Saturday, February 27, 2021

Alaska Redistricting Board Goes Into Executive Session To Interview Legal Advisor Applicant

[These are my rough notes as I first waited, then listened in to meeting.  Most people identified themselves, but sometimes forgot and not sure about all the voices yet.  Some comments, but a follow up post coming concerning how and why they went into executive session.]

 Here's the agenda.  [While I'm waiting for the meeting to begin, I've put some notes on the agenda in [brackets].  My notes on the meeting will be below the agenda and below the Proposed Outreach Directive.

Proposed Agenda: 

Date: Time: Place:

State of Alaska Redistricting Board

February 26, 2021 2:30 pm

Teleconference:

Public Numbers: Anchorage 563-9085, Juneau 586-9085, Other 844-586-9085

Agenda

1. Call to order

2. Establish a Quorum

3. Adoption of Agenda

4. Staff Public Outreach Directive - see Proposed Public Outreach Directive  [I've also added most of this below.]

5. Response Protocol for Meeting Requests

6. Software Training Availability [I'm hoping this is for the public, but I suspect it is only for the Board.  We'll see.]

7. Interview with Legal Services RFI Respondents, Executive Session 

8. Adjournment

2:25pm - Much of this meeting will be in Executive Session as the Board interviews law firms that responded to the RFI for legal services for the Board.  The attorney for the Board plays a pretty large role in advising the Board on what they are legally required, permitted, or prohibited from doing.  And often the guidelines are not that clear, so they have to figure out the best possible path.  

2:28pm still waiting for the meeting to begin.  There were some voices a few minutes ago, but it's quiet now.  I'd note that the Public Outreach Directive linked above in the agenda, is pretty broad.

"The staff mission is to:

  1. 1)  Facilitate the Redistricting Board’s decision-making process through administrative, technical and logistical support. 

  1. 2)  Explain the redistricting process and resulting Board decisions to the public.

  2. 3)  Assist legal counsel to defend the Board’s decisions in the courts."

Then there's:

"Direction to Staff  [My guess is the staff wrote this for the Board, a bit ironic]

The Board directs the staff to proactively engage in public outreach using means and technologies which best facilitates the Board’s work.

1) Who is the “Public”? – In this context the public means all Alaskans, their elected local and state representatives, local government bodies, interested parties such as ANSCA Corporations, political parties and other non-governmental organizations and their representatives.

2) What is the message? – Staff should endeavor to be as helpful and specific as possible while educating the public about the Board’s constitutional mission, governing laws, policies and procedures, open meetings guidelines, public notice practices, procurement process, sources for additional information, and Census methodology and timing. The staff should work to educate the public about the various constraints placed on the board: namely the 4 constitutional standards of compactness, contiguity, social- economic integration and population equity (one person, one vote) as well as a general summary of Federal guidelines enacted in the Voting Rights Act. Staff should be prepared to provide a general overview of the most relevant case law as it applies to the Board for the 2020 cycle. (Shelby, Egan etc)

3) Is there anything the staff should not communicate? – Yes. The staff must not divulge specific content of executive sessions, matters subject to attorney-client, deliberative privilege, or details of litigation strategy options. The staff should refrain from making projections about what the board will or won’t do in any specific situation. The staff should not cast negative dispersions on any member of the public or their representative, even during hostile legal proceedings."

2:34pm - my phone line is still quiet.   

2:36pm -"the host has rejoined the conference" 

2:40pm - Guessing that one of the members is either late or having trouble with the zoom connection.

2:44pm - still quiet, but my phone says I'm 25 minutes into the call.  

2:46pm - some voices, sounds like someone is having technical difficulties connecting.  Discussion about groups and people the staff should be reaching out to.  Talking about non-profits - 

Q:  public wants to know "what is redistricting?"  A:  Questions will range from those basic questions to more complicated issues that I still have.  Non-profits are on the list.

Nicole:  something we should be very much engaged in.  Extended time line to our advantage.  . . .

Nonprofits, municipalities, when safe to travel, invite whole community, and as much outreach as we can.

A:  Outline of outreach can have a few more groups, but general consensus is outline.

Melanie:  Good start.  For me, timelines and more concrete plan so we will have information of redistricting process for anyone who needs it.  Leave it for staff, like to see, dates, locations on your websites.  Mechanism for groups that want us to meet with them.  Board, or staff.  I know it's next on our agenda.  Want to be pro-active in our outreach.  Also for groups that want specific meetings.  

A:  Intention, once Board agrees, get down to brass tacks and get going.  Tap into Board members' local knowledge to help figure out best times for different regions.  

John? ;  Segue into #5 - reviewing the archives, as time gets closer, as we're drawing lines, there will be numberouns requests of people who want to meet with Board.  How do we route these?  Forward them on, file them, what do we do?  

???:  When you get personal requests (Members and Staff).  Open discussion on it.  

??:  Thanks.  Mixed feelings about this.  Already had handful out of the blue calls because people heard I was on the Board and they want to talk about some legislative issues.  I say, you're way too early.  Deal with us a lot later.  There will be more of this happening.  Nice to have a policy to say that individual board members won't engage in off-the record side bars.  But a good way to get feedback.  Just thinking out loud here.  Nature of private conversations and how that fits with public meeting rules versus being as available as possible.  thanks.

John:  Agree.  Fine line.  We're open about their ideas, but some boundary to indicate what we might and might not do.

Melanie:  suggestion:  I already got phone call that wants to speak to me as Board member, and I declined until we establish procedure.  Need to be as transparent as possible, that info should be shared with the group and the public:  Melanie Banke has met with Group X in official capacity.  Need these ground rules.  My preference is to let these meetings with individuals, but if we have a formal mechanism, the pressure for individual meetings will lessen.  If I just meet with some groups, but not other groups, looks partisan.  Needs to be transparent with record of meeting.

Bethany:  Like sense of what we mean by a meeting.  Talking to someone about something else altogether and then they start talking about Redistricting.  Telling me what they think.  Gets sticky.  Tough to define and track these conversations.  

John:  May be difficult to quantify all that in a document and policy.  May come down to individual judgment and what we feel comfortable with.  And Melanie's idea about what we've discussed.  But that is that line between individual conversations that strays too Redistricting.

Nicole:  In favor of system where B member and staff can talk to folks, but I don't know every conversation requires a memo.  [hard to understand]

Bethany:  Casual conversations.  Staff will let us know as individual board members.  I'm talking about formal meeting requests.  If we have a plan there won't be individuals lobbying us.  

John:  Ask staff to draft something for us.  Maybe can capture some of this in policy.  Areas that might be sticky.  Circulate to us all and start to work on it.  Later decide what that might be.

Staff:  Certainly we can do that.

??:  For now, all meeting requests go through staff.  I don't want individuals calling me.  I don't feel comfortable having side meetings with groups.  Staff can share we have outreach plan in development.  Until we have something more formal.  

