Justice Sotomayor, meet our Sheriff, Phil “The Torturer” Plummer

Title slide for Torture in Montgomery County Jail videoOn Feb 2, 2017 I released video from the Montgomery County Jail on Youtube. It showed the barbaric point-blank pepper spraying of the restrained inmate, Charles Alexander Wade. After they pepper sprayed him, they left him, tied down- without treating his burning eyes, for hours. Think about that. Torture, pure and simple.

The way I spliced together the series of camera angles, sound and told the story of this incident garnered 31K views.

I also supplied all the individual camera footage- and the handycam footage got 34K views. Every local news org EXCEPT Cox- used my footage in their coverage- which was watermarked. Cox waited several days until they could get the same footage raw- and never credited me for breaking the story.

In the meantime- exploitative online sites like “Now This” recut my footage and got over a million views in less than 24 hours. Current stats 1.8M views, 1.2K comments, 6.2K shares.

This morning two things happened. I read this:

Another problem with this execution is Tennessee’s new protocol for lethal injection. The first drug administered in an execution is supposed to put the inmate to sleep so he can’t feel the effects of the other two drugs: the one that causes paralysis and the one that stops the heart. But midazolam, the sedative in Tennessee’s execution cocktail, doesn’t always render complete unconsciousness. It’s possible for the inmate to feel the effects of the next two drugs, and what he feels is akin to being suffocated and burned alive at the same time.

The United States Supreme Court had declined to delay the execution, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor strongly dissented: “In refusing to grant Irick a stay, the court today turns a blind eye to a proven likelihood that the state of Tennessee is on the verge of inflicting several minutes of torturous pain on an inmate in its custody,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. “If the law permits this execution to go forward in spite of the horrific final minutes that Irick may well experience, then we have stopped being a civilized nation and accepted barbarism.”

Source: Opinion | America Has Stopped Being a Civilized Nation – The New York Times

And Youtube- a year and a half later- put an adult content sticker on one of the intake footage clips.

“Hi ElectEsrati,

As you may know, our Community Guidelines describe which content we allow – and don’t allow – on YouTube. Your video Cruel and Unusual Punishment in Montgomery County Jail – Supplemental Raw Footage was flagged to us for review. Upon review, we’ve determined that it may not be suitable for all viewers and it has been placed behind an age restriction.

Video content restrictions

If a video contains violent or graphic content that appears to be posted in a shocking, sensational, or disrespectful manner, it’s less likely to be allowed on YouTube. We also don’t allow content that’s intended to incite violence or encourage dangerous activities. We review content on a case by case basis and will only make limited exceptions for appropriate educational, documentary, artistic, and scientific contexts, where the purpose of posting is clear.

In light of this, we ask that uploaders post as much information as possible in the title and description of their video to help us and viewers understand the primary purpose of the video. Please note, even with this additional context, it’s still not acceptable to post violent or gory content that’s primarily intended to be shocking, sensational”

If you ask me- we stopped being a civilized nation a long time ago, when we declared a war on poor people and started locking them up at record speed. How we treat people in the Montgomery County Jail- with over $10M and counting in settlements should have Sotomayor pissed off, and a hell of a lot of other people- but, so far, all we have is one video- with an age restriction.

And, Phil “the Torturer” Plummer is running for State Representative… go figure.

Make Orwell Fiction Again T-shirts

Make Orwell Fiction Again T-ShirtI saw this on a cheap looking hat on Facebook.
I liked it so much- I said “I think I want a T-shirt” – and the shirts that were out there were also fugly.
So- here is the David Esrati designed “Make Orwell Fiction Again” T-shirt in black, with Cheeto Orange ink-

printed on my favorite t-shirt, the Gildan 64000 softstyle in men’s and women’s styles and sizes – for sale. The moment I hit 50 sold, we’ll print. So order yours here today:
https://thenextwaveprinting.com/product/make-orwell-fiction-again-t-shirt/

Shirts are $10 in normal sizes, and $14 in the big ones.
Shipping is $5 for the first shirt- and add $2.50 for each additional up to 6- where shipping is free!

