Selective Service System

Selective Service Manual cover with the words "No Girls Allowed" superimposed

Selective Service System is still a good ole boys club

When I turned 18, I went to the post office and registered for Selective Service. About 6 months later, I volunteered to enter the U.S. Army, where I served with women who weren’t required to register.

From the Selective Service System website:

Almost all male U.S. citizens, and male immigrants living in the U.S., who are 18 through 25, are required to register with Selective Service. It’s important to know that even though he is registered, a man will not automatically be inducted into the military. In a crisis requiring a draft, men would be called in sequence determined by random lottery number and year of birth. Then, they would be examined for mental, physical and moral fitness by the military before being deferred or exempted from military service or inducted into the Armed Forces.

via Selective Service System: Fast Facts.

I hadn’t given it much thought lately until I heard a PSA on WDPS reminding young men to register. It warned that failure to register could stop eligibility for “student financial aid, loans, or grants; vocational training under WIA; government employment; and security clearances.”

In light of changes to the rules about women in combat, as of Jan. 24, 2013, when:

a unanimous recommendation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta today announced the end of the direct ground combat exclusion rule for female service members.

via Defense.gov News Article: Defense Department Expands Women’s Combat Role.

it would seem to me that it is discriminatory to force the “Selective Service System” only on men, and only penalize men for not registering for the draft that probably would never happen. It’s time to level the playing field and ask women to make the same commitment to their country as men, if they also want access to financial aid, loans, grants, etc.

It’s been a long time for this country to live up to the words of the founding fathers – in our Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Women can vote, women can go to war, women can become presidential candidates- it’s time for women to register for the Selective Service System.

 

Time to change the national anthem and chuck the constitution: Police militarization

Photo by Whitney Curtis for The New York Times

Ferguson MO militarized police photo- Whitney Curtis for The New York Times

It’s this photo that makes my stomach turn. This is not a police force to “Serve and protect”- but a police force to deny free speech, the right to peaceably assemble and to protest.

We are no longer the home of the brave and land of the free.

When gun nuts talk about needing to own an assault rifle, because they are afraid of the government overstepping its bounds, they now have the poster photo to prove the crazies are right.

Let me count the ways that this is wrong. The idiot on the top of the “Urban Assault Vehicle” is actively sighting a target. If he had a legitimate reason to do this, all those “riot police” should be on the deck- with their weapons pointed at an imminent threat. If anyone else held a fully automatic assault rifle like that, they would be shot by the police with the excuse that they were inciting panic. In Beavercreek Ohio, you can get killed for talking on a cell phone with a BB gun in a Walmart- this is an order of magnitude worse.

The mismatched uniforms- with desert boots and woodland camouflage also make these “police officers” look more like extras on a low-budget Hollywood war movie. Why wear BDU’s at all? Are they police- or soldiers? Police officers work for us- have pride in their community, and represent us- soldiers are here to repress us. The moment you don a military uniform, you are no longer serving and protecting me, at least that’s the way this former soldier sees it.

No matter how much police forces train to use this gear, it’s not suited for police work. Good cops know their first and most effective tool, is talking to people, trying to establish rapport and common ground. Note to cops: the moment you don your GI Joe gear you throw all that “one of us rapport” out the window. If we really need an MRAP on the scene, you’d do better to let it be the National Guard in it, because after the shit storm is over, they go home outside the community- and you, well, you’ve permanently distanced yourself by actively taking arms against our citizenry.

SWAT was a bad TV show- that forever changed the idea of what cops should and shouldn’t do. It probably did as much or more damage to the idea of “community based policing” than Jack Bauer on 24 did to interrogation techniques. No, physical torture doesn’t get you good intel or accurate intel- it just makes you guilty of war crimes. Want a lesson in the Geneva Convention- ask Senator John McCain, don’t ask “John McClane”- the cop character in the Die Hard movies which also distorted the reality of what happens when most people shoot other people- even highly trained people shooting other people. The reality is, most cops don’t shoot very often, and this kind of BS isn’t why they got into policing. Any chief who orders his officers to go out with automatic weapons and point them as if to shoot- should be relieved of command.

For those who need a refresher- the United States is probably the only country that glorifies a war battle in its national anthem, and not even the revolutionary war, but the war of 1812. We seem to still be confused as to what a “land of the free and the home of the brave” means. Are we now brave, to walk in protest, facing our fellow countrymen armed to the teeth, to protect our freedoms which have been slipping away from us since September 11, 2001?

