The Philando Castile verdict and you

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” 2nd Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. 4th Amendment

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”– Things stupid people say.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez was formerly a police officer in the Saint Paul Minnesota suburb of St. Anthony. Almost a year ago, he pulled over a car with a broken tail light, with three people in it. The driver, Philando Castile, a cafeteria worker, told the officer that he had a CCW license, and was reaching for his ID. Officer Yanez, shot and killed Mr. Castile, without seeing the weapon, because he “thought” Mr. Castile was reaching for his weapon. The passenger, Mr. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, became facebook famous for live streaming the event. Her daughter was in the back seat.

This video is still painful to watch.

Yesterday, Mr Yanez was acquitted on charges of second degree manslaughter and endangering safety by discharging a weapon.

If this verdict is allowed to stand, police around this country who chose their career “to serve and protect” should have some serious reconsidering to do. This verdict, could forever change every interaction between police officers and their communities. Never mind the case in nearby Cincinnati where a college cop, Ray Tensing is in the midst of his second trial on a similar traffic stop murder of Samuel DuBose, which was captured on the officers body cam.

When we have instances with well trained, supposedly trusted and respected professionals, killing innocent citizens, we are getting dangerously close to losing all freedoms that a civil society provides. The ones most Americans have always seemed to take for granted. As in we own this craptastic myth without having to pay for it- it’s ours by birthright. “It’s an inalienable right”– which almost sounds funny these days- in-alien-able – we don’t like aliens much here lately, especially those damn illegal ones.

If we are truly going to be “America the beautiful, home of the brave, land of the free” and all that goes with it, it’s time to do some serious reconsideration of what that means.

Not being murdered by a trusted officer of the state who pulled you over for a broken tail light sounds like a good place to start.

Owning a gun legally got Mr. Castile shot dead. That he may have smoked some pot is not enough to make him a menace to society (the whole pot legalization can of worms is another subject for another day, however, in Minnesota where this shooting took place, pot was legal for medical use at the time). This “defense” of the shooting is using reefer culture like rape culture- “she was dressed like a hoe, so I had to rape her.” Wrong.

There is a question on an internet dating site that is an instant dis-qualifier for me. “Do you believe your country would be more or less safe if every adult owned a gun?” If they answer more safe- I’m out of there. It doesn’t even stop there, another question asks “In a certain light, wouldn’t nuclear war be exciting?” and some fools say yes.

Which brings me back to the fundamental issue of our crazy interpretation of the 2nd amendment. It does not talk about guns- it talks about arms. A handgun, a long gun, a machine gun, a flamethrower, a tank, an artillery piece, an intercontinental ballistic missile, a nuclear bomb? All of those are arms, and accordingly, Americans should be allowed to own all of them- and do. That’s why we have a military. As to your individual right to own one, unless you are part of a well regulated militia, the answer, according to our founding fathers, is no.

If you need a reminder of what passed as arms back in the day- I think this commercial makes it clear.

They too, believed in the freedom from being shot randomly- they mentioned it- “being necessary to the security of a free State“- security comes from the safety that an organized form of government is to provide. One where random shootings aren’t a daily occurrence. Something that isn’t happening in America. Everyday, hundreds of people are shot, because somehow, “guns make us safe.”

Which weapon was banned for killing too many Americans?We banned jarts, a lethal “toy,” because a few kids died when someone had bad aim. For those of you too young to remember them, they were a version of bocce ball- or corn hole, that used a weighted dart as the thing you threw at your target, or accidentally at young children. It was advertised as “Outdoor fun for the family” – until someone dies.

Yet, even in the wake of a congressman getting shot while playing baseball– “Americas favorite past time”- we still believe we can’t regulate or control guns.

We can’t demand that gun owners actually are engaged in “a well regulated militia” as part of gun ownership. We can’t demand that guns be kept under armed guard, as they are in the military. We can’t demand that owners must proved not only proficiency, but mental competence (which is a slippery road) and for why? We need guns to defend ourselves is the answer. The question is, how’s that working out?

In America, you are more likely to get shot than in any other first world country. The cost to our country of gun ownership, when you figure out the medical costs, the crime costs, the legal costs, the deaths, is astronomical. It’s a tax we pay without getting a bill.

Talking about gun control is considered political suicide. If you don’t see the irony of naming a warship after Gabby Giffords, a congresswoman who was shot, and became an anti-gun crusader, you have bought our fantastic lie, hook line and sinker.

Guns don’t make anyone safe. Guns are made to efficiently kill people.

But, but, what about the hunters? Until the insane people in the Ohio statehouse legalized silencers, pretty much any hunter would tell you, you shouldn’t be considered a hunter if it takes more than one shot to bring something down, because, you don’t really get a second shot most of the time (even animals skedaddle when they hear a gun go off). Real hunters are fine with a double barrelled shotgun or bolt action rifle, it’s only when hunting people that you need a 20 round magazine.

The number of people hunting people in our country lately far exceeds those hunting bambi. Is this really what the founding fathers envisioned?

And don’t start with the talk about how some idiot in London killed people with trucks and knives. Just don’t. It puts you in the same basket as this basket case:

But, but, we have so many guns. We can’t take them away? We banned jarts didn’t we? We mandated seat belts in cars, airbags, we stopped selling cigarettes and booze to minors, we put a man on the moon. We can do anything we want to do. And, if you need proof it can be done, cue Australia, who decided after their first mass shooting to restrict gun ownership. We have people who believe the Newtown school shooting wasn’t real. At what point does crazy count as sane? Cue President Donald Trump.

