A country that loses its values, its principles, has lost its heart. A country that loses its sensible center, its common ground, has lost its mind.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

An amateur military strategy that just might wipe out ISIS

The A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft, also known as the Warthog


I'm no military expert or strategist but I wonder: If we employed a couple of basic tactics in addition to air bombardments in Iraq (and Syria), would destroying ISIS become much easier than it seems?
First, drop cluster bombs along the Iraq/Syrian border (such as it is) to split ISIS in two. This minefield, created from the air, would severely constrain ISIS operations. No retreating back to Syria for those militants in Iraq. No reinforcements or supplies crossing the border from ISIS' main base of operations in Syria over to Iraq.
Second, bring in the A-10s, the "tank busters" that have performed so well in Iraq in the past, to pulverize ISIS forces on the ground, piece by piece.
I suggest that approach might soften up ISIS to the point that ground troops brought in by the Iraqis, the Kurds and whatever the Syrian "moderates" can muster will be able to finish the job.

Anyone out there have any thoughts? (I'm sure the guys who fly the A-10 Warthogs out of Selfridge have something to say.)

Do we really want video to be our standard for truth?



The camera never lies.
That well-worn phrase, for decades, referred to still photos. But today, the only sure way to get the attention of Americans is to present videotape.
The 24/7 documentation of every aspect of everyone’s lives, made possible by smart phone cameras and YouTube, has created a new standard for truth.
Video decides what we believe, whether we want war or peace, a person’s guilt or innocence, or -- the subject that seems to matter most to many -- should a star running back be allowed to play football?

We’ve entered into new territory -- culturally and politically – where, until visual images surface, the subject at hand is just a hypothetical – or just hype.
The disturbing amount of distrust and doubt cast upon the so-called Mainstream Media has certainly fueled this phenomenon. We are on a path that we take at our own peril.
Videotape has played an outsized role in recent weeks in two instances: NFL player Ray Rice was caught on tape knocking his wife unconscious with a single punch, and an ISIS executioner was filmed taunting the U.S. as he beheaded two American journalists.
Those video clips dramatically changed public opinion on the NFL’s domestic violence policy, and on the need to launch military attacks on the ISIS terror group.

But should it be this way?

The leaked video of Rice inside the elevator where the attack happened showed us nothing that we didn’t already know. Yet, once it played out on everyone’s TV screens or laptops – kind of like a reality show or a cable TV drama – it was real. Then it was worthy of national outrage.
The chilling video of the beheadings in Syria showed us exactly what ISIS wants us to know: They are more brutal than any terrorist organization the U.S. has ever faced. The reaction across America was such a mix of fear and anger that U.S. foreign policy toward the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria flipped in a matter of weeks.
Pollsters express astonishment that the majority of the public did not favor American intervention against ISIS just a couple of months ago, but, after the videotaped executions appeared, nearly two-thirds now support military air strikes. In fact, one-third wants the U.S. to send combat troops back to Iraq to eliminate the ISIS threat.
Politicians follow the polls, and those polled follow YouTube and Yahoo.

Visuals often have influenced politics in the recent past – Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comment, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s drunken drug party. The criminal justice system has come to depend upon amateur camera work, with countless examples of bad guys caught on surveillance tape or bad cops caught on video by the cell phone of a bystander.
But what about all the instances where video images do not exist?
The National Football League has long treated players guilty of off-the-field crimes with kid gloves. In this twisted new NFL reality, Rice, who was initially suspended for just two games prior to the in-elevator footage, has now apparently suffered a career ending incident via videotape. Meanwhile, Ray McDonald continues playing.
A San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman, McDonald was arrested several weeks ago on suspicion of felony domestic violence after he allegedly beat up his pregnant fiancĂ©e, leaving her with “visible injuries.” McDonald played last Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys and will suit up again today against the Chicago Bears.
No tape has surfaced to stir the public’s emotions. So, McDonald goes on, unscathed.

In Syria, where civil war rages, the gruesome 2013 chemical weapons attacks by President Bashar Assad’s regime on his own people produced heart-breaking photos of dozens of bodies, including children, lined up for burial. But the middle-of-the-night attack that killed 1,400 people was not captured on video.
The news photos held little sway, and as a result the polls showed that President Obama’s plan to hit Syria with retaliatory missile strikes was highly unpopular.

