By Rachel and Yvonne
Jury Convicts Atlanta Man
+ A man was found guilty of murder, rape, aggravated assault and aggravated sodomy in the death of Atlanta LGBT activist, Catherine Montoya, and will now spend the rest of his life in prison. Donte Lamar Wyatt, 37, broke into Montoya’s home, raped her, strangled her with a scarf and killed her in April 2015. The jury deliberated for about 30 minutes before reaching a verdict. Wyatt was sentenced to four life sentences, plus 41 years, from Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson and three of those life sentences are without parole.
“This was a horrific, unspeakable crime, and he deserves nothing less than to spend the rest of his life in prison,” District Attorney Robert James said. “We want to assure them that he will never, ever be able to do this to anyone else.”
Wyatt also stabbed his wife right before he killed Montoya.
Montoya’s family spoke out in court to express their grief over the loss of their loved one. Montoya’s wife, Meredith Cabel, was three months pregnant when her wife was killed and told the judge her daughter will never know her mother. “It’s not something we’ll ever get over,” Cabel said.
+ In a story that is unfortunately unsurprising given the tack that the US election has taken towards the model of attempted political coups in authoritarian states, it’s being claimed that a group within the FBI is pro-Trump and attempting to influence the election outcome, especially in light of FBI director James Comey’s recent decision to release a letter with suggestions about Clinton’s emails that weren’t founded in evidence.
As The Guardian reported on Thursday, sources within the FBI told the newspaper that many agents were outraged that Comey decided to not recommend an indictment against Clinton in July in connection with her use of a private email server. Last Friday Comey signaled in his letter that the agency is reviewing newly surfaced emails to see if they are pertinent to the now closed Clinton investigation.
“The FBI is Trumpland,” one agent told The Guardian, with another describing how Clinton is “the antichrist personified to a large swathe of FBI personnel” and “the reason why they’re leaking is they’re pro-Trump.”
While some of The Guardian’s sources disagreed that the FBI is overwhelmingly pro-Trump, all indicated that the attitude toward Clinton is extremely negative.
“There are lots of people who don’t think Trump is qualified, but also believe Clinton is corrupt,” said a former FBI official. “What you hear a lot is that it’s a bad choice, between an incompetent and a corrupt politician.”
+ An alarming study finds that network evening news has essentially abandoned covering policy issues this election season.
Since the beginning of 2016, ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News have devoted just 32 minutes to issues coverage, according to Andrew Tyndall.
Differentiating issues coverage from daily campaign coverage where policy topics might be addressed, Tyndall defines issues coverage by a newscast this way: “It takes a public policy, outlines the societal problem that needs to be addressed, describes the candidates’ platform positions and proposed solutions, and evaluates their efficacy.”
And here’s how that kind of in-depth coverage breaks down, year to date, by network:
ABC: 8 minutes, all of which covered terrorism.
NBC: 8 minutes for terrorism, LBGT issues, and foreign policy.
CBS: 16 minutes for foreign policy, terrorism, immigration, policing, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
And this remarkable finding from Tyndall [emphasis added]: No trade, no healthcare, no climate change, no drugs, no poverty, no guns, no infrastructure, no deficits. To the extent that these issues have been mentioned, it has been on the candidates’ terms, not on the networks’ initiative.
+ Here’s some light reading on how “Over the course of decades, Donald Trump’s companies have systematically destroyed or hidden thousands of emails, digital records and paper documents demanded in official proceedings, often in defiance of court orders.”
+ Senator Richard Burr made a joke (“joke”) about Hillary Clinton having a bullseye on her to some Republican volunteers; after receiving criticism, he has said “The comment I made was inappropriate and I apologize for it.”
The North Carolina Republican, locked in a tight race for reelection, quipped that as he walked into a gun shop “nothing made me feel better” than seeing a magazine about rifles “with a picture of Hillary Clinton on the front of it.” “I was a little bit shocked at that — it didn’t have a bullseye on it,” he said Saturday to GOP volunteers, prompting laughter from the crowd in Mooresville, North Carolina.
+ Trump’s camp still refuses to admit that they have acess through Wikileaks to the material Wikileaks hacks, but Trump ally Roger Stone admits a “backchannel” to Assange through a “mutual friend.”