The Constitution, starts with this preamble. Read it. Then look at the photo above. Do the two go together?

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Habeas Corpus- the right not to be be unlawfully detained, and to have a judge and jury determine your fate:

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

When police show up with the firepower to go to war, our collective rights are being stripped from us. Those which are guaranteed in the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the Constitution).

They read in brief (from this post)

  1. Freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition.
  2. Right to bear arms.
  3. Right not to quarter soldiers.
  4. Freedom from unnecessary search or seizure.
  5. Due process of laws.
  6. The right to a speedy trial.
  7. The right to a trial by jury.
  8. No cruel or unusual punishment.
  9. Constitutional rights do not deny other rights.
  10. States rights

Look again at the photo above. The Third amendment specifically applies to this-

“the Third Amendment subordinates military authority to civilian control and safeguards against abuses that can be perpetrated by standing armies and professional soldiers.” via The legal dictionary/free dictionary.

Do those cops look like cops, or professional soldiers to you? They do to me.

We have a constitutional law expert as our president. Now is not the time for him to be on vacation. What is happening in Ferguson MO is a danger to the state of our union, and demands his attention. It’s time for a come-to-Jesus meeting about police militarization, because if this is how my police serve and protect, I say they are doing neither.

Right after I posted this- Butler Township Trustee Nick Brusky tweeted the following:

The crime scene instant replay hypocrisy

The first thing the rabble rousing reverends call for in the recent police shooting of a young black man in a lily white communities Walmart is to see the store video- all of it.

Yet, the exact same people rail against traffic cams installed to monitor speed and stop lights.

Don’t forget the ones who screamed bloody murder over the high resolution drone surveillance either.

Our society has been spoiled by instant replay from every angle to figure out if a penalty in football was called correctly or if the players foot stepped on the line, that we seem to expect the same from some Chinese DVR taking low rez photos at 10 frames per second in a store.

Some police departments are experimenting with personal video recorders attached to the shirts of their officers, to provide “evidence” of what “really happened” in a police interaction. This is after “dash cams” became the norm- letting the public voyeurs see some things as horrible as when a few local white supremacists decided to do a Bonnie and Clyde move- shooting an unsuspecting State Trooper on a routine traffic stop. Hyped by media that still lives by the adage “if it bleeds it leads” we’ve turned into junkies for “Reality TV” of real life tragedies which often happen when idiots and guns mix. Even pellet guns- as was the case in the Beavercreek Walmart.

One person wrote into the Dayton Daily news wondering what would have happened in the Walmart had a private citizen packing now legal heat at decided to take out the bb gun waving, cell phone talking black man, instead of the police? Or what would have the police done had they seen one of those Concealed Carry people waiting with gun drawn- in case the pellet gun genius came their way? It’s sad that just the hysteria caused by this incident also took the life of a young woman who died as she tried to flea the scene by yet undetermined causes.

What does store security video do to change all of this? We’re yet to find out. Most of it comes without sound- so unless the Feds have lip readers, ways to enhance video like on crime scene shows (I work in video and can tell you that most of that “resolution enhancement” you see on CSI is total BS) we may just end up with more questions than answers. This isn’t an NFL game with 13 cameras following the ball at all times from all angles.

At least ten years ago- I sat in a Greene County Court room where a young black man was about to be sent away for three years in prison. The evidence then? A dash cam recording – which coupled with mandatory sentencing laws, decided the case for the judge. The crime? A drunk black man, in cuffs in the back of the cruiser, says on camera to the officer “you won’t live to see your next birthday.” A mandatory 3 year felony stint for threatening the life of a law enforcement officer. Had the black man just hit the cop- 6 months and a minor misdemeanor.

The judge said in the sentencing- “In all my years on the bench, we usually have two parties telling different stories about the same event, and somewhere in the middle is the truth. Here, all we had to do was press play” and a life was changed for saying something stupid.

Video replay of crimes can’t always be the gold standard for deciding guilt or innocence, at some point common sense has to enter into the equation.