John:  Board like that as an interim policy?  We may have differences of opinion.  

Bethany:  Comfortable with that if we are talking about a group.  But with individuals harder to figure out how to handle that.  

Budd:  Same as Bethany.  Shouldn't restrict ourselves from calls or casual conversations with people who grab you by the collar and ask questions.  But if more formal talks to groups, we need a more formal policy in place.

Nicole:  sounds good.  

Bethany:  Goal to avoid appearance of us taking favorites.  It will be the wealthier groups with lobbyists that will be trying to influence us.  Avoid appearances of impropriety or that we can be influenced by special interests.  Want to be transparent.  

John:  even as legislator being lobbied all the time by people.  We legally can't have a majority of us in meetings like that.  Meanwhile, if formal request, special interest group, defer.

Bethany:  I really mean a group.  General information about redistricting versus formal meetings.  

John:  Item 6.  Software Training.

Peter:  Yes, we saw need for training, and hire people to help with training.  We have a contractor with 12 instructional videos, and links to that training.  And also a corporate virtual training seminar.  After look at your own training, then have a formal training session with the board.  

John:  If we are really going to be utilize software, shouldn't train too early because I'll forget it when we get the data.  Other thoughts?  If people want to get started, they can do that.

Peter:  We'll send out links on Monday.

John:  Next, interview with one of the law firms that replied.  Thanks to Brittany for working on this.  Doing it in Executive Session.  Ready now to interview one of the respondents.  

Moved to move to executive session:  Peter if you can coordinate with leg affairs and let us know.  

[There's an issue here for me about them not announcing who they are interviewing.  Last time round when they interviewed for a new Executive Director, the ADN challenged them because they didn't announce the finalists. 

3:16 - was disconnected.  


1.  Call to order

2.  Establish a Quorum

3. Adoption of Agenda  [If 1-3 happened I did not hear it on the line I was on.]

4. Staff Public Outreach Directive - see Proposed Public Outreach Directive 

     

5. Response Protocol for Meeting Requests 

 [Some members showed concern about:  a) transparency about who they talk to outside of meetings,  b) avoiding being pestered by people who want to lobby them  c) concern about what things they can and can't say  d) want a policy to govern this.]

6. Software Training Availability [I'm hoping this is for the public, but I suspect it is only for the Board.  We'll see.] [Just for the Board, no mention of the public having access to software.]

7. Interview with Legal Services RFI Respondents, Executive Session [follow up post coming on this- why didn't they mention the finalists?  why did they need to go into Executive Session?  

8. Adjournment [They went into ES and didn't mention coming out of ES to do anything else, including adjourn.]


M5.3 at 09:59 AM, 9 mi NW of Anchorage

 A good rattling jolt this morning at 10am.  But it was over quickly.  Got to the kitchen table, but it was over already.  Today would be my mom's 99th birthday so I'm figuring she was reminding us.  But Mom, I knew already.  I wouldn't forget.  Really.   Happy Birthday!


From Alaska Earthquake Center

Magnitude 5.3 - 8 miles NW of Anchorage

An aftershock of the November 2018 M7.1 Anchorage earthquake.

February 27, 2021   09:59:25 AKST
61.3286°N 149.9991°W    Depth 26.1 miles

Friday, February 26, 2021

AIFF 2020: Best Narrative Feature - Festival Picks and Mine (Equan Choi's My Son)

It's late February.  This is long overdue, so let me get this done.  Here are the Festival winners in the best Narrative Feature category.  (Narrative Features are the films most seen in movie theaters - fictional stories over an hour or so long.) [Note:  My strong favorite film was Equan Choi's My Son. I mention this here, because as I wrote this, it comes up at the end.  And because this film was overlooked by both the Jurors and the Audience in their awards, I want to be sure it gets people's attention, even if they don't read the whole post.]

First, the Juror Awards.  Jurors are part of the film festival, people selected by the Festival director, who know something about film.  Because our festival director is a Norwegian film maker, she reached out to film makers she knows around the world.  These are not people from Anchorage.  That's neither good nor bad theoretically.  It depends on how well she chooses the jurors and the purpose of the awards and how much they should reflect Anchorage.  


Narrative Features

2nd Runner Up  - Last Days of Capitalism

Runner Up - The Woman In the Photographs

Winner - Dinner in America


Audience Awards.  One could argue that the audience awards add the Anchorage flavor to the awards.  

Narrative Feature - 

2nd Runner Up -  Paper Spiders

Runner Up -Foster Boy

Winner - Dinner in America




Category            Juror Award Winner         Audience Award Winner Steve's Award Winner
2nd Runner Up  Last Days of Capitalism      Paper Spiders see discussion
Runner Up The Woman In the Photographs         Foster Boy see discussion
Winner Dinner in America Dinner in AmericaMy Son

First off, I'd say that Narrative Features was the richest category in the festival.  There were lots and lots of excellent films.  

Second, I think the Jurors picked better movies than the Audience.  But that they are all very good films.  

Third, I'm not really a fan of forced ranking.  Given a film that is technically sound - the video, the acting, the sound etc. are well done - it's the content and feel of the movie that matter.  And even films that are technically imperfect can have content that overcomes that.  So, this means that whether a film is good or not depends on how the content of the film resonates with the viewer.  And that usually depends on the viewer's life experiences and the emotional connection a viewer has with the characters and the issues in the film.  So different viewers will legitimately prefer different films.

I'm guessing that the Jurors were looking at the films as film as much as the content, while the Audience was more focused on the stories and characters.  Paper Spiders was about a daughter whose mother is losing her mind.  It was a very well told story.  Very moving.  Foster Boy was also well told - a trial movie about a young black man who was abused by the foster care system.  I'm guessing this didn't show up in the Juror Awards because it was a very Hollywood movie - including some well known actors.  If the Jurors are like me, they are looking more for 'film festival' movies.  Movies that break the mold, that take risks, that you would be less likely to see at a theater. (I realize some may be asking "What's a theater?" in this time of COVID.) 

The Last Days of Capitalism straddled between those two categories.  It was a perfect COVID film - just two actors in a hotel suite in Las Vegas.  It's a really good film.  I saw it early in the festival and it immediately became my film to beat.  You can see the Trailer here, but I'm not putting it up here because it really doesn't reflect the verbal (almost athletic) competition between the two characters that made this movie.  

The Woman in the Photographs was at the top after I saw it.  This Japanese movie about a photographer and his model is definitely in the film festival category. It explores the nature of reality - is it what the woman actually looks like or is it how the woman looks in the photograph. Especially current in this age of social media and online dating.  This was definitely one of my favorites.  