We talk about the values innate in the principles of democracy. Yet, about half of us exercise the right not to vote. On our money, it says “In god we trust”- yet we claim a separation of church and state. None of this works when we stop believing it works. Our safety, our security, our money, our freedoms- all are based on a blind belief that our country and “free society” is built on laws and constructs that are fair and true.

Allowing Officer Yanez to walk free, should make us doubt everything we know as truths to be self-evident, aren’t.

 

Hodge podge governance costs us all

He who has the gold makes the rulesWelcome to the Not Really United States of America.

We have a state where prostitution is legal, another where booze is almost not, we have some where pot is legal for medical, some for recreational, and then communities in our area where pot dispensaries are already banned, before medical pot is even legal.

We solved the gay marriage thing, sort of. We’re not entirely sure about bathrooms for people who don’t fit exactly in the checkboxes, and when it comes to pay equity for the sexes we’re way off. Let’s not even touch the inequity between the races- other than to say it’s an embarrassment of epic scale.

Outcomes in health care, education, life expectancy don’t compare to other first world nations and our infrastructure from internet access to high speed rail makes us look like a third world banana republic.

Our rules, regulations and tax structure and jurisdictional divisions are as arbitrary as the numbers pulled in the super lotto- which is just one more dangling carrot to divert our gaze from the fact that we’ve created nothing other than a new replacement for the monarchy we sought to divorce back in 1776.

Do the words “local control” sound like a good idea to you? Our inbred fear of power collected at the top of government has driven us to allow the smallest jurisdictions to “guide our own destiny”- as long as it doesn’t get in the way of someone with a lot of money wanting to do things differently.

Case in point- many people are mourning the passing of Dean Lovelace. His “legacy” was talking about predatory lending before anyone else. He even passed legislation against it- for a nano-second before the powerful banking establishment who has bought our state legislature sent his little laws back like a bounced check. Dean may have been onto something, but he was as impotent as a eunuch in a whore house.

From our education system to our health care system, from our public safety to tax collection, from permits to common practices this slapdashed mashup of laws and regulations across 50 states a few territories and even global trade is doing only one thing: making the rich richer and the rest of us, miserable cogs in a machine that has zero empathy in its settings.

And while Republicans rail against taxes and regulation, they don’t really do anything to solve them. And while Democrats scream about inequity and public welfare, we’re still sliding down the scale of achievement. The system is broken. This is where the ideas of socialism and communism were born- and yet, as practiced, they fail too. Why? Because people are human- and the “me first” urge is kind of hard to break.

Throughout history, empires collapse when inequity becomes too obvious. We’re somewhere close to that. Although our masters have gotten smoother at distracting us- 500 channels of television, you can lose yourself in Facebook, or you can rail against the machine as I’m doing right now- on the internet- which is the great equalizer (except it’s really not- when the digital divide still exists).

There are things we could do, but it would take strong leaders, something we’ve resisted since our inception. Ohio could put an end to the system of political subdivisions and lines drawn on a map in 1785, before we had all these new fangled things like cars, computers and corporate giants.

Imagine a State with one income tax, one property tax system, one sales tax rate. It’ll never happen, because giving up power over taxation is tantamount to the end of corruption as we know it. How about one school board? Or, one police chief per every 250,000 people? Proportional representation was part of our formula in the start- why isn’t it now?

The cost to business of trying to calculate the taxes collected on what, who, where is just pure overhead. The cost of enforcing it, parsing fines, audits, all the rest- is also overhead. The cost of all these local yokels running their little fiefdoms expands out way past their jurisdictions. The increase in the Dayton income tax has a ripple effect cost as every payroll processing company in the country has to adjust and modify their software. And is anyone in places far away supposed to understand the income tax structure of Austin Landing where income tax is based on owning an elevator in your building? (This example still amazes people when I share it).

How is sales tax online collected? And why does it have to be so complicated? Bricks and mortar local retailers are getting screwed with local sales tax, and poor people, who have to use them, because they don’t have credit cards to buy online, pay more. Why isn’t there a flat internet sales tax in this country- and why can’t it be spent on building out the system so everyone has high speed internet access? That would be a game changer- for education, for commerce, for democracy- because, information and access to it is the critical part of a functioning democracy.

And why shouldn’t the internet be controlled by the state instead of Time Warner, ATT, Sprint, MCI, Quest, Spectrum, Charter, Level 3 etc? We invented it with our tax dollars- for national defense no less. Look at your internet access bill, it’s higher than it is in other countries and as close as West Dayton or Eastern Greene county- high speed access is hard to get.

When Mark Zuckerberg starts talking about a universal basic income, and is willing to create solar power drones to distribute internet in third world nations, we’ve got a whole new monarchy in place, we just don’t know it yet.

If everyone was connected, well informed, and well represented through a modern information based legislative system, maybe, there would be hope for us.

Hodge podge government, without an informed and empowered electorate, enables money in politics to divide and conquer.

But, for now, the old rule still applies, he who has the gold, makes the rules.

The Narcan® roundabout

In this Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016 photo released by the East Liverpool Police Department, a young child sits in a vehicle behind his mother and a man, both of whom are unconscious from a drug overdose, in East Liverpool, Ohio. Drug overdoses killed a record 3,050 people in Ohio last year. AP Photo.

In this Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016 photo released by the East Liverpool Police Department, a young child sits in a vehicle behind his mother and a man, both of whom are unconscious from a drug overdose, in East Liverpool, Ohio. Drug overdoses killed a record 3,050 people in Ohio last year. AP Photo.