In this era of Facebook and Pinterest, everybody is a photographer, and many of us snap silly photos all day long for sharing and amusement. But, at a time when photo-altering techniques are readily available, I suspect that many now view a photograph as proof of nothing.
The visceral reaction, the ability to anger and inflame the public, that is something that video can accomplish much more readily than the printed word or a photographic image.
In our obsession with celebrities and sports stars, when controversy arises, the public's reaction is: Where's the video? Pro football, perhaps our most popular form of entertainment, has ingrained in our collective psyche the notion that truth comes from the lens of a video camera.

After all, the NFL rules and outcomes on the gridiron often come down to this: “Indisputable visual evidence.” If only reality was that simple.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Campaign consultant DiSano hit with unprecedented settlement of defamation lawsuit

“These politicians are taught that if they’re running 
for office, they can say anything they want.
But that’s not how the First Amendment works. 
Politicians can and do distort an opponent’s 
record all the time, but you don’t 
try to destroy a person."

-- Attorney Al Addis


Here’s a story that may send shivers up the spines of some political consultants and candidates.

Joe Disano, a well-known Democratic campaign consultant, has agreed to a most unusual court settlement with former Macomb County commissioner Phil DiMaria to end a defamation lawsuit.
The 2012 suit was prompted by robo-calls placed by DiSano during DiMaria’s unsuccessful 2012 run for state House in the 18th District  that essentially accused the Eastpointe Democrat of perversion.  The automated calls alleged that DiMaria was luring young women into his home to take “dirty pictures” of them.

A partner at Lansing-based Main Street Strategies, DiSano initially was convinced the suit would be tossed by the courts. But two years later he is now in the embarrassing position of executing a settlement that, in addition to an undisclosed cash payment to DiMaria, requires several actions on his part.
He must create and disseminate thousands of robo-calls to the 18th District apologizing for the 2012 calls and alerting voters that the allegations against DiMaria were false. He must create and publish ads in print publications that similarly amount to an apology and a retraction. And here’s the strangest part: He must arrange for meetings with two lobbyists and make favorable comments to local media outlets if DiMaria runs for office again.

The robo-calls were loosely based on my news stories from 2002 about DiMaria’s association with a website that featured photos of nude women. But DiSano went a step further, mixing in some of the rumors flying around at the time that claimed DiMaria, whose hobby is professional photography on a part-time basis, was engaged in activities that were far from artistic.
I suspect his critics will be totally chagrined by DiMaria successfully playing the role of a victim of hardball politics.

At the time the lawsuit was filed, here is a portion of what I wrote:
The commissioner said he believes that the script of the campaign calls was based on a decade-old incident and not on recent activities. In December 2002, The Macomb Daily reported that a web page associated with DiMaria contained numerous photos of nude women.
The photos, posted on the website OneModelPlace.com, each contained DiMaria’s trademark but the commissioner said at the time that his two photography partners were responsible for the erotic material. Within hours of DiMaria being questioned by a Macomb Daily reporter, the photos were removed from the site.

DiMaria insists he did nothing wrong at the time and portrays the incident as an isolated matter. A Troy police officer at the time, his commanding officers conducted an internal investigation and found no unethical behavior, according to DiMaria.
He now insists he has never shot nude or semi-nude photos. However he posted a message on another photography website last year expressing interest in taking a class on nude photography.

In November 2011, an online “Meetup” message apparently sent by DiMaria, tagged with his standard business photo, said: “Hi David, just want you to know I am a longtime photographer and have shot nudes before, but it has been a long time. I know your class for the 27th is full but I would love to be included if there is any possibility.”
The “David” referred to in the message is a photographer from Pontiac, David Birdsong, who routinely offers workshops that feature female models and teach photographers how to shoot artistic nude photos. One of Birdsong’s websites contains almost exclusively nude and semi-nude photos of women.


Here is the news story my colleague, Jamie Cook, wrote for today’s paper about the settlement:

The Macomb Daily
A political consultant who targeted a candidate with salacious and false allegations about nude photos of young girls will publicly and personally apologize for his actions and compensate the candidate with money and consulting services.
The unprecedented, lopsided outcome in Macomb County was reached to settle a lawsuit filed by former state representative candidate Phil DiMaria against Democratic political consultant Joe DiSano and the call’s narrator, Dan Sloan. The deal was formalized earlier this summer and will be executed in the coming weeks.
DiMaria’s attorney, Al Addis, said this week the slew of requirements made upon DiSano and Sloan were necessary in light of the untruthful, damaging remarks made in a June 2012 robo-call that went to about 5,000 homes during a political campaign. DiSano wrote the script, and Sloan narrated the call.
Newspaper articles were written about the calls, too.