Thank you for your support.

Update: A few people don’t seem to get the shirt. This surprised me. First- the country was bamboozled with the Trump campaign’s “Make America Great Again”- which has turned this country into a farce of what it was meant to be.

George Orwell wrote two books I read while in high school; “Animal Farm” and “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. The first, published in 1945 was a jab at the evolution of communism in Russia from Marxist ideals to something more resembling an oligarchy. Orwell turns it into a fairy tale where the animals take over the farm, slaying the evil human overlords to make a socialist society. Over time, the pigs (not a very well veiled allegory) put themselves in charge and start emulating humans. The famous line- “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others” comes into play in the story. Of course- it’s fiction- but based on facts.

When we have 1% of the population controlling so much of the wealth and capital- Orwell’s fiction has become reality.

In “Nineteen Eighty Four” published in 1949, just before his death, Orwell predicted that by 1984 we’d be engaged in perpetual war, have omnipresent government surveillance and the government would be actively involved in public manipulation. The leader, “Big Brother” may be real or may not be- but thrives on a cult of personality.

When it came out- it was a warning, and while frightening and depressing, when I read it, a mere 6 or 7 years before it was supposed to happen, it was still dystopian fiction.

Now, with the release of Edward Snowden’s documentation of perpetual surveillance on American’s without warrants, a never ending war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Trump routinely calling the fourth estate fake news, it has become a sad reality.

That the religious right overlooks “Big Brother Trump’s” marital mishaps, his misogyny, the stream of lies, and attacks on the press is a reason to wish that “Make Orwell Fiction Again” is even more of a battle cry than the simple attack of “Impeach Trump.”

If you really want to Make America Great Again- which was always questionable in its validity- with our history of racism, slavery, internment of our citizens and even medical experiments without consent, you should want to “Make Orwell Fiction Again” and begin to move this country back from a place where children are separated from their families, where getting cancer is a surefire route to bankruptcy and graduating college means a lifetime of debt.

Order a shirt. Wear the change you want to see in our country proudly.

If MLK was an activist today

50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. It wasn’t with an AR-15, but, it was a gun, protected by the 2nd Amendment.

My father told me he used to have lunch with King while they were both students at Boston University, on Thursdays. They’d argue. Dad was Malcom, Martin was Martin. They disagreed in the methods of effective change.

Being an activist then was hard, getting the word out required a lot more leg work, coordination, organization. There was no twitter, no Facebook, no meetups, no YouTube, no gofundme.

When King died, there wasn’t much of an estate, he’d even donated the money from his Nobel Peace Prize to the cause.

The following is fiction. What if MLK was magically 39 today, and still fighting the same battles, or slightly different ones. But, hadn’t won the Nobel, or gained a following. The scene is at the King household in Atlanta. Gathered around the table are his wife Coretta, Ralph, Jesse, Hosea, Joseph and Fred. They’re discussing their next move.

Coretta: Here’s some chicken from Popeye’s, fellas, dig in. Sorry, it’s the best we could do- money’s a bit tight right now.

MLK: It’s OK honey, the cause is more important than having a big fat bank account.

Coretta: I don’t know Martin, I’m looking at Brother Creflo, across town and he’s rollin in the dollars. You ought to spend more time in your church than out in the streets.

Fred: You know, that time you spent down in jail in Birmingham, maybe we should have setup a gofundme and taken that money and bought us a few new video cameras and a Sling- so we could broadcast live at every event.

Jesse: Video is so important these days. It’s not just the broadcast, but, if your channel has over 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours, you can monetize it on Youtube.

Coretta: He doesn’t even have 1000 followers on Twitter, it’s hard cutting through all that mess. Maybe you ought to antagonize the president and get him to tweet about you.

