Sunday, July 14, 2013

Some Thoughts on the Zimmerman Trial

I was saddened, but not shocked, by the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman in the point-blank killing of Trayvon Martin. There is a simple explanation for it: it happened in Florida. George Zimmerman had Florida law on his side. Without the relentless publicity and the pressure brought to bear by national political and media figures, there never would have been a trial in the first place.

This was in Florida, where holding such a trial would have been unthinkable even a generation ago. This was in Florida, home of the infamous Groveland Four case, in which a duly sworn sheriff and a posse with interchangeable costumes of police uniforms and KKK sheets serially tortured and  murdered a group of black men falsely accused of raping a white woman. Sheriff Willis McCall was not only never convicted, he kept getting re-elected to office. He died a free man.

George Zimmerman will die a free man too. But he will never be truly free. He will never be a neighborhood watch captain again. He'll be at least ten times as paranoid as he was the night he stalked and shot Trayvon, but maybe he'll think twice the next time he gets the urge to fire his weapon. Maybe all the other Zimmermaniacs roaming the earth will think twice about stalking and shooting every shadow they see lurking in the corners of their dull little minds.

This was in the United States of America, where even in one northern "liberal" city, a billionaire mayor and his police commissioner enforcer have legitimated racial profiling to a degree not seen since the pre-Civil Rights era in the south.

This was in the United States of America, the biggest arms dealer the world has ever known, where people still wonder why Congress couldn't even pass a modest background check law for gun purchases.

This was in the United States of America, where the Social Darwinism and financial austerity now implicit in public policy have made towns and cities so cash-strapped that they are resorting to using unpaid volunteers in their police departments. There are plenty of incipient  Zimmerman wannabes out there with guns and badges and assumptions and low intelligence and an utter lack of training and self-control. Depending on where you live, your next 9-1-1 call may bring a gung-ho intern cop to your door, only too eager to serve, protect and defend you -- for free.

Meanwhile, the human casualties and tragedies resulting from unregulated capitalism, too much money in too few hands, will continue to mount. This is a violent country, with a per-capital murder rate one of the world's highest and a per-capita incarceration rate bar none.

So, the fact that the Zimmerman trial was held at all, and that it was a fair trial, is testament that we can indeed make tiny incremental steps toward a more just system. Even in Florida -- which, despite its awful Stand Your Ground law, is one of the few states that allows cameras in its courtrooms. Every court in this country should be opened to TV cameras -- from the lowest municipal court, where judges are often unqualified, corrupt political flacks, all the way up to the Supreme Court, where just the sight of Samuel Alito rolling his eyes at Ruth Bader Ginsberg's impassioned dissent against the evisceration of the Voting Rights Act would have caused an instant national scandal.

But this is the United States of America, land of official secrets and shadows. So the fact that Trayvon Martin's name is now a household word, that the George Zimmerman trial was held and that it was covered without interruption on CNN, is thus rendered all the more amazing. Trayvon did not die in vain. And Zimmerman is not innocent.

30 comments:

Pearl said...

They should have had 6 black men on the Jury. This will divide the country even more. Disgraceful.

James F Traynor said...

It wasn't the jury - it was the law and the absence of reasonable laws governing handguns that led to an acquittal in a trial that should have found Zimmerman guilty of, at least, involuntary manslaughter.

There are people down here, some of whom I know, who talk like would be Wyatt Earps and who make me nervous about taking my dogs out at night. There is a wide spread paranoia in this country induced, at least in part, by the NRA.

Neil Gillespie said...

George Zimmerman killed, by a 9mm point-blank shot through the heart, Trayvon Martin. "Fucking punks," Zimmerman told the police dispatcher that night. "These assholes. They always get away."

Killing excused under the color of law may still be a section 1983 civil rights violation, and a wrongful death.

"Section 1983 of Title 42 of the U.S. Code is part of the civil rights act of 1871. This provision was formerly enacted as part of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 and was originally designed to combat post-Civil War racial violence in the Southern states. Reenacted as part of the Civil Rights Act, section 1983 is as of the early 2000s the primary means of enforcing all constitutional rights..." The Free Dictionary

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Section+1983

42 U.S.C. § 1983 - Civil action for deprivation of rights

"Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress..."

