DUBLINERS TOO: A moral history of his country!

MONDAY, JULY 29, 2013

Part 1—Few episodes have matched this one: In 1913, Joyce Kilmer wrote “Trees.”

That’s not what we’re talking about.

In 1907, James Joyce published Dubliners, a famous set of fifteen stories which isn’t set in Ohio.

The fellow was 25 at the time. One year earlier, he had explained his purposes in a frequently-quoted letter.

For fuller text, see below. This was Joyce, with our emphasis added:

“My intention was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to be the center of paralysis. I have tried to present it to the indifferent public under its four aspects: childhood, adolescence, maturity, and public life. The stories are arranged in this order.”

At the tender age of 25, Joyce wanted to write the moral history of his country—or at least, one chapter of it. He seemed to feel the “indifferent public” wasn't much going to care.

No lack of self-confidence there! At The Modern World, we’re offered this account of what Joyce thought he saw in the various sectors of his city:

“A collection of short stories published in 1907, Dubliners revolves around the everyday lives of men, women and children in the Irish capital of Dublin during the late Victorian era. Generally unhappy tales, they form a chronicle of lost innocence, eroding faith, missed opportunities, subtle hypocrisies, devastating ironies, and paralysis—always moral and intellectual paralysis.”

That analysis, which we first read this weekend, had us at “moral and intellectual paralysis.” As you can see in Joyce's letter, the word “paralysis” was his.

Moral and intellectual paralysis! Here at The Daily Howler, we have often referred to the “moral and intellectual squalor” of the modern American “press corps.” In the fifteen years we’ve been doing this site, very few episodes—perhaps only one—matches the coverage of the Trayvon Martin killing for the breadth of the way this moral and intellectual breakdown has been put on display.

Other episodes have been more consequential, though nothing involving race is ever trivial, and this episode is highly important. But no other episode has put the breakdown on a wider display.

At age 25, Joyce presented a story cycle to display the “paralysis” he saw all through his country’s constituent parts. In this country, no episode has shown our own breakdown as it works its way through so many different elements of the population.

It started with baldly inaccurate, lurid claims made by some family lawyers. With lightning speed, those often disgraceful claims were adopted by the “press corps.”

(This same process occurred in the summer of 2001, when Levy family lawyers seem to have invented false claims about Gary Condit—false claims which were widely repeated on cable all summer. They too believed that the police weren't investigating their case hard enough. It would seem that they too began inventing false claims to paint the finger of blame at Condit, thus forcing additional action.)

The current case began with the lawyers, then with the guild we still call the press. From there, the moral and intellectual breakdown spread in a bit of a plague, as Camus might have put it. It extended through the wider community here in our own Oran.

We got to see how easy it is to get folk to believe, and then to repeat, certain types of false claims. We saw the urgency with which many people long for the chance to repeat false claims, as long as they're morally pleasing.

Eventually, we even got to see how doggedly many “liberals” will fight to defend the right to make false claims! And as always, we saw the problem which underlies this moral and intellectual breakdown:

We saw that the best and brightest among us will not describe this pestilent process, which has paralyzed our own Dublin, our own Oran, for at least the past twenty years now. More on this silence to follow.

According to The Modern World, Joyce saw “moral and intellectual paralysis” among his fellow Dubliners. He tended to attribute that condition to his country’s domination by a foreign power.

The fact that Joyce thought he saw that doesn’t mean it was actually there! But for our own moral and intellectual squalor, consider the editorial which ran in the Baltimore Sun on July 17, right here on the streets where we live.

What follows is pure journalistic porn, in an array of ways. The porn can also be found in other parts of the editorial. This is what we have meant, down through the years, when we have spoken about our own nation’s moral and intellectual squalor:
BALTIMORE SUN EDITORIAL (7/16/13): The only thing that is clear now is the same thing that has been evident from the beginning: that no one in the Twin Lakes development in Sanford, Fla., was at risk on the night of Feb. 26, 2012, until Mr. Zimmerman spotted Trayvon Martin, decided based on his appearance that he was a "punk" who didn't belong, and then disregarded the advice of a 911 operator and got out of his car to try to keep the teen from getting away. Regardless of who threw the first punch or who was getting the better of the struggle that ensued, it is indisputably true that Mr. Zimmerman overstepped his role, and that had he not done so, Trayvon Martin would still be alive.

The trial shed little definitive light on the events surrounding Mr. Martin's death. But two undercurrents are clearly responsible for what happened that night and for the way the case has played out since: racial prejudice and Florida's reckless stand-your-ground self-defense law.

Mr. Zimmerman's defense attorneys didn't explicitly invoke stand your ground in his defense; to do so would have undermined their story that Mr. Martin had pinned Mr. Zimmerman to the ground and was reaching for Mr. Zimmerman's weapon at the moment of the fatal shot. But Mr. Zimmerman was clearly aware of it before the confrontation. The existence of such a law, and of lax rules for the carrying of concealed weapons, are emboldening to the vigilante. The law also played no small part in the Sanford Police Department's shoddy investigation of the killing and the local prosecutor's initial decision not to pursue any charges. Such a law renders the notion of justice irrelevant. Imagine if Mr. Zimmerman had been the one who wound up dead that night; a strict reading of stand your ground would suggest that Mr. Martin wouldn't have been guilty of anything either.

Mr. Zimmerman's defenders note that he does not have a history of overt racism and that he used profanity and epithets but no racial slurs in describing Mr. Martin to a 911 operator. But something made him decide based on no evidence that Mr. Martin was a troublemaker who had to be apprehended so desperately that Mr. Zimmerman could not wait for police to arrive. Mr. Martin was a black teenager wearing a hooded sweatshirt. If he had been a white teen in khakis and a button-down, would Mr. Zimmerman have jumped to the conclusions he did? Almost certainly not. A black youth automatically registers as suspicious, and now, thanks to the Zimmerman defense team, he will automatically be considered armed and dangerous, even if he is holding nothing more menacing than a bag of Skittles.

The second way race factors into this case is in how it has been perceived by the public. A black youth is killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer, the police conduct a shoddy investigation, prosecutors put on a bumbling case, and an all-white jury in the South acquits. It is a story so familiar in its outlines that the particulars cannot overcome the sense for many justice is impossible when race is involved.
That was squalid work, in ways we’ll discuss a bit more tomorrow. For today, we’ll quickly cite two blatantly false assertions which came from The Standard Approved Story Book. Then we’ll link you to a subsequent event here in Baltimore.

Good lord! According to the editors. Zimmerman was acquitted by “an all-white jury in the South.”

As everyone knows, and always knew, that statement isn’t true. In an act of remarkable moral squalor, the editors served that gruel anyway.

An all-white jury in the South! Surely, they knew that was false.

Needless to say, the editors also said, seventeen months later, that Zimmerman “disregarded the advice of a 911 operator and got out of his car” on that fateful night. With some horror, we note that this statement is written in such a way that it can imaginably be defended, though only absurdly, as being technically accurate.

