“All of us have a right to be skeptical” about the trial of the men who killed Ahmaud Arbery.
The three men are on trial in huge part because of the pressure that was brought to bear on Georgia, the governor, the AG, the GBI and others to make sure that they were arrested and made these people accountable.
“They (the state) had no plan to do that until we put the pressure on them.”
King notes the appointment of an outside prosecutor (a Republican) “I believe we have an ally in the prosecution…”
Over 1000 potential jurors were called.
There are a lot of factors that strike black people from jury pools before they even get to the process of being questioned at the courthouse.
The jury pool is selected with software that is supposed to make the process more random. Note: The public has no access to that software or ability to judge the reliability and validity of that software.
African Americans are so “heavily policed, so heavily prosecuted” in Brunswick that even when Ahmaud Arbery was murdered, the system treated Ahmaud Arbery like the criminal.
Note: You can see this overpolicing in the body cam video of the police officer who questioned Ahmaud Arbery (several years ago) when he was doing nothing but sitting in his car listening to music. The officers then used the fact that Arbery felt he was being harassed (which he was), and got angry about it, as an excuse for escalating the situation. The officer escalated the situation while repeating over and over again that he wasn’t trying to escalate the situation. When this officer testified in pre-trial hearings, he wore full body gear, and tried to make it seem that Arbery had acted irrationally. I would have reacted the same way, but police would have never questioned me if I were sitting in my car listening to music.
If you are caught up in the criminal justice system you are not even in the jury pool.
Also, it is much more difficult for African Americans to commit to being on juries. They are less likely to be able to take time off work, weather the economic problems caused by being away from work and family responsibilities.
The attorneys want to select people who say they don’t have a strong opinion about the case.
“If you live in Brunswick and you don’t have a strong opinion about this case, it tells me a whole lot about you.”
Note: One of the first questions asked by Sheffield (lawyer for Travis McMichael) is whether the potential jurors have a “negative” opinion of either of the three.
“It’s going to be difficult to find somebody black, or white with any social conscience, who isn’t gravely concerned about this case.”
Note: Again, Sheffield, for the defense attorneys, asks the jurors if they have supported “in any way” the social justice movement. This is an extraordinarily broad question. It implies that “the social justice movement” is a unified, single movement. It also covers so many different issues and movements. This reinforces King’s point. If jurors who have “in any way” supported social justice movements are stricken from the jury, who do we have left?
If the trial lawyers are only trying to find people who are ambivalent. “I’m concerned.”
Who doesn’t have an opinion about this case?
All it takes is one juror to hold out to create a hung jury.
The defense if giving jurors the Citizen’s arrest argument to hang their hats on.
Note: After all the pressure that was put on the state of Georgia after the video was released, Brian Kamp signed a law banning citizen’s arrests.
But, the Citizen’s arrest law was in effect when the three men hunted down Arbery and killed him in the street.
Even under the law, the three men were “chasing him through a neighborhood with their guns out until they exhausted Ahmaud and then they murdered him.”
Joe Scarborough, both-sideser in chief and head MSNBC misogynist is at it again this morning joined by his usual kiss ass crew. He got in a little trouble yesterday by repeatedly asking guests whether it was necessary to impeach Trump. The dreadful Mika told him to stop and he responded like the petulant bully he is, by berating her and trying to embarrass her on national television.
This morning, he and Peter Baker are trying to figure out how “we” can work with the Republicans like James Langford, who have suddenly had an attack of conscience over trying to overthrow an election.
But, for Scarborough and Baker, that’s just a minor blip. Sedition? Just apologize and Scarborough will find a way to launder your reputation (if you are a Repubican).
Baker’s contribution to this was to lament the fact that, in his words, both sides have decided to go back into their partisan corners. Equal corners, right? One side is providing the rationale for sedition and the other is trying to restore democracy, but they are both equally to blame.
On to other matters.
On Ari Melber’s MSNBC show last night, Eugene Robinson (Mr. Mild Manners himself) said that the Republicans created this division and now they are buying body armor.