Dinner in America - This film with a seriously flawed main character who made terrible decisions was, nevertheless, a joy to watch.  Not quite mainstream, not quite festival, it was a real surprise and I understand it being the winner for both the Jurors and the Audience.  There are lots of videos out there with the film's crew, but I couldn't find a trailer.  

BUT, I think there were at least two more movies that fell through the cracks because there was so much good stuff.  

The Subject - This leans more into a festival type film.  A privileged white male film maker who sees himself as trying to give voice to black gang members in his 'cutting edge' films, finds out that he's really not gotten much beyond his own self.  There's another withering dialogue at the end of this film between the film maker and the angry mother of one his film subjects.  The film raises lots of questions about documentary film making and exploitation and doing harm while trying to do good.  For a while this was my favorite film.  


In the end, Equan Choi's My Son, one of the last features I watched, became my favorite.  I'd put it off as long as I could.  The story of a Korean father taking care of his severely disabled son.  It sounded like it was either going to be a sappy story of love and happiness or a terribly depressing movie.  Neither sounded appealing.

But I was so wrong.  This was absolutely the most intimate film of the festival.  Yes, there's a father with his teenaged paraplegic son.  The father's sister who helps look after the son.  There's the mentally disabled teen hired to help with the son.  And there's the father's secret married girlfriend that he visits weekly.  Each character becomes a full person with strengths and flaws and the relationships between the characters - both one on one and as a group - are developed.  This is truly a masterpiece and I'm sorry it got missed by both the Juror awards and the Audience awards.  And it forces the audience to recalibrate their definition of disabled, forces them to remember there is a real, human being inside every body, with a whole spectrum of hopes and feelings and opinions.  

There is so much in this film.  The boy's adolescent need to pull away from his father and become his own person against his father's belief he must look after the boy who can't take care of himself.  The teen caretaker who is physically and sexually adult, but has his own mental defects that cause him to make bad decisions, and how he helps the boy become himself, independent of his father.  The sister/aunt and her caring for the boy and her brother yet resentful of how much they take of her life.  The girlfriend (the father goes to his - I can't remember exactly what sport, maybe bowling - activity each week, but really he's going to visit his girlfriend whose husband is in the military and away most of the time) also becomes a full person when the father becomes ill and she comes to the house to find out what's wrong.  It is then when all the characters interact, when the boy becomes his father's caregiver.  There's so much in this film.  I'm sorry I waited to the end to watch it, when I didn't have time to watch it again.  In my mind, this was the very best feature film in a festival with excellent feature films.  

  [I couldn't find a trailer for My Son.]

If you have the chance to see any of the films mentioned in here, grab it.  They are all worth watching.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Amount Of Oppression And Hate In The World Is Overwhelming - Makes It Hard To Blog Because There Is Too Much To Protest

When I was a grad student I wrote, in my head, what I called at the time, a 'social science fiction' novel.  That was back in the mid 1970s.  I should have written it - it was prescient in a number of things.  A basic part of the social structure in the book was a set of television connections that allowed people to connect with others all around the world.  I was back in LA after three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand.  Lots of ideas swirling in my head.  I was reading all sorts of social science and writing papers and substitute teaching elementary school to help pay for tuition.  There were a couple of days where I taught a Kindergarten class in the morning and a graduate class in the evening.  So my novel still only exists in my head. 

One of the key moments in the history of humanity in my book, was when a group of Tibetan monks, in an isolated monastery, through intensive years of meditation, discovered that forces far out in space were using earth as a 'farm.'  The product they were harvesting every 30 to 60 years, was 'goodness.' It turned out to be a rare commodity found in few places in the universe.  After such a harvest, people fought each other, more people became criminals, wars broke out.  It took 30 to 60 years for 'goodness' to gain a foothold among humanity again.  And then the aliens would return to harvest their crop.  The monks in my story teamed with scientist to block the space powers from harvesting the earth's 'goodness.'  

I've been thinking about this metaphor a lot during the Trump administration.  It seems like there was a massive harvest of goodness prior to his administration.  And now we have to nurture a new crop.  

That's prelude to a couple of things I've been reading and/or watching.


Here's a Tweet video from Al Jazeera on Uighurs incarcerated in China (not far from that fictional Tibetan monastery.)


I Care A Lot

We watched this Netflix film last night in mild horror.  Marla Grayson (character) is a Guardian for seniors who can't take care of their affairs.  She works with a doctor who refers patients to her, then goes to a friendly judge who, because it's an "emergency," gives her guardianship of the patients.  Then she goes to the patient's house - in this case Jennifer Peterson, who is wealthy and living a great independent life in an upscale neighborhood.  Grayson shows her the court order, and gets the incredulous victim to the Berkshire Oaks facility.  I haven't givien much away - because Jennifer Peterson in essentially imprisoned within the first 20 minutes of the movie.  How it happens is what's so scary.  Grayson is truly evil. 
"Writer/director J Blakeson was partially inspired by real-life news stories about shady guardians like Marla Grayson. In an interview for the film’s press notes, Blakeson said, “It started when I saw news stories about real-life predatory guardians who game the system and exploit their wards. And I was horrified. Imagine opening your door one day and there is a person standing there holding a piece of paper that gives them total legal power over you. That idea terrified me—and seemed very relevant right now. It plugged into themes that I am interested in exploring —themes about the power of authority, about people vs profit, control vs freedom, humanity vs bureaucracy. It reminded me of Kafka’s The Trial​. I knew I had to explore it.”

If you want to go down a similar rabbit hole that Blakeson did, check out New Yorker reporter Rachel Aviv’s excellent 2017 essay on the guardianship phenomenon, “How the Elderly Lose Their Rights.” It’s a great read, and no doubt inspired many elements of Blakeson’s script. "  (From  Decider.)

I'm so glad I was able to let my mom stay in her own house.  In hindsight hiring a full time caregiver wasn't necessarily more expensive than a nursing home would have been, and far less disruptive.  But Jennifer Peterson never even had a choice.  The legal work was done behind her back by a series of corrupt transactions.  

I also think about a similar phenomenon in Alaska - payees.  These are people hired to take care of the money of people who are mentally or otherwise deemed unfit to take care of their own finances.  I have a mentee who has been scammed by a couple of payees.  There's really almost no oversight for these people who manage the money of people seen as unfit.  How can they possibly keep their payee accountable?  


One last story - Police Violence, Race-Based Trauma, and Mental Health among Filipina/x/o Americans.  This one is all too familiar, but it's is about a Filipino-American, not an African-American. It's co-authored by University of Alaska Anchorage's faculty member Dr. EJR David.  Here's an excerpt:

. . . Mr. Quinto experienced what seems like a mental health-related episode. Not knowing how to handle the situation, his sister and mother called 911 for help.

