Open Thread for Friday, December 9, 2016

Some possibilities:

  1. Obama orders review of Russian hacking during elections — Well, I don’t know how much they had to do with it, but their guy did win, so…
  2. Russian state doped more than 1,000 athletes and corrupted London 2012 — I think maybe a certain Eurasian country needs to get an “Unsatisfactory” grade for deportment for this quarter-century.
  3. Jurors, families hear Roof’s voice as taped confession is played in court — I’m just glad I’m not on that jury, and forced to see and hear all this horror.
  4. U.S. Kids Far Less Likely To Out-Earn Their Parents, As Inequality Grows — I’m not a bit surprised at this, are you? But I don’t see it as an inequality thing as much as I do the fact that we just don’t have the broad growth that we need. Oh, but wait: Trump stopped from Carrier jobs from going to Mexico, so it’s all cool…
  5. Goldman Sachs President Eyed for Economic Post — Refresh my memory: Didn’t this populist madness that produced Trump sort of get started with everybody hating Goldman Sachs? Or am I confused?
  6. Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent to Step Down Next Year — The company is having troubles. They should ask Trump to help! First thing he’d probably say would be, “You shouldn’t have hired a guy named ‘Muhtar’.”


18 thoughts on “Open Thread for Friday, December 9, 2016

  1. Bryan Caskey

    I’ve been in a family court mediation all day. (We got close to a settlement, but not all the way there.) Accordingly, I haven’t had time to bat it around with y’all. The only other news I saw pop up in my timeline was that Rudy pulled his name from SECSTATE consideration.

    In related news, I have also voluntarily removed my name from SECSTATE consideration.

    Have a good weekend, y’all.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      I read the statement that Rudy pulled his name from all posts in Trump’s administration. He threw Christie out, now Rudy? The commenters seemed to think there’s a smoking gun (but how bad could it be, given who seems to have passed muster) or Guiliani is ill.

      1. Mark Stewart

        Rudy only wanted Secretary or State – or wants to be positioned to reap oodles of lobbying dollars from every foreign government he can get his hands on.

        1. Kathryn Fenner

          The New York Times today reported that Rudy was offered three other slots, including AG, but only wanted Secretary of State. Christie was offered a policy adviser job.

  2. bud

    I know it’s a bit old now but I’m surprised nothing came up here about the other big legal event in Charleston, the Michael Slager trial. Bryan I’ll pose this question to you – Are the events just before the video in that trial even relevant? Seems to me that the answer would be no for 2 reasons. First, we have no evidence of what occurred other than Slager’s testimony. Second, those events just don’t seem to have any bearing on what occurred on the video. If there was a scuffle, so what? If Slager had been in danger seconds before the video he clearly was not any longer.

    And a second question, doesn’t it go to the state of mind of Slager that he would handcuff a dying man and let him bleed out like a rabid dog? That aspect of this incident seems to be the least discussed part of this whole sorry story. Seems like there was more evidence of guilt in this trial than the O.J. trial. And people wonder why people of color have so little faith in the judicial system. But I’ll keep an open mind in case I’m missing something.

    1. Bart

      bud, we are in agreement once again. Now I know the earth will reverse polarity for sure.

      Slager was not in imminent danger from a 50 year old man who could barely trot much less run. All Slager had to do was call for backup and wait for a few minutes. He could have followed the man in his patrol vehicle until backup arrived and arrested him at that time without pulling his weapon or firing one shot.

      Standing in a fixed shooting position as the video clearly shows, Slager fired off five rounds toward the man’s back and several hit him causing his death. Then when he was down, he and the other officer who had arrived handcuffed him while he was face down. This may be proper police procedure but with several bullets in his back, where the hell would he go?

      I am still trying to reconcile the jury’s decision and how one juror couldn’t even convict on manslaughter charges. Apparently there were five other jurors who were indecisive as well or so said the foreman. Hopefully Slager will be retried in another jurisdiction and justice served as it should be.

      If my skin was black, you can bet I would be very apprehensive if a flashing blue light appeared in my rear view mirror. Some may say the 50 year old man shouldn’t have resisted – if he did – but even if he did and he got away, is that reason to shoot him in the back?

    2. Kathryn Fenner

      The issue in this trial was not whether Slager shot Scott–that was conceded, but what his state of mind was. He apparently raised enough doubt as to his state of mind that a couple of jurors believed him. *I* can imagine that in the heat of the moment, things get scrambled.
      The better shot is the federal civil rights suit, where the issue is not Slager’s state of mind, but whether he deprived Scott of *his* rights. The focus is on Scott, not Slager, there.

      1. Mark Stewart

        Thank you J. Todd Rutherford, in particular, but all the legislator-attorneys who believe it in their financial interests to keep this issue as muddy as possible in South Carolina law.

        It’s nothing short of a moral failing.