I don’t envy the cops who had to make a split second decision about if a gun is real or not real, and if the person acting irrationally (yes, walking through a store with anything like a firearm un-holstered or pointed anywhere other than the floor or ceiling is irrational) could prevent that officer from going home to his family that night. It’s in those split seconds where photographic evidence isn’t the end all and be all. If it shows a gun being pointed anywhere other than floor or ceiling- what the commands were, if they were followed, timing- don’t really matter anymore in my book. The possibility of a tragedy brought on a real tragedy and second guessing it isn’t solving the problem.

The real questions should be is what other shoppers saw- what they thought? Does one persons account via a 911 call make this a situation calling for SWAT? Should the 911 caller be questioned for inciting panic? These are some of the questions that need to be answered.

As to our constant monitoring by video and its effect on our civil liberties, that cat is so long out of the bag it’s time to stop arguing about it, and consider what our real expectations are for a civil and moral society that doesn’t break down into dysfunction at the drop of a dime.

Why having the sheriff as a political party chair is a bad idea in Montgomery County

When Robert Scott stepped down as chair of the Montgomery County Republican Party last October, the party machinery didn’t quite work the way it was supposed to. Typically, there is an order of ascendency, and the vice chairmen would become chairman. However, vice-chairman Nick Brusky stepped down too, and next on the pecking order was Dave Landon who should have been made party chair- but since he was already on the County Patronage Payroll at the Board of Elections and couldn’t be party chair and get paid, so he abdicated as well.

[update] Apr 23 see comment below- Co-chair was Kate Burch, who stepped down, leaving Landon, who couldn’t and then second vice-chairman, Nick Brusky, who should, technically be leading the party[/update]

There should have been an election, with a quorum of the Precinct Captains voting. A quorum is 50 percent plus one of the central committee. That meeting/election never took place. For a very short period, Landon was representing himself as acting party chair. See this PDF of the filing with the Ohio Elections Commission case about the “endorsement” by the party of a candidate, even though the party wasn’t actually functioning at the time: Landon at Ohio Elections Commission

Screen shot of Ohio Republican Party site showing Phil Plummer as party chair

Here is a screen grab from the Ohio Republican Party Site showing Plummer as chair

Somewhere along the line, Landon realized he could lose his high-dollar job, and then Montgomery County Sheriff, Phil Plummer anointed himself  chair. Never mind the election wasn’t held, thereby breaking state law, but it is highly unlikely that Plummer would be able to get the votes, since Scott took over the party by getting a majority of the precinct captains elected who supported his brand of Republicanism. It was a message that the good-ole boy days were over, and yet, that’s exactly who is back in power now.

While the equally dysfunctional Democratic party in town can laugh about all this, there is one major problem with having the sheriff as the head of one political party in Ohio- he’s the guy you call when you have an election day problem. Yep, the person who is to enforce order on election day, the one you call if someone is within 100 feet of the polls doing electioneering, the one who oversees the safe transportation of the ballots- is the sheriff in Ohio.

You need to read this Memo from Secretary of State Jon Husted  of October 22, 2013, outlining the Special Powers and Responsibilities of Sheriffs on Election Day via http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/elections/memos/2013/2013-10-22.pdf

“Election officials are charged with preventing violence and disorder at the polls and may call upon the sheriff or other peace officers to aid them in enforcing the law, including the arrest of violators.
The sheriff has a statutory duty to respond immediately to such a request.

“At least one policeman shall be assigned to duty in each precinct on each day of an election, when requested by the board or the secretary of state. Such police officer shall have access at all times to the polling place, and he shall promptly place under arrest any person found violating any provisions of Title XXXV [35] of the Revised Code.”

Mixing politics with his elected duties is not only a very large potential conflict of interest, it also opens a big can of worms if something ends up in court. Plummer should resign as party chair, or as sheriff immediately.

Right now, Plummer has one of his officers, a “Detective of Special Investigations” J.M. Clymer, out doing the Ohio Democratic Party’s dirty work. Although the Board of Elections has already accepted the required number of signatures on petitions submitted for Larry Ealy, the long-shot Dem candidate for governor in the upcoming primary, Plummer’s pogue is out trying to harass Ealy’s circulators with the threat of felony charges for submitting questionable petitions. Considering that current Dayton City Commissioners have turned in petitions with as many as 40% failing signatures, why these circulators are being harassed is questionable, and the credibility of Plummer’s office in the case is nil. You can’t be a political party chair and the criminal investigator for election law at the same time.