“I do have a back-channel communication with Assange, because we have a good mutual friend,” Stone told CBS4 News Wednesday evening. “That friend travels back and forth from the United States to London and we talk. I had dinner with him last Monday.”
+ Here’s a story in the Atlantic about “Trump, Putin and the Alt-Right International. If you’ve been wanting to understand more about What The Deal Is with Russia right now, perhaps this is for you.
+ This will be a hard shock to recover from, I know, but it turns out all those taxes Donald Trump has bragged about not paying were avoided by “using a tax avoidance maneuver so legally dubious his own lawyers advised him that the Internal Revenue Service would most likely declare it improper if he were audited.”
+ Agriculture Commissioner Texas’s Sid Miller published a tweet that called Hillary Clinton a cunt only to delete it after 15 minutes and claim he was hacked. He then later claimed that the tweet was the fault of his staff, to whom he had said “Why don’t y’all just do some retweets?” and they simply “didn’t notice” it had a “derogatory term.” Amusingly, however, the tweet was not a retweet, but a tweet that appears to have been copied, pasted and stolen from another Twitter user.
+ In case there weren’t enough axes upon which you were feeling anxiety regarding this election, let’s talk about how a Trump candidacy could affect global financial markets!
For the first time in history, the financial markets seem to prefer the Democratic candidate for president over the Republican, and anything that lessens her chances of victory is likely to hurt asset prices, according to a paper written by Zitzewitz and Justin Wolfers, a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan.
+ Katy Tur, the journalist that Trump has been publicly obsessing over, on being targeted by Trump and being “penned in” when she covers his rallies.
+ This week a woman who has accused Donald Trump of raping her when she was only 13 was going to hold a press conference and break her anonymity for the first time, but in the end she failed to appear at it, with her lawyer saying the woman has received “numerous threats” and is “living in fear.” The initial status conference regarding the lawsuit should occur in New York on December 16.
+ There are lots of gun-related ballot initiatives at the polls in many places this year. Read up and find out if your state has any!
Law & Order
+ The trial of Michael Slager, a South Carolina police officer who murdered Walter Scott, is set to begin.
+ A judge has decided that AirBnB shouldn’t be sued over claims of racial discrimination, and that those complaints need to instead be addressed in private arbitration according to the company’s user agreement. The decision makes it increasingly unlikely that AirBnB will ever be successfully sued for the recurrent issue.
+ The state of North Carolina is still trying to suppress voters, primarily Black voters! The NAACP is filing a lawsuit.
“The Tar Heel state is ground zero in the intentional, surgical efforts by Republicans to suppress the voice of voters,” Rev. Dr. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina Conference of the NAACP, said in a statement emailed to media outlets. “The NAACP is defending rights of all North Carolinians to participate in this election. We’re taking this emergency step to make sure not a single voter’s voice is unlawfully taken away. This is our Selma and we will not back down and allow this suppression to continue.”
+ Once again, and still, it seems like Republicans really are hoping they can forestall any Democrat from nominating a Supreme Court candidate. So that’s a neat development that we can continue looking forward to.
+ A Fairfax County judge ruled that prosecutors established probable cause in the case against a 19-year-old man who fatally stabbed lesbian chef Tyonne Johns on August 6. A follow-up hearing is scheduled for November 17.
Death Is Sad
+ A transgender muslim woman was hacked to death in Russia days after getting married to her husband Viktor. Raina Aliev’s death is still under investigation but it comes after her father called for her execution in an announcement on Russian TV. Mic reports: “After completing her education, Aliev eventually relocated to Moscow where she worked in the nightlife industry. She met her husband in Karachaevo-Cherkessiya, another primarily Muslim region in Russia.”
+ 18-year-old Sierra Bush, who also went by Simon, was found dead in Boise County, Idaho after being missing for a month. Her family and friends say she was a great student and was active on her campus at Boise State University and that it wasn’t like her to run away. Bush was last seen at her home in Boise on September 24. Police are still investigating her death.
+ A new study, the results of which for many will not be a surprise, finds that Black people using Uber and Lyft are more likely to have rides canceled on them and more likely to face longer wait times than white customers.
+ A Black church in Mississippi was set on fire with “VOTE TRUMP” painted on the outside walls of the building. The church is 111 years old, and thankfully no one was inside the building. It is being investigated as a hate crime, and the police chief reports they are “possibly talking to a person of interest” but there are no official suspects.