          1. Mark Stewart

            I didn’t say all attorneys, I said the legislators who are attorneys who write and revise state law to both broaden and muddle statutes so as to create more wiggle room for their defense practices.

            In most cases I would give people the benefit of the doubt about most non-life taking sorts of issues. But with things like stand your ground and DUI, lives are at stake. That is when I think it is unconscionable that clear, simplistic and force-constrained statutes are not in place.

            Time and time again we see these results – and they all stem from the legislature’s willingness to play losey goosy with the law.

            I chose Rutherford as his has long been an odious record of legislating in a way most beneficial to his law practice; not his constituency. But there are plenty of others. Party doesn’t matter with these issues, it is who places their career economic interests over the lives of the citizens who elect them.

            If the law said someone moving away from you is not an immediate threat, this would have been a conviction. Since when does “state of mind” matter more than actual fact in most crimes? Too often, and most often for petty and obscene personal interests of the statute writers.

            1. Kathryn Fenner

              State of mind is relevant in all homicide charges in all states (except maybe Louisiana which is not common law)—this isn’t some SC deal. Premeditated murder is different from -in-the-heat-of-the-moment murder, or vehicular manslaughter (you don’t get to plow someone down intentionally–that’s murder–but if you act grossly negligent whilst motoring….)–the only exception that comes to mind is felony murder, where a co-conspirator is culpable for homicides that occur during the commission of a felony–but again, if the co-conspirator meant for the murders to happen–explicitly conspired to murder someone though he did not do the deed, that matters.

    3. Bryan Caskey

      “Are the events just before the video in that trial even relevant?”


      “First, we have no evidence of what occurred other than Slager’s testimony.”

      That’s why there’s a jury – to determine whether or not they believe Slager’s testimony. It matters as much as the jury thinks it does. In lots of my trials, there are no videos of the relevant issue – there is just competing/conflicting testimony, and it’s up to the trier of fact to determine what is true and what is not.

      “If there was a scuffle, so what? If Slager had been in danger seconds before the video he clearly was not any longer.”

      It’s not a “so what”. For me, it’s important. I don’t think Slager woke up that morning thinking “I need to go kill Walter Scott”. I think there was a fight, and Slager didn’t stop to think before he fired his sidearm.

      Voluntary manslaughter is where I would probably end up, but I could see how folks could go for murder. I would be reluctant to do that. Being found guilty of voluntary manslaughter isn’t nothing.

      1. bud

        I’d vote voluntary manslaughter too based on what I know now. Murder 1 does seem a bit of a stretch but certainly not completely ridiculous. Acquittal? I just can’t wrap my brain around that conclusion. This guy was a trained police officer. Sure he was under stress but it’s part of his job to handle stressful situations based on his training. We should give the people of Charleston some credit for not rioting as has happened in other cities. But if I was a black man I’d really be angry right now. The next trial will be extremely tense.

  3. Bart

    With all due respect to our police officers, criminal prosecutors and jury system, this is a case where justice was not served for Mr. Scott. I agree with bud that voluntary manslaughter should have been the charge, not murder. I agree with Bryan that Slager didn’t wake up that fateful morning with the thought of shooting an unarmed, 50 year old black man in the back just for grins and giggles. I can understand Slager being stressed at the moment but if he was, it is still no excuse to draw his weapon and use it in the manner he did.

    As a general rule we expect police officers to be under control emotionally and act in a rational manner but given differing circumstances, it is understandable when they react with emotion and not rationally especially if their life is in danger or if they perceive the threat is real. All I can do is offer my take on the situation given the information available to the public, I was not there to witness all of the events leading up to the death of Mr. Scott. Based on what I do know, Slager should have been charged with voluntary manslaughter at the maximum, not murder.

    A new trial is forthcoming and I would hope it will be conducted in another location away from Charleston so the local influences are diminished as much as possible.

    I am in agreement with bud on another comment he made about how the good people of Charleston have not taken to the streets, rioting and burning their own city. Considering the two events, the church murders and Mr. Scott’s death, the reaction of the people of Charleston gives me hope that things can and will actually improve when it comes to racial relations between blacks and whites.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      We don’t, ideally, serve justice for Mr. Scott. This isn’t an eye-for-an-eye law. We punish acts by Officer Slager. We have to determine what those acts were, which includes what his state of mind was. Dylann Roof clearly went to Charleston, sat in the church and then intentionally, with malice aforethought, shot and killed those people. Scott is just as dead as Senator Pinckney. What justice is served is in distinguishing between Roof’s clearly premeditated murder (minus any mitigating factors like insanity), and Slager’s acts that resulted in Scott’s death. We punish Slager appropriately for what *he* did, not the death per se of Scott. We don’t treat all acts resulting in the death of another the same.
      If a person all in black dashes in front of your car on the interstate and you hit him, you are not held to the same standard as when you barrel through Five Points on a weekday morning with a BAC of .38….

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