DUBLINERS TOO: The liberals this time!


Part 4—Why bother having professors: Yesterday, we received an email from The Nation, a famous journal of the alleged left.

To be honest, the email was a fund-raising pitch. It was written by Mychal Denzel Smith, a smart, involved young Nation blogger. It started out like this:
Dear Friend of The Nation,

There isn’t a good reason for me to be as angry as I am over the “not guilty” verdict handed down for George Zimmerman in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. I always knew that would be the outcome.

And yet there I was, crying rage-filled tears as “ZIMMERMAN NOT GUILTY” appeared on television. Because no amount of cynicism can override the pain of knowing a 17-year-old boy is dead through no fault of his own, and no one will be held accountable.

Our nation is crying out for an honest, respectful dialogue about racism in America. One of the few places that conversation is happening is here at The Nation where I am a regular blogger.
Full disclosure: We aren’t exactly a friend of The Nation, although we subscribed for quite a few years. That said, we were struck by the contrast between what the email promised and what it quickly provided.

The email said that The Nation provides an honest dialogue. As it continued, the email said that we “can count on The Nation to make sense of all the noise and confusion.”

The email said that The Nation “fights tabloid news with fearless, truth-telling investigation and commentary.” But right there in that second paragraph, Smith gave an account of this recent case which had the characteristics of tabloid pseudo-reporting written all over it:

In the unfortunate case of Trayvon Martin, is “a 17-year-old boy dead through no fault of his own?” We will break that question into two parts:

Is a 17-year-old really a boy? Ignoring the bathos in that locution, we’ll move on to the fact-based question:

In the case of this teenager, is he dead “through no fault of his own?”

Smith asserts that state of affairs as an established fact. We’d have to regard that as tabloid writing as opposed to honest conversation.

What actually happened in Sanford that night? Unlike Smith, we weren’t physically present, so we aren’t going to tell you.

That said, people who are 17 are sometimes prone to doing things which are extremely unwise. Is it possible that Martin behaved unwisely that night, perhaps even violently?

Of course that is possible! Unless you’re reading the standardized, tabloid writing which, in this latest unfortunate case, has been adopted by the mainstream press corps from voices on “the left.”

Our “press corps” has been writing tabloidized novels for decades. When it writes its Standard Group Stories, the corps tends to take its account of the facts from some preferred outside source.

The 1990s was a time of rising conservative power in Washington. Perhaps for that reason, the “press corps” accepted stenography from Republican and conservative sources as it constructed its tabloid-flecked novels about President Clinton and the first lady, then about Candidate Gore.

The liberal world just sat there and took it as these punishing novels were crafted. In that conduct, our career liberal leaders proved that they are either very dumb or just deeply immoral.

You can make the choice! At any rate, the mainstream press corps’ alignment with conservative sources began coming apart in July 2003, as the failure to find so-called WMD in Iraq began to move center stage. In the wake of that embarrassment, the mainstream press began moving away from Bold Leader Bush and his Strong Silent Leadership Style.

For the previous dozen years, they had strongly tended to align with the right, from whom they took their dictation. (Example: In the twenty-month coverage of Campaign 2000, it’s very hard to distinguish mainstream treatment of Candidate Gore from that which emerged on the right.)

Starting in July 2003, this alignment began to dissolve. And so it came to pass: By the spring of 2012, when the national press began to report the killing of Martin, the major organs were willing to take their dictation from “the left.”

In the process, we got yet another hapless product—another tabloid-inflected, standardized tale. But this time, the fake facts, cloying language and disappeared information all came from voices on “the left.”

This time, the “press corps” farmed out its responsibilities to forces on the left! Handed this responsibility by a deeply irresponsible press corps, we lefties churned the typical reams of bullshit, though we’re still assuring the world that we created “an honest dialogue” about Martin’s death—that we’ve been “fighting tabloid news with truth-telling investigation and commentary.”

What a manifest pile of crap! Let’s return to Joyce’s Dublin, or perhaps to Camus’ Oran.