Can it possibly be that the squalor runs so deep that the editors deliberately crafted their statement that way? We pray that isn't true.

(By the spring of 2012, almost every major news org had debunked the notion that Zimmerman was told to stay in his car that night. To see the New York Times explain the chronology, click this. To see the hometown Orlando Sentinel do the same, click here. Almost everyone reported, once, what the real chronology was. Then, Dubliners went back to describing these events in the way they much preferred. This formed part of the moral/intellectual squalor of that Sun editorial.)

Surely, the editors knew that wasn’t an all-white jury. Were they really still misinformed about the chronology of that exchange with the police dispatcher? Beyond these rather obvious problems, the editors stated, in several places, that Zimmerman decided “based on no evidence/based on appearance” that Martin was a suspicious person that night, although they of course understand that Zimmerman reported suspicious behavior.

Like the editors, we have no way of knowing how Martin did or didn’t behave that night. We do know this—the behavior of the editors is journalistically pornographic and morally squalid.

We’ll cite a few more parts of that editorial tomorrow. For today, let’s consider what sometimes happens when Dubliners behave this way with others looking on.

On the same day that editorial appeared, Baltimore Sun reporter Carrie Wells described a street attack in east Baltimore. The editors have managed to withhold their concern about this reported event:
WELLS (7/16/13): Tensions have run high, and Baltimore police said Monday they are investigating an alleged beating of a Hispanic man that, according to a witness, came at the hands of a group of black youths who were saying "This is for Trayvon" while they attacked him.

[…]

In a Facebook post that drew nearly 50 comments, real estate agent Christina Dudley said she was walking to her car just before 9 p.m. Sunday when she saw several young black males and two black females chasing a 37-year-old Hispanic man west on North Linwood Avenue past East Fairmont Avenue.

"One of the boys had a handgun out, and it was pointed at the back of him," Dudley said in an interview.

They caught up to the man at the corner of Fairmount and North Streeper Street, and the male with the gun appeared to beat the victim with it while others kicked and stomped him, Dudley said. Police confirmed they are looking into whether the perpetrators' reaction to the verdict in the Zimmerman trial played a role in the incident. A police report on the beating does not mention the alleged comments.

"They were just yelling and calling him names as they ran after him, but once they were hitting him and after that, they started yelling, "This is for Trayvon," said Dudley, who said she heard the chant repeated multiple times.

Dudley and a woman walking her dog across the street told the group to stop and warned that they were calling 911. The group scattered before police arrived. Police have no arrests or named suspects. The victim suffered abrasions to his elbows and forearms but refused medical attention, according to the police report.

Dudley, who lives in the neighborhood, said she worries about her Hispanic neighbors and said she and other residents were looking for ways beyond Facebook to warn them of the incident. Patterson Park has one of the city's highest concentrations of Latinos and is home to the annual Latino Fest.
Did that street attack happen that way? Like the editors of the Sun, we have no way of knowing. By the next day, the Baltimore police seemed to be saying they think that Dudley is wrong in what she says she heard. To see her interviewed, click this ABC report.

The Baltimore Sun’s editorial couldn’t have triggered that street attack. (We try not to fake our chronologies here.) But Dubliners have been affected in many ways by the moral and intellectual squalor surrounding the Zimmerman trial.

We’ll be surprised if no other attacks are triggered by this widespread misconduct. Late last week, one juror described the way she broke down when she saw the way she was being attacked by fellow Dubliners.

(“I literally fell on my knees and I broke down. My husband was holding me. I was screaming and crying,” she told the self-involved Robin Roberts. We don't blame her for being upset. Do you feel sure that no other attacks will result from our widespread bad conduct?)

In 1947, Albert Camus imagined the way the citizens of Oran reacted to an imagined plague (The Plague). In 1958, Chinua Achebe imagined events in Umuofia, a fictional group of Nigerian villages in a colonial trap (Things Fall Apart).

In 1836, Hans Christian Anderson imagined the way the citizens of a mythical empire reacted to an awkward event involving a major authority figure (The Emperor’s New Clothes).

All these writers tried to convey the way we humans behave as we are asked to confront various parts of the human condition. For this week, we’ll stick with Dubliners as our leading model.

Joyce saw a “paralysis” running through the various elements of his nation. We have long described a wide moral and intellectual squalor here in our own Oran.

In the past month, this squalor has run through many parts of our nation. It has involved the lawyers, the journalists, the professors and even a shitload of us liberals.

Is the breakdown general all over this country? In our next post, later today, we’ll describe an act of child-rearing by two Dubliners.

Maybe you'll think they did the right thing. In the end, there's no way to say.

Tomorrow: More from the hometown Dublin Sun

The fuller passage from Joyce: Here is a fuller passage from that letter by Joyce:

“My intention was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to be the center of paralysis. I have tried to present it to the indifferent public under its four aspects: childhood, adolescence, maturity, and public life. The stories are arranged in this order. I have written in for the most part in a style of scrupulous meanness and with the conviction that he is a very bold man who dares to alter in the presentment, still more to deform, what he has seen and heard.”

Joyce said he refused to alter the various things he had seen and heard. The editors of the Baltimore Sun dine at a different table.

Concerning that earlier murder probe: Gary Condit played no role in Chandra Levy's death. All through the summer of 2001, pundits invented and massaged facts. This helped them pretend that he did.

We'd call that “moral squalor.” As in the famous Anderson tale, most of us Dubliners chose to pretend that this had never occurred

108 comments:

  1. Not to get off topic, but Maureen Dowd published another doozy of a column yesterday. To no one's surprise, she is blaming Bill and Hillary Clinton for the Weiner scandal.

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    1. No, Dowd is blaming Weiner for the Weiner scandal.

      In what should be a concern for TDH readers, Dowd and Collins are writing about actual politicians and elections while Somerby desperately tried to get readers by writing about this year's JonBenet cable newsfest.

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    2. What Weiner does in his private sex life has no consequence for any election. There is no more validity to Down or Collins writing about it than if they were to criticize what he eats for dinner or what he chooses to watch on TV in the evenings. This should not be any kind of scandal and there is no reason why a major newspaper should have published anything about it. The NY Times used to understand that but has succumbed to the feeling that it must compete with tabloids.

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    3. It's not private when you tweet nude pictures to thousands of followers, idiot.

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    4. It is private when you do so without using your real name and when those people have chosen to "follow" your tweets.

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    5. "What Weiner does in his private sex life has no consequence for any election." Replace the words "has" with "should have" and I couldn't agree more (as long as what he's doing isn't illegal). But Americans still maintain a residual puritanical streak from the country's early religious nuts, so we go through all this ado about nothing every time someone in public life lets their sexual freak flag fly.

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    6. MikeL, great comment. I was just reading Much Ado About Nothing, and I read in the forward that in Shakespeare's day, "nothing" was a common slang euphemism for the lower female naughty bits.