Hosea: I wouldn’t want to be associated with that fool. Porn stars, bankruptcies, walls, that revolving door on his office, how the hell did that fool get elected president. And why can’t we get our last president to come out and march with us?

Jesse: You know no one likes to march. It’s easier to hit the like button, or sign an online petition. Someone has to get shot these days to get people out in the streets- like those kids in Florida. Martyrs are in, marchers are out.

Fred: Maybe we should go back to just preaching, and politicking from the pulpit. The IRS is so overwhelmed with all those tax cuts they are never going to come after us for the Johnson Amendment- hell, they almost cut it out of the tax code last December.

Joseph: I keep looking at TD Jakes and think, dang, that guy could pay his people to march. We’re doing it all wrong.

Fred: Yep, aligning with the democrats and being their lapdogs, delivering black voters to the polls, why are we still doing that anyway? Lincoln was a Republican and he freed us. What has the democratic party done for us lately?

Coretta: Not a thing brother Fred, not a thing.

Jesse: I asked for their support when I tried to run for office. I didn’t get any help.

Coretta: Preach! You know there’s money to be made out there. You know how it works, the golden rule, he who has the gold, makes the rules. You brothers best get busy bringing in the Franklins.

Hosea: You know all those big time preachers have a book. Maybe we ought to write one together?

MLK: I wrote 5 already, had to self-publish. Amazon made money, I’ve got diddly. Money ain’t flowing in publishing these days. It’s almost as bad as the newspaper business, but not quite.

Fred: I’m telling you, we need to start our own TV channel. Those cameras would come in handy. Look, someone has to tell our story to the masses.

Joseph: I don’t think people really care that much. Half the countries got their noses buried in their phone all the time, half the countries high on medical mary jane, and their all watching Netflix or Hulu.

Fred: See, video is the key. I keep telling you.

Coretta: who gave you guys the torch anyway? Why should anyone listen to any of you. What makes you special? Nobody elected you to “lead the movement.” When am I going to be able to buy a G-Wagon like Mrs. Dollar? I wish you’d focus on your parish instead of on all this protestin and stuff. Ain’t no money in that.

MLK: If we can get a universal basic income everything changes. Then everyone can afford to put a little extra on the collection plate on Sundays honey. I’m telling you, for an old white Jewish dude, that Sanders guy was my choice for just that reason. Plus, with our four kids- college would be paid for. Instead we got this whack job.

Hosea: How many times we going to talk about the same thing? Ain’t going to change nothing. 50 years ago, it was the Klan killing brothers, now it’s overzealous cops. Maybe we should have listened to Malcom X instead of this peaceful route. We can go buy AR-15’s too. They aren’t that expensive.

Joseph: (laughing) Y’all now if we start showing up with AR-15’s in the street, they’ll start banning them in two seconds flat.

Coretta: Now you guys are just plum crazy. Stop all this nonsense about guns, protests and what you’re going to change. Nothing changes without the almighty dollar and between all six of you, you don’t have enough to buy this here chicken. Whoever heard of a political activist in the 1%. You hear about “activist investors” all the time. Now get outta my kitchen, so I can clean up. Martin, you best be hitting the streets tomorrow to find a real job that puts money in the bank account. Cell phone bill is due on Friday and we don’t have the money to pay it.

~fini

I don’t know how many times I’ve been told to either just leave town, or leave the politics alone. That making money matters more than following your principles. Monday, I lost a long time client over my politics. My friend Shepard Fairey wrote me about the post “Good post! A clear conscience is not possible with a purely capitalist mindset. The market creates as many problems as it solves. I’m very glad that you wrestle with that like I do.-S”

Yesterday I landed a new client that will bill considerably more.

And today, I found out that I’m the lead quote for the discussion of the media on the “Make me smart” podcast from American Public Media with Molly Wood and Kai Ryssdal; 56: “The best cure for hatred and ignorance”

Sometimes it’s just dumb luck who becomes the leader who is remembered in the history books. And sometimes, it only happened because they were too stupid to join the herd.