When Joyce surveyed his nation in Dubliners, he saw moral and intellectual “paralysis” pervading all sectors of the community. When Camus imagined Oran in the grip of a plague, he explained why respectable citizens couldn’t see, wouldn’t say, what was happening.

Presumably, Joyce overstated the case. Even at 25, young people tend to be hot-headed. But the tabloid behavior has been general all over this nation when it comes to the killing of Martin.

The Nation tells you that isn’t true. The Nation may be a bit blind here.

Many sectors have contributed to the hysteria and the misinformation which have dominated the treatment of Martin’s killing. The lurid fake facts began with the lawyers. But the “press corps” quickly adopted these facts, and its separate stable of fact-checkers went on a good long vacation.

White liberals began to screech and yell, trying to convince the world that they actually care about black kids. At some point, the professors came into our lives.

A few days ago, we reread Ta-Nehisi Coates’ post about the Zimmerman verdict, with which we would largely agree. (We don’t think point 6 makes much sense.) This time, we decided to take Coates up on point 5: “I think you should read everything my friend Jelani Cobb has written about this case.”

We decided to follow this suggestion. This is the link Coates provided.

We have no doubt that Cobb is a thoroughly good and decent person. That said, we’re not sure why Coates recommended his work, since the spirit of Cobb’s work contrasts quite strongly with the analysis offered by Coates.

Is it possible that Trayvon Martin did something foolish that horrible night? (Seventeen-year-olds often do.) Is it possible that he even did something gratuitously violent? This too is not uncommon, and some of the evidence suggests that this might have happened that night.

Coates acknowledges this possibility, undermining The Nation’s account of that evening’s events. But in this post, written on the night of the verdict, Professor Cobb snarks at this possibility.

In these passages, Cobb wishes undesirable possibilities away. What’s the point of having professors if this is the best they can do?
COBB (7/13/13): The most damning element here is not that George Zimmerman was found not guilty: it’s the bitter knowledge that Trayvon Martin was found guilty. During his cross examination of Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, the defense attorney Mark O’Mara asked if she was avoiding the idea that her son had done something to cause his own death. During closing arguments, the defense informed the jury that Martin was armed because he weaponized a sidewalk and used it to bludgeon Zimmerman...At the defense’s table, and in the precincts far beyond it where donors have stepped forward to contribute funds to underwrite their efforts, there is a sense that Zimmerman was the victim.


We can understand the verdict to mean validation for the idea that the actions Zimmerman took that night were those of a reasonable man, that the conclusions he drew were sound, and that a black teen-ager can be considered armed any time he is walking down a paved street.
What’s the point of having professors if all they can give you is snark? If Martin did a foolish and violent thing that night—as, of course, he may have done—that doesn’t mean that “a black teen-ager can be considered armed any time he is walking down a paved street,” as Cobb snarks. It would mean that one teen-ager did a very foolish thing, as many teenagers do.

Coates acknowledged this possibility. Cobb was writing a novel while providing a scholarly feel.

Cobb rolls his eyes at the idea that Zimmerman could be considered the victim. But of course, he may have been the initial victim, depending on what actually happened that night. We weren’t present in Sanford that night, so we can’t tell you what actually happened. What is the point of having professors if they just pretend that they can?

We were more struck by this earlier post—by the way Professor Cobb sticks to the tabloidized narrative:
COBB (7/10/13): Last winter, George Zimmerman saw a hoodie-clad black male cutting through a subdivision in the rain, and registered him as a threat. There are many white people who do not think of themselves as racist who can imagine themselves drawing the same conclusion. From this perspective, blandishments about Trayvon Martin’s right to move through that neighborhood unmolested are only so much political correctness. And as a result, Zimmerman becomes a sympathetic figure, a man who did what anyone would do under the circumstances—a man whose cause can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.