The Dayton Daily news has written about this investigation twice- even trying to infer that one of the circulators had a previous case for election fraud- stemming from a questionably legal eminent domain case in Moraine and his attempt to vote once he was made homeless. Here is what they published on Feb 18:

Petitions to run for governor submitted by Trotwood resident Larry Ealy were forwarded to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted for investigation of possible fraudulent signatures, said Steve Harsman, deputy director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

Husted spokesman Matt McClellan said the office had not yet received the complaint, but would ask the local board to do the formal investigation in conjunction with the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s office. Harsman said election falsification is a fifth-degree felony. The maximum penalty for a fifth-degree felony in Ohio is 12 months in prison.

via Fraud probe launched in candidate’s run for governor | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

My only question is who is going to investigate Plummer- our illegitimate Republican Party Chair/Sheriff who has illegally elected himself? Shouldn’t that be a fifth-degree felony as well?

 

 

A step to end modern day slavery: NCAA vs. student atheletes’ union

When the coach of the football team makes more money than the university president, you have a problem. When the athletic director gets paid an $18,000 bonus because one of his wrestlers won a national championship, you have a problem. When the football program has virtually unlimited funding, but the price of college skyrockets- you have a problem. All built on the fallacy that college sports are “amateur” endeavors.

That idea just got a serious challenge from the National Labor Relations Board in a ruling today:

Peter Ohr, the regional NLRB. director, questioned that familiar construct. He called Northwestern an employer and deemed all its scholarship football players eligible to form a union based on a litany of factors, including how much time players devote to football as many as 50 hours during some weeks and the control exerted by the coaching staff and their scholarships, which Ohr called compensation. “It cannot be said that the employer’s scholarship players are ‘primarily students,’” the decision said.

via College Players Granted Right To Form Union – NYTimes.com.

The ruling, which will be contested, somehow only applies to private universities, not to public ones, but, if allowed to stand, and only private schools pay players, you’ll see a giant sucking sound as talent moves to the money. Ohio State would become “Little sisters of the poor” faster than Gordon Gee can tie a bow tie.

The reality is, being a college coach is a better job than working in a bank any day of the week (no offense to any of my banker friends) and that it’s not a job you initially go into for the money. It’s hard work, long hours and a lot of ridiculous rules thanks to the NCAA trying to maintain its stranglehold on one of the last great monopoly/slave trade operations going.

If the money that is generated by television contracts and ticket sales and licensing were divided reasonably between the players and the coaches, and the rest of it went back to the universities to help lower the cost of tuition, we’d be a long way toward reducing the skyrocketing costs of education. We’d also not be a nation of hypocrites, who believe that hard work is rewarded fairly. If you want to talk about communism in this country- how is it that every athlete gets paid the same tuition on a team (of those on scholarship) regardless of performance? While the bosses (coaches, AD’s etc.) get paid wildly well for the fruits of their labors.

It’s long overdue to change this system and pay the athletes. It’s also time to stop pretending that a coach is worth more than a university president.

Thank you NLRB for finally stepping in and doing the right thing, and congratulations for the smart players at Northwestern who stood up for their rights and called the entire country out on this disgraceful injustice.

The Eric Spicer diversion

In Dayton, it’s hard to not be separated by about 1.2 degrees of separation. Especially in political circles. I met and got to know Eric Spicer when I last ran for Congress and he was running for the Republican nomination for State Representative against the disgraced drunk Jarrod Martin and the eventual winner, Rick Perales who has his own issues.

Spicer came off as a straight-up, stand-up guy. Trusted friends told me that as well. But when I read the paper about his Termination from the Greene County Sheriff’s office for undeclared reasons, I don’t scratch my head at all, I know it’s political.

Greene County Sheriff, Gene Fischer, had placed Spicer on admin leave for 7 months before yesterdays confirmation.

“He was placed on leave after the Yellow Springs police standoff ended in the death of Paul E. Schenck, a resident, who fired more than 100 shots at law enforcement officers on July 30.”

according to the DDN today

For the record, only one person died, or was wounded in that standoff- Schenck. There is no lawsuit pending against the County for neglect or incompetence. Also for the record, Spicer wasn’t the highest ranking Sheriff’s office at the scene either.