AOC was evidently so afraid when the attack was going on, she was fearful of going into a safe room with Republicans. She thought they might lead the attackers to her. It was not an unreasonable suspicion since one of the members of the House was texting out the location of Nancy Pelosi.
Lindsey Graham characterized the impeachment proceedings as “sheer hatred.” I can’t wait to find out why Graham did a 180 turn to support Trump. Maybe if Trump gets more and more frustrated, he will start to spill the dirt.
Rep Madeleine Dean, who will be one of the impeachment managers said “Lindsay Graham knows better.” “You too” she said referring to Graham, “are complicit…”
Trump evidently brought Bannon back into the sedition circle. Roger Stone was the one who came up with the “Stop the Steal” rallying cry.
Tony Schwartz is saying that Trump is now moving “between rage and delusion.” And that Trump has unleashed forces that we may well see become more powerful in the future.
Peter Strzok, former FBI, expressed “frustration and anger” at the lack of preparedness at the Capitol. If you look at other events, Strzok argued: “The government can secure the capitol when it wants to and that didn’t happen here.” Strzok said that the tour groups that evidently went through the Capitol the day before the assault needed to be “looked into.”
Elizabeth Newmann, former Assistant Secretary for Threat Presentation and Security Policy at DHS, explained that the Terrorist Watch List is a separate list from the No Fly List and is broader, larger. She says it includes “suspected white supremacists.” But, she also said, this list functions more as an alert system than a surveillance system. If, for example, someone got arrested, law enforcement could run the name and the person would show up as on this Terrorist Watch List. But, there is no ongoing surveillance on these people. So, they could all decide to go to Washington at the same time and go and there would be no automatic alert because of this list.
Last night, Rachael Maddow was commenting on the absurdity of having people on this list, but not knowing that they were all converging on the same problematic location. The only way law enforcement could know this is if these people were under constant surveillance and I’m not sure that’s what we want.
A number of people are already pointing out on Twitter and in articles that this siege of the Capitol may well end up working to the disadvantage of legitimate protest. As always, it’s easy to argue for more surveillance of individuals when they are opposed to you politically. But, these same surveillance measures can be turned quickly against legitimate protest.
I heard no discussion yesterday of the way in which a person might be put on this Terrorist Watch List. Once on this list, are you ever taken off? What surveillance measures can the government take after you are put on this list? These are questions we need to answer.
Newman, after explaining the list, went on to say that there was “no excuse for the lack of preparation” at the capitol. She pointed out that that the Executive Branch, while reluctant to tell another branch of government what to do, has a “duty to warn” of dangerous situations. They, for example, should have issued a “Joint Intelligence Bulletin.” They did not. “They knew that violence was planned” Newman continued. “You always assume the worst, prepare for the worst…”
Petef Strzok expressed disappointment that we had not heard from Director Wray. He wondered whether the FBI attempted to warn other agencies but was prevented from doing so. Strzok didn’t say by whom.
Anna Palmer noted that since the COVID outbreak, the Capitol had been like a “ghosttown.” She noted the extensive security measures for even going into the Capitol as a reporter. “It’s been months since people were even around” she noted. These tours were highly unusual.
Biden has named Jamaal Bowman head of the DNC. It has not escaped notice that Bowman is against Medicare For All.
And, lastly, in Georgia…
I had an interesting exchange with a friend on Facebook. He commented that when the FBI asked all these low-level attackers who are being arrested if they had any coordination or contact with Congressmen or Trump, they would flip and implicate them.
I responded: True, if the FBI agents ask them.
Now, as usual, he took exception to this. Most people, especially those who have worked around law enforcement accept a law enforcement ethos. They resist any aspersions on the integrity of the force, even confronted with daily evidence to the contrary.
He responded in a curious way. First he said that I shouldn’t paint all agents with a “broad brush.” Seemed to me that he was painting them with a broad brush, just assuming that the FBI would be trying to turn offenders on higher ups. Why this assumption is made, I don’t know.