Police officers and emergency medical technicians were dispatched to the scene, but police officers arrived first. His mother and sister reported that Mr. Quinto had already calmed down when the police arrived and that he laid on the floor in his mother’s embrace. Nevertheless, the police still grabbed him off his mother, pinned him face down to the floor, and handcuffed him. One of the officers kneeled on his neck and back, while another officer held down his legs. Mr. Quinto’s sister and mother said he was not resisting or fighting back, but instead twice uttered: “Please don’t kill me”. After several minutes, he spat up blood from his mouth and lost consciousness. A cell phone video taken by his sister captured his limp body being taken away. Mr. Quinto died 3 days later. . .

The article goes on to put this into a larger context of the lack of mental health treatment, race, and police in the United States.   







Monday, February 22, 2021

Alaska Redistricting Board To Begin Interviewing Legal Firms To Counsel The Board

I got the following email message today from the Alaska Redistricting Board staff:

"The Redistricting Board will be meeting Friday, Feb 26 at 2:30pm and tentatively again on Tuesday, March 2nd at 3pm.  Please note that the bulk of both meetings will be dedicated to interviewing legal firms who responded to the Board's RFI for legal services. The interviews will be conducted in executive session.  Friday's meeting will have an agenda item or two for discussion prior to going into executive session.

The agenda and board packet will be posted here in the next couple of days:

http://notice.alaska.gov/201511 "


That link gets you this information:


The Alaska Redistricting Board will meet by teleconference on Friday, February 26 at 2:30pm.

The public may listen by audio stream through http://akleg.gov or by calling one of the following phone numbers:

 - Anchorage 563-9085

 - Juneau 586-9085

 - Other 844-586-9085

 

If you want to get email messages about meetings and other redistricting board news, go here.


Sunday, February 21, 2021

"LEFFINGWELL attempted to push past me and other officers. When he was deterred from advancing further into the building, LEFFINGWELL punched me repeatedly with a closed fist"

George Washington University's Program on Extremism has a website where you can see the documents being submitted about the people apprehended by the FBI and, I think,  other law enforcement agencies.

"The Program on Extremism has launched a project to create a central database of court records related to the events of January 6, 2021. This page will be updated as additional individuals are charged with criminal activities and new records are introduced into the criminal justice system.

If you’d like to contribute to offset the costs associated with court record fees and research on this and other projects, you can support the Program’s research here."

Different people have different documents filed.  Some I've seen are (links take you to an example):

Affidavit in Support of Criminal Complaint

Statement of Facts

Criminal Complaint

Indictment

Detention Memo


 The documents I have looked at were mostly Statements of Facts, which seem to have the following general structure (I've given an example of each part):

1.  Identify the person filing the report and where they work

"On January 6, 2021, your affiant  [a person who swears to an affidavit.], Michael Attard was on duty and performing my official duties as a Special Agent. Specifically, I am assigned to the Counter-terrorism squad tasked with investigating criminal activity in and around the Capitol grounds. As a Special Agent, I am authorized by law or by a Government agency to engage in or supervise the prevention, detention, investigation, or prosecution of a violation of Federal criminal laws."  From:  https://extremism.gwu.edu/sites/g/files/zaxdzs2191/f/Aaron%20Mostofsky%20Statement%20of%20Facts.pdf


2.  Background information on what happened January 6 in the Capitol
"On January 6, 2021, a joint session of the United States Congress convened at the United States Capitol, which is located at First Street, SE, in Washington, D.C. During the joint session, elected members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate were meeting in separate chambers of the United States Capitol to certify the vote count of the Electoral College of the 2020 Presidential Election, which had taken place on November 3, 2020. The joint session began at approximately 1:00 p.m. Shortly thereafter, by approximately 1:30 p.m., the House and Senate adjourned to separate chambers to resolve a particular objection. Vice President Michael R. Pence was present and presiding, first in the joint session, and then in the Senate chamber." From https://extremism.gwu.edu/sites/g/files/zaxdzs2191/f/Greg%20Rubenacker%20Statement%20of%20Facts.pdf

3.  How the agency got information about the individual being charged."
"On January 7, 2021, the FBI received several tips from the public (tipsters) that PATRICK MONTGOMERY of Littleton, Colorado, was seen in photographs posted on Facebook inside the Capitol building Senate Chambers on January 6, 2021. The persons providing the tips also indicated that MONTGOMERY had posted photographs from inside the Senate Chamber on that same day.
A tipster, who will be referred to as T-1, identified MONTGOMERY as the man circled in a photograph below, wherein he appears to be standing inside the Senate Chambers:
MONTGOMERY appears to be part of the crowd that entered the Senate Chambers on January 6, 2021, and, as explained below, MONTGOMERY is wearing the same clothes as he was wearing outside the Capitol building on January 6, 2021. Your Affiant spoke with T-1 on January 12, 2021. T-1 told your Affiant that IT is a Facebook friend of MONTGOMERY and that IT knew MONTGOMERY because they worked together as river guides for three years.
Another tipster, who will be referred to as T-2, provided a post from MONTGOMERY’S Facebook page, wherein a member of the public posted on Facebook the photograph above and a commented to MONTGOMERY asking, “Is this you? I saw it on another page and it looked like
page2image96643200
Case 1:21-mj-00044-RMM Document 1-1 Filed 01/13/21 Page 3 of 8
you.” T-1 responded, “I have saved this photo and will be indetifying [sic] you to authorities,” to which MONTGOMERY replied, “Got nothing to hide...”
Following this post, MONTGOMERY corresponded with T-1 by email on January 7, 2021. T-1 provided the email exchange to your Affiant. MONTGOMERY’S email address contains the name of MONTGOMERY’S hunting company, Pmonte Outdoors: pmonte3006@[redacted]. In response to T-1 stating, “You have been reported to the police in DC as well as the FBI,” MONTGOMERY responded, “I’m not a scared cat or running from anything. . . . Im [sic] so deeply covered by the best Federal Defense lawyers in the country in case you chicken shit cry boys don’t want it takes to defend our freedom from these corrupt politicians.” MONTGOMERY went on to explain, “I didn’t storm the castle violently. My group was let in peacefully by the police we were talking to with respect. We came a[n]d left peacefully before the anarchist and Antifa showed up breaking shit and being hoodlums.”  From https://extremism.gwu.edu/sites/g/files/zaxdzs2191/f/Patrick%20Montgomery%20Statement%20of%20Facts.pdf       