And while I hate to report third hand, a quick search finds this blog piece with allegations of what’s really going on, from a blog maintained by a friend of Schenck:

inside information that Eric Spicer was being set up as a fall guy. I emailed the person who left the comment and here’s the bullet points of what they told me:

That contrary to what has been reported, Eric Spicer was not in command. His only command decisions were to call for a SWAT negotiator and a helicopter.

That Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer and Chief Deputy Mike Brown were on hand. They were the ones in command.

That Eric Spicer was trying to remove neighbors to safety in order to eliminate the sense of urgency to kill Paul. With nobody in danger, Spicer hoped that SWAT and the other agencies would cease antagonizing Paul, allow the sun to come up, and let the professional negotiator talk him out.

That if that plan had been allowed to proceed, Paul would be alive.

But instead of allowing that plan to work, that SWAT was using armored vehicles to deliberately provoke Paul into firing.

That Paul was only firing when he was provoked.

That one of the two men in charge, Chief Deputy Mike Brown, smelled of alcohol.

That there had been complaints about Brown’s drinking in the weeks and months leading up to this incident.

via Eric Spicer » Kick Him, Honey.

For an in-depth look at what happened that night, the same writer, Benjmin Whitmer, has a pretty decent essay, simply titled “Paul Schenck” It was his follow up post about Spicer’s firing that elicited some people to comment and step up for Spicer.

Information that’s come to me from trusted sources tell a story of Sheriff Gene Fischer being an absentee Sheriff, who is happy to be a politician instead of a cop, and delegating down to his Chief Deputy Mike Brown, who was promoted when Fischer faced a challenge from former Sheriff’s office employee Charlie Barrett. Fischer circled wagons, handing out promotions to people to guarantee support for his campaign instead of Barrett’s, who was the union boss. What’s funny about this is Barrett, who was a Sgt. before having to step down to run against Fisher, complained of Spicer being a political hire:

Barrett charged that Fischer brought political buddies into the office such as Capt. (and now Major) Eric Spicer and that destroys the morale. Fischer was Spicer’s campaign treasurer for Spicer’s unsuccessful bid to become a state representative in a primary race against incumbent Jarrod Martin and Rick Perales, who will face Democratic candidate Bill Conner for the 73rd state house seat.

via Greene County Sheriff’s race pits incumbent against former… | www.daytondailynews.com.

As much as Montgomery County is run by a Monarchy of Dems, Greene County is run the same way by Republicans. It’s what happens when we allow every office to be politicized and patronage jobs to be the currency of our community.

Unfortunately, Greene County Dispatchers who have recordings of Brown calling into dispatch, sounding intoxicated, meddling in stops, or the road supervisors complaints of mos-management will all stay firmly swept under the rug as long as the politicians feel they can make Spicer the scape goat. Just remember, Fischer was Spicers campaign treasurer, before he turned on him and hung Spicer out to dry. Anyone who feels safe in their job based on the political winds in Greene County is clueless. Eventually, ships full of holes sink and take all hands, no matter what.

The fact that Spicer isn’t filing for disability like another former Sheriff’s office commander- John DiPietro, speaks volumes more about Spicer’s character.

Undoubtedly, many tax dollars will be spent sorting this out, after Spicer sues for wrongful termination, and years will pass as those in power hope to outlast his bank account (as long as taxes are collected, politicians will deny the inevitable and continue to waste money on lawsuits- I know from personal experience). In the mean time, Spicer will have a hard time finding a job using his 25+ years experience.

This is what happens when we continue to vote for smiling faces with big campaign war chests instead of the best qualified people- and have a media that can’t write the hard stories.

The public needs real proof that Spicer needed to be fired, instead of demoted or admonished. We shouldn’t have to pay to allow costly political executions rule our government. If the mainstream media outlets ask for the right public records, there will be some interesting documents questioning the inner workings (or non-workings) of the Sheriff’s office.

If some Greene County employees have some guts- you can add comments here safely and anonymously. Please stick to facts, and not personal attacks. You can help save the tax payers a lot of money and wasted circus time with your input.

 

Dayton media bias called out

Remember when a guru was going to buy the old Society/Key bank building for half-a-million dollars at auction, and the Dayton Daily News crawled up his legal behind with a microscope, questioning everything about him? I do. I wrote about it: “You must be crazy – to invest in Dayton” It turned out they were partially right, the Commander Swami sold off what he could in the building (including a ton of really nice office furniture for pennies on the dollar) and then neglected to heat the building, allowing pipes to freeze, break and flood parts of the building rendering it worth even less.