We have just witnessed years of the most curious behavior on the part of the FBI and the Justice Department in recent memory. Why did James Comey make public the absurd reopening of the investigation of Hillary Clinton right before the 2016 election? Why did he within the past few days argue publicly that Biden should pardon Trump? What was going on in the New York City office of the FBI in 2016 that almost lead to a work stoppage? These are just a few threads that need to be followed up here. In addition, why was the Justice Department so easily compromised by Jeff Sessions and then Bill Barr? Why was the Mueller investigation so limited as to make it meaningless?
I’m sorry, but I just don’t think we can assume that all those FBI agents out there are crusaders for justice especially when it comes to investigating people at the top of the food chain. (See Jesse Eisinger’s “The Chickenshit Club.)
Then, my friend said that the last time he talked to me I was (overly) concerned “dismayed” with voter suppression in Georgia, and Georgia had become the beacon of election security. Georgia, he said had become the “honest election state that is saving democracy. What truly happened?”
Now, I have no idea what this last paragraph has to do with FBI agents working overtime to get dirt on powerful Congressmen, but there you are.
I find the statement amazing. I fully realize that the media, prone as they are to simplistic narratives, is trying to make heroes out of Raffensperger, Sterling and Kemp, but anybody who reads should know that Georgia is far from a beacon of hope.
Brian Kemp’s government spent a fortune on a fancy new voting machine system. And they conducted a propaganda operation by replacing all the “I voted” material with “I secured my Vote.” It was all a propaganda operation. I did poll worker training in Georgia before the general and I left at lunch and didn’t go back. It was obvious to me then that the new system was unwieldy and full of holes. The measures taken to “secure the vote” were geared toward security threats in the 19th century. Nobody could answer questions about hacking into the system.
Even though the media has touted “paper ballots” as an indication of transparency, in Georgia, they are not really “paper ballots.”
The ballots are marked by a machine. Then, the voter gets a sheet of paper which has his choices printed on it. The voter is supposed to check these choices to make sure they are right. But, the scanners that count the votes do not even register the words printed on the ballot. They count a bar code at the bottom of the ballot. The voter cannot read the bar code. The poll workers cannot read the bar code. I don’t think anybody outside of the Voting Machine company can read the bar codes. It’s protected by law. What kind of state of affairs is that?
Before the general election, Brian Kemp’s government made a decision that any recount in Georgia would be done by simply feeding the same ballots (with the same bar codes) through the scanners again.
In short, Georgia spent a fortune on a voting system that is impenetrable. They regularly send out “experts” who claim that the system cannot be hacked. But, Jennifer Cohn, Jonathan Simon and the Coalition for Good Governance have repeatedly offered evidence that at best, we don’t know this.
In addition, Kemp is the king of voter suppression. That’s how he won a race against Stacey Abrams for governor. Raffensperger and Sterling were in the voter suppression game up to their eye balls. Kemp, Raffensperger and Sterling are like the guys who are willing to drive the getaway car, but not willing to go into the liquor store with the gun.
Just in case you hadn’t heard…Kyle Rittenhouse is out on bail and sitting in a bar drinking and yucking it up with the Proud Boys. Reality Winner has COVID and in still in jail. I know she’s not receiving her mail because I have a box of returned letters.
The federal government has executed the first woman in almost 70 years. The woman had a history of mental illness and sexual abuse and sex trafficking in her childhood. The ACLU had appealed to the federal government to halt scheduled executions.
Liz Cheney has said yes to impeachment.
Trump, yesterday called for unity and calm while also threatening the nation and the President-Elect.
Kevin McCarthy is saying that Trump shouldn’t be impeached.
Geraldo has joined the group of people trying to save what is left of their reputations repudiating Trump. He also advanced a line used by Toomy used, saying that losing the election made Trump crazy. “After the election, he (Trump) took this to an entirely different place, orders of magnitude different,” Toomey said to NBC.
On the “trying to salvage what little is left of his reputation,” subject, Brian Kemp of Georgia is reviving an image he used in a former campaign saying he will drive around Georgia in his pick up truck to distribute vaccine. For some reason, Kemp feels this casts him in a positive light. Since he finds himself incapable of managing the state’s distribution network even though he is governor, he hopes to salvage his image by making people believe that delivering vaccine personally in a pick up truck is better.