      Just saying: good job on the double entendre.

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    7. file under 'better late than never'
      ------

      In his later 7-31-13 dubliner masterpiece, lord robert de somerby says,

      "In Dubliners, Joyce tried to tell part of “the moral history of my country.” In his view, a moral and intellectual “paralysis” was general all over Ireland.
      In our own Dublin. . ."

      >>> stop right there. is somerby using using a country occupied by a genocidal superpower as a basis of comparison for modern day america? joyce wrote those words in 1907 or sometime prior. the anglo-irish treaty wouldnt occur for another fourteen years. is he trying to connect the infection of irish-bad in 1907 ireland to the descendants of ireland who work in the media in the usa today?
      --------------------------------

      previously lord robert de somerby also said,

      "According to The Modern World, Joyce saw “moral and intellectual paralysis” among his fellow Dubliners. He tended to attribute that condition to his country’s domination by a foreign power.
      The fact that Joyce thought he saw that doesn’t mean it was actually there!"

      >>> somerby actually admits that joyce attributed his countrys poor morale to britain. but then he disagrees with joyce and anyone with a shred of common sense and integrity.

      wow! what cantaloupes!

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    8. Definitely "not better late than never" -- Your demented ravings, based in utter incomprehension, are only better left untyped.

      Get back on your meds.

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  2. Bob, for 15 years I've been with you when you were right. But, on the issue of whether Zimmerman was in his car or standing, or walking after TM when the dispatcher said "we don't need you to do that", you have a fixation on an inconsequential triviality. The reason people haven't joined with you in outrage is that it's so trivial and just doesn't matter. And when people, like you unfortunately, are forced to go nuts over the inconsequentials, that just shows them (like you) to be grasping for little things to escape the larger truth which they (you) want to reject...That being that a rogue went hunting and bagged someone who did not deserve to die.

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    1. Actually many people have joined with Bob in outrage over the way this has been reported.

      These "inconsequential trivialities" as you characterize them have clearly led you to a belief in the myth of Trayvon Martin's victimization because you have clearly accepted the portrayal of Zimmerman as "a rogue" who "went hunting" instead of as a concerned community member watching for potential burglars who was attacked by a frightened teen and shot him in self defense (which is what the jury decided). No one "deserved to die" in that situation, but no one deserved to be beaten up either. If you paid more attention to the trivialities of how this has been reported, you would appreciate that more and focus on the skittles less.

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    2. "an inconsequential triviality" -- but one that must be repeated endlessly, with the folks repeating the falsehood always pretending that it is both true and very significant.

      But when it's time to correct it (and yes, to repeatedly correct it) that's when you come forward to say "Enough with these trivialities!"

      You are, unintentionally I assume, hilarious, LW.

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  3. "Mr. Zimmerman spotted Trayvon Martin, decided based on his appearance that he was a "punk" who didn't belong, and then disregarded the advice of a 911 operator and got out of his car to try to keep the teen from getting away......"

    Mr. Zimmerman spotted Trayvon Martin, decided based on his appearance that he was a "punk" AND A CRIMINAL who didn't belong, and then disregarded the TRAINING HE RECEIVED FROM THE POLICE ON PROPER NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH PROCEDURES, got out of his car CARRYING A LOADED WEAPON WITH A BULLET CHAMBERED WITH HOLLOW POINT BULLETS to try to keep the teen from getting away OR PERHAPS EVEN BETTER APPREHEND HIM DURING THE COMMISSION OF A CRIME.

    There, I fixed it for you Bob.

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    Replies
    1. mm,

      I take it that you think you've "fixed" TDH's description of events. Did you realize that the words you feel needed rephrasing are quoted from The Baltimore Sun?

      And the only "fix" here is your injection of the narrative you're jonesing for. How do you and The Sun know that Zimmerman's decision was based on appearance? He says it was based on behavior. Do you have any evidence that Zimmerman tried to APPREHEND Martin or that he wanted to? Zimmerman reported that Martin was running. "Perhaps" Zimmerman thought Martin was escaping after committing or attempting t commit a crime, but is it likely he thought the running figure was still committing a crime? I guess you can always fall back on that "perhaps."

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    2. If Zimmerman were intending to use his gun to apprehend Martin, how did he wind up on his back in the grass with Martin straddling him and repeatedly hitting him and banging his head on the concrete. That doesn't suggest that, even if he had his weapon drawn and pointed at Martin, he had much stomach for actually using it. THAT reality conflicts strongly with your suggested narrative. To make your story true, you must disregard the evidence given by the eye-witness Good and several 911 phone witnesses. If Trayvon Martin were shot because Zimmerman tried unsuccessfully to apprehend him, why was he not shot in the back while running away? Your preferred narrative just makes no sense in the context of the evidence presented during the trial.

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    3. More garbage. To "11:59", TM had no idea who Z was because Z refused to identify himself when asked so there could be no "apprehending"....Any such move by Z would be an attack on TM with full justification for an all out response by TM against an unknown aggressor with a gun. And NO witness, Neither Good nor anyone else testified contradicting Z's own account that the incident was precipitated when Z "grabbed" for something in the area of his pants pockets (and his cell phone was in his jacket).

      And "deadrat", you unfortunately deluded one, you forget that Z said both that TM was running away and then denied it when he realized that TM's running revealed that he (Z) has chased after TM...And to Hannity, who confronted him on that, Z revealed himself by the clumsy claim TM was "skipping" (not "running"). So your entire thesis of Z believing TM running from a crime is both ignorant and ridiculous.

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    4. I'm sorry, but *what* was it exactly that constituted "an attack on TM?"

      As far as I have heard, nothing.

      It simply can't true be that "reaching" or "grabbing" into one's own pants constitutes an attack, can it? Seriously?

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    5. deadrat,

      I can read. I'm fixing the words written in the Sun to words that Bob can't object to.

      "How do you and The Sun know that Zimmerman's decision was based on appearance? He says it was based on behavior."

      Somebody says, "how did he appear to you?", I'm not just thinking what he looked like physically. Behavior plays into it of course.
      The problem is, Martin's behavior was perfectly innocent.

      Zimmerman: This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about.

      Reality: The kid is walking home from a 7-11 talking on his cell phone to a friend.

      Zimmerman: Now he's just staring at me.

      Reality: The kid noticed Zimmerman's unexpected and unusual interest in him.

      Zimmerman: Yeah, now he's coming towards me.

      Reality: Zimmerman, after following him in his car, parks his car and continues to stare at Martin. Martin, continuing on his previous path is still going home. The fact that he is "coming towards" Zimmerman is perfectly natural since that was the direction he was heading before this sorry clown ever set eyes on him.

      Zimmerman: He's got his hand in his waistband. And he's a black male. (Unsolicited description of his race)

      Reality: He's got his hand in his waistband and he is indeed a black male. (Zimmerman got that one right.)

