Statement: Jury members send a powerful message

These words, famously repeated by Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. and former President Barack Obama, come to mind when juries deliver their verdicts, as they did twice last week in closely monitored cases.

In Georgia, a jury found three men guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was chased and shot dead on a suburban street in 2020. In Virginia, a jury ordered extremists, including organizers of the 2017 Unite Right in Charlottesville for to pay compensation of more than $ 26 million for the violence that followed.

Georgia’s rulings “represent a real attack on white supremacy and systemic racism in our criminal justice system,” he wrote. Issac Bailey. The “almost all-white jury shamed the defense for believing that anti-black racism would help secure an acquittal. It’s the kind of decision we should have replicated throughout our system, the kind we should have proclaimed and celebrated, the kind of we must hope will be precedent.If it does, black juries would not be constantly discriminated against in the selection of the jury.If it does, racist white men would think twice before arming themselves to take the case “on my own, in the same way that white racist mobs did during the height of lynching. If that happens, I will feel less need to arm myself to run alone, even in almost every white neighborhood.”

Legal analyst Areva Martin credited “the powerful video evidence and accusation of Linda Dunikoski’s star work” for leaving “the accused” in pieces and pieces of the absurd citizen’s arrest / self-defense allegations that were raised. “Travis McMichael’s conflicting statements and testimonies, along with the video evidence, showed he never feared imminent injury and never even told Arbery that he held him to the police.”

“Reasonable fear did not motivate this killing. The prosecution only needed to mention the defendant’s own words on the 911 call he made. What emergency did he quote? ‘There is a black man running down the street.'”

In Virginia, jurors also dismissed the defense case. Charlottesville Rally, Frida Ghitis wrote, is “burned in the heads of many Americans … The march through the area of ​​the University of Virginia looked and sounded like something out of 1930s Nazi Germany, with tiki torches and shouts of ‘The Jews will not replace us” Blood and land, ‘and stiff-armed Nazi salutes. ”

“The moment seemed to confirm our worst fears. The day after the backbone’s cooling march, violent clashes between racists and anti-racists became fatal when one of the defendants hit his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring several of the people. now plaintiffs in this lawsuit. “

People all over the world “need to hear the message of accountability that this jury has sent,” Ghitis noted.

For more:

Jill Filipovic: There is no conceivable justification for the defense’s treatment of Ahmaud Arbery

Omicron is concerned

Omicron is the 15th letter in the Greek alphabet. It is now also the name of a new coronavirus variant whose many mutations prompted scientists to rush to find out its likely effect. Will it compete with or surpass the transferability of the Delta variant? Will it avoid any of the protection that vaccines offer?

“After South Africa sounded the alarm about a new Covid-19 variant, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 900 points on Black Friday, marking a terrible start to what was predicted to be a record-breaking holiday season,” he wrote. Julian Zelizer. It is too early to say how big a threat Omicron poses, but it clearly complicates the recovery efforts of President Joe Biden’s administration.

“Under more normal circumstances, we would expect the president to enjoy some political advantage from the economic recovery and strong legislative victories, including the adoption of the $ 1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package.” But Biden’s approval ratings are much lower than they were at the beginning of his presidency, Zelizer wrote.

“The pandemic is far from over, and after nearly two years and more than 775,000 deaths, many Americans are traumatized and on the mend.”
Writer for Bloomberg Opinion, David Fickling noted that “hardly more than half of the world’s population has received a dose of a Covid vaccine. This means that there are still more than 3.4 billion people out there whose bodies can treat the virus as laboratories where they can develop new mutations.Until we reduce that number further, the odds are not as strong in our favor as we would like to think. ”

Thanksgiving 2021

The Thanksgiving weekend of 2021 represented a step closer to a pre-pandemic world, where more people traveled, gathered in person, and went shopping, even as parts of the United States and Europe saw increases in Covid-19 infections.

Target attracted attention this week when its CEO Brian Cornell announced that it will never reopen its stores on Thanksgiving. As Kara Alaimo wrote, “[He] said he made the decision after employees told him they wanted to spend the holidays with their families – which of course is exactly where they should be. “

“The initiative to prioritize the well-being of Target’s employees sends a strong message about the company’s values ​​at a time when Americans are rethinking our approaches to work. And whether customers realize it or not, this benefits them as well. Other companies would be smart to follow trop. “

Ruth Ben-Ghiat struggled with a situation many have experienced. “Almost everyone I know cares about broken or strained relationships with friends or family members who are trapped in a whirlpool of disinformation and immersed in alternative versions of reality, including the popular QAnon conspiracy theory,” Ben-Ghiat noted.