If there is one good reason to change the 2nd amendment, it happened 50 years ago today.

I can’t imagine what MLK might have achieved had he just lived to see 50, or what he’d say today about the shooting of Stephon Clark or John Crawford.

Stepping up for your principles has a cost. MLK paid the ultimate one for all of us.

 

Arresting teachers at school board meetings? DPS did that last century.

On Wed. Feb 28, 1996 I went to the Dayton City Commission meeting to protest their illegal secret meetings on Mondays (they called them “work sessions” and did them using the “emergency media notification” system of faxing to the media outlets on Friday evenings). The previous Monday, they had discussed ways to limit citizens from speaking, or at least being on camera, so they could make sure that I didn’t show how AFSCME trash collectors were getting paid for 56 hours while actually working around 30. I had shown up the previous week with my giant time card, and it was too clear how screwed up things were.

Since they didn’t want to see the face of the people they represent, I donned a black balaclava as the meeting started. The rest is history- and I ended up in the Montgomery County Jail that morning. The same place where Charles Alexander Wade was pepper sprayed while in a restraining chair.

But as I went to get my mug shot taken, I heard a voice call out “Mr. Esrati, Mr. Esrati” -and I look over, and there is Loretta Cephus, sitting in the mugshot area. She had been arrested the previous night while she was questioning the school board under Superintendent James Williams.

So when I was writing on Tuesday morning about how I’d shut down the illegal meeting of the school closure task force by protesting and refusing to leave or shut of my camera- because they were violating the Ohio Sunshine Laws, it was far from my first rodeo. And considering there were more than a few people who should know the Sunshine laws inside out- like Commissioner Jeff Mims, or City Manager Shelly Dickstein, or former county Administrator Deb Feldman or even Mr. Lawyer/school board member to be Mohamed Al-Hamdani- it’s pretty amazing that this collection of highly paid “leaders” didn’t know that what they were trying to do wasn’t legal.

When a reader sent me the link to the school teacher who was taken out of the school board meeting in Vermillion LA, and then cuffed- I did a quick facebook post thinking it was Vermillion Ohio (later corrected) as more and more people picked up the story in outrage. When I had viewed the video at noonish- it was at 250K views- it now has 2.7m views and counting:

The difference? Social media. What the DPS board got away with in its persecution of Loretta, wouldn’t have happened today. Her claims of #MeToo against Williams would have been taken seriously. People would have had first hand evidence of the horrible way the board handled things.

Loretta struggled for years, and was constantly pushed into a corner. Many have tried to do the same to me- “Esrati is crazy” – “Esrati is just a troublemaker”- “Esrati…”

It’s easy for them to do- to make themselves feel more comfortable with their ignorance of the laws that are there to protect them. It’s hard in a town that feels so strongly about putting the square pegs in the square holes and the round pegs in the round holes- that we often forget that pegs don’t have to go into holes at all…. in other words- we don’t have to be victimized by a system of laws and order that has been perverted for a long time. Back room deals on who should run, who should be on the ballot, and who should be allowed to talk or not talk for more than three minutes.

No, Vermillion LA, you putting a teacher in cuffs is nothing to this old hand of Dayton Ohio politics- you chickened out by not hauling her off to jail and charging her. In Dayton- we were doing that 22 years ago… and now, we’ve even upped the bar, by pepper spraying inmates in restraints, throwing old ladies to the floor and breaking their shoulder- and even letting people in medical distress die in the jail because, well, our Sheriff is beyond reproach and now running for State rep.

To all my supporters who called or wrote to thank me for standing up to the powers that think they can break the law, thank you. If you really want to help, consider making a donation to support my efforts to keep this blog as the source for the informed of Dayton. And, last but not least- run for precinct captain to stop these political power hungry members of the monarchy of Montgomery County from continuing to fail us in protecting our rights.