Also in Georgia, a man charged in the capitol siege, Christopher Stanton, has committed suicide. This is the second suicide reported among those involved in the insurrection. A capitol hill police officer was also reported as having committed suicide.
Right-wing activist Ali Alexander (who has gone into hiding and raised $20,000 on a Christian crowdfunding site) says that Reps. Gosar and Biggs worked with him in planning the rally that led to the attack on the Capitol.
Rep Lauren Boebert has been arrested four times, including for resisting arrest. She cheered the Capitol rioters and live-tweeted her colleagues’ locations. Last night, she refused to go through a metal detector to get to the House floor. Why she is adamant about taking a weapon into the House chamber nobody knows.
Rep. Mikie Sherrill has said that members of Congress gave tours to people through the Capitol on a “reconnaissance” mission one day before the riot. She says that she is going to see that they are “held accountable, and if necessary ensure they don’t serve in Congress.”
The Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF), funded robocalls directing people to the rally in Washington, told them they would be marching to the Capitol and used the “Stop the Steal” rallying cry invented by Roger Stone.
The RLDF is closely associated with the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA).
Florida’s AG, Ashley Moody, was on the board of directors for the RLDF, the group that on the day of the Capitol attack sent out robocalls urging attendance. After the attack, Moody’s office scrubbed references to the group (Tampa Bay Times).
RAGA donated more than $1million to Moody’s political committee in 2018.
Moody has been prominent in the legal fight to overturn the 2020 election in favor of Trump. She also after taking office, joined 14 other Republican state attorneys general in urging the federal government to drop its case against Michael Flynn.
Alabama AG, Steve Marshall, blamed “staff” for the robocall that urged people to go to the Trump rally in Washington.
The executive director of the RAGA resigned on Monday.
The website for March to Save America, the Trump rally, listed the RLDF as one of the participating organizations. The graphic which listed the participating organizations has since been deleted (Atlanta Journal Constitution).
Diane Feinstein had filed the paperwork to run for reelection.
Republicans are furious with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and SOS Brad Raffensperger because even with a new $150 million voting machine system, they couldn’t reliably deliver a win for Trump and two Republican Senators. The two senate candidates, Perdue and Loeffler, called for Raffensperger’s resignation. Kemp, it will be remembered, is widely thought in Georgia to have stolen the governorship from Stacey Abrams in 2018.
Given the amount of voter suppression, the millions spent in overt propaganda to convince Georgians that their voting machine system was “secure,” and the black-box nature of machines which cannot be meaningfully audited, the only reason Kemp and Raffensperger couldn’t deliver is the large number of mail in ballots that were cast.
Geogia’s highly touted “secured” voting system, includes paper ballots with the voter’s printed choice of candidate on them. One big problem is that the scanner that counts the votes, doesn’t count the words printed on the page. The scanners count a barcode at the bottom of the page that neither the voter nor the voting officials can read. Many people, like me, voted by mail because this allowed circumventing the Ballot-marking devices and the barcode scanners.
So now, Kemp and Raffensperger are scrambling to save their political careers. Even though there is a large margin for Biden in the state, they have announced that there will be a recount. Yesterday (November 11) Raffensperger announced that the recount would be a hand recount of every ballot. He even made jokes about the amount of overtime that would cost counties to do such a recount. I’m not sure they shared his humor.
Jennifer Cohn and others have been on twitter, however, pointing out that the SOS has no authority to mandate a hand recount, so the legality of this proposal is dubious. Several other Georgia watchers have also pointed out that lawyers representing Trump in litigation about the election are also representing the State of Georgia. This conflict of interest has not been explained.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Georgia state law requires an audit but leaves up to elections officials the choice of race. This leaves the people in charge of the election in charge of determining what race to audit. Officials in Georgia have chosen the presidential race to recount rather than the senate races. The certification deadline in Georgia is November 20. It is unclear how counties in Georgia (where they are already pleading for volunteers to help monitor the recount) are going to do a total hand recount by the deadline for certification. This may in fact be the game.
In a hearing conducted this morning in federal court in Georgia, the Secretary of State’s (SOS’s) office and the Coalition for Good Governance (CFGG) sparred over errors already found in the new $104 million (at least) electronic voting machine system Brian Kemp’s government bought and paid for with taxpayer money.