“This was terrible and way out of line,” Addis said. “When you start accusing people of inmoral, criminal activity with underage people, that just doesn’t fly.
“He (DiMaria) got what he was looking for – a retraction and to get his name back.”
DiMaria’s reputation suffered tremendously, Addis said.
“People he knew would see him in the grocery store and turn their back after this came out,” Addis said.
The robo-calls were sent to homes in the state House’s 18th District in Eastpointe and St. Clair Shores where DiMaria, at the time a county commissioner from Eastpointe, was running in the Democratic primary against Sarah Roberts, who has not been tied to the calls. Roberts trounced DiMaria.
The narrator said DiMaria, a part-time photographer, “takes dirty pictures in his basement” and “uses the Internet to lure young girls into nude modeling sessions at his home,” according to court documents. The call ends: “Tell Phil DiMaria you’re disgusted with his filthy hobbies. Call DiMaria at … and tell him to get the head-doctor help he really needs.”

DiSano’s wild accusations spawned from DiMaria’s association with a web page a decade early that contained numerous photos of nude women. The photos were accompanied by DiMaria’s trademark but were the responsibility of two photography partners. The photos were removed from the site after DiMaria was contacted by a Macomb Daily reporter in December 2002.
DiMaria, who was a Troy police officer at the time, said two years ago an internal investigation cleared him.
DiMaria is a photographer but says he mostly shoots sporting events and musicians.
After losing the August 2012 primary, DiMaria sued for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and tortious interference with a business relationship or expectancy, in Macomb County Circuit Court in Mount Clemens. He said the calls damaged him personally and professionally.
Judge Mark Switalski in April denied DiSano and Sloan’s attempt to have the lawsuit tossed.

In the settlement, DiSano, a partner in Lansing-based Main Street Strategies, must perform a number of tasks, Addis said. According to Addis, DiSano is required to:
• conduct a robo-call campaign in the same area where the prior calls were made and must admit they allegations were “completely wrong and utterly incorrect,” Addis said.
• pay for and create, with DiMaria’s approval, a print advertisement that will appear in two publications and retract and apologize for the claims.
• personally meet with DiMaria’s wife and apologize.
• create five political ads and provide robo-calls for DiMaria
• arrange for meetings with two lobbyists and make favorable comments to local media outlets, if DiMaria runs for office again.
• pay Dimaria a sum of money; the amount is confidential.
DiSano and his attorney, Anthony DeLuca, did not return telephone messages Thursday.

Addis said DiMaria could have taken the case to trial and possibly gained a better settlement but decided “he wanted to move on with his life.”
Because he was a public figure, DiMaria at a trial would have had to prove that not only were the allegations false, but had to show malice by the defendants – they either knew the information was false or had a reckless disregard for the truth.
The three members of the facilitation panel all agreed DiMaria had a strong case, Addis said.
Addis said the deal provides “a great lesson in politics.”

“These politicians are taught that if they’re running for office, they can say anything they want,” he said. “But that’s not how the First Amendment works. Politicians can and do distort an opponent’s record all the time, but you don’t try to destroy a person."
Addis said they don’t know who hired DiSano, but that DiMaria is sure Roberts was not involved.
“My client suspects it may have been something personal,” Addis said. “He is convinced Miss Roberts had nothing to do with it.”
DiMaria did not return a phone message.
The robo-calls came about four months after DiSano was criticized by some for sending emails and making robo-calls to nearly 50,000 Democratic voters in Michigan asking them to vote for Rick Santorum in the presidential primary to try to derail Mitt Romney.

Lucido breaks own spending record, seeks $1,000 per person at upcoming fundraiser


By Chad Selweski
@cbsnewsman on Twitter
After setting an apparent record for spending in a Michigan House primary election, Republican Pete Lucido of Shelby Township boosted his campaign spending total to $304,000 and has scheduled a fundraiser for next week where he will seek contributions of up to $1,000 per person.
A first-time candidate, Lucido is considered a shoo-in when he faces a poorly funded Democratic candidate in November who has lost several prior election attempts. But Lucido said he has no intentions of slowing down the pace of his political pursuit.