A small business I work with has had the Dayton Fire Department stop by almost every other day- because someone OD’d in their parking lot. The other day it was a city employee. The medics revealed that when they looked him up- they found out that he had been treated the day before as well. If a Narcan® revival was a frequent flyer bonus, we’d have people with miles to go to the moon and back.

Current practice is to revive them, offer treatment, which they refuse and let them go right back to using.

That would classify it as insanity- doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
I wrote a post about Narcan, coincidentally, 2 years ago to the day: “Just say no to naloxone” I was chastised in comments. And in the two years, we’ve just seen massive increases in overdose deaths- turning Dayton into the Heroin epidemic epicenter of the nation.
Two friends of mine, who are former journalists (the real kind- no longer employed by the Dayton Daily news) went out on an assignment from a foreign publication to do a story about the heroin problem. Within 30 minutes, they’d taken a photo of a roadside sign offering treatment- and followed a DPD ambulance to an OD victim in a parking lot of the U-haul franchise. Photos, story- the works- easy peasy.
In my last piece I spelled out the societal costs of heroin and overdoses- and they still apply. The drain on resources puts your life in danger- while the paramedics are out dealing with a self-inflicted wound- you might have to wait for a ride while you are having a stroke or heart attack.
Save and release ain’t working.
It’s time to change the way we do things. The first time you qualify for a trip back from death, you are taken to clinic where you are held for four hours, where you have to watch a video explaining the new practices and procedures on Narcan- and given a chance to enroll in a treatment program, offering methadone, Suboxone, Naltrexone, Vivitrol etc.
You are also informed that the next time you need to be revived, you will spend 24 hours in the center. There will be round the clock counseling available, but, you won’t be receiving any medications that aren’t prescribed as part of a doctor supervised program.
Third visit, you’ll spend 3 days in the center. Fourth visit, a full week. Fifth visit, a month. At the end of the month, you will have an option to voluntarily stay in a highly supervised treatment program for up to a year, or walk.
Unfortunately, after the fifth visit, you will no longer be revived by safety personnel. If you are unidentifiable as a five time loser, and are being treated for the sixth time, you will face a mandatory 1 year mental health incarceration. This isn’t in a prison, but a secure treatment facility. There are no options for appeal, or release. If you are identifiable by the medics, treatment will not be administered.
Drivers licenses or state ID’s will be “punched” with each treatment- as reminders and for medical personnel to check.
Right now, we are kidding ourselves if we think we can arrest suppliers and take enough drugs off the street to solve the problem. All the posturing of law enforcement is an insult to our intelligence. Heroin addiction isn’t a criminal problem- it’s a mental health one. Yet it does cause massive increases in crime and threats to public safety.
What we can do is seize all assets of anyone caught with what we would identify as quantities to distribute- and use the proceeds to fund the treatment programs.
Of course, the other option is to stop kidding ourselves, and just start providing addicts with safe, inexpensive heroin and take the profit motive out- and give people who want to stay high permission- no judgements. This has been done in other countries and has cut crime and deaths considerably. There are people who are able to function in society while high- this is nothing new- my paternal grandfather was a PhD MD and a morphine addict his entire adult life.
If you have any better ideas, feel free to leave them in comments.
It’s time to stop the insanity cycle of save and release in Dayton Ohio- it’s not working.

We’re glad you’re our neighbor signs

We're glad you're our neighbor signImmigration ban 2 just went into effect today. If you, like me, realize that we are a nation of immigrants and want to send a message of acceptance, these are the signs that have been popping up all over South Park, St. Anne’s Hill, Dayton View and elsewhere. We’ve printed and sold almost 250 in a few weeks.

We’ve heard people have seen prices as high as $25 ea. My printing prices are not only the best in Dayton, we’re doing these at a steep discount to help spread the word. And, you can help support this website through your purchase at the same time.

18×24 on 4mm Coroplast, same, yard signs, both sides, In 5 languages:

  • Kinyarwanda
  • Spanish
  • English
  • Arabic
  • Turkish

$8 with a stake, $7 without- including tax. Pickup at my office, 100 Bonner St Dayton OH 45410 from 9am to 6pm M-F. We can also have the prepaid for pickup at the Second Street market on Saturdays. Best way to guarantee your sign will be here is to buy and pay online.

If you want larger quantities, or shipping, please call during business hours: 937-228-4433

Cruel and unusual punishment in the Montgomery County Jail

Cruel and Unusual Punishment in the Montgomery County JailThere has been a steady stream of bad news about the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department under Sheriff Phil Plummer. I’ve covered some of it, but, there has been so much, so many different things, from his hiring of his sister to do appraisals, to the “firing” of two officers for racist texts– who weren’t really fired, but allowed to retire with disability, to the segregation of female prisoners by race, putting the black women in the old jail and the whites in the new one. All you have to do is search Phil Plummer on this blog.

In September of last year, the public learned that under Plummer, it’s not only OK to pepper spray an inmate in a 7 point restraint chair, but, that it will be covered up, and the person doing the spraying will get promoted, Sgt. Judith Sealey is now Captain Sealey. It came to light when the victim’s law firm released the footage and filed the lawsuit. Read this excellent article from the Washington Post, here’s an excerpt:

But the incident in Dayton appeared to violate widely accepted law enforcement practices.