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/1983

"Not guilty" said the jury. But not innocent by Zimmerman’s own words. Zimmerman was then, and is now, the undisputed killer of Trayvon Martin. Yes, Zimmerman beat the rap under Florida law, so said a jury of Zimmerman’s peers. Unfortunately the jury did not have any of Martin’s peers. The not guilty verdict may be the result of a faulty voir dire process, the jury selection.

And there is another side to the story, expressed in a comment on the Field Negro blog run by attorney Wayne Bennett.

"Anonymous [9:58 AM] said...Instead of crying fake racism and bemoaning how you are victims, maybe you should watch the trial clips and learn what happened. And teach the young ones that in a civilized society it is not a good idea to punch someone in the nose take him down, smack his head into the concrete and tell him "you gone die tonight" because you didn't like the way he looked at you. You might just get shot." 9:58 AM

http://field-negro.blogspot.com/2013/07/not-guilty-says-florida-justice-system.html#.UeLIiazlcdo

Miscreants like Zimmerman must not be permitted to play god, play cop, and walk the streets as self-appointed armed vigilantes. Zimmerman killed Martin under color of law. When civil rights are denied under color of law, federal authorities may be able to prosecute. Zimmerman acting under color of law denied Martin civil rights protected by the U.S. Constitution.

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right against unreasonable searches or seizures. Question: Does Zimmerman’s status as an armed neighborhood watch captain establish liability, as a law enforcement officer would be liable? "A law enforcement official using authority provided under the color of law is allowed to stop individuals and, under certain circumstances, to search them and retain their property. It is in the abuse of that discretionary power - such as an unlawful detention or illegal confiscation of property - that a violation of a person’s civil rights may occur..." - FBI website.

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/color_of_law

"The Fourteenth Amendment secures the right to due process; the Eighth Amendment prohibits the use of cruel and unusual punishment. During an arrest or detention, these rights can be violated by the use of force amounting to punishment (summary judgment). The person accused of a crime must be allowed the opportunity to have a trial and should not be subjected to punishment without having been afforded the opportunity of the legal process." - FBI website.

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/color_of_law

Neil Gillespie said...

Part 2

"The Constitution states only one command twice. The Fifth Amendment says to the federal government that no one shall be "deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law." The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, uses the same eleven words, called the Due Process Clause, to describe a legal obligation of all states. These words have as their central promise an assurance that all levels of American government must operate within the law ("legality") and provide fair procedures..." - Cornell Law Legal Information Institute.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/due_process

Unfortunately we grieve yet another denial of justice under the color of law for an African-American, 394 years and counting (1619 - 2013). MLK reminds us, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963. See the Grieving Process, by Joseph A. Bailey, II, M.D.

http://www.blackvoicenews.com/columnists/joseph-a-bailey-ii-md/47432-the-grieving-process.html

Who regulates armed neighborhood watch captains? "The public counts on its law enforcement officials to protect local communities. If it’s shown that an official willfully failed to keep an individual from harm, that official could be in violation of the color of law statute." - FBI website.

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/color_of_law

While Zimmerman beat the murder rap, the parents of Trayvon Martin may have grounds for a wrongful death action against Zimmerman and those who empowered him as an armed neighborhood watch captain.

"Wrongful Death - The taking of the life of an individual resulting from the willful or negligent act of another person or persons. If a person is killed because of the wrongful conduct of a person or persons, the decedent's heirs and other beneficiaries may file a wrongful death action against those responsible for the decedent's death. This area of Tort Law is governed by statute. Wrongful death statutes vary from state to state, but in general they define who may sue for wrongful death and what, if any, limits may be applied to an award of damages...."

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Wrongful+Death

Direct justified anger toward available legal remedies. Change the system.

Godspeed to each and every one of you.

Denis Neville said...