We live in an era in which the protocol for addressing even the most severely bigoted behavior very often includes a conditional apology to the offender—a declaration that he has made a terrible error, but is, of course, in no way racist—and, eventually, an outpouring of support for the fallible transgressor, victim of the media and the “race-hustlers.” We grade racism on the severest of curves, and virtually no one qualifies. This apparent contradiction—the prevalence of racist attitudes, the disavowal of actual racism—is key to understanding the way Zimmerman has been received. His actions are understandable, even reasonable, because it doesn’t take a racist to believe black males equal danger. To bridge the gap between those assumptions and the objective fact of Martin as an unarmed teen on a snack run, it’s been necessary for Zimmerman’s defenders—legal and otherwise—to assassinate a dead teen-ager’s character, to turn him from a slight seventeen-year-old into a rapper in his thirties with facial tattoos. Traces of weed, a few vile tweets, and a suspension from school don’t usually get you menace-to-society status, but for some Zimmerman diehards, it’s close enough to round up.
Did Zimmerman “register Martin as a threat” because he was “hoodie-clad?” Like Cobb, we have no way of knowing. Unlike Cobb, we aren’t going to hand you a novel packaged as analysis.

Did Zimmerman “register Martin as a threat” because of his hoodie? That has always been the story told by the Martin lawyers; they also had no possible way of knowing if that was true. In repeating their tale in the form of snark, this professor is playing stenographer too, just as the “press corps” has done.

Alas! On his initial call to police, Zimmerman described suspicious behavior by Martin, some of which seemed to be menacing. He didn’t mention Martin’s clothing until he was asked.

Did this behavior actually happen? We can’t tell you that! We weren’t there, though Professor Cobb was. Indeed, Cobb was inside Zimmerman’s head, from which vantage he offers a tabloidized tale about what roused the vigilante’s initial concern.

(By the way: Could "many white people who do not think of themselves as racist imagine themselves drawing the same conclusion" about a hoodie-clad figure? Duh! Of course they could, depending on what the hoodie-clad figure did!)

In the second paragraph we have posted, the professor keeps stenography alive. It is, of course, an “objective fact” that Martin was a teen-ager on a snack run that night. But other “objective facts” came into being that night, to most of which Cobb has no access.

No problem! He simply assembles the facts he likes and disappears all other facts. He disregards all other possibilities, especially those in which a teen-ager does something very foolish, as teen-agers sometimes do.

Why do we bother having professors if this is the best they can do?

A person could write a hundred novels about what happened in Sanford that night. In one of those novels, Zimmerman approaches Martin at gunpoint. He then starts walking him back to his car.

Fearing for his life, Martin strikes as they near the car. This would explain the location of the fight in a way favorable to Martin. (You haven't seen the location discussed in the press. By agreement with the lawyers, this part of the story has been disappeared.)

You could write a hundred novels in which you imagined the events of that night. We can imagine various tales in which Zimmerman behaves in openly criminal ways. But we can imagine other events which comport with Zimmerman’s story. In those novels, Martin doubles back around and attacks Zimmerman as he walks back to his car.

You can imagine events in various ways, but in all such cases, you are imagining. There is little real evidence as to what actually happened. As he picks and chooses his facts, does this professor know that?

As students of selective narration, we especially enjoyed one statement by Cobb. We refer to his citation of “a suspension from school.”

Before we proceed, let us state and restate a key fact—we don’t know what happened that night. We don’t know what Martin and/or Zimmerman did in the dark. Nor do we know why they did it.

We don’t know if Martin did something foolish that night. We also don’t know if he did something gratuitously violent, although of course he may have. We do know that we get to chuckle at the professor’s reference.

A suspension from school? The professor’s statement is even technically accurate! It’s true: A suspension from school doesn’t usually get you menace-to-society status, nor should it. But we had to chuckle at that presentation, because everyone, including Cobb, knows that this was Martin’s third suspension from school that year, and it was only February. In one of those suspensions, women’s jewelry was found in his locker along with something the school described as a burglary tool.

That doesn’t mean that Martin did something wrong that night, and he plainly may not have. But it tilts the scales toward the idea that something was tilting in the wrong direction for this particular teenager, as sometimes happens.