4.  Description of the person and what that person did

"At approximately 2:30 p.m. on January 6, 2021, I was performing my official duties on the first floor of the United States Capitol building. In reacting to the crowd that had breached a window of the building, I moved to a hallway in the northwest corner of the building, i.e., the Senate wing of the Capitol building. While there, I attempted to form a barrier with other officers to stop or deter additional individuals from entering the Capitol building. In the course of this effort and while inside the Capitol building, I encountered an adult male who later identified himself to me as Mark Jefferson LEFFINGWELL. LEFFINGWELL attempted to push past me and other officers. When he was deterred from advancing further into the building, LEFFINGWELL punched me repeatedly with a closed fist. I was struck in the helmet that I was wearing and in the chest. Working with other officers, I was able to gain control over LEFFINGWELL, who attempted to struggle while being detained. I transported LEFFINGWELL to United States Capitol Police headquarters for processing. While in custody, but prior to being advised of his Miranda rights, LEFFINGWELL spontaneously apologized for striking the officer. When told that the officer who LEFFINGWELL had struck was me, LEFFINGWELL apologized to me for striking me."  From:  https://extremism.gwu.edu/sites/g/files/zaxdzs2191/f/Mark%20Jefferson%20Leffingwell%20Statement%20of%20Facts.pdf


5.  List of the specific charges.
"Based on the foregoing, your affiant submits that there is probable cause to believe that BRIAN MCCREARY violated 18 U.S.C. § 1752(a)(1) and (2), which makes it a crime to (1) knowingly enter or remain in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do; and (2) knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engage in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions. For purposes of Section 1752 of Title 18, a “restricted building” includes a posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service, including the Vice President, is or will be temporarily visiting; or any building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance.
Finally, your affiant submits there is also probable cause to believe that BRIAN MCCREARY violated 40 U.S.C. § 5104(e)(2), which makes it a crime to willfully and knowingly: (D) utter loud, threatening, or abusive language, or engage in disorderly or disruptive conduct, at any place in the Grounds or in any of the Capitol Buildings with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of a session of Congress or either House of Congress, or the orderly conduct in that building of a hearing before, or any deliberations of, a committee of Congress or either House of Congress; (E) obstruct, or impede passage through or within, the Grounds or any of the Capitol Buildings; and (G) parade, demonstrate, or picket in any of the Capitol Buildings." From:  https://extremism.gwu.edu/sites/g/files/zaxdzs2191/f/Brian%20McCreary%20Statement%20of%20Facts.pdf


When I started writing this post I went through various statements and took some excerpts to give you a sense of what they say.  As I looked at various statements I realized they followed a general pattern.  So I went back and developed the above list of examples of each of the five part of the statements.  

So, now that I've finished that, I have already given you a lot of excerpts.  But below are the ones I started out with.  

From this Statement of Fact

"TIMOTHY LOUIS HALE-CUSANELLI (HALE-CUSANELLI) of Colts Neck, New Jersey, traveled to the District of Columbia to participate in a rally and protest at the U.S. Capitol. HALE-CUSANELLI is enlisted in the United States Army Reserves, and also works as a contractor at Naval Weapons Station Earle where he maintains a “Secret” security clearance and has access to a variety of munitions.

On January 12, 2021, I received information from an individual who has been enrolled as a Confidential Human Source (“CHS”) with NCIS. The CHS reported that HALE-CUSANELLI told the CHS that HALE-CUSANELLI was present at the riot at the United States Capitol Building and, as part of the riot, he entered the Capitol building itself. HALE-CUSANELLI then showed CHS videos on his cell phone which depicted HALE- CUSANELLI making harassing and derogatory statements toward Capitol Police officers both inside and outside the Capitol building.

During our meeting on January 12, 2021, the CHS reported to me that HALE-CUSANELLI is an avowed white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer who posts video opinion statements on YouTube proffering extreme political opinions and viewpoints under the title the “Based Hermes Show.” HALE-CUSANELLI also posts similar content in other forums. Prior to traveling to the rally and protest on January 6, 2021, HALE-CUSANELLI wrote “Trust the plan, it’s the final countdown, stay tuned next episode” and 'Trust the plan, major announcement soon.'”

From this Statement of Fact

"On or about January 6, 2021, an individual called the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center to report that the individual seen in the widely circulated Getty Images photograph (Figure 1) was named ADAM JOHNSON. The caller claimed that ADAM JOHNSON was a resident of Bradenton, Florida, and that the caller knew this information because he/she shared a mutual friend with ADAM JOHNSON. The FBI conducted research on government databases and learned that there was an individual named ADAM JOHNSON associated with residences in two cities in Florida: Bradenton and Parrish (which is near Bradenton). A search of the Florida’s Department of Motor Vehicles returned ADAM JOHNSON’s driver’s license photograph. By comparing this photograph to the image of PERSON 1, your affiant reasonably believes that PERSON 1 is identical to ADAM JOHNSON.

On or about January 8, 2021, the FBI consulted with members of the Speaker’s staff and learned that before the forced entry to the Capitol building began on January 6, 2021, the Speaker’s lectern was stored in the Speaker’s Suite, located under a staircase to the third floor on the House side of the Capitol building. On or about January 7, 2021, the lectern was found by a member of the Senate staff in the Red corridor of the Senate wing off the Rotunda in the Capitol building. According to the House of Representatives’ curator, the Speaker’s lectern has a market value of more than $1,000."


From this Statement of Facts:

"SCHAFFER was among the rioters who sprayed United States Capitol Police officers with “bear spray,” a form of capsaicin pepper spray sold by many outdoors retailers, as part of their efforts to push the officers back inside the Capitol and breach the Capitol Building themselves. SCHAFFER was photographed and captured on surveillance video carrying “bear spray” and engaging in verbal altercations with Capitol Police officers inside the Capitol Building.SCHAFFER is seen holding a clear sunglasses in one photograph, and bear spray in other photographs.

The photographs show SCHAFFER in a blue hooded sweatshirt under a tactical vest with a baseball cap that reads “Oath Keepers Lifetime Member.” The “Oath Keepers” is an organization that characterizes itself as a militia of former law enforcement and military personnel and has often, as a group, urged President Trump to declare Martial Law in order to prevent the Congress from certifying the Electoral College Results.

SCHAFFER, who is the front man of the heavy metal band “Iced Earth,” has long held far-right extremist views. During an interview in 2017, SCHAFFER identified himself as an “anarchist” and referred to the federal government as a “criminal enterprise.” During that same interview, SCHAFFER stated that the 2016 Presidential election was 'rigged.'”

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Moose Darting

 The doorbell rang about 10am this morning.  A man in a fluorescent vest was outside.  I'd gotten a red tag on my car a couple of weeks ago saying it would be towed if I didn't move it.  I have moved it since then, but my first thought was that this was the tow truck.  

But no, he was from Alaska Fish and Game.  Could he have my permission to go into my backyard and dart the moose.  I didn't even know there was a moose in my back yard.  I said sure and went to look out a back window.  



Sure enough.  In fact there were two resting in the yard.  (That brown lump in the upper left is the second moose.  

He shot the dart at the closest moose which went up the hill and scampered over the fence. (I'd noticed the other day when I went to the compost heap that there was only about a foot and a half of fence above the snow these days.)  Then he was aiming at the second one who'd gotten on its feet by this time.  