A grief like no other…

When my seventeen year old son died, one of my greatest anguishes was my feeling of powerlessness in being unable to protect him from death. Powerlessness is one of the true quagmires of grief.

Having worked as a volunteer grief facilitator for parents who have lost children (including children who have been murdered), and at an inner city trauma center where victims of violence are brought, I can say that a parent’s grief for a child who has been murdered is like no other.

One mother told me that she had never been able to bury her son because the legal system kept digging him up. Her overwhelming sense of powerlessness from her child’s murder was compounded by the nature of the crime, the homicide investigation, media scrutiny, societal attitudes, the courts, and the uncertainty of the disposition of the case.

Today my thoughts are with the Martins and all the other parents of murdered children.

An Irish blessing to them all:

“Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the gentle night to you.
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
Deep peace to you.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6PQRXXn9ko

Pearl said...

Do read the article "Bereaved: by castelnuovo on the front pages of the
nytimes. It is a moving story of how the families of killed members in
clashes between Israel and Palestinians are coming together to grieve and change the past, hopefully. And so it touches on the recent tragic story of Trayvon Martin and all the black boys and men who are murdered as a result of racial profiling. It also reaches into the depths of our own grieving for
our children and the murdered children of others. Denis you have done noble work for other parents in your son's name and many of us have risen to the challenge by giving our time and hearts to worthy causes in response. My heart is so touched by the comments of others to the misspoken decision of the all non black jury. Karen, your column is a masterpiece of rationality without destruction and the hundreds of responses to the NYTimes article
about the non guilty verdict was almost 100% on the side of truth
beautifully expressed.
I truly feel that Trayvon's death will deeply affect future race relations in that many who may not have otherwise paid attention are now seeing it with new eyes. Ditto the hallabaloo regarding Snowden.
I am encouraged to keep on, keep on tired as I may get, by speaking and
writing as all of you I hope will. And the small differences between us, are of no consequence in that we all understand the importance of the real
issues that we are in harmony about.
I appreciate being supported by all your compassion and understanding about what this trial and so many others are truly all about. My morale really took a plunge by that NON GUILTY verdict. What is needed now is a civil action in court if allowed.
Keep the comments coming in - we need to share our griefs both personal and
political.

Zee said...

Karen—

I agree with you that George Zimmerman is absolutely not innocent.

Unlike you, however, I am shocked that he was not convicted of something, at the very least, manslaughter.

I hope that I don't bore anyone with my personal experiences, but one of the very first things that one is taught—or should be taught—when undergoing training to apply for a concealed-carry permit is that especially when armed, one never does anything to provoke confrontation— ever. A concealed carry permit holder never flips off someone who cut them off in traffic which might needlessly lead to a violent road-rage incident, for example.

So idiot that he is, Zimmerman nevertheless had a little card in his wallet on the night that he killed Trayvon Martin that proved that he knew this.

Then, he disregarded the 911-dispatcher's order not to further stalk Martin, which should have served as a reminder of another part of his training, which is—or should have been—that concealed-carry permit holders never intervene in a situation unless the circumstances are beyond crystal-clear. Our job, unless our own life is at stake, is to dial “911” and stay on the line to provide further information if possible, but to otherwise stay clear of whatever is going on until the police arrive—exactly as the dispatcher told Zimmerman to do.

Now, I don't know the details of Florida's so-called “stand your ground law,” but Zimmerman was clearly not “standing his ground” in the face of some unprovoked confrontation.

He violated every governing principle of his concealed-carry training, which he was legally required to have received in order to be granted a permit, and he willfully provoked a situation that could have been completely avoided, a situation that needlessly resulted in the death of a young man.

If Zimmerman was suddenly caught up in a situation wherein he feared for his own life, well, he was also totally responsible for creating that situation.

(As an aside, I'm surprised that the prosecution didn't dig up the syllabus used by whoever “trained” Zimmerman and use it as evidence against him. I don't know how it works in Florida, but here in New Mexico every concealed-carry instructor's 16-hour curriculum has to be approved by the state, and I would be surprised if New Mexico didn't keep a copy of each syllabus used as part of licensing process. “Cover-your-ass” is always a good policy, you know.)