Three suspensions from school in six months is a lot of suspensions. But for a stenographer like Cobb, those three suspensions collapse to just one, with ridicule extended to those who have wondered if Martin may have done something unwise, perhaps even violent that night. There is no way to know what happened that night, of course. But as this professor manhandles the facts, a large number of possibilities are going to disappear.

We have no idea why Coates would cite Cobb. Coates acknowledges that he doesn’t know what happened out in the darkness that night. Cobb keeps putting his thumb on the scale, pretending that he does. In truth, he is reworking a tabloid novel which came directly from the lawyers and was instantly accepted by the stenographers in the “mainstream press.”

In the 1990s, they were increasingly taking dictation from forces on the right. After July 2003, that presumption started falling apart. By the time this story went national, they were happy to take their dictation straight from those family lawyers. Indeed, the heinous coverage of this event has come to us wholly from the left, as we prove that we can be just as dumb and dishonest as the people we used to revile.

On Monday evening, July 15, Professor Cobb went on the NewsHour, where he repeated a pair of false facts. "The fact of the matter is, Mr. Zimmerman had called the police 46 times in the previous six years, only for African-Americans, only for African-American men," he falsely stated to the hapless Judy Woodruff.

"The police—the dispatcher told him not to get out of his vehicle. He proceeded to get out of his vehicle," Cobb also said. On that same program, another expert from the left told Woodruff, who just sat there, that the verdict had come from an all-white jury!

This is what happened when Woodruff and them decided to take their dictation from us on the left. They'd come a long way from the 1990s, although their facts were still wrong and their novels were still highly tabloid.

We’ve told you this for many years: As in Dubliners, so too here. The moral and intellectual squalor are general through our elites.

Why do we even have professors if they can’t do any better than this? For that matter, why do we even have news programs?

For twenty years, it’s been the practice. Our newshours offer parades of “the dead.” They recite long strings of approved false facts and they tell pleasing fake tales.

Tomorrow: Two decades of silence


  1. Maybe William F. Buckley, Jr. was right, when he said

    I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.

    1. Then again, maybe he wasn't.

      By the way, is Professor Cobb an employee of the University of Connecticut? If not, he's neither a faculty member at Harvard nor a government employee.

      I guess if credibility is of little concern, why not post this shit.

    2. Insert "federal" between "a" and "employee."

    3. Hooo Boy: delete "not" after "If" and replace with "he is".

    4. Why Boston, though? How about Albuquerque or Kalamazoo.

    5. Quaker in a BasementAugust 2, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      People whose last names begin with the letter A are notoriously corrupt.

      You could look it up.

  2. The strained efforts to make a case against Zimmerman are pathetic and embarrassing. Even resorting to semantics around the word "armed" to suggest a person who has a gun cannot be threatened by one who does not, because they know it would sound even stupider to say "everyone knows a person who is carrying a concealed weapon cannot attack and beat, possibly to death, one who isn't."

    1. Yes it is a real strain. Bob should really focus on those inflammatory gun semantics. I mean the gun thing is just as bad as the bag of skittles.

      And how come the race hustlers, in their woeful lament about what to tell their children, aren't telling the little thugs to avail themselves of their second amendment rights? If Trayvon really did have one of those guns he wrote the thug texted about, we could have heard his side of the story instead of Zimmerman's. He could have just told police the unshaven perve was follwing him with his hands in his waistband.

      Skittles don't stop bad guy night stalkers with a gun. Good guys with guns in their hoddies do.

  3. Keep up the good work on all this race-baiting garbage in the lefty media. It's also good to see you are starting to come to your senses about the real liberal agenda of foisting political correctness and multiracialism on America.

    1. Show me a critic of political correctness, and I'll show you someone upset that there are now repercussions to using the word "nigger" in public.


    2. ...because I am a mind-reader!

      Berto the Magnificent

    3. Calling me Magnificent will most certainly lead people to believe you read minds.

      But this is TDH, so some know-nothing will be around here soon to criticize the truth we write.


    4. Show me a critic of political correctness, and I'll show you someone upset that there are now repercussions to using the word "nigger" in public.