“You cannot find any training manual that will tell you it is allowable to pepper-spray somebody who is restrained,” said Kamran Loghman, a U.S. Naval Academy professor who helped develop pepper spray for law enforcement use. “It is used to avoid confrontation or injury, so you don’t escalate to higher levels of confrontation. Pepper spray, therefore, should not be used if the subject is expressing verbal disagreement or anger.”

Source: She started the night drinking at home — and ended it being pepper-sprayed in a restraint chair – The Washington Post

Plummer, who ran unopposed last November, for a four-year term, is also the chair of the county Republican Party. The fact that the Sheriff has final say on election day under Ohio law, for issues that the Board of Elections deadlocks on, should make him ineligible to hold one or the other issue.

The issue of the pepper spraying Ms. Amber Swink, didn’t make it into the public eye until after the deadline to run against him had passed. Not that there hadn’t been plenty of other reasons to oust him. In the spring, in the strangest string of meetings in black churches, Plummer was standing there with the local Dem party leaders and union leaders, all singing the same tune against regionalization- even though it might have included consolidating some of the 20 odd police jurisdictions in the county under one department- presumably his. If his cooperation had been worked as a deal to guarantee he run unopposed, it worked. The two parties have a not-so-secret deal to not oppose sitting judges after they’ve won a seat that someone either aged out of or died holding.

Plummer whitewashed the first spraying of a restrained inmate as “an isolated incident.” His main concern was that the blue line of his department had been violated, and that the footage had been released without going through channels.

However, if you just randomly did a public records request for any footage of jailers using pepper spray on inmates, you’d get crickets. Internal sources gave me the incident report number, date, and name of the victim of the latest atrocity to come out of Phil Plummers house of horrors.

Charles Alexander Wade is no choir boy. He’s a 37 year old black man who has had his share of run ins with the law. No stranger to the Montgomery County jail, he’s asking if he’s going to be “chaired” as the deputies are removing him from the back of the State Highway Patrol cruiser, where he is lying face down across the backseat, with his hands cuffed behind his back.

The deputies even brought a hand held video camera out to record the entire booking process, in addition to the jails security video system. You will see them passing the camera around while they proceed to mis-manage their internment of Wade at 4:40 am on October 17, 2016. This was a month after the footage of Swink being pepper sprayed in restraints had been made public. If anything, you’d think everyone would be extra careful before using pepper spray on a restrained inmate, but that would only apply to competent, intelligent employees, which seem to be in the minority in Plummer’s keystone kops klink.

The footage speaks for itself. We’ve spent almost 4 days extracting the proprietary video format, matching time codes, and trying to clearly show what happened to Mr. Wade. We’ve also made available the entire video with continuous time code as a separate file. The audio came from the hand held camera, only the search room has sound on the provided video.

Why Wade bangs his head against the wall is something I wanted to ask him. My attempts at tracking him down from the addresses that I was able to access were unsuccessful. I even went and staked out the Vandalia Municipal Court on a date he was supposed to show up. I am not a private detective or a paid journalist, but, I wanted to hear his side of the story before I published this. Charles, if you are seeing this and would like to get your side out, my contact info is on this site.

I’ve been exposed to CS gas in the military. However, I don’t think it comes close to what point blank pepper spray to the face would do in terms of pain. To spray Wade once while restrained and surrounded by no less than 7 deputies is criminal/sadistic enough. The second spraying when Wade moves his hand to his face was just an excuse to be an even bigger @$$hole. That honor, belongs to Sgt. John W. Eversole/872.

There is no doubt Wade knew his rights and knew what was possible in the jail.

The only question now is who is going to  stop this kind of sadistic criminal abuse of prisoners under Sheriff Phil Plummer?

The FBI? The Justice Department? Our County Prosecutor?

For the first time, I’m asking for donations to this site to support this work, and to make sure I have money for a legal defense in case the Sheriff comes after me. I’ve been publishing this blog since 2005, there are over 2,500 posts. I’ve self-funded it all. I’ve gone after dirty congressman, pay to play politics, the local political parties, the school board, the neighborhood drug house, but this is the fist time I’ve gone after a guy who signs the license for my CCW. You can donate here https://esrati.com/donate

Here is the raw footage of Wade moving from the sallyport into the chair. If your news organization chooses to use this video, I ask that it be credited to this site- with a link to this post: www.esrati.com/deadly And here are the incident reports as a readable PDF: Charles-A-Wade-Report-esrati.com

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

The highs and lows of election day 2016

Nina Esrati and David Esrati voted 2016

Mom, me, I voted stickers- missing Dad.

Today was the first election day, where I didn’t have my dad to talk to, to take to the polls, to take the photo of him, mom and me on their porch with our “I voted today” sticker.

My father believed in this country, its ideals, its principles. He also believed strongly in the fourth estate, of which he was a part of, to keep us informed, to set wrongs right, to make our country better, through an informed electorate.

Today, Wright State Medical School called to tell me the brick, bearing his name, was installed today. He had donated his body to the school- in the hope that some young doctor, might be able to learn something and go on to do good.

But, at 2:14 am, I sit here writing, with Donald Trump 5 electoral college votes short of a win. With the Republicans holding on to the house and senate, and potentially appointing three supreme court justices. Wall Street and World Financial Markets are in a tailspin. And, frankly, the entire country is in shock- that he won, that she lost, that it was this close… but, as I’ve been known to say, “never underestimate the stupidity of people in large numbers” – a quote that is sometimes attributed to George Carlin, but probably wasn’t his.

It’s not that he won, or she lost that has me in shock, it’s that in this election we went from the already tainted dirty world of politics, down to something more resembling a cage fight to the death. This was the election where, quite frankly, there were no holds barred, no blows too low, or any resemblance to statesmanship, decorum or decency.