      Zimmerman: Somethings wrong with him. Yup, he's coming to check me out, he's got something in his hands, I don't know what his deal is.

      Reality: Martin is carrying his iced tea and possibly his flip phone and has to pass Zimmerman because Zimmerman parked his car along the route that Martin was going.

      Now, let's go to his interview with the detectives:

      Serino: OK, I wasn’t privy to that, but if you guys continue Neighborhood Watch, um, typically speaking at nighttime, um, the garb is black on black on black, with a black hoodie. Now this guy had a dark grey hoodie. It was dark, but his pants were beige. Not quite your, you know, your prime suspect type. But, um, I listened to the phone call that you made to the non-emergency line. OK. You sound…well tell me what was going through your head at the time.

      Zimmerman: Well, um, 2 or 3 weeks prior to that I’d seen somebody looking in the window of the house that he was in front of.

      Serino: Was he white or black?

      Zimmerman: Black.

      Serino: OK.

      Zimmerman: And the guy that lives there I know, he’s active in the neighborhood watch and he’s Caucasian.

      Curious, wouldn't you agree, that Zimmerman would just completely unsolicited volunteers the race of the person that lived in the house from a couple weeks ago?


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    6. Wrong, Martin didn't walk up to Zimmerman to check him out until Zimmerman was parked where he left his truck, not earlier.

      "It simply can't true be that "reaching" or "grabbing" into one's own pants constitutes an attack, can it? Seriously?"

      If it does, then Martin "attacked" Zimmerman when he reached into his pants while approaching the truck and Zimmerman would have been justified in getting out and beating him to the ground.

      There is nothing supporting the idea that this reaching for his phone provoked Martin. Martin focused on Zimmerman's head, not hands during the beating and Zimmerman never mentioned a struggle for the gun during those many seconds, only at the end. Something that would have been an arguably beneficial detail for Zimmerman.

      It makes perfect sense Zimmerman thought his phone was in his pants pocket because that's where it would normally be when he was not wearing a jacket.



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    7. Not to mention that there is no other explanation for Martin, who had 4 minutes to do something else, decided to confront Zimmerman. It's absurd to believe he just wanted to talk it out. Absurd.

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    8. deadrat
      "Do you have any evidence that Zimmerman tried to APPREHEND Martin or that he wanted to?"

      Yes, he ran after him carrying a gun and a flashlight, didn't return to his car, had already expressed frustration that "these fucking punks always get away and provides the police with a very hard to believe account of how he managed to instantly whip his gun from the holster behind his ass, while pinned to the ground with Martin sitting on his chest and raining holy hell down on him.

      Up until the point where they encounter each other, the only person acting agressively was Zimmerman, certainly not Martin. I see no reason to believe that in that brief instant in time - where we have no other evidence other than Zimmerman's cloudy and ever evolving story of what occurred - that Martin suddenly turned medieval on Zimmerman for no reason at all.

      Yes, this is all based on my interpretation of the physical and circumstantial evidence.

      Nobody knows what happened when the first blow was struck. But we have two different versions of the first words spoken by Martin. According to the girl he was talking to, Martin says, "why are you following me"
      According to Zimmerman's FIRST version, Martin says, "you got a fucking problem, Homey?"

      Nice little touch of "color", don't you think? He adds "homey" obviously confident that the kid he had killed was some type of gang member or something. Later, when he's being interviewed by the detectives, and he is told that Martin is a good kid, Zimmerman suddenly can't remember if Martin used the word "homey". Interesting, don't you think?

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    9. Also, keys are typically in your pants pocket. My understanding was that his gun was in the back of his waistband, not his pocket. Who keeps a gun in a pants pocket?

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    10. Cloudy and evolving story. For some reason any discrepancies did not concern either of the detectives the state called as witnesses. They thought he was truthful. Must be racist.

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    11. "If Zimmerman were intending to use his gun to apprehend Martin, how did he wind up on his back in the grass "

      Don't know. Nobody does. When you're fighting for your life, it's not hard to imagine.


      "...with Martin straddling him and repeatedly hitting him and banging his head on the concrete. That doesn't suggest that, even if he had his weapon drawn and pointed at Martin, he had much stomach for actually using it."

      You're exactly right. I don't think Zimmerman had any intention of shooting Martin in cold blood. He wanted to use the weapon to hold Martin until the police arrived. Only, you see, Zimmerman isn't a fucking cop and had no authority nor did he identify himself.

      "THAT reality conflicts strongly with your suggested narrative. To make your story true, you must disregard the evidence given by the eye-witness Good and several 911 phone witnesses. If Trayvon Martin were shot because Zimmerman tried unsuccessfully to apprehend him, why was he not shot in the back while running away?"

      Because Martin wasn't running away. Martin was the one acting responsibly, by coming out and initiating the dialog. "why are you following me?

      It was Zimmerman who froze at the initial encounter. Why? He wuz afwaid.

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    12. Yes, Martin turned around to "initiate dialogue."

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    13. Who proved that Martin "turned around"? Oh, that's right, that was you.

      It's amazing how everyone can just swallow whole the defense NARRATIVE. Martin was the one showing maturity and common sense by asking "why are you following me" like a human being to another human being.

      In an instant, Zimmerman could have defused the whole situation, but instead he froze. Why?

      "I wuz afwaid"

      Here lies Trayvon Martin. He had to die one night because George Zimmerman wuz afwaid.

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    14. Who proved he turned around? Rachel Jeantel proved it. She said TM said he had arrived at his father's fiance's house and the fight started back up by the sidewalk Zimmerman was on when his call to the dispatcher ended.

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    15. Rachel Jeantel wasn't there.

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    16. ...and neither was I, but of course I know more about what happened than the person Martin was talking to on his phone at the time!

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    17. Asshole. Don't be a clown and use my initials.

      What did she say? Pardon me if I don't accept your interpretation of what she said, I prefer to read it in total context myself.


      *********
      http://abcnews.go.com/US/trayvon-martin-told-friend-man-final-moments/story?id=19490796

      Jeantel said she told Martin to run but that he responded that he was almost home.

      "I say, 'Trayvon,' and then he said, 'Why are you following me for?'" Jeantel testified today. "And then I heard a hard-breathing man come say, 'What you doing around here?' ... And then I was calling, 'Trayvon, Trayvon.' And then I started to hear a little bit of Trayvon saying, 'Get off, get off.'"

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    18. Do you realize that your "total context" is an ABC news story, and not the trail transcripts?

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    19. Anonymous @ 12:20P,

      Slow down there, Tiger. I can assure you that while I'm often wrong, I'm rarely delusional. I have no idea what Zimmerman actually believed that night. My objection is to mm's sly "perhaps" that Zimmerman was eager to pursue Martin in the hope that he could apprehend a criminal in the act, presumably looking to enhancing his status as the valiant protector of the community. I"m just saying that this is absurd on its face: crimes are committed before the criminal runs from the scene of the crime.