But as I pointed out in that article, there were plenty of lawsuits against local “developers” that pretty much go unreported.

A few weeks ago, Larry Ealy turned in enough valid signatures to run as a Democratic nominee for Governor. No less than four articles appeared in the Dayton Daily News about “possible voter fraud” in his petitions. Other candidates have turned in all kinds of wonky petitions- and there is never another word said. In fact, a certain Democratic Party Queen was investigated for forging petitions for a gubernatorial candidate when she was in college and it never made the paper. She’s now sitting in office. What was most interesting was how the paper felt the need to recap an entire story of the questionable prosecution of one of the circulators for conviction of voter fraud years ago- yet, there is no law against a convicted felon circulating petitions in Ohio, nor is there one stopping them from voting (a common misconception).

When I ran for Commission last time, the paper had to make sure that readers knew I had tax liabilities, even though they were small and being taken care of. No mention of one of my opponents failed business ventures with lawsuits galore, or his wife’s vehicular homicide charges. In fact the first time he ran for office, they barely figured out that he didn’t actually live in the city when he filed- and he had to get his property annexed into Dayton to run legally.

Then there is the persecution of Raleigh Trammell, the preacher who used to be able to come and yell at the City Commission at will when he was in his prime. Had I ever raised my voice to the commission like that, I’d have been arrested. Despite the fact that Reverend Trammell had been convicted of felony welfare fraud and served time in the late seventies, no one seemed to question how he was given a contract to administer welfare dollars for years without oversight or why no one else was held responsible? Someone kept signing those checks right? I lost some friends in the local business community for posting this question (three times) “who’s the criminal”  Let’s see, the President of the United States makes $400,000 as the most powerful man in the world, and the CEO of CareSource pays herself $3 million a year with tax dollars that are supposed to go to aid the poor? Oh, but that’s right, without these quasi-governmental contract jobs Dayton would be in bankruptcy just like Detroit right now. Something is wrong when companies that only get tax dollars as income, spend it on lavish CEO pay and hire a bevy of lobbyists.

Nah, the media won’t write about that here.

But, wait, just a week ago, the Dayton Daily news did three pieces questioning the Dayton Development Coalition and their questionable right to be secretive with their financials, despite being a quasi-governmental organization. Never mentioned their hiring of Congressman Turner’s former wife on a grossly inflated no-bid contract to come up with a horrible branding campaign. Nope- not a word. You had to read that here on Esrati.com.

Somehow, local developers have managed to tax the little peoples’ income in townships where income taxes aren’t supposed to be levied. That’s right- if you are a white=collar worker, working for a law firm that has a state legislator on staff and a candidate for Lt. Governor- you don’t pay income tax, but if you work for a retailer and are paid close to minimum wage- you pay income tax. Barely a peep in the media- had to read it here: Only the people who don’t pay off politicians pay income taxes at Austin Road

There is a former local restauranteur who made a real mess of her business and is currently serving prison time and facing deportation when she gets out. They’ve had a field day reporting about this stupid case of insurance fraud. Yet, right across the street, there is another restauranteur who has a history that’s even more fascinating that has never hit the local press. Confidential sources inside the Cox Castle confirm that they’ve known about this story- bur didn’t think it was newsworthy. Note, this restauranteur was financially backed by a local kingmaker who likes to think he’s the man behind the curtain and Dayton’s savior.

As they’ve always said- politics makes strange bedfellows.

If you look at the Dayton Daily News over the last year, hardly a week has gone by without some mention of Drones and UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicle) as our potential economic savior. I’m sorry, but I built model airplanes as a kid and flew them, but that didn’t make me the next big thing since the Wright Brothers. First, we need to get some basic terminology straight- drones and UAV’s aren’t interchangeable terms. A drone is something that isn’t controlled by a pilot. It just goes up and does its thing. UAV’s can be a drone- or they can be remotely piloted. If it’s not bigger than a lawn chair, and it doesn’t fly over 1.000 odd feet- it’s no different than a model airplane (don’t quote me as an FAA source). Really, if this is our future- we’re all in trouble. Even if it’s big- and flies fast and high like a Predator, this isn’t going to solve the world’s problems- not like renewable energy, greener technology, sustainable agriculture. Nope, this is a line of bunk created to keep a small group of fear-o-crats in high priced suits in jobs. The Dayton Development Coalition has gotten a hall pass for years, despite it being an illegal slush fund for tax dollars being funneled to lobbying activities. And yes, loyal readers have read that here too- including the flow chart that showed how it was a big circle jerk of money for what is left of Dayton’s old boy network.