Our country will need a lot of healing. And a lot less polls, predictions and armchair quarterbacks. We need to take the cards that have been dealt, and figure out how to win, if that is even remotely possible.

And on that note, I have to recount the high point of today. I went to the Dayton School Board meeting, where, per usual, the agenda was posted last minute and the failed transparency and communication skills of the worst district in the state were about to be glaringly obviously exposed.

About 50 people showed up in addition to the normal cast of characters. There were parents, para-professionals, principals (more correctly, principal, Mr. Fowler of Kiser) and teachers- all there to talk to the board about cuts being made in classrooms across the district. And per usual, the people we elected to that board, felt very little need to hear from the people they represent. It was that same attitude by the Dayton City Commission 30 years ago, that pushed me into politics.

The board opened, and immediately went into executive session, for what Board President Dr. Adil Baguirov said would be “about an hour.” The people in the room had no clue of what this meant, or what it was about. The district no longer prints agendas, instead using some wonky flawed, non-ADA compliant, proprietary software called Board Docs- that is worthless on a mobile device.

A parent stood up and said, “since they are having a private meeting, is there any reason we can’t have one? Right here? I’m a social worker and I’m good at facilitating these kinds of things” or something to that effect. I started the video camera back up and taped. It should be posted tomorrow afternoon. That the BOE doesn’t tape all their meetings and have them available is one more indication of their disdain for the people they represent- they have an amazing video system available with robotic cameras.

The people went around the room to introduce themselves and say why they were there. Paraprofessionals who had been told to pack up and leave, yet hadn’t officially been fired by the board who has to approve all personnel issues, told stories of being with the district for over 20 years. That they didn’t understand that how, a district struggling to meet the third grade reading guarantee, was dismissing the people who helped the district get it’s only “A.”

There was talk of the 1-1 computer plan- and how a chromebook can’t show a child from the Congo how to open a milk container, or teach a kindergartner how to use a mouse. There were stories of how teachers had some of their students come back to the district to teach- and one mother/teacher- who told her daughter to avoid DPS, because of this very issue- lack of respect for those who are doing the work in the trenches. The director of the Challenger School who was on the list to be fired today, had to pull herself together to talk about losing her baby of 25 years- one of the few things the district has that’s a real success- something that brought STEM to the district before anyone knew what STEM was. There was a bus driver who professed his knowledge of how to fix the most fundamental DPS problem- actually picking up and delivering students- on time. The entire group would love nothing more than that to happen- and can’t understand on how or why it hasn’t.

And while I was there recording it – ostensibly as a citizen journalist, I did something I shouldn’t have and shared my story of the districts ineptitude in PR, marketing, managing an RFP, and even in their failed deal making on real estate where they sold a property to CareSource without a deed restriction precluding tax abatement. What shocked me more, other than my own self-exclusion from potentially working for the district to help them not screw up in the future- was when Dayton Daily News reporter Jeremy Kelley spoke up and interjected some facts about executive sessions and process and procedure- that, my friends, was a first.

After an hour and a half- the social worker felt that everyone had had their time to share, and wondered where the board was. She announced her intention to go invite them to come and hear the ideas they’d gathered- and to ask the board why they weren’t coming back on time.

I knew what was about to happen, and didn’t intervene. I thought maybe someone else would be galvanized to action after being smacked down for asking for respect and integrity from elected officials. For her honorable intentions, she was chastised by several board members, treated like a child and put in a corner. DPS security chief, Jamie Bullens appeared with one of his aides, dressed in black shirts, and stood by, in case she didn’t get the message.

Then came the speeches. Dr. Baguirov stated facts on falling enrollment, from 2000 to today. He talked about the ratio of administration to students- a stunning 1 administrator for every 136 students. Cincinnati, is at 1 to 236. Yet, we were only firing 20. Today.

The youngster on the board, John McManus tried to single out the Challenger center director for a pass from todays lynching. He had Sheila Taylor on his side for a few, until Joe Lacey, who has become cranky and sour, schooled the rest of the board about his experience during the last reduction in force. And Hazel Rountree launched into a tirade about how we had to bring in someone outside to fix what what couldn’t be fixed before. Ron Lee did point out that there are many unintended consequences to each and every dismissal- from seniority bumps to lawsuits, but in the end- the list was executed.

And of course, the board felt the need to blame the state, the feds, and everyone else for their difficulties, telling the people to go fix that for them.

Expect the Nov 17 meeting to be overrun with pissed off people. It will be ugly..

Both Debbie Lieberman and Judy Dodge spent real money on their reelection, despite being challenged by financially weak republicans with zero party support. Judy won  over Bob Matthews by 3% Debbie squeaked by Gary Leitzell with a single point plus lead.

And the county went to Trump.

A giant FAIL to Mark Owens, Nan Whaley, Karl Keith, who were incapable of fielding candidates that could even come close to winning. This is what happens when all you worry about is keeping your job, shilling for Hillary and getting your mitts on peoples paychecks who can’t vote you out of office.

If there was a time for a group of real democrats to join together to overthrow the Monarchy of Montgomery County, this would be it. Just the fact that embattled sheriff and republican party chair Phil Plummer was unopposed should be enough to shame them, if there was any shame to be had.

It is now 3:01 am and I checked the NY Times site, and we have a misogynist president who promised to “Make America Great Again.” My father has turned over in his cold storage.