I'm not a lawyer, but that, to me, is at least some form of manslaughter given the training that Zimmerman had received so, yes, I am surprised—as well as saddened—that the jury let him completely off the hook.

Also, given the information that Neil Gillespie has provided, it is hard for me to believe that the feds can't easily nail Zimmerman for serious civil-rights violations, up to and including “wrongful death.”

I don't think much of Eric Holder, but I hope that he has the courage to throw the book at George Zimmerman at the federal level. If so, Zimmerman's travails have only just begun.

Good.

Denis Neville said...

@ Pearl

What an extraordinary, sensitive, and moving photo essay by Rina Castelnuovo!

Her stunning pictures and words are an inspiration.

“It is critical to learn the other side’s narrative, because empathy and reconciliation offer the only hope for ending the bloody struggle someday.”

“Meeting the bereaved families, witnessing their reconciliation process, offers hope. If they can, everybody else should.”

Those bereaved Israelis and Palestinians are indeed brave and noble people. It cannot be an easy thing they are doing. Too often such deaths become symbols or national events. So many people are eager to use their family’s terrible deaths to justify vengeance and even more violence and injustice.

That they do not let their deaths become the tools of others is a lesson for us all.

Neil Gillespie said...

Zee,

My civilian understanding, yes legally it was manslaughter, excused by a claim of self-defense.

A Department of Justice spokesperson said Sunday that "we have an open investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin." In a statement emailed to NPR, the spokesperson said:

"The Department of Justice's Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division, the United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation continue to evaluate the evidence generated during the federal investigation, as well as the evidence and testimony from the state trial. Experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation of any of the limited federal criminal civil rights statutes within our jurisdiction, and whether federal prosecution is appropriate in accordance with the Department's policy governing successive federal prosecution following a state trial."

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/07/14/202058198/civil-rights-groups-call-zimmerman-verdict-a-miscarriage

The feds cannot bring a "wrongful death" case, that is a civil action. The Martins should not have difficulty finding private counsel to represent them, but who knows anymore. For exampe, a wrongful death lawsuit was brought against O.J. Simpson.

"On February 5, 1997, a civil jury in Santa Monica, California unanimously found Simpson liable for the wrongful death of and battery against Goldman, and battery against Brown. Daniel Petrocelli represented plaintiff Fred Goldman, Ronald Goldman's father. Simpson was ordered to pay $33,500,000 in damages. However, California law protects pensions from being used to satisfy judgments, so Simpson was able to continue much of his lifestyle based on his NFL pension. In February 1999, an auction of Simpson's Heisman Trophy and other belongings netted almost $500,000. The money went to the Goldman family...."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O._J._Simpson#Wrongful_death_civil_trial

Florida concealed carry requirements
http://licgweb.doacs.state.fl.us/weapons/

State of Florida Concealed Weapons Course: 2.5 Hours / $65
http://floridafirearmstraining.com/Handgun.html

James F Traynor said...


And that, Zee, is why I think you're naive. And why I don't worry about guys like you carrying small arms, concealed or not. But you're not a Zimmerman and there's a hell of a lot more down here like him than you.

James F Traynor said...

And most good cops know it. Like the Sanford detective who wanted Zimmerman arrested and charged with manslaughter but was overruled.

Zee said...

@Neil—

Thanks for the additional insights into federal law regarding civil rights violations. Are there any federal crimes that Zimmerman can be charged with, as opposed to a civil action? The quote from the DoJ describes their “criminal charge” options as “limited.”

Thanks also for the sad commentary regarding Florida's training requirements necessary to obtain a concealed-carry permit. 2.5 hours! Jaysus.

Which leads me to

@James--

Here, I concede to you that I have been naïve. I assumed—because New Mexico has a reciprocal agreement with Florida regarding concealed-carry permits—that their training requirements were somehow comparable to our 16-hour training requirement in order to obtain a 4-year duration permit. Moreover, we have a 2-year “refresher course” requirement at the mid-point of our 4-year permit, in which we review any changes to the law and once again have to demonstrate firearms proficiency.