+ In an op-ed for The Root, Hillary Clinton has outlined her plan to support Black college and university students, which includes a $25 billion investment in HBCUs, education cost reforms, and loan repayment.
+ David Duke, former grand wizard of the KKK and current candidate for Louisiana’s state Senate seat, appeared in a senatorial debate at historically Black university Dillard this week. Although the debate was closed to the public, 60-70 people protested Duke’s appearance, and six were arrested. Buzzfeed has some further coverage of his appearance.
An ardent Trump supporter, Duke echoed the Republican nominee’s language that “We’re losing our country.” He said white people lacked human rights, and he wanted to “defend the people of this country that made this country great.”
“It is time we stand up now,” Duke said. “This is the tipping point. We are getting outnumbered and outvoted in our own nation.”
+ Obama has given a new statement on the DAPL situation, in which he “says that the Army Corps is looking at “whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline,” and that options will be sorted out over several weeks until the administration can determine “whether or not this can be resolved in a way that is properly attentive to the traditions of the First Americans.” His administration continues to monitor the situation closely, but he says that, in his view, “there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands of Native Americans.” Sacred lands of the Native Americans have already been and are currently being violated, so that seems like a stretch at best.
+ Law enforcement officers “responded with force” when water protectors attempted to perform a water ceremony along Cantapeta Creek near the DAPL site. Officers destroyed a bridge that protectors had used to access the water site, as well as arresting someone on conspiracy charges for “aiding in illegal activity by purchasing canoes and kayaks to be used for crossing the waterway.”
+ NYPD responded to the home of 49-year-old Ariel Garza, who appeared “emotionally disturbed;” when they tasered Garza twice, he was killed by a heart attack. His death calls to mind that of Natasha McKenna, who was also mentally ill and also tasered to death.
+ Activist Ashley Yates on the importance of voting downballot to end police brutality.
While guilty officers and entire departments cannot be voted out of power, enfranchised folks should still feel an urgent responsibility to vote, particularly in local and state elections. After all, the majority of over-policing and incarceration originates there, with judges, prosecutors, sheriffs and city officials.
+ A 9-11 recording and transcripts of calls between Orlando shooter Omar Mateen and crisis negotiators were released.
+ A white man who killed two Des Moines police officers had been “removed from a high school football game because he displayed a Confederate flag during the national anthem.” He reportedly believed that when he was asked to leave the game, because it was on private property, “his constitutional rights were being violated.”
+ A teen girl that Anthony Weiner was attempting to sext has written an open letter to FBI director James Comey about how his decision to write his own letter about his investigation into Anthony Weiner has revictimized her.
+ Turkish government officials have shut down access to social media inside the country while also detaining the elected officials of the country’s third-largest political party. This is only the latest in horrifying crackdowns out of Turkey — as Salon reports, “Since a failed coup attempt in July, the Western-allied Turkish government has purged more than 110,000 people and imprisoned nearly 40,000.” Independent journalism has also been virtually eradicated, with outlets that oppose the ruling party being subject to raids and arrests.
+ You may have heard, at this point, about the study for birth control for cis men that was canceled due to side effects. NPR does an interview about science to figure out more about it!
No birth control is perfect. Almost everything has some sort of side effect. And the side effects they saw in this study were not that different from those you see with other kinds of birth control — except for the severe emotional problems. That was definitely more than we see with the birth control pill. But there’s a little bit of a different risk-benefit analysis when it comes to men using a contraceptive. When women use a contraceptive, they’re balancing the risks of the drug against the risks of getting pregnant. And pregnancy itself carries risks. But these are healthy men — they’re not going to suffer any risks if they get somebody else pregnant.
+ A piece on gentrification and the closing of gay bars.
+ Chase, a Black autistic teen who got lost while running cross country was assaulted by a 57-year-old man who “thought Chase was going to mug his wife, who was a passenger in his car.” His claim was that this belief was somehow bolstered by the fact that Chase was “not responding;” Chase is described by his mother as “nearly nonverbal.” Chase now refuses to go to practices and skipped the last meet of the season. Police say that the assailant, Martin MacDonald, hasn’t been arrested because the incident was a “violation” rather than a misdemeanor or felony; Syracuse city councilor Susan Boyle says that police have the incident listed as an “argument” even though “Clearly, if Chase is nonverbal it was not an argument.”