      I think people should be fired from their jobs for using the word at their jobs in social media, but am also a critic of political correctness such as straining every cell in one's brain to defend with a "Zimmerman is guilty" position despite the inevitable failure of that endeavor.

    5. Berto,

      If you can't read minds why do you pretend to? After all, you can't know what everyone "critical of political correctness" thinks, much less how they feel about a specific word.

      But here, let someone tell you something for a change, rather than you pretending that you "know it all" (while pretending the problem is *other* people doing that, whatta nerve you have!):

      I loathe political correctness. I feel it does exist. I also detest the usage of the word you quoted at 1:01. Your own usage, quoted, was in an attempt to try to slime people you know nothing about and is grotesque -- definitely not as grotesque as its usage to slur black Americans directly, but still awful.

      Go back to your hole.

    6. Just for the record, the idea that that word nigger should retain its offensiveness doesn't really make a whole lot of logical sense. It's based on the assumption that blacks are genetically inferior to whites. Unfortunately they're about as good, which clearly is nothing to write home about. I mean, we actually have a literal HNIC. Therefore calling someone a nigger as if it's an insult is kind of silly.

      Ironically, when nigger really was insulting, using it wasn't that big a deal because of the racial prejudice of that time. Now that we see blacks working successfully in positions of power, now we see people losing their shit. Go figure.

    7. Great post Kevin. Hopefully Bob will take the cue from you and make a real push for political incorrectness and uniracialism... like God intended when he put the white man on these shores with the firepower to wipe out the pesky red ones and supplant them with a stronger black breed who worked well in chains.

    8. Kevin, you apparently don't like multiracialism. I assume that means you want only whites to live in this country. Just curious: 1. why do you WANT only whites to live here? And why do you think only whites SHOULD be allowed to live here?

    9. There was supposed to be a "2." in front of that second question. The questions are similar but not identical.

    10. Anonymous August 1, 2013 at 3:10 PM,

      Of course there are plenty of other reasons to loathe political correctness than what I intimated. You (and the rest of the critics here) just forgot to mention any of them.


  4. Tweet from CNN's Jeffrey Toobin

    Jeffrey Toobin ‏@JeffreyToobin 13 Jul
    Trayvon got the death penalty for buying Skittles in a hoodie. I understand it, but still . . . #zimmermantrial

    1. So Toobin thinks Zimmerman is a Skittlesist. The sight of a box of Skittles drove him into a murderous rage.

    2. Would this be the same Jeffrey Toobin who has no problem with concealing war crimes and who is all for persecuting Edward Snowden for revealing illegal domestic spying?

    3. David, wasn't it you in an early post
      who dismissed the idea that skittles and the Watermelon Drink Trayvon had the press has covered up as Iced Tea were precursors for Purple Drank, a favorite among hip hop thugs?
      Perhaps Zimmerman did know a thing or two about precursor chemicals when he saw them.


  5. "something described as a burglary tool"

    This is Ohio's burglary tool definition:

    (A) No person shall possess or have under the person's control any substance, device, instrument, or article, with purpose to use it criminally.

    Broad, would you say? There's some specifics after, but "burglary tool" is sort of circular. The main way they use it is to justify a search on "reasonable suspicion", say a person who they find suspicious carrying a backpack. If they have a burglary tool ordinance or statute they can jump to searching the backpack, with some "reasonable suspicion" hand-waving. It's a little shape-shifty and hinky and after-the-fact, "burglary tool". I wouldn't get too het up about it, as an indication of anything.

    1. In this case, it's not the law that's concerning. It's the misrepresentation by Cobb.

      But you go ahead and pretend that doesn't matter because people are supposedly too "het up" about a little broad rule. You have no reason to believe the school was making it up over a harmless pocket knife or coat hanger. But you're sure it's no indication of anything.

      Parent much?