Weeks before the Aug. 5 primary vote, Lucido had already spent $250,000 on a campaign battle with Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot. At the time, political experts said that outlay was the largest amount ever spent in a two-person primary race for the state House.
Lucido’s newest campaign finance report, covering the timeframe from July 21 to Aug. 24, shows that his spending spree reached $304,785. That unprecedented amount was made possible by the $185,000 of his own money that he pumped into the campaign effort.

The report also reveals that Lucido, a prominent defense attorney, injected $50,000 of personal funds into his campaign coffers in the final days before the vote -- $15,000 on July 25, $15,000 on July 28, and $20,000 on Aug. 4.
In July, Lucido had reported spending $150,000 from his own finances. The $50,000 reported since then does not match up with the $185,000 personal total he is now claiming.
The GOP nominee also likely gained from a simultaneous burst of advertising for his law firm, with a variety of marketing efforts that featured the same Lucido logo as the one used by his campaign.

Every shopping cart at the 23 Mile Road Kroger store in Shelby Township was festooned with a placard  that used the Lucido campaign logo but advertised for his law firm.
The fundraising dinner slated by Lucido at the ornate Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township on Thursday offers tickets in five price categories: $150, $250, $350, $500 and $1,000.
Though his campaign account’s balance on Aug. 24 was about $1,900, in the heavily Republican 36th House District, that slight amount might be considered enough for the GOP nominee to defeat his Democratic opponent, Robert Murphy of Romeo.
A perennial candidate who has appeared on the ballot as a Republican, an independent and a Democrat over the years, Murphy is making his fifth run for the 36th District seat in northern Macomb County. In each of those races – 2004, 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2014 – he has claimed a finance reporting waiver, which meant that he intended to spend less than $1,000 on his campaign.
Lucido said that he is not familiar with Murphy’s background but his campaign tactics will not be tempered by his opponent.
“Why wouldn’t we have a general election fundraiser?” he said. “It’s a chance to get all my allies together and unite the front.”

The premier guest at the event will be GOP Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land. Lucido, who complained bitterly about Grot’s refusal to debate in the primary election, said he is not familiar with the heavy criticism Land has faced for dodging debates with her Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Gary Peters.
“I’m not aware that she’s been accused of avoiding debates,” he said. “I’ll … ask her: ‘Are you avoiding debates and, if so, why?’”

State House candidates Pete Lucido and Robert Murphy will appear at a public forum from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday at the Washington Township Hall to discuss issues with voters in the 36th District (Washington and Bruce Townships, Romeo, and most of Shelby Township).

Thursday, September 11, 2014

U.S.-allied rebel group in Syria also engages in beheadings



This screen grab from a video shows a child,
encouraged by the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army,
helping to behead a man with a machete.

So, here we are again, 13 years later, trying to decide how to hit back with military air strikes against Middle East terrorists.
The 2001-02 struggles to understand al-Qaida’s motivations and to intelligently comprehend the difference between Sunnis, Shia and Kurds has been replaced by a much more complicated set of rules on the ground this time around.
The militant groups fighting for and against the brutal Syrian regime, if the various brigades are accounted for, number in the dozens. Motivations and agendas run the gamut.

Surely, ISIS must be destroyed. But relying upon a proxy war in a cesspool of bad actors is not the way to satisfy American interests abroad.
In Syria, we have jihadist groups -- some pro-government, some trying to end Assad's reign -- and the U.S. is supposed to cut through all of that to choose a moderate rebel group to do our fighting for us.
Two things: The “moderate” groups are labeled in such a way only in comparison to all the other jihadist groups in the Mideast; and if we had armed the rebels waging war against the monstrous Assad regime a year or two ago, chances are that most of our weapons eventually would have fallen into the hands of ISIS, just as the surrender of arms by the cowardly Iraqi forces played out earlier this summer not far from Baghdad.  
Far more disconcerting is that the American voters’ wild swing in favor of taking military action in Syria and Iraq was, according to polls, based largely on video of the unspeakable beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

Here’s the reality: The main rebel group that has received covert U.S. assistance, the Syrian Free Army, which will now receive arms and training in Saudi Arabia courtesy of the Obama administration, has reportedly also beheaded people.
Back in December 2012, the watchdog group known as Human Rights Investigations revealed a despicable video in which a young boy armed with a machete, under encouragement from an FSA brigade, kicked off the bloody process of beheading of a man who was deemed loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“From watching footage from rebel media it is clear some rebels are making a special effort to bring very young, impressionable children to their sectarian, jihadi ideology,” Human Rights Organization said at the time.
“Well, apparently they aren’t content with that, and the use of a child as an executioner marks a new low,” the group commented on humanrightsorganization.org. “One can only hope that media and public opinion might dissuade the likes of Barack Obama …and (British Prime Minister) David Cameron from continuing to support these terrorists.”
Numerous other reports of atrocities led to a conclusion by the United Nations that FSA is guilty of war crimes, including kidnappings, torture and executions.