They found the dart for the first moose in the snow.  The assistant is holding the dart in the red circle.  

The ADFG agent gave me this card.  It's the weekend they're getting DNA samples as part of a moose population census.  Maybe a neighbor called.  I don't know.





I'd read the article in the Anchorage Daily News yesterday, but didn't think I'd be quite this involved.  

“We could drive around all we wanted, but we would never find that moose in the back of somebody’s house without without the public calling in,” Saalfeld said.

When someone calls in a moose sighting this weekend, it will trigger a series of events. Biologists receive the alert — they average around 1,000 moose tips each weekend. Then, one of seven two-person teams will head to the location of the report.

From there, they fire what’s known as a “biopsy gun,” which lightly strikes the moose with a dart, Saalfeld said.

The dart is designed to pop out quickly, only retaining a bit of tissue that scientists can use to determine that moose’s unique DNA and record it as part of the Anchorage moose population.

“Most of the moose don’t even feel it, or if they feel it, it’s very light,” Saalfeld said. “And they actually typically lay down or sit on top of it, and we have to wait sometimes a pretty good amount of time before we can actually go in and recover that dart because the moose is standing right on top of it for so long.”

The moose in our yard didn't take it that casually.  They got out of there as soon as they felt the dart. Or maybe it was seeing a guy with a gun.  Now I feel a little guilty giving permission to dart them in our yard.  The moose looked like they'd found a comfortable place to rest and then they got shot with a dart.  I doubt they'll be back in our yard for a while.  

Friday, February 19, 2021

2020 Alaska Redistricting Board Debuts Its Website

A post-Civil War map of the newly purchased Alaska sets the mood for this decade's Redistricting Board website. This is NOT your typical government agency look.  Especially compared to the site of the last Board.  This is a very user friendly site and offers Alaskans an easy portal to the redistricting process.  And now that the Census data isn't due until late summer, this is a good time to start exploring the site.  








Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Easy To Sort Out The Top Anchorage Mayoral Candidates

I'm going to make this as brief as I can and encourage others to find their way to other forums so they can judge for themselves.  April elections tend not to have that many people voting, and with so many candidates, there's a good chance that there will be a runoff in May.  Those have even fewer people voting.  So your vote counts a lot.  On the other hand, the Municipality has a vote by mail election, which tends get more participation.  

 I watched the mayoral forum hosted by about 20 non-profits that one would have to say lean toward protecting the environment, diversity, and those in need.  The zoomed through a lot of questions and it quickly separated the candidates into, what seemed to me, the well qualified and the less qualified.  

Just as any large private or non-profit business would focus on people's experience and knowledge of the organization and or similar ones, when we elect a mayor we should be hiring someone who isn't going to be learning on the job.  So the first thing that struck me about the candidates was:


Knowledge and Experience With the Municipality

Basically, there were four candidates that stood out as reasonably well versed in what's happening in Anchorage and would be reasonably well prepared to start from day one.  These are folks who, unsurprisingly, have been very involved with the operations of the Municipality:

Bill Falsey - is a former Municipal Attorney and the he was the City Manager.  The first position gives you a ring-side seat and the second actually puts you in the ring.

Forrest Dunbar - is a current Assembly member.

Bill Evans - is a former Assembly member.  

George Martinez - has a lot of government experience in New York and has been involved with community organization in Anchorage since at least 2008.  He worked as a special assistant to Mayor Berkowitz so he has a handle on a number of municipal issues.  He's currently head of Leadership Anchorage at the Alaska Humanities Forum

All four were familiar with the various programs and issues that were raised in the forum and were able to speak to the questions with obvious detailed knowledge of the issues.  

In my mind, these are the people qualified to step into the job and be able to do the do real work from Day One.  The others are going to have to learn on the job.  That's not really what we need.


Articulate and Able to Represent the Municipality Well

The four above were all good spokespersons.  I found George Martinez to be the best speaker - very fluent, clearly had his thoughts well organized and articulated, and conveyed a sense of caring.  Dunbar and Evans were next.  I found Falsey about wonky.  He knew the technical details and was able to say a lot, quickly, but I didn't feel a lot warmth.  High on rationality, not so high on charisma.  


I took a lot of notes, but what I've written above is probably more important than the details of the answers which were focused a lot on parks, diversity, outdoors, indigenous issues, and a little on downtown.  


The other candidates really were far behind in both factors above.  They were not people who had any real experience with Municipal government that was greater than any one off the street.  Mike Robbins said he was in the raise in response to how the Municipality handled the pandemic response.  Businesses were badly hurt.  I don't disagree with that, but I lean more to the side that believes they would have been hurt a lot more if the Muni hadn't take the strong action it took.  

Heather Herndon spoke about being fourth generation Alaskan, she said growing up in Alaska she was never aware of people being treated differently because of the race or ethnicity.  She made some cryptic references to indigenous people saying there were some in her family.  

Several candidates seemed to cast themselves as 'normal people':  Anna Anthony is a mother and a little one made noise in the background a couple of times.  Jeff Brown said he represented the 80% of Anchorage residents that agreed on most things.


Another factor might be generational - who best represents the future and will be best able to take us there?   Of the four most qualified, Dunbar and Falsey are the youngest.  At this point in the pandemic, those who kept forgetting to unmute are automatically disqualified.  It's ok for ordinary folks, but not for someone about to lead one of the biggest organizations in Alaska.  They just don't have what it takes to learn quickly to adapt to change.  T

Gender and ethnic diversity will be a consideration for others.  

Click to enlarge

Jeff Brown and Joe Westfall came in late, after I took the screen shot. Julie was the moderator.  Wikipedia lists five additional candidates who did not show up: 

Dave Bronson

Darin Colbry

Reza Momin[10]

Albert Swank Jr.

Jacob Seth Kern

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Anchorage Mayoral Forum Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - Facebook - 5 - 630pm

Yes, we vote on Anchorage's next mayor April 6, 2021.  That's about six weeks away.  Wednesday (tomorrow as I write this, but today probably for most of you reading this) is a good chance to start getting a sense of the candidates.  Nine have accepted invitations for the Forum.  Start figuring out who you can clearly eliminate and who you want to support.  Too bad Prop. 2 which will give us ranked choice voting in 2022 on the State level, isn't in effect for this election.  We wouldn't need a runoff election if no one gets 45% on April 6.

[UPDATE Feb 17, 2021 - I should have said the quoted info comes from an email I received, as does the image.]

"The Alaska Center Education Fund, Anchorage Park Foundation, NAACP Anchorage, and other local partners are co hosting a virtual Mayoral Candidate Forum, tomorrow.  We are looking forward to engaging candidates about the issues that affect our community. Anchorage's parks, trails, climate and economy are critical for a healthy and sustainable future. We look forward to hearing the candidates’ visions for our city.
 