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    20. Except Zimmerman was on the phone with the police when this part of Jeantel's conversation supposedly took place.

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    21. mm,

      I wasn't sure that you'd read TDH correctly, which is why I asked. You'll have to admit that it's not unusual in this blog to find commenters who can't seem to read for comprehension. And I'm afraid your "fixes" modify sentence objectionable to TDH into sentences even more objectionable to him.

      All of your annotated commentary sounds perfectly reasonable. Except I think that Zimmerman is asked by the dispatcher for the race of the person he's spotted. It is, however, a counter-narrative to the one that Zimmerman tells, and it paints Zimmerman as an overly-suspicious and jumpy observer. But let's go with it.

      So what? Being overly-suspicious isn't an irrational response given the history of crime in the area. Being jumpy isn't exactly what you want in a concealed carrier. But neither of these things is illegal. Perhaps the second speaks to a breach of responsibility to train oneself properly. Now it's true that you've described the set-up for a tragedy, but what we need to know is what happened immediately after the two came face-to-face, when Martin supposedly said "What's your problem?"

      No, I don't see anything suspicious about Zimmerman's volunteering that the home where he saw someone peering in a window had a white owner. He's telling the detective how he knows the peeper, who he's already identified as black, wasn't the homeowner

      Delete
    22. mm,

      I'm beginning to think that I've stupidly missed some clever rhetorical ploy in your re-write of The Sun's editorial. In my defense, I was distracted by all the SCREAMING. No, I don't have any evidence that Zimmerman tried or wanted to apprehend Martin. I have no idea about Zimmerman's actual mental state.

      The fact is that aggression requires a threat. We have no evidence that Zimmerman threatened Martin. And, crucially, we don't know what happened in the moments after they confronted each other. What you believe or find hard to believe is fine with me, as long as you realize that it isn't evidence. Which I think you do, as you say your version is based on your interpretation.

      By the way, the eyewitness has Martin on top of Zimmerman, but he couldn't testify to any blows landing. Zimmerman ended up with a minor abrasion to the back of his head and a broken nose, which does not comport with "holy hell" "raining down on him." Which isn't to say that he wasn't justified in fearing for his life.

      Martin's partner in conversation, Jeantel, has a few credibility problems, and as Martin's friend she has a motive to clean up his language. Zimmerman, of course, has every reason to make Martin seem confrontational. For my part, I'm willing to believe that Martin questioned Zimmerman as they faced each other. Martin was within his rights to do so, even if he took a challenging manner as long as what he said wasn't threatening. But I'm not sure what was said.

      Delete
    23. deadrat,

      Laugh and mock if you want. I don't see what's so absurd about my conjecture.

      Zimmerman first notices Martin just as Martin is entering the community. Zimmerman doesn't seem to think that Martin had done anything yet but he sure as hell didn't like him wandering around his neighborhood. Then Martin runs and Zimmerman loses him. Z doesn't know where Martin went, but he's very worried that he's still wandering around his community. Why is it absurd to think that maybe Z was concerned that Martin might still commit a crime?

      Delete
    24. mm,

      I'm not mocking you. When I do, there will be no doubt of my contempt.

      There's nothing absurd about most of your conjectures. My objection isn't to their absurdity but to the fact that they're conjectures.

      Zimmerman said he thought Martin was acting suspiciously. He called 311. That's his job as self-appointed guardian of the community. Perhaps he thought Martin was actually committing a crime. If so, he doesn't say which crime, but suppose that's what he thought. So what?

      I find there's no basis to believe that Zimmerman was out to apprehend Martin mid-crime. If that's not what you meant in your first post, then I apologize for my misunderstanding.

      Delete
    25. Anonymous at 3:30 PM:

      Yes, I do realize that what I posted wasn't the transcipt from her testimony. I just did a quick search to see if there was any reporting of what was claimed she said. I would like to read the full transcipt if you have a link. I can't find it. Specifically point out to me where Martin got to the house and turned around.

      Delete
    26. deadrat,

      "The fact is that aggression requires a threat. We have no evidence that Zimmerman threatened Martin."

      Well, tell that to Martin. He sure as hell felt threatened.

      Delete
    27. Here's my problem with this line of reasoning. There were at most 5 calls over a fairly lengthy period of time that Zimmerman made to police about suspicious black people in his neighborhood. If Zimmerman were really so prejudiced and trigger-happy in seeking out black teens to persecute, why were there not a lot more calls? With 20% of the neighborhood African American there would have been plenty more opportunities for Zimmerman to observe and stalk young black teens innocently minding their own business while he was running his various errands around the neighborhood. Where are those calls?

      Delete
    28. Well, tell that to Martin. He sure as hell felt threatened.

      Not getting away in the 4 minutes you have to get away does not jibe with feeling threatened. It very much jibes with feeling "dissed."

      Delete
    29. For the morons above who think that a confronted stalker grabbing for something in his pants cannot be an "attack", I remind you that Florida law defines self defense by the perceptions of the potential victim, not by the whimsies of stupid assholes who try to justify their misconceptions. Hope that's clear.

      For the idiot who says Z's cell phone would normally be in his pants pocket, I remind you that Z knew he had just JUST put that phone in his jacket moments earlier, and also confirmed he knew there was no reason to call 911 because his belief was that police were already right there...Z stated that to Hannity, even saying that his (Z's) yelling was to bring those police to his exact location, i.e., he did not call out in pain but to alert those police. But continue the lies and ignorance.

      Delete
    30. mm,

      Did Martin feel threatened? Given that Zimmerman killed him, he should have at some point. But you can't know that unless you've been attending seances. Perhaps Martin was angry or frightened. It's hard to say without his testimony and without knowing how the fight started.

      That doesn't mean that he couldn't have been perfectly within his rights to defend himself if he'd felt reasonably threatened, even if he was mistaken about the threat.

      Delete
    31. "If Zimmerman were really so prejudiced and trigger-happy in seeking out black teens to persecute, why were there not a lot more calls?"

      I don't know who you're addressing this to, but I never said that. Certainly the fact that Martin was black was a factor in Zimmerman's actions that night. He explained why. The defense essentially conceded that. There's nothing wrong with that and it doesn't make him a racist. But it also doesn't mean that Zimmerman didn't act recklessly that night.

      Delete
    32. "Martin's partner in conversation, Jeantel, has a few credibility problems, and as Martin's friend she has a motive to clean up his language. Zimmerman, of course, has every reason to make Martin seem confrontational."

      deadrat:

      You're unbelievable. Jeantel was a casual friend of Martin. What's her motive? She certainly didn't clean up his language in other places. Zimmerman had just committed homicide. Yeah, that's equivalent.

      Delete
    33. deadrat "Zimmerman said he thought Martin was acting suspiciously. He called 311. That's his job as self-appointed guardian of the community."

      No, see that's the problem. The primary purpose of a neighborhood watch program is to *deter* crime by maintaining a visible obvious presence. Which leads to the question, What the fuck were they thinking when they put Georgie in charge? Where are the Neighborhood Watch signs for the vehicles? Where are the hats or vests identifying the watchers?