My worst fears have almost all come true. Like Britain after the Brexit vote, we now have a brand new reality facing us.

Only one word comes to mind.

Courage.

Save

Throw this Hillary supporter into the “Basket of Deplorables”

We're stronger together unless we're deplorable www.esrati.comDear Hillary, the DNC, all of the surrogates and the rest of vaunted machine, this is why Bernie Sanders was a serious candidate, even though you did everything you could to discredit him.

You’re out of touch.

You’re possibly about to blow an election to someone who no one would have considered a serious contender a year ago, and you still don’t know why.

Hint: it’s really you. Not the #basketofdeplorables as you put it.

All those people who are voting for Trump- are voting against what they see you stand for. The machine. The one that’s broken. The one that tells us Ted Strickland is our only hope to beat Rob Portman, and then, once we passed over the bright young rising star for “re-tread Ted” – you pull the wheels off his wagon two months before the election, canceling ad buys and leaving him to twist in the wind. Note- this is Ohio, a state you “Have to win”- and he was your surrogate, your man, your ardent supporter. He was all in for Hillary, who said she stood for “stronger together” – unless you are those in the basket of deplorables.

No, I’m not a “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it” I’m just another American who doesn’t claim I’m “dead broke” while buying million dollar homes. Or giving top-secret speeches to Goldman Sachs and other Wizards of Wall Street.

What we’re facing in this country is a class war, and your kind, isn’t up for the challenge. Yep, I said it “your kind.” Because as long as we’re bandying about slurs and gross generalizations, let’s throw out this one, our country can’t afford for either of you to “win.” That’s right, both you and the guy you are running against, are out of touch, disconnected, living in an echo chamber feasting on the media induced frenzy of selling out our country to the highest bidder to their benefit.

It doesn’t cost a million dollars to buy a house in my hometown. In fact, you can buy them left and right for less than the cost of a new car. Granted I bought my “Historic Home” in Dayton Oh in 1986 for $14,500 and it’s worth more now- but about 6 years ago, someone bought one slightly bigger, two doors down for only $14,000 thanks to your friends on Wall Street.

Record numbers of people say they don’t trust you. As a guy who makes a living doing marketing, that’s a real problem. You see, if you weren’t still adhering to the same political playbook your husband used to get elected, you’d understand that times have changed. Your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what they say it is. And that they is us, some of us, who just ended up in the basket of deplorables.

Unlike many who just ended up in that new basket- I’ve been in that basket for the last 26 or so years. I’m one of those bright young democrats who had the gall to think I had the right to run for office. I’m a citizen, a veteran, college educated, and I went down to the board of elections back in 1991 or so, to pull petitions to run in a non-partisan local political race.

The local democratic party, which, btw- was all in for you, so much so that it practically took an act of god to allow Bernie supporters to meet in the democratic party offices, had a different idea of who could and should run for office. When invited to “screen” before the “screening committee”- a hand-picked bunch of local cronies and friends and family, the question to this day is “if we don’t endorse you, will you drop out.”

What kind of democracy is this? 40 people in a room deciding instead of the electorate?

When will you realize that Bernie Sanders stood for the same ideals you stood for as an idealistic young graduate at Wellesley College back in 1969? Granted, you still were at an elite school, while many of us in your basket, are paying through the nose for student loans, and trying to keep our heads above water. Maybe you can start to understand that while you collect huge speaking engagement money from the very same people who kicked us while we were down, stealing our homes, our jobs, while paying themselves millions and even billions.

It’s happened before, when a candidate drops out- even if it’s a VP. Thomas Eagleton did it, and now you can too. It can be Bernie, or Kaine, or Biden for all we care, but, you’ve got to realize by now, your email server isn’t ever going to go away, nor is Benghazi, or will your #basketofdeplorables or the fact that you took a paycheck from the people who screwed America just as bad as your opponent has screwed contractors, small businesses, taxpayers, students at his schools etc.

It’s over. You aren’t going to win Ohio while backing away from your ally Ted. You aren’t going to win the country, while calling some of us names. And, I’ll never get elected either, but that’s a different situation.

I’m not running to lead this entire country, you are. And sometimes, true leaders have to admit that they aren’t the right answer, no matter what their own perception of their life tells them.

It’s time to blame the DNC for throwing you a bone, which now, you have to respectfully, throw back to someone who kept his principles and isn’t going to hand the election over because their ego got in the way of reality.

Unfortunately, dear Hillary, you don’t listen to anyone, other than who you choose to listen to, so this message will go unheard as well. God help us all.

When the city of Dayton is the public nuisance

In fact, this is such a brilliant solution to crime that the city actively uses this with bait electronics left in plain sight to entrap car thieves.

It’s not right. It’s not the right approach. It’s how losers justify the fact that they can’t do their job- they make excuses; “we don’t have the manpower” or “the judges don’t do their job” or “we’re out of space at the jail.” Our city suffers more because we’ve grown to accept mediocre government as the norm.

From crappy basketball courts, to crappy schools, to crappy public safety forces.

Just remember, while Dayton has lost half it’s police force in the last 25 years, UD, MVH, Grandview, Good Sam, Sinclair and Metroparks all have hired their own private police force in numbers to exceed the losses by Dayton. Yes, only rich white people deserve police protection in Dayton.

That includes South Park which gets 2 MVH funded police officers thank you very much.

That doesn’t account for what I’m about to share next.

City of Dayton public nuisance stickerEvery time there is a rash of car break-ins in Dayton, someone says “the cop told me to just leave the car unlocked and let them into your car.”
Last week, the city of Dayton came to South Park and told a mentally ill man to leave his home and not come back for a year.