    2. Anon 1:24 I am sure Bob would agree with you that in the end it's not much of an indication of anything. However you have to understand the context where Bob is pointing this out, and that context is the discussion where Martin is portrayed as a saint who couldn't possibly have initiated violence. Attempts to portray Martin this way typically rely on fake facts (he was tiny compared to Zimmerman), disappeared facts (as Bob mentioned it was implied that Martin was suspended once, the fact of the other two suspensions is disappeared) or irrelevant facts (he was carrying Skittles). So no, in the end it doesn't really tell us anything about what happened that night, but Bob does support his argument by pointing out yet another fact that gets disappeared.

      It also lends itself to the larger point that Bob has mentioned before: this is the shit that we bring upon ourselves when we attempt to make angels and demons out of real human beings.

    3. As I recall the item identified as a "burglary tool" was a screwdriver.

    4. What are the innocent uses that a 17 year old boy might have for a screwdriver at school?

  6. 100% american (of irish catholic heritage)August 1, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Somerby: "When Joyce surveyed his nation in Dubliners, he saw moral and intellectual “paralysis” pervading all sectors of the community."

    >>> the easter rising was only nine years after joyce wrote those words and the anglo-irish treaty was five years after that. the antithesis of paralysis.

    1. So James Joyce is the world's biggest idiot I guess.

    2. 100% american (of irish catholic heritage)August 1, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      you forgot to call me a lunatic and a moron

    3. Let me do the honors. How is James Joyce responsible for knowing what's going to happen nine years and fourteen years AFTER writing something?


  7. Well said again, Bob. Unfortunately some on the right are using this to attack liberalism in general instead of sticking to what you are talking about, the ramblings of people who are desperate for ratings instead of the truth. For those righties cheering you from the peanut gallery, show the same level of criticism of Fox news that this website does of the alleged "liberal media", and then you might have some credibility. To the best of my knowledge, there is no comparable web site on the right that deals with the garbage spewed by Fox news as there is this site on the left.

    1. He has plenty of credibility with people of all political stripes who are odd enough to believe there is a danger in agitators (like Sharpton), political power (like Obama) and media (like every major source on the left), all at the highest levels, conspiring together using outright lies and scrubbing of facts to put an innocent man in prison.

      Liberals in particular find that extremely alarming. The vast majority of Democrats and self-described "progressives" do not.

    2. Dear Mr. Snipes:

      Re: "... the ramblings of people who are desperate for ratings instead of the truth."

      As I see it, this post specifically targets liberals, as well it should.

      For example:
      " ...the alleged left."
      " ... from the voices on the 'left."'
      "The liberal world just sat there and took it."
      " ...our career liberal leaders proved that they are either very dumb or deeply immoral [NOTE: why not both?]."
      " ... from the 'left."'
      " ...from the voices on the left."
      " ...we lefties churned the typical reams of bullshit."
      "White liberals began to screech and yell."
      " ... the heinous coverage of this event has come to us wholly from the left."
      " ... decided to take their dictation from the left."

      It seems to me that Mr. Somerby specifically blames liberals for the grotesque lies and omissions that gains traction through "the ramblings of people [the press] who are desperate for ratings instead of the truth."

      Mr. Somerby appears to remove his blinkers for the first time in covering the railroading of Mr. Zimmerman to see the liberals for what they are: a rudderless, feckless group of people and entities who use their causes as an excuse to lie about and blame their many enemies, and do nothing about the conditions of groups they claim to defend and promote.

      Only when people like Mr. Somerby start to come to their senses can we begin the process of restoring our cultural and national heritage from the malaise of liberalism.

    3. a rudderless, feckless group of people and entities who use their causes as an excuse to lie about and blame their many enemies, and do nothing about the conditions of groups they claim to defend and promote.

      Pretty simplistic. Extremists on both sides do that. The left happens to be in power and through the Zimmerman episode and others, has proven itself just as defined by its crazies as the right.

    4. It does seem to be disproportionately people "on the left"/liberal/Democratic partisan who have been very dishonest about this case. At the beginning, I think there were some people we think of as "on the right" who weren't bothering with facts but they kind of went quiet.