Florida is clearly much different from New Mexico, so perhaps I cannot assume that Zimmerman knew what I thought he knew.

Those people with whom I have gone through the permitting process have always seemed to have come out of the training classes with a great sense of responsibility and humility when finally allowed to carry a concealed weapon.

Funny, but we seem to have far fewer “cowboys” here in New Mexico than in Florida

I wonder why?

Neil Gillespie said...

@Zee,

My understanding, the color of law offenses shown on the FBI website are federal crimes.

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/color_of_law

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/federal-statutes#section242

Otherwise look for federal criminal statutes on a site like the Cornell Law Legal Information Institute. Some federal crimes, but certainly not all, are found in Title 18 - Crimes and Criminal Procedure. Law is purposely complex and ambiguous to give those in the profession an advantage, and to control the population, the economy, everything.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18

As for the DOJ quote, you could send DOJ an email and ask what that means. The FBI site above makes reference to 42 U.S.C. Section 14141 and 42 U.S.C. Section 1997, the latter states,

"Under Title 42, U.S.C., Section 1997, the Department of Justice has the ability to initiate civil actions against mental hospitals, retardation facilities, jails, prisons, nursing homes, and juvenile detention facilities when there are allegations of systemic derivations of the constitutional rights of institutionalized persons."

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/color_of_law

So I stand corrected from my earlier post. According to the FBI website, the feds can initiate civil actions. Just a reminder, this is only my personal opinion. I am not a lawyer. I did not attend law school. I am not licensed to practice law. I do not practice law. My personal opinion is free speech and for entertainment purposes only. If you have a legal question, consult an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

@Karen

The linked NYT story, Police Departments Turn to Volunteers, quotes ""I like to do law enforcement stuff," said Mr. Sarkisian, 23, an immigrant from the republic of Georgia who is studying criminology at the city college here. "I like helping out putting bad guys in jail.""

Right, putting the "bad guys in jail".

Further in the story, ""Once I retired and cleaned up my house, I was bored," said Liz Diott, 67, a former vice president at the Bank of America who now works 20 hours a week at the Pasadena Police Department. "It keeps me on my toes.""

Former vice president of Bank of America? Irony much?

Zee said...

I'm once again sitting out on the back porch in the twilight, somewhat sheltered from the howling crosswind and enjoying the sound, smell and feel of the wonderous rain, thunder, and distant lightning of New Mexico.

Dear God, what joy!

Denis Neville said...

Karen said … “that the George Zimmerman trial was held and that it was covered without interruption on CNN, is thus rendered all the more amazing.”

Maybe not …

Marty Kaplan on CNN’s and MSNBC’s wall-to-wall coverage of the Trayvon Martin murder trial:

“They have three good reasons for doing this.

First, their business model is delivering audiences to advertisers. They fear that Americans will change the channel if they actually cover the news…

Second, they're right. This trial is a good story -- not in the sense that it deserves this kind of journalistic attention, but rather that our lizard brains love this kind of stuff. Fear, hate, danger, death, suspense: it's reality television, minus the unreality. As citizens, we may sheepishly acknowledge that other news is more important for us to follow. But as animals, we're like those lab rats that would rather starve to death than abandon the lever that once dispensed cocaine.

Third, there's an ideological compatibility between cable news's corporate ownership and the kind of content they deliver. It's not beyond the wit of those networks to grab and hold audiences by actually covering the daily assault on democracy in America. The disenfranchisement of voters now going on across the country will turn out to be the biggest story of the 2014 elections. Women's rights are being rolled back in state after state. Wall Street is still getting away with murder. The stranglehold of big money on Congress is a horror show. But if you're a media conglomerate with talons sunk deep into both political parties, why draw attention to the corrupt system that also empowers you? Covering the Sanford, Florida circus won't jeopardize your sweet deal in Washington, D.C., and it's cheaper to boot.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marty-kaplan/cable-newss-journalistic_b_3510865.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Kaplan concludes, “But by and large, an hour of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report commits more journalism than a day on the cable news networks, and it’s way more entertaining. If we're going to be slouching toward tyranny, I guess I'd rather do it laughing.”