In July 2013, military.com, an American website, reported that a priest and another Christian were beheaded before a cheering crowd by FSA insurgents who said their targets aided and abetted the (Muslim) enemy, specifically Assad's military forces.
An undated video that made the Internet rounds showed two unnamed men with tied hands surrounded by a cheering crowd of dozens, just moments before their heads were cut off with a small knife. The attackers in the video then lifted a head for show, and placed it back on the body. The incident took place in the countryside of Idlib, according to media reports in the region.

In June, President Obama first proposed a $500 million plan to arm and train the moderate Syrian opposition. Now, he has upped the ante, despite a U.S. history of proxy wars gone wrong.
Perhaps the commander-in-chief should consider how devastating it would be if, in the near future, videos surface of U.S.-financed rebels beheading their enemies in a manner all too reminiscent of the shocking videotaped decapitation deaths of Sotloff and Foley.











Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Could Tigers baseball influence races for Senate and governor?

Miggy Cabrera
 The folks at Roll Call have produced an intriguing story that draws the link between baseball and election campaigns, particularly when the players in both of those endeavors are heading down the home stretch.

Marky Schauer
Based on information received from those who selectively buy campaign ad space on future TV broadcasts, Roll Call makes the case that baseball games are an ideal purchase if the home team is competing for a spot in the playoffs. Even better is a TV market where the home team is in the playoffs, hoping for an appearance in the World Series – all at the same time in October as political candidates are scrambling to make that one, big last push.

And the ad buyers say the one market that is a “slam dunk” (talk about mixing metaphors) is Detroit, where the Tigers are chasing Kansas City for the Central Division title and also have a shot at a Wild Card spot.

Meanwhile, Michigan has two high-profile, highly competitive races at the top of the ticket, for governor and senator, and the parties and candidates seem poised to spend many millions between now and Election Day. That means Tigers fans may see the faces of Mark Schauer, Rick Snyder, Gary Peters and Terri Lynn Land on their TV screens in the next few weeks as much as Miggy and V-Mart.
Here’s how Roll Call explains the premise:
“Televised sports make for a desirable market for political advertisers because viewers are less likely to record and fast-forward through commercials.
What’s more, the target audience watching these sports — mostly white and male — comprise one of the most reliable voting blocs in a mid-term. For Republicans, baseball viewing marks an opportunity to motivate their base. Democrats gear their baseball game ads towards improving their numbers with this demographic.”


As for the two top political contests, Roll Call labels the gubernatorial race between Schauer and Snyder as the most-watched campaign. The Senate race between Peters and Land is “on the cusp of being competitive,” but a GOP media buyer seemed skeptical that Land can remain competitive: “I don’t know if, by the time when the playoffs roll around, that race will still be on people’s radar.”