      Bob Somerby continues to believe these people like Cobb are good people and I don't get that. People who are dishonest in order to get someone prosecuted by the state (bearing false witness, exactly) - these are very bad people. Every minute they're talking is an attack on civil rights.

    5. "The left" ain't in power, Neo-liberalism is, (as it was under Bush too, and would have been even under a Romney presidency).

    6. Social "progressives" on the left to be more precise.

    7. "Bob Somerby continues to believe these people like Cobb are good people and I don't get that. People who are dishonest in order to get someone prosecuted by the state (bearing false witness, exactly) - these are very bad people. Every minute they're talking is an attack on civil rights."

      I was going to defend Bob's caution in labeling them but you're right. I can understand his decision to stipulate they might be good people in order to focus on conduct.

      I had a professor who used to issue those disclaimers, and you knew you were about to hear the clearest evidence of the most despicable character you'd ever heard.

    8. marshall whittmannAugust 1, 2013 at 4:34 PM

      So the disclaimer is actually a code or signal rather than a true statement. Obviously it doesn't "focus on conduct" because, for example, Anonymous 3:34 is focused on the disconnect between the characterization of the dishonest person and the disclaimer.


      Do you think "Bob" knows that and, if so, is actually being dishonest himself?

    9. When Bob says they are good people despite their error, I think he may be harkening back to Martin Luther King and his capacity to see past vulgar racism and find decency in the white community.
      Bob has often referred to that quality in MLK.

    10. I think Marshall meant Anonymous 3:14.

    11. Marshall, it is the distinction between someone's essence and their behavior. Good people sometimes do bad things and vice versa. Labeling people's character based on their actions is kind of like mind-reading. If we don't know why people did what they did, what their context was and what options they may have had, it is hard to attribute what they did to some essence of evil that motivated them, as opposed to circumstances that may have forced them to do what they did or modified their behavior in some way. Since we are not omniscient and not mindreaders we cannot know what was going on with them and thus cannot conclude they are evil at heart, by nature. Further, calling someone evil implies they cannot ever change. Progressives seek change. Why adopt a way of explaining behavior that precludes any change? It conflicts with our goals for society.

    12. Hear, hear but I hope he's not holding his breath. Alan Snipes writes:

      >>>>>For those righties cheering [Somerby] from the peanut gallery, show the same level of criticism of Fox news that this website does of the alleged "liberal media", and then you might have some credibility. To the best of my knowledge, there is no comparable web site on the right that deals with the garbage spewed by Fox news as there is this site on the left.<<<<<

      In the alternative, for people who never tire of right-wing smack in the middle of a useful discussion matt heimbach has served up an ordinary example of it in this very thread as it features for authenticity's sake egregiously uninformed premises. I'll deal with just one of them. Matt heimbach writes [my emphasis]:

      >>>>>Mr. Somerby appears to remove his blinkers for the first time in covering the railroading of Mr. Zimmerman to see the liberals for what they are: a rudderless, feckless group of people and entities who use their causes as an excuse to lie about and blame their many enemies, and do nothing about the conditions of groups they claim to defend and promote.<<<<<

      Now true, true, Bob Somerby's not infrequent condemnation of swaths of self-identified liberals on different issues is never as sweeping and inclusive as that called for by the too enraged to see straight matt heimbach. However, for heimbach to suggest that Somerby has failed to blast liberals prior to the Zimmerman/Martin matter means either he knows little about the content of Somerby's Daily Howler and some of its long running themes or when heimbach revs up the rhetoric he doesn't allow reality to constrain him. Both possibilities may be in play here simultaneously but, I suspect, the latter one always is whenever he gets going.

      How's this passage from the March 1, 2006 Howler as an exhibit as to whether Somerby has been critical of so-called liberals and one course to nowhere they've tried to put liberalism on, prior to the Martin tragedy:


    13. ...continued

      The Daily Howler (March 1, 2006):

      For those of you who are younger than 40, we’ll now tell a startling tale. Believe it or not, liberals once spent a lot of time worrying about low-income/minority children! The young will find this hard to believe, but we swear that our statement is accurate. Starting in the mid-1960s, a range of well-known, best-selling books were written about low-income schools—among them Jonathan Kozol’s brilliant Death at an Early Age and Herbert Kohl’s semi-puzzling but heartfelt 36 Children.