Marty Kaplan and Bill Moyers discuss the “Weapons of Mass Distraction,”

BILL MOYERS: So your point about the Trayvon Martin trial, about Paula Deen, whom we haven't even discussed about what you call the race, crime, and porn axis in tabloid news, cable news, your point is that it distracts us from and drives out attention to the problems that will take us down if we don't tackle them?

MARTY KAPLAN: Watch the birdie over here, not the corruption over there. That's what circuses are about, is to distract us and make us happy while we're being distracted. The challenge is not only to give us the information that we should be paying attention to and to do it in a way which keeps our attention, the challenge is also what do we as citizens do with that. And I think there is an aspect of journalism which is afraid of taking that extra step and empowering citizens or covering the citizens who have empowered themselves to try to make a difference.

http://billmoyers.com/segment/marty-kaplan-on-the-weapons-of-mass-distraction/

Recall the great Roman satirist Juvenal’s scornful words, “Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the people have abdicated their duties; the people, that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions, and all else, now meddle no more and long eagerly for just two things – bread and circuses.”

Just as the Romans lost the capacity to govern themselves by being so distracted by mindless self-gratification, we also have our “bread and circuses” as well as many other outlets for mindless self-gratification.

When will the public begin to realize that there is no longer any bread [eg.,food stamps removed from farm bill], just circuses?

Karen Garcia said...

Denis,

That the corporate cable monsters were covering the Zimmerman trial for less than altruistic, in-the-public-interest reasons is fairly obvious. It was sensationalistic and cost-effective, the perfect combo for the profiteers of "News". But at least it was more edifying than the marathon coverage of that "Poop Ship" cruise debacle!

In case you missed it, Glenn Greenwald has a piece up outlining how Al Jazeera's new American venture may turn out to be more CNN and less... Al Jazeera. I started wondering about this when they hired CNN money guy Ali Velshi for their new stable of "journalists." My cable carrier is not carrying AJ, but maybe that'll change when AJ demonstrates how all-Amurikan it is willing to be!

Jay - Ottawa said...

A reliable daily in English is hard to find. There’s always “The Guardian,” which goes a long way to counter the establishment line, but it still reserves a lot of space to fluff. Nonetheless, that it is bold enough to carry Glenn Greenwald makes it a special source. Imagine our understanding of the world, not to mention our own country, if we didn’t have easy access to GG.

There is another daily with an online edition you might want to explore, “La Jornada,” out of Mexico City. Big stories are often on the page twenty-four hours before the NYT puts up its version, if at all. The website is supported by academics at the autonomous University of Mexico, which explains a lot. Autonomous means something there. Check it out. Pictures, too.
http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/07/15/

The paper is not in English, obviously, but Spanish is easy to pick up and in the USA that particular language is all around us. (Anglos should learn Spanish as a basic survival tactic☺) Furthermore, let me assure you that reading Spanish is way, way easier than conversing in it. And, if you’re at the keyboard, ‘Google Translate’ is one click away, faster than flipping through a dictionary for a word, or even a paragraph.

“Noam Chomsky has described La Jornada as ‘maybe the only real independent newspaper in the hemisphere.’ ” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Jornada

Kat said...

I'm with Denis on this one. File under Bread and Cirucses. The greatest power the media has it to decide what stories they are going to cover and what they are going to ignore.

Will said...

Newsflash: Chris Hedges says we're doomed again. (That would be fucking doomed for you, Jay.)

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/locking_out_the_voices_of_dissent_20130714/

P.S. Zee, I'm lovin' the nightly reports from the back porch. :)

James F Traynor said...

@Will
That was an interesting article by Hedges. Poor guy, he went down to where the rubber meets the road and now he's down to his rims. He's like Robert Fisk, but not as resilient.

Denis Neville said...