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

3rd UPDATE: Friend says he saw no indication of Jaye return to drunkenness

Jaye's Macomb County Jail mug shot

By Chad Selweski
@cbsnewsman on Twitter
Dave Jaye, the infamous former state senator who struggled for years with excessive drinking, was arrested on Sunday night for disorderly conduct after engaging in an apparently drunken confrontation with a jogger on the Macomb Orchard Trail in Washington Township.
According to the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department, Jaye at the time smelled of alcohol, was slurring his speech and looked “sloppy” when he was detained by deputies near Campground Road and Van Dyke. He was riding a bike with beer cans in his backpack when he had a verbal confrontation with the jogger and said: “Don’t make me come after you.”
Jaye refused to take a portable breathalyzer test so his blood-alcohol level at the time is unknown. Michigan’s disorderly person law includes provisions for evidence that a person may have been intoxicated, based on what the arresting officers witnessed.
The only member of the Michigan Senate ever to be removed from office by his colleagues, Jaye, 56, was arrested and jailed by sheriff’s deputies shortly before 10 p.m. when the frightened jogger called police. The former lawmaker was also chanting while riding on the trail but sheriff’s Lt. John Michalke refused to identify what the chant consisted of.
A longtime Jaye friend said that the controversial former lawmaker had returned to Macomb County about six weeks ago to rehabilitate the Washington Township home that he lived in during his years in the state Legislature and still owns.
Joe Munem said that Jaye had been consistently sober and had shown no signs of a relapse after struggling with drinking problems for two decades.
“I wouldn’t have thought something like this would have happened at this point in his life. I have not seen Dave drink in … 10 years,” said Munem, a former political consultant from Sterling Heights.
After his removal from the Senate in 2001 for drunken, assaultive behavior at a gas station, Jaye eventually moved to South Korea, where he taught English as a second language to adults. He has also lived in China, teaching American business customs at the university level.
More recently he established residence in Bonita Springs, Fla., where he landed a county government job handling recycling programs and grant writing.
At the time of his arrest on Sunday, which occurred after dark, police found no evidence that Jaye had physically harmed anyone, and he appeared to be uninjured despite his erratic bike riding. He was wearing camouflage shorts and a white T-shirt in addition to the black backpack.  
Jaye was formally charged on Monday in a video arraignment handled by the 42nd District Court in Romeo. The former lawmaker was granted a $1,000 personal bond and was released.
His next court date is Sept. 25 in the 42nd District Court.
Known for his vociferous, politically incorrect comments and his conservative Republican politics, Jaye’s political career began with a 2-year stint on the Macomb County Board of Commissioners in 1985-86.
He was elected to the state House in 1988 and served there for 10 years until he won a special election to replace the late state senator Doug Carl. Among the many reasons for his Senate expulsion, the most cited were his three drunken-driving convictions.
His expulsion trial in front of a Senate panel received frenzied media coverage and produce big newspaper headlines across the state.
After attracting considerable media attention for 15 years, his attempted political comeback after being expelled fell flat in a Sept. 11, 2001, special election that was completely overshadowed by the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
Yet, Munem said he saw a “more mellow and mature Dave Jaye” in recent times, a man who had become more health conscious and had hopes of creating a new chapter in his life in the business world, not in politics. Munem said he has no idea what could have triggered Jaye’s behavior on Sunday.
“In my conversations with him, he’s been fairly upbeat and positive,” Munem explained. “He’s demonstrated a lot of self-confidence about what he wants to do next.”


UPDATE: Dave Jaye is back -- back in the county jail


Jaye's mugshot from the Macomb County Jail

By Chad Selweski
@cbsnewsman on Twitter

Dave Jaye, the controversial former state senator who struggled for years with excessive drinking, was arrested on Sunday night for disorderly conduct after engaging in an apparently drunken confrontation with a jogger on the Macomb Orchard Trail in Washington Township.
According to the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department, Jaye at the time smelled of alcohol, was slurring his speech and looked “sloppy” when he was detained by deputies near Campground Road and Van Dyke. He was riding a bike with beer cans in his backpack when he had a verbal confrontation with the jogger and said: “Don’t make me come after you.”
Jaye refused to take a portable breathalyzer test so his blood-alcohol level at the time is unknown. Michigan’s disorderly conduct law includes provisions for evidence that a person may have been intoxicated, based on what the arresting officers witnessed.
The only member of the Michigan Senate ever to be removed from office by his colleagues, Jaye, 56, was arrested and jailed by sheriff’s deputies shortly before 10 p.m. when the frightened jogger called police. The former lawmaker was also chanting while riding on the trail but sheriff’s Lt. John Michalke refused to identify what the chant consisted of.
A longtime Jaye friend said that he had returned to Macomb County about six weeks ago to rehabilitate the Washington Township home that he lived in during his years in the state Legislature and still owns.
Joe Munem said that Jaye had been consistently sober and had shown no signs of a relapse after struggling with drinking problems for two decades.
“I wouldn’t have thought something like this would have happened at this point in his life. I have not seen Dave drink in … 10 years,” said Munem, a former political consultant from Sterling Heights.
After his removal from the Senate in 2001 for drunken, assaultive behavior at a gas station, Jaye eventually moved to South Korea, where he taught English as a second language to adults. He has also lived in China, teaching American business customs at the university level.
More recently he established residence in Bonita Springs, Fla., where he landed a county government job handling recycling programs and grant writing.
At the time of his arrest on Sunday, which occurred after dark, police found no evidence that Jaye had physically harmed anyone and he appeared to be uninjured despite his erratic bike riding. He was wearing camouflage shorts and a white T-shirt in addition to the black backpack.  
Jaye was formerly charged in a video arraignment handled by the 42nd District Court in Romeo. The former lawmaker was granted a $1,000 personal bond and was released.
His next court date is Sept. 25 in the 42nd District Court.