      It reminds me of a classic line from Dr. Strangelove,

      Strangelove:

      Yes, but the... whole point of the doomsday machine... is lost... if you keep it a secret! Why didn't you tell the world, eh?
      ****************


      The whole point of a neighborhood watch program is lost if you think your primary job is to lurk and call 911 every time you get suspicious.

      Delete
    34. mm,

      OK, she was a casual friend. One who's seen her casual friend vilified as a thug. She can report her casual friend as politely asking Zimmerman about a problem he's having or she can report him as hostile. She's also been caught in several small lies. Why, again, do you believe her? Because her motive to shade the truth isn't as strong as Zimmerman's?

      The jury isn't supposed to determine who's the more truthful; they're supposed to determine reasonable doubt.

      Delete
    35. deadrat,

      Of course the jury is supposed to determine who is more truthful. Read the jury instructions.


      Instructions read to jury by The Honorable Debra S. Nelson, Circuit Judge.

      It is up to you to decide what evidence is reliable. You should use your common sense in deciding which is the best evidence, and which evidence should not be relied upon in considering your verdict. You may find some of the evidence not reliable, or less reliable than other evidence.


      You should consider how the witnesses acted, as well as what they said. Some things you should consider are:


      1. Did the witness seem to have an opportunity to see and know the things about which the witness testified?


      2. Did the witness seem to have an accurate memory?



      3. Was the witness honest and straightforward in answering the attorneys' questions?


      4. Did the witness have some interest in how the case should be decided?



      5. Does the witness' s testimony agree with the other testimony and other evidence in the case?


      6. Did the witness at some other time make a statement that is inconsistent with the testimony he or she gave in court?

      Delete
    36. mm,

      Your credibility goes down the tubes every time you use the name Georgie. It shows you are emotionally exaggerating, that you really want to despise someone who you don't really know that well.

      This is the crux for me, it seems that most of the people who think Zimmerman should have been found guilty have this unshakable image of who he is. These people are repulsed that anyone could have any sympathy for this despicable character, a creepy cracker. On the other hand, if one refuses to strip Zimmerman of his humanity, there seems to be a whole lotta doubt about what happened that very sad night.

      I am also sad that many do not understand where the beyond a reasonable doubt concept comes from. It was Blackstone who said, "it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer," in the eighteenth century describing one of the already long established principles of common law. If you believe in this concept, then it is far from a tragedy that a guilty man walks free. It is one of the most important ways of how we protect the innocent.

      Delete
    37. mm,

      Yes, the jury is supposed to determine who's telling the truth, but that determination is not supposed to be made on the basis of picking a winner between conflicting accounts. Zimmermann's story is self-serving and comes in several versions. Jeantel is testifying about a friend who was killed, and she's been caught in lies. Nowhere in the jury instructions does it say "When witnesses disagrees, determine which witness is the more reliable and believe the testimony of that witness." I understand that you find Jeantel the more reliable witness. Why is it again that you think she's telling the truth?

      Delete
    38. Hey, Anonymous10:18

      His own witness called him Georgie. You remember the lady who co-authored a book about the case? She was absolutely, dead certain, no question about it, 100% positive that the voice crying for help on the 911 tape was her friend, Georgie.

      Delete
    39. deadrat:

      "Yes, the jury is supposed to determine who's telling the truth, but that determination is not supposed to be made on the basis of picking a winner between conflicting accounts."

      Where do you come up with this bullshit? I think you're just trying to be argumentative now.


      **************************************
      It is up to you to decide what evidence is reliable. You should use your common sense in deciding which is the best evidence, and which evidence should not be relied upon in considering your verdict. You may find some of the evidence not reliable, or less reliable than other evidence.
      *********************************************

      Jeantel seemed like a very truthful witness who had no reason to lie. She didn't sugar coat anything. Who was it that testified about "creepy ass cracker"? That was her. I believe her. Is that ok with you? Maybe if Georgie testified under cross examination.....???

      Delete
    40. Hey,mm, your response certifies that you have a thing about Zimmerman. Picking up pet names used by people who actually knew him makes you feel that much closer to really knowing him.

      Will you realize that this is a delusion?

      Delete
  4. Bob. Bob. Bob. It is surely a sign of civilization's hanging by a thread when the only clarion voice warning of this perilous state then makes this salient fact disappear in futherance of his narrative.

    "Our investigation is basically saying that there is no Trayvon connection. This incident is again, an isolated incident," said Baltimore Detective Angela Carter-Watson.

    Police say they are basing that on interviews with several other witnesses and the victim himself who doesn't remember the teens yelling ‘For Trayvon.’

    Read more: http://www.abc2news.com/dpp/news/crime_checker/baltimore_city_crime/witness-to-for-trayvon-beating-speaks-out#ixzz2aRlJ7B00

    ReplyDelete
  5. Despite having convenient access to all the information, the media got it wrong and continues to get it wrong. Once the trial began all the facts were available. (Most of the facts were available quite a bit earlier.) The trial was televised. All the exhibits were available for purchase. The media even had access to facts withheld from the jury, such as information of Zimmerman's cell phone.

    Since the media did such shoddy reporting when they had (or ought to have had) all the facts, how do you think they did when many of the facts weren't available. E.g., the Benghazi attack. Or the IRS targeting of political groups applying for tax-exempt status for closer scrutiny based on their names or political themes.

    Media who are comfortable making things up despite knowing the facts must be even more comfortable when the facts are unknown. So, conservative media make up that these are huge scandals. Liberal media make up that these are non-scandals. The bottom line for the public is that we don't know the details of what did or didn't happen. And, IMHO we won't ever know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was a time when investigative journalists went out and uncovered facts and reported them.

      Delete
    2. You're right Dave, we know the media completely bungled the Benghazi timeline and tried their hardest to turn it into some scandal, which eventually failed because there was nothing there. Same with the IRS - they repeatedly tried to turn it into a scandal by only reporting that tea party groups were targeted, when in fact progressive groups were as well (or even the idea that it would have been somehow wrong to target political groups when *that was the whole point*) so that eventually petered out too.

      Your last paragraph is laughable false equivalence garbage. Your "liberal media" trumped up the IRS and Benghazi fake scandals just as Fox did. Actually maybe I am reading your wrong as I have no idea what you could mean by "make up that these are non-scandals". Well that's not true, I do know what you could mean, but it's too moronic to fathom.

      Delete
  6. It seems very likely that that Trayvon Martin will, in the long run, go down with such other moments of liberal civil rights glory as Twana Brawley. And only people whom couldn't be happier about it will continue to endlessly harp. Enter Bob.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually LOADS of people continue to "harp" and mis-state -- Greg just wants this blog to stop saying so.

      Shorter Greg:

      The Baltimore Sun can go right ahead making shit up -- but pointing their BS is really just too, too much, you awful Somerby!