“I know what it’s like to see a loved one drive away until they are unattainable through logic, reason or evidence. During the pandemic, a family member formerly known for his common sense was radicalized.” What to do?

“Keep them close and find common ground on other issues, no matter how difficult it may be. That does not mean we accept or validate their racist or anti-scientific beliefs, but rather aim to be strategic. After all “If we cut them off or shout at them, we simply increase the chances that they will remain obscured among like-minded people.”

2024

In Washington, some Democrats are already worried about the possibility of losing control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections and the question of who will lead their party’s ticket in 2024 if President Joe Biden chooses not to run. (The White House says he plans to run again.)

“If Biden shows up as an established, he has an advantage,” he wrote Lincoln Mitchell. “But if he chooses not to do so, it does not mean the Democrats are doomed.”

Two of the party’s most prominent figures, Vice President Kamala Harris and Transport Minister Pete Buttigieg could end up as rivals in a primary competition after Biden. But that does not have to happen, Mitchell noted. They could “run together in 2024, with Harris the nominee for president and Buttigieg the vice president. This could put an end to the feud that exists between them now and at the same time give the Democratic Party a very strong ticket in 2024 that would work. as a natural continuation of Biden’s first term.A Harris-Buttigieg ticket would showcase two dynamic politicians and represent the breadth and diversity of the Democratic Party, and indeed the whole country, without giving way too far to the left and alienating the key-swinging voters, which Biden won in 2020. ”

The bite’s problems are partly a matter of messages, wrote Molly Jong-Fast in the Atlantic. “To improve Biden’s popularity, serious consultants can tell him he needs to work on the basics,” she noted. “But the basic factors are actually good: The economy is getting better. Americans have both cash and jobs … The interruption between the facts and the polls suggests that Biden’s true problem is a narrative. Specifically, he does not have an enemy, a punching bag to absorb. American anger (rational or irrational) … “

“Biden needs to remind Americans what he is trying to achieve – to save democracy from the threat of authoritarianism, both at home and abroad – and ask them to join him in that matter. Voters gathered behind Biden when he put the case on the campaign track in 2020, and with the right message they would do it again today“, Jong-Fast argued.

“For most of 2021, we have been engaged in a national conversation about why the January 6 uprising happened and who was responsible,” he wrote. Jennifer Rodgers. In recent days, she noted, judges have commented on the issue.

For example, Judge Amit Mehta of the Federal District Court in Washington, DC, during the sentencing of a defendant on January 6, said that the defendant was a ‘farmer’ who was’ told the election was stolen when it was not. ‘, and that’ those who created the conditions that led to [the defendant’s] behavior has in no meaningful way been held accountable. ‘”More judges will give their views as hundreds of similar cases are resolved.

“Measured, fact-based descriptions of relevant events by judges have the potential to convince where hyperpartial rhetoric from elected officials may not do,” Rodgers noted. “Yes, the public ought to place greater emphasis on what judges say because of their unique role as neutral arbitrators and their mastery of the relevant evidence. Let’s just hope people listen. “

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AND…

Robert Redford’s Prayer

Robert Redford was 11 when he left Los Angeles for the first time. He had recovered from a mild case of polio, and his mother drove him to Yosemite National Park. When I saw the famous landscape from Inspiration Point, “I immediately knew I was in a special place,” the actor wrote.

Thus began a lifelong passion for America’s national parks. Redford took his children to places like Chaco Canyon where they “could explore the remains of what was once the center of a busy and sophisticated Pueblo civilization that existed hundreds of years before Europeans first set foot on this continent.”

“Unfortunately, these sacred and unprotected landscapes around Chaco have long been the target of oil and gas wells that desecrate what was once the center of an ancient civilization and part of the history of our continent and our species.” Redford welcomed the Biden administration’s announcement of a ban on new oil and gas drilling on federal lands within a 10-mile radius around Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico.

There are many other parks and sites that are threatened by development, Redford observed, including the Grand Canyon. “The United States is not even 250 years old,” he wrote. “These places together hold thousands of years of history, culture and histories. We must preserve these countries.”

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