 

Dave Jaye is back -- back in the county jail

Jaye's jail mugshot after the arrest

The Macomb County Sheriff's Department has confirmed that former state Sen. Dave Jaye was arrested and jailed on Sunday for disorderly conduct and it appears this may be a case of public drunkenness.

Here's what the Sheriff's Department said in a press release:

On Sunday evening, Macomb Sheriff deputies assigned to Washington Township were dispatched to an area on the Macomb Orchard Trail near Campground & Van Dyke for a disorderly person complaint.

They located a subject who matched the description.  The man was on a bicycle and wearing a backpack.  According to the deputies, the man appeared “sloppy” he had slurred speech, and he smelled of alcohol.  He was detained and deputies searched his backpack finding cans of beer.      

Deputies located the complainant/caller, a jogger on the trail, and he told deputies that the man had been chanting and that he made threats to “hurt” the complainant. 

The man was arrested for Disorderly Conduct and he was transported to the Macomb County Jail.

On 09-08, David Jaye (56) of Bonita Springs, Florida was video-arraigned in the 42nd District Court of Romeo.  He was granted a $1,000 (personal) bond.  He has since been released.

His next court date is 09-25-14 at 9am in the same court.


U.S. depending on a 'milestone' Iraqi government to defeat ISIS



President Obama's military campaign against ISIS relies significantly on ground forces supplied by the Kurds in the north and by the new central Iraqi government in Baghdad.
Largely overlooked on Monday was how effusive the Obama administration was in praising the new government, even as many skeptics remain unconvinced that the new cabinet represents a turning point.

The BBC News reported that U.S. officials are hailing the creation of a new government in Iraq as a major milestone and a crucial step towards defeating the militant group ISIS.
Secretary of State John Kerry said the new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's cabinet has the "potential to unite all of Iraq's diverse communities."
President Obama and Abadi have "agreed on the importance of having the new government quickly take concrete steps to address the aspirations and legitimate grievances of the Iraqi people," a White House statement said.

The new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi greets members of parliament.
The US had made the approval of a unity government a condition for increased military assistance.
According to the BBC, Abadi, a Shia, named three deputies -- Hoshyar Zebari, the Kurdish outgoing foreign minister, Saleh al-Mutlak, a secular Sunni who held the same post in the last government, and Baha Arraji, a Shia and former MP.
Jim Muir of the BBC News, reporting from Irbil in northern Iraq, said the Obama administration is hoping the new government can start pulling Iraq back together, and provide a springboard for a national drive to root out ISIS militants. That can only work if the Sunni community can be persuaded that that is in their interests.

The obvious weakness is that the new government still lacks a defense minister and an interior minister.

As for the media reaction, some newspapers were skeptical of the new government while others agreed with the U.S. reaction that the new government represents a breakthrough.
Al-Bayan, a newspaper linked to the Daawa Party of former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, declared that "Iraq has entered a new era".
For al-Sabah, the approval of the government "under the new democratic system" is proof that "so far, we have successfully passed all the tests set by the political process".




Poli sci majors can't name a single senator


Late night comics such as Jay Leno and his successor, Jimmy Fallon, have long relied upon man-on-the-street interviews to demonstrate how comically ignorant average Americans can be on a variety of subjects, but especially politics.
A news crew took that premise one leap forward by interviewing college kids at the prestigious American University in Washington. The reporter asked one simple question: "Can you name a U.S. Senator?" 
The results were rather astounding. Even political science majors could not answer this simple question. 

Watch the video here.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Is ISIS a threat to our First Amendment?


The grotesque beheadings of two American journalists by the terror group ISIS, captured on video for all the world to see, was a propaganda tool that seems to be working.
Experts say the ISIS executions of Steven Sotloff and James Foley were the work of provocateurs who seek to demonstrate their ruthlessness and to focus attention on their message that U.S. airstrikes in Iraq represent an American Air Force choosing sides in a conflict designed to create the militants’ Islamic State.
In fact, there seems to be some evidence now that the two beheading videos actually took place back-to-back on the same day, not several days apart. That implies an unspeakable social media strategy by ISIS to hold back on the second video and to play it across the globe when the time was right. This is what these monsters call a recruiting tool.