I apologize for not writing the story about a sitting mayor who is also a Realtor, handling the lease for a county agency, or about the lack of accountability for a woman dying by dog bites, or any of the other stories people have asked me to write over the last month or so. I’d love to do it, but, unfortunately, when you write articles like this and expose local media bias, your ability to earn a living from local business is hampered. I’ve been working my rear-end off trying to make a living so that I can afford the time to hang basketball nets again this summer- and to pay all my taxes on time (wouldn’t want the paper to write me up again for it). I’ve also got to paint my house by June 1st, and because I do it right (my last paint job lasted almost 20 years before it started to peel), I need to work extra hard.

Of course, if I step on too many toes, I may end up an unsolved murder, like that of the father of a former Mayor. Word on the street has it that his father was killed because of a flip-flop on a vote on a landfill. I’m still wondering when Sgt. Maj. North Woodall‘s murder will be solved- or that of Dayton Police Officer Kevin Brame.

When I first ran for mayor over 20 years ago, I had my office windows shot out two nights in a row. That was a message not to keep screwing with the system. Lucky for you, I’m better at sending messages than receiving them, so here we are 20 years later- the “ad guy with nothing to say” (what former DDn editorial page writer Martin Gottlieb said about me when I ran the first time) is still telling it like it is.Thank you for reading- and your continued support. Did I miss much?

End the frequent flyers at the county jail

I’m pretty sure that if someone focused on our local jail population, we’d find a core group of people who seem stuck in a revolving door. I know one of them all too well, I’ve been a “big brother” for the last 26 years.

In the last month, he’s been a guest of the taxpayers twice at costs to society that aren’t being clearly calculated. The standing number of $65 a day for room and board at the jail is just the tip of the iceberg, all the money spent on the police officers’ time to arrest, do paperwork, show up in court- the costs of the prosecutors, judges, bailiffs, the time he loses from work- all add up to a lot more money than we realize.

And in the end- it doesn’t work.

We may find him guilty of public intox, resisting arrest, trespassing, “obstruction” (whatever that means) and a slew of other charges that are all minor misdemeanors. We may fine him- for which he doesn’t have the resources to pay, we may lock him up some more- which costs us more money and cuts his income and employability to even less, and in the end, we’ve not solved a damned thing.

And while we can point fingers and say if he wasn’t so stupid, he wouldn’t keep getting into these situations, the question is how stupid are we for not trying to solve the root problems?

Just getting rid of “the box” on employment applications as Judge Wagner likes to talk about on the campaign trail isn’t going to solve the problem for our frequent flyers- it won’t take long after securing a job that they will be missing work due to a visit to the county guest quarters on W. 2nd Street.

The problems are deeper than we’re willing to tackle. Being a minority increases his chances of getting hauled downtown on minor BS. I know this only too well- a neighbor who is blonde, buxom and beautiful recently got pulled over on I75 heading home from Covington because her “tail lights were out.” The cop administered a field sobriety test, which she supposedly passed- but, he didn’t give her a ticket – just a warning, then drove her to Waffle House to be picked up by a friend (me- at 3 a.m.). Out of his own curiosity he asked her to blow- to calibrate his performance on the field sobriety test- it was a .86- so she was legally drunk. This wouldn’t have happened to my little brother- it would have been “go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.” Note- this would have been her third DUI and could have caused loss of license and job. Also note- it wasn’t that the tail lights were out- it was that the lights were off- she was driving without headlights, too.

Besides the minority rap, the arresting officer sees the record of a suspect in the field. Once you show up as a frequent flyer- decorum goes out the window. In the latest arrest- he was beaten. He claims after the cuffs were on. Does he have a defense- of course not. Does this decrease respect for authority and cause deeper emotional distrust and damage- yes. What is the solution? Probably it’s going to end up requiring all police officers to wear video cameras and record every interaction- and to me, this can’t happen soon enough- to protect both parties. Supposedly, my idiot has an audio recording of the altercation. Right now- I don’t have time to dig into this, nor, after years of this kind of stupidity do I really want to. I’ve gone to bat too many times for him and gotten burned with half-truths and misrepresentations.