On Friday, the SOS’s office issued a bulletin to all of Georgia’s 159 counties telling them to stop Logistics and Analysis (L&A) testing of election devices and systems. The SOS’s office said that an error had been uncovered in the database and the entire database would have to be replaced.
The error had evidently caused candidates in a multi-candidate race to disappear from the screen, the “disappearing colum” problem.
In court on Monday morning the SOS’S office changed their position and said that would not have to replace the database. They were instead changing the software.
This information was news to the Coalition for Good Governance (CFGG). They, like the rest of the public, were under the assumption that the database would be replaced. Lawyers for CFGG argued that changing of the software after voting had already begun was an even more serious problem than replacing the database.
And, CFGG argued that there was not (as the SOS’S office had maintained) just one problem. There were three problems uncovered by Georgia counties once they started testing. According to CFGG, the State had disclosed one problem but not all of the problems.
Three Problems Not Just One
As lawyers for CFGG pointed out, the State had disclosed only one problem but not two other problems that CFGG had been made aware of.
Because of a subpoena, lawyers for CFGG were supposed to witness the testing of a scanner in Cherokee County, Georgia. But, when CFGG contacted Cherokee County to arrange for this witnessing, officials told them that they could come but that the scanner wasn’t recording votes. This problem was a different problem than the “disappearing column” one reported to the press by the SOS. The attorney for CFGG noted that he had talked with officials in Cherokee County Monday morning and the scanner was still not working.
The other, third problem the SOS was not disclosing was a problem in Irwin County, where votes for a write-in candidate were not registering at all.
Lawyers for the SOS’S office basically dismissed concerns expressed over all of the problems, accusing the CFGG of making mountains out of molehills.
The Seriousness of the Problem
In the hearing, the SOS repeatedly minimized the seriousness of the problems and expressed contempt for the lawyers at CFGG. At one point, the SOS’s office argued that the robustness of their testing ensured that problems like the “disappearing columns” problem would not only be found but would be corrected.
The CFGG argued, however, that just because one needle is found hidden in the haystack, that doesn’t mean that the location of all the other needles was known. The SOS found out about the “disappearing column” problem, argued the CFGG attorney by accident, a “freakish” discovery. Just because this problem was uncovered in testing that didn’t mean that ALL problems were discovered or wound be discovered. There is no way of knowing how many other problems there are out there that haven’t been reported or have been dismissed.
The SOS’s office repeatedly in the hearing tried to behave as if the “disappearing column” problem was the only problem and that this problem was “diminimus” meaning not very serious. Evidently in state law, if a problem with the voting system is deemed to be “diminimus” then there are certain actions that aren’t required. In other words, if the problem is deemed not to be serious, serious actions doesn’t need to be taken.
SOS officials argued that some testing lab (what lab?) found the “disappearing column” problem to be “diminimus.” What we don’t know is what procedure was used for declaring the problem to be “diminimus?” And, this completely ignores the other problems.
Anybody with a brain would question this determination. Who decides that a problem with the election system is “not serious” as opposed to “serious?” What are the rules about establishing a “serious” as opposed to a “non serious” problem.
But, in court this morning, the SOS’s office tried to trivialize these questions and also to assert dominion over the issue. Gabriel Sterling, for the SOS;s office, stated: “That is how it’s done and that is how we will continue to do it.” The authoritarian tone of that statement is inescapable.
The “Disappearing Column” Problem
As mentioned earlier, the State’s argument in the hearing was that the system’s testing regime is so “robust” that it found the “disappearing column” problem and that it will find all the other possible problems.
The State argued that the “disappearing column” problem occurred only when a specific behavior pattern is exhibited by the voter. What this means is that if the voter is looking at the screen where the state has listed multiple candidates and then flips back a screen to look at a previous screen (for example, to double check a choice) that is when the “disappearing screen” occurs. My understanding from the hearing is that the State maintains that the “disappearing screen” doesn’t happen every time a voter goes back a screen, just sometimes.