 

Flags, anthems, patriotism and “American Values”

Suppose NFL owners just fired 90% of the players for refusing to stand for the National Anthem today? What would happen? Their moneymaking machine would be in a world of serious hurt. Fans would be incredibly upset, with many taking sides and dividing us even more than the old football rivalries. There would be a lot of misplaced anger, against players, owners, and our “dotard” in chief- Donald Trump.

Colin Kaepernick would still be unemployed, America would still a place where police kill citizens almost without any repercussion, and we’d still have more people in prisons than any other “free country.”

Not to mention, we’re the only industrialized country to have its citizens turn to GoFundMe when they get cancer, instead of just working with their doctors to beat it. The number one cause of bankruptcy in America is still caused by health emergencies, not bad financial decisions.

After 9/11 it became fashionable and politically popular to wear a flag pin. I did it. Veterans started to gain a new respect, long overdue, but still for the wrong reasons. We live in a country where we still allow our wars to be fought by the poor, minorities and volunteers, instead of because of universal duty. This means when those in Congress send our young people to risk their lives, few have to worry about their own children or grandchildren going to meet an uncertain future.

Donald J. Trump went to a private military academy for high school, yet, didn’t enlist. His kids didn’t enlist. Yet, here he stands, picking fights like a high school bully on an elementary school playground with a country so poor that most of its people are living in poverty, and many face food insecurity (take your pick, his country or N. Korea, unfortunately the same statement applies to both).

He blames everyone for what he sees as our problems, from Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama to NAFTA and immigrants. Now, he’s calling Colin Kaepernick’s mom a bitch. This is not the leader of the country I stood up and swore an oath to defend, this is a mockery of it.

But, this is what happens when we, as a country, elect a game show host to the highest office. Of course, he’s questioned the validity of our journalists, our election results, and the integrity of even those he’s hired and fired in record time.

We can’t place the blame solely on Trump, there are 435 in the “House of Representatives” and 100 in the Senate, that have stood by and failed to act as a check and balance on a man so obviously unfit to be our president going back to his recorded “grab them right in the pussy” “locker room talk” and his statement that “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters” back in January of 2016- at a campaign rally in Iowa.  Whatever happened to the “never Trump” republicans?

They sat on their hands when he blamed both sides for the violence in Charlottesville. Being a Nazi is apparently OK with this president, and even some of his Jewish cabinet. Even the idiots in Israel who preferred him over Clinton in the election sat by mute. It’s as if common sense has taken a vacation.

Now, some of the people who gave him millions, NFL owners, are twisting in their seats, hoping that they aren’t about to regret it. Because, unfortunately, in America today, it’s not about freedom, or constitutional rights, or even democracy- it’s absolutely clear, it’s only about the money.

Always wrapped in the flag.

When I see a “flag” covering an entire football field as I saw at the beginning of the Browns v Colts game today, and look back at the photos of the president at the Alabama rally where he decided that those who protest are “sons of bitches”- I see the flag being used to cover for our sins instead of representing our values. And I can’t stop being reminded of how important the swastika was to the last party that rose out of hate, bigotry and powerlessness- the Nazis in Germany.

There are no winners in nuclear war, and never has this country had a president who didn’t understand this.

Backgrounds are important for leaders with small hands

His speech at the U. N. should have been enough for someone to raise the question of impeachment.

“No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the wellbeing of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea. It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans, and for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more… The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”

He even contradicts himself: “In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch.” Just don’t take a knee at a football game.

Congress impeached Bill Clinton over his “lies” about a blowjob.

How they fail to act now, is incomprehensible.

It is up to all of us, to call for an end to this madness, before his madness ends with a nuclear exclamation point. It is not OK to defend his actions, to take his side, to threaten NFL players for making a political statement.

It is patriotic to demand he leave office, and take his supporters with him. Anything less, may lead to the fall of our republic. Don’t confuse our flag, anthem or standing or sitting with patriotism. Patriotism is taking action to end the rule of this infidel.