Karen,

Jay Rosen has retired from criticism of CNN. “I used to say: ‘I criticize because I care. But I no longer do.’ I’m done.” http://pressthink.org/2013/07/criticizing-cnn-goodbye-to-that/

“The immediate cause of action is an amusing but also telling column by Jack Shafer of Reuters: In praise of tabloid TV, which explains why critics of CNN are absurd creatures. The fact that no one in journalism bats an eye when Shafer equates CNN with “tabloid TV” tells us why I am out of the game.”

http://blogs.reuters.com/jackshafer/2013/07/05/in-praise-of-tabloid-tv/

That Al Jazeera's new American venture may turn out to be more CNN and less...“Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning, truth and beauty can't.” - Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Zee said...

@Will--

It appears that another fundamental element of the Bill of Rights--the right of the people to assemble peacably and seek redress from the government--is vanishing quickly.

If we retain that right at all, probably the only place that we will be allowed to exercise it will be somewhere in the blasted Nevada desert, 20 miles or more east of Fallon, Nevada, and well off of US 50, of course, so as not to influence anyone at all.

I've remarked on my joy at rain here in New Mexico because it has become such a rarity over the past few years. The July monsoons were pretty reliable before that, and it was not uncommon to sit out back and enjoy the rain just as I described earlier.

Now, such an experience is so rare that I feel compelled to express my delight to someone beyond Mrs. Zee.

It was also not uncommon during July and August to have morning monsoon rains--such a pleasure! Haven't seen that in years, though.

I was hopeful for such an occurrence this morning, but so far it's been "all show, no go."

Pearl said...

It looks like our great attorney general is trying to back off from setting up another hearing (trial?) from the Department of Justice, since according to his information, nothing new has been uncovered regarding whether or not racial bias by Zimmerman was involved in the case. There were many more questions about the final decision involved as well, that they don't mention. I hope this doesn't mean that a civil case cannot be utilized, especially since there is a lawsuit by the NAACP and possibly the UCLA about other glossed over issues affecting the NOT GUlLTY verdict. This issue is not going to go away and may further erode Obama's rapidly shredding reputation along with Holder's.

Zee said...

Pearl--

How does UCLA fit into this?

I have always associated the acronym UCLA with "University of California, Los Angeles."

What am I missing?

Pearl said...

I am reprinting some recent comments I made about the future:

"It is beyond comprehension to recognize the true meanness of our opposition and the lack of concern for the suffering of others as a result of their selfishness but justice works in strange ways sometimes."


and in response to a comment about Michelle's angry response to a heckler: "and as Zee said, we need more such explosions all over the place to call attention to
the degree of frustration out there. It is coming."

Pearl said...

Zee:
Sorry that was a misprint . I meant the ACLU (American Civil Liberties
Union). All these endless initials for every group is affecting my brain
transmitters. They haven't been the same since I read the following
yesterday:

NOT GUILTY!!!

Zee said...

Pearl--

Thank you for the clarification.

I understand entirely!

Neil Gillespie said...

Zimmerman trial update

Today the Southern District of Florida blog reports "Zimmerman jury initially split"

"Last night one of the jurors spoke with Anderson Cooper and explained that the initial vote was 3 Not Guilty, 2 Manslaughter, and 1 Murder. Wow -- this just shows how hard it is to get an across-the-board acquittal and how much closer this case was than the pundits said."

http://sdfla.blogspot.com/2013/07/zimmerman-jury-initially-split.html

The Southern District of Florida blog reported July 14, 2013 "Should the feds indict George Zimmerman?"

http://sdfla.blogspot.com/2013/07/should-feds-indict-george-zimmerman.html

"Although Zimmerman was just acquitted of second degree murder, many are now clamoring for a federal indictment. But doesn't the double jeopardy bar a federal prosecution after a complete acquittal in state court? Nope. Although the Fifth Amendment provides, "nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb," the Supreme Court in Abbate v. United States, 359 U.S. 187 (1959), said the dual sovereignty doctrine permits both the State and the Feds to prosecute the same person for the same crime:..."