This is a $104 million (at least) voting system. But, voters moving back and forth between screens either checking a previous choice or through error, throws the entire system into chaos and makes legally eligible candidates disappear off the voting screen. The State argued that voters rarely choose to move back to check another screen. But, THEY DON’T KNOW THIS. How would they know this?
And why with a $104 system, hasn’t somebody thought about the possibility of a voter flipping back a screen? Flipping from screen to screen is something that anybody who uses a computer does every day. $104 million and this is a problem?
The Numbers in the Name Problem
Not only have the architects of a $104 million system not ever thought of the possibility of voters flipping back and forth between screens, they also haven’t thought of other possibilities. The “disappearing column” problem is one issue and evidently the one the State of Georgia has chosen to deal with. But there are two other problems.
In Irwin County, election officials were so conscientious in their testing that they made sure that every write-in candidate would be recorded. Because the state certifies qualified write-in candidates and sends a list to county officials, the head of elections in Irwin county decided to check those names against the machines.
What he found was that one write-in candidate couldn’t be chosen. The machine wouldn’t accept the choice. The reason? The candidate had numbers in his name. Using a $104 million voting system, this is a problem. The candidate chose to use the name PresidentR19boddie. Why? I have no idea.
But, because the officials in Irwin County were conscientious, they made sure that a vote for any of the write-in candidates would be recorded. What they found was that the program would only allow letters, not numerals. Again, this is a $104 million voting system.
The Scanner Problem in Cherokee County
Because of a subpoena granted in the lawsuit brought by CFGG, experts from CFGG were supposed to witness the functioning or testing of a scanner in Cherokee County. When lawyers from CFGG contacted Cherokee County to arrange this witnessing, the officials told CFGG that they could come to Cherokee county, but the scanner wasn’t working.
According to lawyers from CFGG speaking during the hearing on Monday morning, they contacted the SOS’s office multiple times during the weekend to alert them to the problem in Cherokee County. The SOS’s office ignored them and didn’t even respond. Lawyers from the CFGG pointed out to the State that this problem was different from the one the State was alerting counties about with the “disappearing columns.” But, as the lawyers from CFGG characterized it there were “crickets.”
In the hearing, lawyers for the SOS’s office maintained that they were not aware of the problem in Cherokee County. Lawyers for the CFGG pointed out that they had repeatedly notified the state and had talked to Cherokee County on Monday morning and confirmed that the scanner was still not working.
The CFGG attorneys also pointed out in the hearing that whatever the problems were, even after the bulletin issued by the SOS’s office to stop L&A analysis, some counties were proceeding. So, it appeared that some counties hadn’t even understood the bulletin. There was confusion among the county officials.
In the end, SOS officials claimed that they were going to change not the database, as they had told the counties on Friday, but the software. In the hearing at least the question of who was going to approve of, check, and certify this change in software was not answered.
Elections security expert Jennifer Cohn argued that this change of the software was even more serious and fraught with potential for security risks than a change in the database.
I can’t even keep up with the Trump scams surrounding this coronavirus crisis.
Brian Kemp, the governor of Georgia, is claiming that he just now learned that asymptomatic people could pass on the coronavirus to other people.
Every day there’s another presser with Trump congratulating corporate CEOs and touting meaningless statistics.
The Republicans are all over twitter congratulating private industry for “contributions” and “donations.” So, the people in this country who pay taxes, are reliant on donations, charity from big business to get them through a crisis.
This entire Trump/Repubican approach is designed to school people that the government cannot/will not help them if them are in need.
The Federal Government, however, under the Republicans will give $500 billion of public money to corporations.
According to Mehdi Hasan, South Korea and Japan’s unemployment rates are nothing like we are seeing in this country.
The Navy is expected to fire the captain who raised an alarm saying that his sailors had the Coronavirus.
The Nation is reporting that there is a Democratic primary in Wisconsin on Tuesday and Milwaukee is planning to decrease the polling places from 180 to 10. This is democracy?
Trump is complaining on Twitter that the hospitals and states have “insatiable appetites & are never satisfied (politics?)
I’ll never, never be able to wrap my mind around the fact that this miserable, moronic, corrupt, tasteless, bastard is president.