      Delete
  7. "Eventually, we even got to see how doggedly many “liberals” will fight to defend the right to make false claims! And as always, we saw the problem which underlies this moral and intellectual breakdown:"

    Lawyers are advocates for their clients. Advocates. They are ON A SIDE. Advocacy is DIFFERENT than a recitation of facts. If journalists are taking what lawyers say when presenting their story, their theory of the case, and reporting that as fact, the problem is journalists not lawyers. One of those two people is doing his or her job, and the other is not. One is an ADVOCATE. The other is (supposedly) not.

    Repeating what Zimmerman's lawyer says as fact is exactly the same as repeating what Martin's lawyer said as fact. Zimmerman's lawyer had a theory and Martin's lawyer and then later the state had a theory, too. There was very little physical evidence on the self defense claim, and frankly, the injuries Zimmerman suffered do NOT support the claim of a brutal beating. Both defense and state theories were plausible, but of course the state has a higher bar. Luckily for him, that isn't required for his self defense case. He needs only the subjective "reasonable" belief that he was "justified" in killing Martin.

    I don't know why there's so much confusion between the role of advocates and the role of people who are supposed to recite facts, but there is. I see it all the time. The same thing happened with Bradley Manning's lawyer. Manning's lawyer has a DUTY to present the story in the light most favorable to his client, and the prosecution has to present the story in the light most favorable to the "state" (military justice system, in Manning's case), although the state has an additional duty that the defense doesn't have. Manning's lawyers (proper and good!) advocacy for his client was reported as fact. It's not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The problem is when journalists uncritically report the information given to them by lawyers (on either side) as fact. As to the nature of Zimmerman's injuries, there was testimony at the trial about what those injuries were consistent with and whether they were serious or not. So, we need not depend on your interpretation of them (especially given that you are not a doctor, did not examine Zimmerman after the fight, and thus cannot know how serious they were). One expert testified during the trial that paramedics should have taken Zimmerman to the hospital so that there could have been a better assessment of whether he suffered head injury or not. Finally, while the attorneys do have a duty to defend their clients, they are bound by ethics that include telling the truth, even to the media. Telling falsehoods to influence media and public opinion in support of civil cases, negotiations with insurance companies and the community organization that settled with the Martins, and to urge the DOJ to bring civil rights charges is clearly unethical behavior on the part of the Martin's attorney, aided and abetted by the media. The numerous ethical violations of the prosecution are another aspect of this trial that has not seen much media attention.

      Delete
    2. I made a quick google search and came up with this:

      ****************
      Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.

      FLORIDA RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT [CMike- Scroll below short End of Life announcement section at the top of the webpage.]

      INTRODUCTION
      Preamble: A Lawyer's Responsibilities

      A lawyer is a representative of clients, an officer of the legal system, and a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice....

      In the practice of law conflicting responsibilities are often encountered. Difficult ethical problems may arise from a conflict between a lawyer's responsibility to a client and the lawyer's own sense of personal honor, including obligations to society and the legal profession. The Rules of Professional Conduct prescribe terms for resolving such conflicts. Within the framework of these rules many difficult issues of professional discretion can arise. Such issues must be resolved through the exercise of sensitive professional and moral judgment guided by the basic principles underlying the rules....

      ADVOCATE

      Rule 4-3.6 Trial Publicity

      (a) Prejudicial Extrajudicial Statements Prohibited.

      A lawyer shall not make an extrajudicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that it will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding due to its creation of an imminent and substantial detrimental effect on that proceeding.

      (b) Statements of Third Parties.

      A lawyer shall not counsel or assist another person to make such a statement. Counsel shall exercise reasonable care to prevent investigators, employees, or other persons assisting in or associated with a case from making extrajudicial statements that are prohibited under this rule.

      TRANSACTIONS WITH PERSONS OTHER THAN CLIENTS

      Rule 4-4.1 Truthfulness in Statements to Others

      In the course of representing a client a lawyer shall not knowingly:

      (a) make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person; or

      ****************

      Delete
    3. Anonymous @ 11:43A,

      According to Florida law, presenting an affirmative defense of justification requires for acquittal, a preponderance of the evidence that lethal force was required. Florida courts have ruled that the state must still prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, so that merely raising reasonable doubt about the legal use of force is enough to prevent conviction.

      Delete
  8. Very moving. Thanks, Mr. Somerby.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Very good explanation of why TDH has focused on this episode. Not that it needed explaining to everyone who watched in horror as the entire sordid thing played out.

    It's astonishing that anyone would still believe, or pretend to believe, that the details and favorite lies do not deserve the repeated exposure. It illustrates, at best, how, even to this day, these disgusting people have not paid attention to the subject they're writing about and that this lazy treatment is accepted despite social consequences (or direct consequences for a person who faced possible imprisonment because of it).

    If people are looking for scary but useful tales to tell their children, they should explain the Tawana Brawley and Duke Lacrosse episodes. Now that we have seen the same mob's antics go as far as they have here, we can't be disturbed merely thinking about what might have happened to the victims of Sharpton and his ilk in those cases.

    With this case, they've finally succeeded in the unthinkable. They finally were able to enlist the help of morally bankrupt cable news outlets and papers of record, along with scores of morally bankrupt rank and file "progressives." Yes, this case is worthy of every word TDH has devoted to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *cable news, "progressives," and a "progressive" president.

      Delete
    2. oh my fucking god. it wasn't enough for you to go on and on and on about how it just HAD to be 100% the black guy's fault in the Zimmerman/Martin ordeal (as if you KNOW what happened), now you're going after the "black" president. dude, just give it a rest already. better yet go ahead -- using actual quotes with full context, show everyone here how Obama's very careful, sensitive, measured statements about the Zimmerman/Martin case are no different from the lies, inflammatory language, misleading images, etc., that the media and SOME (not all) "progressives" engaged in. We'll be waiting patiently.

      Delete
    3. They're worse. A president injects racial commentary in the context of a case that wasn't racial, with no regard for the American citizen who was innocent and had to stand trial because of race hustlers. Awful.

      Delete
    4. "Scores" of progressives isn't the same as all.

      Delete
    5. "Injects racial commentary"...you're joking, right? Everyone in the country was "injecting racial commentary" because of the way the media covered the case from day 1, but you think the nation's first "black" president should just ignore that aspect of the whole situation. Nigga pleez.

      Delete
    6. And just for the record, you failed utterly to show that what Obama said was anywhere near what the media did with their lies, images, etc. Obama didn't say a single misleading or inflammatory thing. And wisely, he did not get into the specifics of the case, but instead spoke to the broader issues that were at play -- people's perceptions, etc. He struck a very delicate balance. I am so glad that a beautiful, humane, articulate soul like Obama is president and your hateful ass can only take impotent cheap shots at him from an obscure sideline. The country has come a loooooooong way. Thank god.