It wasn’t a rental. He owned it.

Yes, he’d had some calls to the house by the police. Someone OD’d one time- on the porch. But, being a den of inequity and a drug house? By the standard set around the corner– he wasn’t close. Yet, the city, declared the house a “Public Nuisance” and kicked out the residents, made it a crime to be on the property for a year, and walked away.

Did they secure the house? No.

Windows are missing. A piece of cardboard in the door isn’t “securing” anything.

If I did this, I’d be facing charges.

Photo of unsecured vacated nuisance house in Dayton OhioWhat they’ve done instead is sent a message on a bright orange sticker to scrappers to “please scrap here”- remove all the remaining copper wires, copper plumbing, appliances, mechanical systems – anything of value.

Since the owner is banned from being on the property- he can’t do it.

Gee, this is how to protect our neighborhood values?

I’ve said before that you should be happy if you get burglarized – the most dangerous crime to your property is when a bank comes and forecloses on the home next door. No matter what it was worth the day the Sheriff kicks the tenants out- it will be a lot less by the time the bank unloads it- if they can unload it. If the scrappers don’t come first.

It’s been a week since this mess was created by the City of Dayton.

Let’s see if they can board it up properly before the close of business today?

 

Killing cops: One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter

I left the US for Israel for a short trip, just after the police shootings in Dallas where 5 cops died at the hands of a black military veteran. I said on Facebook, that I never thought I’d say that I ever thought I’d feel safer in the Middle East than in the Midwest- but, here we are in 2016 and that’s what was on my mind.

In Israel, there are guns everywhere. Soldiers, male and female, with M-16’s slung around their necks- some of the girls in a uniform with a skirt even. The fully loaded clip is usually either attached to the butt or barrel of the weapon- with an elastic band, or some have them on their belts, on their back left side- often with a dummy cord attached.

Then you’ll see some with the clip in. I’ve yet to figure the rhyme or reason to who does what. It’s almost as if it’s a matter of personal preference. And it’s not only M16’s- it’s M203’s (an M16 with a grenade launcher), or the new Israeli weapon- the Tavor, a badass looking bullpup. Often, the weapons look well used, and have night sights. Even on guard duty- soldiers seem relaxed and at ease, sometimes playing with their phones, with head phones in. It’s a creepy casualness while under arms.

There are also people in civilian clothes- carrying a pistol- in the restaurants, next to the swimming pool. You have your bags inspected when going into a bus station. There are zig-zag checkpoints where they ask you to roll the windows down and look in the car.

On the Kibbutz, I asked what a block building with no windows was. “Bomb shelter” was the answer. They don’t use those as much anymore- since every house built since 1991 now is required to have a bomb shelter built in.

Along the highway, you may see a pillbox at a bend in the road, or a small fortress. Thin gun slits, reinforced roofs. Even going into a restaurant area, there is a guy with a shirt that says “Security” in English sitting next to a gate to get into the area. No gun visible, but probably within quick reach in the small gatehouse he’s leaning against.

The Communications Center of the Palestine Mobile Force (PMF) was located in this building. On April 25, 1947, Isaschar Huberman and Rahamim Abalak , two Lehi fighters posting as telephone repairman managed to drive a car bomb into the compound. It's denotation )sic) led to the destruction of the center and several casualties among the British Policemen."The first historical marker I came across when leaving the train station from the airport, in Tel Aviv said this:

The Communications Center of the Palestine Mobile Force (PMF) was located in this building. On April 25, 1947, Isaschar Huberman and Rahamim Abalak , two Lehi fighters posting as telephone repairman managed to drive a car bomb into the compound. It’s denotation )sic) led to the destruction of the center and several casualties among the British Policemen.”

With Dallas fresh on my mind- I took the photo. Thinking, this is the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter. A terrorist attacks civilians, a freedom fighter, attacks men in uniform- combatants.

And then here comes Baton Rouge. 3 officers killed.

Violence against the police, Mr. (Gov. John Bel) Edwards said, “doesn’t address any injustice, perceived or real.”

 He continued, “It is just an injustice in and of itself.”

Source: Baton Rouge Shooting Jolts a Nation on Edge

Yet, the shooter is quoted in the same NY Times article from his social media postings:

“One hundred percent of revolutions, of victims fighting their oppressors,” he said, “have been successful through fighting back, through bloodshed. Zero have been successful just over simply protesting. It doesn’t — it has never worked and it never will. You got to fight back. That’s the only way that a bully knows to quit.”

“You’ve got to stand on your rights, just like George Washington did, just like the other white rebels they celebrate and salute did,” he added. “That’s what Nat Turner did. That’s what Malcolm did. You got to stand, man. You got to sacrifice.”

Gavin Long, an African-American military veteran- alleged shooter of cops in Baton Rouge

Like it or not, police are the easiest targets and the people who have been doing the dirty work of a system that has gotten out of control. Our nation has been divided since the “War on Drugs” started – a lame excuse for imprisoning millions of people- mostly for being poor and black.

The real targets own the media, the banks, the wealth and control the system. A system that has profited wildly by distracting people from their true enemies. Sure- we can say Osama Bin Laden was a terrorist, but his targets were the scions of commerce, of the military industrial complex tasked to keep war a multi-billion dollar industry. A stock market rigged to allow a few to pilfer the savings and futures of an entire country.

Unfortunately, the police are just the pawns in the game, and so are the politicians.