Also, see the Justice Department statement linked to the above story

http://pastebin.com/0UzLwf8F

"As the Department first acknowledged last year, we have an open investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin. The Department of Justice's Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division, the United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation continue to evaluate the evidence generated during the federal investigation, as well as the evidence and testimony from the state trial. Experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation of any of the limited federal criminal civil rights statutes within our jurisdiction, and whether federal prosecution is appropriate in accordance with the Department's policy governing successive federal prosecution following a state trial."

United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida

http://www.justice.gov/usao/flm/

A. Lee Bentley, III To Serve As Acting United States Attorney For The Middle District Of Florida. Lee Bentley became the Acting United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida following the departure of U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill on July 8, 2013.

http://www.justice.gov/usao/flm/press/2013/july/20130709_ALB.html

18 USC § 249 - Hate crime acts

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/249

Pearl said...

It was a most interesting revelation to hear what the shrouded Juror,
interviewed by Anderson Cooper on CNN had to say about how she and the other jurors came to their final conclusions (?!) . In contrast, they had Rachel, the young black
woman who was treated so cavalierly by the head Zimmerman lawyer as a guest on CNN's Piers Morgan.
She admitted she was frightened to death by her appearance at the trial and then spoke and answered questions
in a completely different mode - smart, knowledgeable, honest and made sly comments about the
deceptions going on at the trial. I read later that she had been offered a full University scholarship at a Black school of her choosing by a wealthy donor.
As she herself said, the juror who was interviewed came from another world than she did, and could not understand the differences. This was played over several times today and it was obvious by the acclamation of the audience at Piers' interview with Rachel, that she had gotten the message across of what the
trial and its result really meant.
I have to give CNN credit for showing (exposing) the mind of a white juror
(married to an attorney who advised her and is planning to write a book
about her experience) and repeating it several times today, as well as also repeating the Piers revealing interview alongside for contrast.

Yes, we are now having protests in the streets and hope it escalates to a national march on Washington a/la the Civil Rights years of the past.
I knew something was going to trip up the Obama march over a cliff and it is ironic that he is now between a rock and a hard place about an event
involving anger at long last by African American citizens. Stay tuned.


Neil Gillespie said...

@Pearl

The book deal may be off, according to Salon, "quashed by public outcry"

http://www.salon.com/2013/07/16/will_and_should_anyone_get_famous_from_the_george_zimmerman_trial/

Salon also reports the feds can still charge Zimmerman, in a story by attorney Theodore M. Shaw, a Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School.

http://www.salon.com/2013/07/16/how_the_feds_could_prosecute_zimmerman/

Zimmerman now wants to become a lawyer, according to the ABA Journal Law News Now, and a linked Reuters story. Another linked story on ABC Action News shows Zimmerman beat a rap back in 2006 for "assaulting a law enforcement officer".

George Zimmerman, JD? Some friends say acquitted shooter would like to attend law school

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/george_zimmerman_jd_some_friends_say_acquitted_shooter_would_like_to_attend/

"Zimmerman’s lawyer and a friend tell Reuters that Zimmerman may be interested in law school. According to friend Leanne Benjamin, she and her husband had dinner with Zimmerman recently, and he said he would like go to law school to help people who are wrongly accused of crimes."

"(Reuters) - After his acquittal on murder charges for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman may go to law school to help people wrongly accused of crimes like himself, close friends told Reuters on Sunday."

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/14/us-usa-florida-shooting-future-idUSBRE96D0DT20130714

ABC Action News, Zimmerman: Dad worked as magistrate (in Virginia from 2000 to 2006)

http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/crime/zimmerman-dad-worked-as-magistrate

"Some have speculated Zimmerman’s father may have used that position to get a 2005 charge against his son thrown out (although, while the charge of assaulting a law enforcement officer was dropped, there is no proof Zimmerman’s father played any role in making that happen)."

If Zimmerman had been convicted of "assaulting a law enforcement officer", it is unlikely he would have qualified for a concealed weapons permit, or volunteer as a neighborhood watch captain, if a background check was required.