Tune in via Facebook Live from 5 - 6:30 pm Wednesday, February 17 or register TODAY on zoom to be a part of the conversation.
 Check out the Facebook event >> 


Anna Anthony

Jeffrey Brown

Forrest Dunbar

Bill Evans

Bill Falsey

Heather Herndon

George Martinez

Mike Robbins

Joe Westfall"


Click on the image below to see it bigger.



Monday, February 15, 2021

NPR: Is Business More Nimble And More Effective Than Government?

How did we get to this point, where NPR asks a "capitalism expert" this question?  The intro was that corporations were cutting off campaign contributions to legislators who supported Trump's big lie about the election and the insurrection. 

"SACHA PFEIFFER, BYLINE: I want to reel off some of the ways that the corporate hammer has been coming down recently. We saw Dominion and Smartmatic sue former President Trump's allies for lying about their voting machines. We saw companies, including American Express and Morgan Stanley, suspending their donations to key Republican lawmakers. The PGA pulled its tournament from a Trump golf resort. I see this happen, and it makes me think that the corporate response to political controversy has been more nimble and possibly more effective than the government one - effective if you disagree with what these politicians were doing. Am I fair to view it that way?"

Here's a link to the whole piece. 

Let's start with the most obvious thing that Sacha Pfeiffer missed here.   The very fact that she points to corporations withdrawing campaign funding from politicians who supported the lies, should have tipped her off to the answer:   politicians aren't independent of their corporate funders.  

Maybe a better question would have been, "Why didn't the corporations let the politicians know they disapproved of the ex-president's lies and fomenting an insurrection before the impeachment votes?"


Sacha Pfeiffer also conflated elected federal officials with government.  They are just one, small, if powerful, part of the vast  federal government. But these are elected officials, not the people who actually carry out government functions.  These corporations got most of the Republican House and Senate members AND the president elected in the first place.  But the career employees of the government - whether in the CDC or other health agencies, or in the State Department, or in the military, or the post office  have been doing their best to keep serving the people of the United States, despite the corporate funded politicians.

And, as I've pointed out here before, there are many, many governments in the US.  From Wikipedia:

Governments in the United States[1]

(not including insular areas)

TypeNumber
Federal1
State50
County3,034
Municipal (citytownvillage...) *19,429
Township (in some states called Town) **16,504
School district13,506
Special purpose
(utility, fire, police, library, etc.)
35,052
Total87,576

For NPR to seriously pose the basic question "Is business more effective than government?' shows us how far to the Right NPR has moved.  This is the argument conservatives have been making for years. It's their argument for making government as small as possible. And yes, corporations can be more nimble than governments at many decisions, simply because one person has the power to decide:  a CEO supported by a Board of Directors who picked him (I use the male pronoun because that's still the vast majority and yes it can be more complicated than that).  The US House has 435 people and the Senate 100 who all have an equal vote in every decision.  And businesses and governments have very different goals.  One goal of government is to provide those things that corporate America can't - like take care of the people who don't have the money to purchase corporate America's products, from food, to health care, to housing.  

There's lots and lots of things to discuss on this topic, but trying to focus directly on this particular segment, my last issue is that Sacha Pfeiffer turned to a person she described as a 'capitalism expert."  Why?  Why not have a different kind of economist?  Why not ask a 'government expert?" Why not have more than one person to respond?   I don't know what else her expert said that got cut out, but I would reiterate the most glaring omission:

The corporations can make these decisions faster than the politicians because corporations own most if not all of the Republican Senators and House members (and at least a part of many Democrats.)  

The fact that they can have an effect by withdrawing their campaign funding should make this point obvious.  

The real question should have been: why didn't they tell their political shills what they wanted before the politicians voted on Saturday? 

The 'capitalism expert' probably hinted at the answer to this unasked question when he said, they act on profits, not principles.  I'd guess they didn't know how all this was going to play out.  So they didn't know until it was pretty much over how it all might affect their profits.  It wasn't until they saw for themselves the House Impeachment Team's case.  

So, in fact, they didn't actually respond much faster themselves.  Otherwise they could have leaned on their bought politicians to vote for conviction.  

Sunday, February 14, 2021

This Is So Cool - Radio.Garden Offers You Easy Access To Any Radio Station In The World


David Pogue (@Pogue)  tweeted a link too Radio.garden.  You get to a page. Click open and 

you then  get the world, literally.  Each green dot is a radio station.  And when you zoom in you get

told the location and many more local green dots.  Put the circle on the dot you want and start 

listening.  I'm listening to music from Kerala on the southern tip of India right now.  



Have fun.  And if there's something happening in some distant (from you - remember you are also in a distant part of the world from others) part of the world, you can quickly tune in to local or nearby stations to get the new direct.  Many capitals, at least, have an English language station.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Alaska Redistricting Board To Get Census Data "By Sept. 30, 2021" Along With All The Other States

The following notice comes from a US Census Bureau redistricting blog via an email from the Alaska Redistricting Board Executive Director Peter Torkelson.  (He offered to email a notice of the next Board meeting when I asked if there were an easier way to find out meeting times than the State Public Notice site.  Thanks, Peter.)

FEB. 12, 2021 — The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that it will deliver the Public Law 94-171 redistricting data to all states by Sept. 30, 2021. COVID-19-related delays and prioritizing the delivery of the apportionment results delayed the Census Bureau’s original plan to deliver the redistricting data to the states by March 31, 2021.

Different from previous censuses, the Census Bureau will deliver the data for all states at once, instead of on a flow basis. This change has been made because of COVID-19-related shifts in data collection and in the data processing schedule and it enables the Census Bureau to deliver complete and accurate redistricting data in a more timely fashion overall for the states.

The redistricting data includes counts of population by race, ethnicity (Hispanic or Latino origin), voting age, housing occupancy status, and group quarters population, all at the census block level. This is the information that states need to redraw or “redistrict” their legislative boundaries.

In preparation for the delivery of redistricting data products, the Census Bureau has been in close coordination with each states’ official nonpartisan liaisons to understand the impacts of the delayed delivery on individual states. Since 2019, states have had access to prototype geographic support products and data tabulations from the 2018 Census Test to help them begin to design their redistricting systems. This is one tool states can use to help minimize the impact of schedule delays. In addition, the Census Bureau today completed the release of all states’ 2020 Census geographic products needed for redistricting. This will enable states to redistrict promptly upon receipt of their 2020 Census tabulation data.


I'd note that this is a significant delay (potentially six months if it takes until September 30) from ten years ago when the Alaska Redistricting Board got its data from the US Census Bureau on March 15.  That post explains some of the rules at the time - like having to have the first plan done within 30 days of receiving the data.  (I apologize for the missing photos on that page.  They weren't mine and some are apparently no longer on the original sites.)  I don't know whether any laws have been changed since then.  Back then I learned about the rules because they were explained at the Board Meetings.  There have only been a few meetings this time round and they've all been COVID kosher.  