But, what can and should we do? I’d say a coordinated effort at handling these frequent flyers would be a better solution. Instead of jail and prosecution for minor charges, send them to camp. A diversionary voluntary program where you stay until you get sober or calmed down, and then placed into a treatment program that requires AA meetings, community service and assigned a case worker to try to deal with the multiple issues that are causing the bad behavior. This includes psychological counseling, job counseling, mentorship, and if needed, grants or low-interest loans to help solve immediate issues. Believe it or not- paying to fix a car to get to work may be cheaper than paying for jail and prosecution.

We’ve got too many people stuck in a cycle of failure to which our legal system isn’t the answer. Hopefully the Affordable Care Act may make mental health treatment more accessible to those who may need it most. On the other hand, maybe we need to pioneer a program like AA for social misfits who can’t seem to fit in (although I do believe most of them have substance abuse issues).

We can’t fault the police for “doing their job” – but, the system seems to be causing itself more problems than it’s helping in these repeat offenders of minor crime because that’s really not what the system is meant for. I’d feel better if just the murderers, thieves and dangerous people were in the system and the annoying ones were being taught new habits.

As a reference point: He’s been incarcerated twice for 3 years each time. The first, there was no training or counseling and he was back in prison within 2 years. The second time, he went through alcohol treatment and got a full year of college in- with a 3.99 gpa. He’s currently a few credits short of graduating from Sinclair, but has been unable to complete due to recurring issues with the law and his poor financial and time-management skills. He has a GED. He’s also the father of 3 by two different women and has another bun in the oven. This is par for the revolving door types. It’s time to replace that revolving door with a more efficient system that actually delivers outcomes we, as a society, want.

Smoke and mirrors: Trammell goes to prison, while no one questions how it happened

Want to lose friends in high places in Dayton Ohio- ask questions about who is ultimately responsible for misuse of public funds. I ask- I lose friends.

I’m not part of the friends and family program that makes sure our “friends and family” all have jobs.

I asked “Who’s the criminal? SCLC, Montgomery County, Caresource?” back in February 2010. I lost friends.

I asked it again in “Who’s the criminal part 2: IMR or Caresource” in 2013

The question of why anyone would think it would be a smart idea to give federal welfare dollars to a felon who had been convicted of welfare fraud just never gets asked?

Who’s the criminal? SCLC, Montgomery County, Caresource? – See more at: http://esrati.com/whos-the-criminal-sclc-montgomery-county-caresource/4325/#sthash.TEB7lQo7.dpuf

Trammell, pastor of Central Baptist Church in Jefferson Twp., was convicted June 1, 2012, after a jury trial in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. Evidence showed he claimed to be providing meals to dead people, members of his church who were hospitalized or living in nursing homes and not receiving extra meals, and people who said they didn’t know they were being claimed as recipients. Montgomery County reimbursed $38,000 to Trammell’s SCLC, which administered the program, for 7,000 meals that weren’t delivered between 2005 and early 2010.

It wasn’t Trammell’s first felony conviction. He spent a year in prison starting in 1979 after a jury convicted him of larceny and grand theft for opening fraudulent welfare accounts for his personal gain while he was deputy director of the Montgomery County Welfare Department. He used the name of a relative in one of the false accounts, and used a man who had consulted with him about marital problems to cash welfare checks and redeem food stamps for him.

via Trammell loses appeal, faces prison sentence | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

Where is our prosecutor, where is public inquiry, where is the “I-Team”?

Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said Trammell, 76, of Dayton should begin his sentence now.

“Not only did this defendant steal taxpayer money, but he denied meals as promised to elderly and frail citizens,” Heck said in a statement. “It is now time that he start serving the sentence he earned and deserves for stealing from those most in need. His conduct over many years is shameful.”

When is Mat Heck going to investigate the people who repeatedly signed off on the contract to Trammell, and continued to pay invoices without any question? Who was the genius who approved this in the first place?

Accountability is nonexistent in Dayton unless of course you are a convenient scapegoat like Reverend Trammell.