      Delete
  10. BTW an old Josephine Tey mystery, The Franchise Affair gives a great picture of how the Tawana Brawley thing could come about. This marvelous novel was inspired by a real 18th century case. There's nothing new about the media and various interest groups exaggerating and misreporting a false accusation. What's different in the Zimmerman and Duke Lacrosse cases is the added element of race.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bonfire of the Vanities is all that and race too

      Delete
    2. David in Cal and Anonymous @1:02Let's add
      To Kill a Mockingbird to our literary list, shall we?

      Tawanna Brawley and Duke Lacrosse as tales for kiddies? I do believe The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf has been around for some time, though it obviously has gender bias.

      Say, do either of you accept Somberby's premise that lazy journalists repeating favored lies is responsible for the death of thousand's of American in Iraq along with untold thousands of Iraqi's.

      You see, my friends, there is a major difference in the tales you are comparing
      to the Zimmerman/Martin case. In the latter, there was an actual homicide committed. There was an actual police recommendation for a manslaughter charge. All before the "lies" reported and repeated by the press did the bidding of race hustlers and whipped the lynch mob into action by asking the President what this case said about race relations.

      Perhaps you should borrow from the left and chant "Press lied, nobody died." Because the guy who died did so before the press printed or spoke a word.

      rick

      Delete
    3. "The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf has been around for some time, though it obviously has gender bias."

      It isn't obvious to me what gender bias is involved in telling a story that has a little boy as a main character. Please explain.

      Delete
    4. Do you "accept Somberby's premise that lazy journalists repeating favored lies is responsible for the death of thousand's [sic] of American [sic] in Iraq along with untold thousands of Iraqi's [sic]."

      Yep.

      Delete
    5. By calling the child a little boy we may be imposing upon him a gender identity not of his choosing and a sex, also not of his choosing, that he might wish to change some day.

      Delete
    6. Rick, I agree that To Kill a Mockingbird is a good analogy, with falsely accused George Zimmerman in the role of Tom Robinson. I suspect that's not what you meant.

      Unlike Tom Robinson, Zimmerman wasn't punished or killed because of his non-crime. However, he's alive because he has been in hiding and worn a bullet-proof vest. He avoided a very long prison sentence for his non-crime thanks to effective legal representation.

      Somerby's premise is that if the media had treated Gore more fairly, he would have been elected and stayed out of war in Iraq. The first part is probably true. The election was so close that any change at all would have elected Gore. As to whether Gore would have gone to war in Iraq, who knows? Nor do we know whether Saddam would have resumed development of nuclear weapons or how many Iraqis he would have killed.

      Delete
    7. I wonder what the Zimmerman Hate club thinks of wannabe cop Boo Radley, creeping around in the dark, neighborhood-watching children overzealously, and ultimately killing someone who attacked someone else?

      Delete
    8. DAinCA,

      Unlike Tom Robinson, Zimmerman wasn't punished or killed because of his non-crime.

      So what you meant to say was that To Kill a Mockingbird isn't much of an analogy at all.

      And we're pretty sure Saddam wouldn't have resumed development of nuclear weapons, but whether he would have killed more of fewer Iraqis than the number killed in our Orwellianly-named Operations is unknown

      Delete
    9. What we do know is that you don't decide if the Soviet Union invading Afghanistan is a good idea based on whether there might be fewer deaths than if they didn't.

      But that was the argument of the Soviets.

      Sane folks (and the US government!) rightly rejected that as a laughable defense of indefensible superpower aggression.

      The exact same analysis is true with regard to the USA's aggression against Iraq.

      Delete
    10. Il Dunce sold the Iraq War as an existentially-vital mission to deprive a dictator of WMDs that would produce a mushroom cloud over Chicago sooner or later but probably sooner. When the primary reason for the war was found to be a lie and its execution turned out to be the disaster it became, the neocon chickenhawks responsible needed a handy excuse.

      It's become a tell for the admission of abject failure on all fronts: "But Saddam was a bad person."

      Delete
  11. There was an actual police recommendation for a manslaughter charge.

    Brought about by pressure by blacks in the department who warned him about the agitators, said the detective who recommended it.

    You forgot it was swept out of the normal channels as it was about to go to the grand jury, because the agitators and politicians had their marching orders from the very top and did not want to risk a no bill.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous @ 4:58P,

    What grand jury?

    ReplyDelete
  13. As tensions mount over the Feb. 26 shooting death of Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch patrolman George Zimmerman, pressure is building on Seminole/Brevard County State Attorney Norm Wolfinger to have him arrested in the killing. Demonstrators are converging on Florida to support the teen’s family and express their frustration over police so far not making an arrest in the case.

    Wolfinger has called a grand jury, which will convene on April 10, to investigate the case and determine if Zimmerman should be charged.


    http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/03/21/trayvon-martin-killing-prosecutor-orders-probe-as-calls-for-justice-rise/#ixzz2aTInDizM

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This from that same article. How many gigantic LIES can you spot in this one tiny paragraph?

      Despite being told by police dispatchers he did not need to follow Martin, the armed Zimmerman did so;when he confronted him they wrestled and Martin was shot once in the chest, dying at the scene. Zimmerman claimed self-defense under Florida’s “stand your ground” law and that Martin attacked him. He has not been charged by police.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the reference. I'd forgotten that Corey had actually cancelled a grand jury instead of just not calling one of her own.

      Delete
  14. Quaker in a BasementJuly 29, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    Bob, you have finally gone completely off the fairway and deep into the weeds.

    The Baltimore Sun posts and editorial about a story of national interest in which a young man ended up dead and you want to know why they didn't also post about a completely different event that resulted in skinned elbows?

    And then, after admitting that all the awful, awful behavior by the awful, awful press had not one thing to do with the attack in question, you go on to fret about imaginary attacks that have not yet occurred.

    I hope sane, sharp Bob will come back someday. I miss him.

    ReplyDelete
  15. we're pretty sure Saddam wouldn't have resumed development of nuclear weapons

    Because...?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Turns out the embargo was pretty effective. Not against a pretense of having nuclear weapons, but against the real thing.

      Delete
    2. Yes, but by 2002 there were growing efforts to end the embargo. E.g. see http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/170/41947.html

      Delete
  16. I think TDH's focus on this case is totally warranted. It has truly been appalling to watch people engage in all kinds of logical fallacies and wishful thinking in an effort to find Zimmerman guilty. The truth is...at least to me...we don't really know what happened that night. We don't know who started the physical altercation. And because we don't know and the prosecution came not even remotely close to putting on a case that contradicted Zimmerman's claims of self-defense, Zimmerman walked. And that means the system worked.

    And I would be willing to lay odds that the people who wanted Zimmerman convicted would be singing another tune if they had been accused of a heinous crime and people were engaging in all kinds of supposition and biased reasoning to find them guilty.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Actually Trayvon Martin was wearing khakis. At least, he appears to be, in the picture of his corpse posted on Gawker.

    ReplyDelete
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