Friday, February 12, 2021

Dear Senator Dan Sullivan (Again? This is getting old)

Dear Senator Sullivan,  

It appears that you have already made up your mind to vote to acquit ex-President Trump.  I don't understand that decision, which most of the Republican Senators seem determined to make.  But this is critically important so I will give you the view of one of your constituents on why you should vote too convict.

As a young man, I listened to most of the Watergate Hearings on the radio.  Let me begin with this quote from Howard Baker, Republican Vice Chair of the Watergate Investigation:

“There's only one way that my party, the Republican Party could be mortally wounded with certainty and that would be for the public to think that we Republicans don’t have the courage, the stamina, the determination to clean our own house."

I've watched four days of impeachment hearings now.  It's clear that the House team made a tight, detailed, well organized, factual case against the ex-president.  They clearly showed how his actions, since well before the election even, set up the mob that ransacked the Capitol.  They showed how he created the big lie - "if I lose, the election was a fraud."  After the election he kept up that refrain - and presented no credible evidence in 61 courts.  All the judges rejected his cases out of hand. Not just Republican judges, but judges Trump himself appointed!

Then he tried to intimidate Republican election officials in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia into decertifying the elections.  He told the Georgia head of elections to just find enough votes to let him win!

Then he started telling his supporters to "Stop The Steal."  He encouraged them many times to prevent Biden from becoming president.  

Not only was the evidence they presented overwhelming, but for anyone paying attention to legitimate news the last six months, it was all stuff we knew already.  You yourself related how you and Sen. Murkowski sprinted out of the Chamber because the insurgents were knocking out the windows and banging on the doors where the House and Senate were certifying the election.  

Trump's defense attorneys made feeble attempts to reiterate their claim that "impeaching a private citizen was unconstitutional."  But we know he was impeached while he was a sitting president.  We also know that judges and other officers have been convicted after they resigned.  

They argued that his First Amendment rights were violated.  They dismissed the letter from over 100 top Constitutional lawyers, including key people from the Federalist Society, as "partisan."  It wasn't.  I'm guessing by your question today, that you will choose  "You can't impeach a private citizen" as your fig leaf to cover your vote.  It's transparent.  It won't cover what you're trying to hide.

They played five minutes of video tape of every time any Democrat had ever said "Fight" arguing that the ex-president saying it numerous times in his pre-rampage speech was equivalent.  The House team put the ex-president's words into context.  Trump's team did not.  Instead they tried to make it seem that telling people to fight for equal justice for African-Americans who are regularly being harassed and  killed by police is the same as telling an armed mob to take the Capitol and stop the certification of the election by violence.  

Some have argued that the Senate Republicans are suffering from the political version of Battered Woman Syndrome.  I assume that you know about this syndrome since you have championed the ending of abuse against women.  But let me remind you of some of the symptoms:

  • learned helplessness
  • refusing to leave the relationship
  • believing that the abuser is powerful or knows everything
  • idealizing the abuser following a cycle of abuse
  • believing they deserve the abuse

Here's what some key Republicans said of Trump in 2016:

"On the campaign trail, Rand called Trump a “delusional narcissist” and a “fake conservative,” and Trump mocked his height. Rubio mocked Trump’s small hand size and called Trump a “con artist,” and Trump eviscerated  “Lil Marco.” Graham said Trump was a “kook,” “crazy,” and “unfit for office,” and Trump gave out Graham’s personal cellphone number on national television. Cruz said Trump was a “pathological liar,” a “narcissist,” and a “serial philanderer,” and Trump and basically called Cruz’s wife ugly—while accusing Cruz’s dad of being involved in the Kennedy assassination." (from The Daily Beast.) 

You yourself said you were ready to support Pence as the candidate and you publicly said you didn't vote for Trump in 2016.  

Yet all these Republican Senators, including yourself, have lined up to staunchly back Trump for four years, and the now the ex-president.  

The battered woman syndrome does seem to fit well in two particular ways.  

  • Often women are afraid to get out of relationships because they fear how their men will retaliate.  
  • Or they are afraid they can't afford, for economic reasons, to leave the relationship.  

That sounds pretty close to the situation of Senate Republicans.  You're afraid of retaliation by Trump and by his supporters and you are afraid of losing the economic support of Republicans in your next election.  

You've taken an oath to support the Constitution both as a Marine and as a US Senator.  You're allowing your personal interests and the peer pressure of your Republican colleagues to close your eyes to what that oath requires of you now.  The case against the ex-president is more than clear.  Trump's defense team was all smoke and mirrors.  

There is more to life than being a US Senator if that is the price for honoring your oath to office.  But you aren't up for reelection until 2026.  By then, voting to convict Trump will be respected by conservatives as well as progressives.  Or Trump will be using his acquittal to continue to claim he was robbed of the election and will still be stoking the fires of white supremacy and creating more havoc than you can imagine now.  Just as you didn't imagine the storming of the Capitol when you voted to acquit last time.

The American people know Trump should be publicly sanctioned and banned from office.  The world knows that.  And even if Republicans prevent conviction, the House's case is well preserved on video tape for future generations of Americans to see it for themselves in history classes.  And they will.  Your children and grandchildren will see it.  And they will know you didn't have the courage to honor your oaths to protect the Constitution.  They will realize that you grabbed some of the irrelevant sound bytes that Trump's lawyers offered Republicans to use to excuse their votes.  

I urge you to stop hiding and stand up front and proudly and deliberately cast your vote (mine too since you represent me in the  Senate) to convict Donald Trump.


Thank you

Thursday, February 11, 2021

"Reporting back from the future: GOP's battered wife syndrome is in full force even after Trump has left office. So SAD!"

 On May 14, 2018 I began a blog post like this:

Congressional Republicans Show Signs of Battered Wife Syndrome

Medical News Today says battered women suffer from PTSD but then adds they suffer their own special symptoms as well.
In addition to PTSD, people with battered woman syndrome show symptoms that may be confusing to outsiders.
Those include:
  • learned helplessness
  • refusing to leave the relationship
  • believing that the abuser is powerful or knows everything
  • idealizing the abuser following a cycle of abuse
  • believing they deserve the abuse


I then went on to look at each of these symptoms and relate them to Congressional GOP.  (You can see the whole post at the link above.)


Today, Anonymous left this comment:

"Reporting back from the future: GOP's battered wife syndrome is in full force even after Trump has left office. So SAD!"

So sad, indeed.  But the Democrats have laid out such a powerful, logical, and easy to understand case for Trump's treachery.  And it's all there in video - the presentations of the House team and the embedded video they used as evidence.  

Even if the Republicans can't see it, or are too paralyzed to break rank, everyone else can see it.  Historians have never had it so easy.  And their students have never had it so compelling.