And when you think about it- the rich have their own police forces, their own safe rooms, their gates, their security. The cops don’t. They are just sitting ducks. And soldiers coming back from an endless pointless war are taking up arms- but, it’s harder to kill a bank president than it is a cop.

Americans are about to go to vote for a new president holding their noses. A law passed against keeping the last true hero of the people prevents Obama from running for a third term. He’s far from perfect, but a better choice than either of the two leading contenders.

In Israel, much like the US- I talk to US citizens who have been here a long time- they aren’t worried about abortion, guns, or bathrooms- it’s about Israel- and they are more likely to vote for Trump than Hillary. Bernie, the only Jewish candidate, gets a thumbs down- because he wasn’t pro-Israel enough- as if he could have succeeded anywhere near what he did if he’d let his religion be front and center.

Right now our country needs to realize that the first shots of a revolution have been fired, and there will be more, until we stop trying to sugarcoat the misdeeds of a system that has created a permanent underclass, of people without hope, without power, except by the barrel of a gun.

One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter isn’t new.

We need to have a real discussion of what kind of America we want. Because what we have isn’t working for an awful lot of people, and in the last 2 weeks, some have taken up arms to send that message. It’s up to real leaders to acknowledge it and respond appropriately.

We have two choices: create a siege mentality, and set up security gates, ID Checks, and lose any semblance of the freedoms we swore allegiance to, or begin to level the playing field- putting the real criminals in prison and letting the pawns out.

Philandro Castile was the symbol, of a revolution. An everyday guy, who was loved in his little world, who had been systematically singled out by a society for little infractions, that turned into a death sentence. Meanwhile, the Wall Street criminals, who stole our pensions, our homes, our tax dollars and ruined the global economy- causing job losses and global instability- walk scott free.

It was never gun ownership that gave you freedom, it was what you do with one.

Gavin Long may think he’s a freedom fighter, but he missed the real targets.

We don’t need anymore police killed. Rome has been burning for a while. It’s time to take down the emperors, not their soldiers.

Black shoots back

UPDATE

9 July- this post was written early on July 8, after reading an early NYTimes article that said:

Five Dallas police officers were killed and six others were wounded by snipers on Thursday night during a demonstration protesting shootings by officers in Minnesota and Louisiana this week, the Dallas police said.

The police believe four suspects coordinated the attack with rifles, Police Chief David O. Brown said, and positioned themselves in triangulated locations near the end of the route the protesters planned to take. The police had three people in custody and were negotiating in the early-morning hours with a fourth, who was in a garage in downtown Dallas at El Centro, a community college.

Source: Snipers Kill 5 Dallas Officers at Protest Against Police Shootings – The New York Times

This was before Micah X Johnson was identified as the sole shooter, and blown up with a robot delivered bomb, to which I have other issues with.

Dallas Texas. It’s not the first time a shooting there will profoundly change the course of American history. JFK’s assassination left an indelible mark upon our nations psyche, and the killing of five law officers and wounding of others will mark a turning point.

It’s been a long time since armed blacks have struck back at a country that has systematically discounted the lives of those of color. While we may have heard of John Browns raid on Harper’s Ferry- where a white man lead black slaves to take over an armory, or the Black Panthers of California to begin open carry patrols in the late 60’s – our history texts gloss over other stories of revolt.

The shooting in Dallas won’t be glossed over.

Nor will it be the last time it happens until things change in this country.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who had his life cut short by a gun, is probably turning over in his grave. He was a believer in non-violent opposition as a solution. Others, like Malcom X, who had his life cut short by a gun, is probably thinking- I tried to tell you this would happen…

But lashing out at cops, while clearly a symbolic message- you shoot us, we shoot you, is not the answer to the problem. Our system has lost its moral compass, we’ve criminalized our society to the point that we, the country of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” has become the largest land of incarceration on the planet. We’ve systematically allowed an entire race to be marginalized and discounted. We’ve created economic segregation at all levels that has totally unleveled the playing field, so that only a few can really enjoy that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The enemy isn’t the police- it’s the laws that allow us to have different standards for different people. Take the rise of private police forces- the local universities, hospitals and even Metroparks have their own police departments- carrying guns, but not reporting to us or anyone we elect. Ask Samuel DuBose how that worked out for him in Cincinnati?

How does a broken taillight end up a death sentence? Philando Castile wasn’t the first. It wasn’t that long ago that a broken taillight was a death sentence for Walter Scott.

Think about that. A $2 lightbulb out = death sentence? Is this the country our founding fathers imagined?

It’s not even about guns anymore. It’s genocide. We don’t have to wear swastikas, or build death camps, we’re doing it because we “love our freedoms” that are enabling our country to have the casualties of war without the formality of it.

Let me break it to you slowly and clearly- only poor people are being incarcerated and killed. Yes, a majority of them are minorities, but, they all share one thing- they ain’t the rich white men who are running this country into the ground in pursuit of the almighty dollar.

And make no mistake about it- guns contribute to their profits. From the sales of guns and ammo, to the medical care for victims, to the security systems, to the private prisons, to the caskets, rich people are happy to let the poor play in the streets with guns. It’s good for business.

Students of history know that class warfare is almost always the reason for falls of empires, yet, we’ve ignored it, allowed the gap to widen, and now, we’re seeing the first shots taken.

Will the shooters be heroes? Or the cops who died? Or will this be a wake up call? History has a strange way of picking turning points in the aftermath.

All I know is that while Black Lives Matter, this is really a bigger issue. Much bigger.