The second ISIS strategy that may be achieving success is their attempt to terrorize journalists and prevent them from reporting on the realities of ISIS’ murderous rampage across Iraq and Syria.
The beheadings sent a chill up the spines of many Americans, but they may also put a chill on press coverage throughout the region where ISIS roams.
War correspondents often say that they accept the risks of covering a danger zone because their job is to “bear witness” to what’s happening “over there” for the rest of us. No journalists, no facts – just propaganda put forth by the fighting forces.
In the past, reporters covering wars in the Middle East were sometimes kidnapped, but not killed. ISIS has changed the rules of this ugly game. They are targeting and terrorizing the media, trying to scare them away from doing their jobs.

Major media organizations spend considerable sums on security and training for their correspondents who cover global hot spots. But in the chaos of Iraq and Syria, too often freelance journalists are betrayed by their cameraman or their translator or their “fixer” who arranges safe passage and access to interviews.
One regrettable development is that some news agencies now refuse to accept photos or other news content from freelancers working in war-torn areas because they believe these journalists are taking unacceptable risks. Many freelancers work in the field on a budget, putting them in greater potential danger.

The Committee to Protect Journalists estimates that at least 70 other journalists have been killed covering the Syrian civil war, which spawned ISIS. More than 80 have been kidnapped, and about 20 are currently missing.
In response to the killings of Foley and Sotloff, CPJ released a statement that said the two freelance journalists “went to Syria to tell a story. They were civilians, not representatives of any government. Their murders are war crimes and those who committed them must be brought to justice swiftly.”
Of course the executioner displayed on the videos, clad in black, a mask covering his face -- the voice of evil -- knows that it could be years (or never) before U.S. authorities track him down.

Unfortunately, other journalists who met the same fate as Foley and Sotloff have ironically received nearly no media attention and their killers may never be brought to justice.
A recent tally of journalists’ deaths found seven killed in Syria, five in Iraq, four each in Israel and the Palestinian territories, and others spread across the globe.
What’s more, the International News Safety Institute reported that two weeks ago four other media workers died -- one in Gaza and three in Pakistan.
In fact, INSI’s list of high-risk countries for journalists is a long one: Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Egypt, Sudan, Chad Central African Republic, DRR Congo and Nigeria.

Despite the safety precautions available, such as hostile-environment training and security teams, the lethality of trying to keep all of us abreast of actions overseas has increased dramatically, according to the Rory Peck Trust, which gives support to freelancers.
Trust Director Tina Carr told CNN: “We’ve been assisting freelancers for almost two decades, and we’ve never seen a demand for our assistance like this before.”
The United States has a big stake, a lead role, in destroying ISIS. So, Americans have an enormous interest in what’s happening “over there.” But what if ISIS manages to manipulate media coverage or block it entirely?
At that point, is ISIS not just at war with the American military in the sky but also waging war on our First Amendment?
The deaths of war correspondents are no longer a matter of collateral damage – they are now targets.

When you come across photos or a story about what’s happening in Iraq and Syria, take a few moments to appreciate that content. And thank a journalist for that glimpse into the ugliness that could spread across the globe.
The man or woman who brought that information to you, someone who can bear witness, probably risked their life to enlighten you.

Friday, September 5, 2014

How did ‘political piranha’ become ‘Mr. Nicely?’

Munem (center) in "The Sound of Music"
For those who still can’t fathom Joe Munem, once known as the “political piranha,” playing wholesome roles in community theater, Munem has kindly provided us with a video blog.
Not that the former campaign strategist would ever engage in self-promotion, but the 3-minute video is mostly Munem, talking about Munem, most of the time. He does get in a few plugs for the Richmond Community Theatre’s production of Guys and Dolls, opening tonight, in which he plays the role of “Nicely.” (Ah, the air is thick with irony.)
But the former political consultant, who produced some of the most outrageous campaign literature ever seen in Macomb County, still knows how to lay it on thick when going through his shtick. The video shows Munem hamming it up with a bit of self-deprecating humor as he recounts his 11-year career on local stages.

The politico-turned-thespian, now the PR guy for a trash hauling company, also demonstrates on tape that his salesmanship skills are still intact. After all, if you can sell people on politicians, that’s not a bad bit of background and experience for making people feel comfortable about garbage.