      It was a standard liberal concern—what should we do about the needs of black children? For ourselves, books like those were part of what brought us here to Baltimore in the first place. When we started teaching fifth grade in 1969, it was books like those, by Kozol and Kohl, which framed our (very meager) understanding.

      But uh-oh! It soon became clear that it wouldn’t be easy to solve the problems of low-income schools. In the sixties, pleasing thoughts had prevailed; many liberals assumed that racist teachers were holding black kids back in school, and that basic good faith would solve the problems which obtained in their classrooms. (To his credit, Kozol never really said or implied this. Nor did he claim, in his award-winning book, that he had produced great academic outcomes in the Boston school where he taught.)

      But as time went by, it became fairly clear that the problems found in low-income schools wouldn’t be easy to solve at all. And everyone knows what happened then; liberals dropped low-income kids like a rock! As we all know if we think about it, we modern liberals don’t discuss the problems and pathologies of our low-income schools. Decades ago, we libs took a hike. We too sang, “Farewell, Gabriela.”

      Do you have any doubt about this? If so, consider what happened in liberal and mainstream circles when Helfand published his lengthy piece about Gabriela Ocampo—and about the thousands of low-income kids being pushed from Los Angeles high schools.

      What happened when Helfand’s report appeared? In liberal circles, nothing happened! Liberal journals didn’t discuss it, nor did liberal bloggers. Whatever one thinks of the L.A. school board’s new policies, Helfand’s report was quite remarkable—and it opened with a well-known former Democratic politician, L.A. superintendent Roy Romer, wringing his hands about the “cumulative failure” involved in the massive algebra drop-outs. But liberal bloggers and liberal journals didn’t say a word about this. In the modern world, conservatives talk about low-income kids—but we liberals no longer bother. We simply don’t care about low-income kids. We don’t waste our time on their problems.

      How little do liberals and mainstream writers seem to care about low-income kids? Consider what happened when the Post’s Richard Cohen discussed Gabriela’s large problem....

    14. Gee, CMike, I once read that what brought Bob to Baltimore was not the chance to teach black children, but to avoid shooting and being shot at by adults in black pajamas, an effort made possible by taking a job teaching. Baltimore just happened to have openings and black kids.

      But who needs teachers or commenters when all they give you is snark? We have professional comedians who can do that.

    15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    16. Can't say I think there's much wrong with wanting to avoid shooting at or being shot at by anyone, regardless of their age or attire, unless you think others should be forced to do so while you're ducking the duty or, in some not so deep recesses of your mind, you plan on later aligning yourself with the Chamber of Commerce crowd by cheering on any and every subsequent war or, worse, making a career of advocating for all of them.

      In the passage I pasted Somerby says books like those by Kozol and Kohl "were part of what brought" him to Baltimore. That's not contradicted by what I suppose Anonymous @ 1:49 AM is referring to:

      >>>>>While Somerby didn't share his generation's fiery politics, neither did he want to go to Vietnam. He protested the war in a desultory fashion, and upon graduating in June 1969 found a desultory way out of the draft. The Selective Service had nixed graduate-school deferments, but holders of bachelor's degrees could beat the heat by teaching.

      Somerby needed a classroom, and Baltimore needed teachers. He had read Jonathan Kozol's Death at an Early Age, and was at least as eager to help bring racial justice into the classroom as to avoid getting his butt shot off. He arrived in August 1969, spent 10 weeks in the educational equivalent of basic training, and in November debuted in a fifth-grade classroom at a school in west central Baltimore.

      He hated it. War might have been hell, but at least you could shoot back. “The happiest day of my life was the night before spring vacation that year,” Somerby says. “God, to have a whole week off—it was just thrilling.”

      As the specter of the draft faded, however, teaching began to exert a pull. He logged two years, three, five. He saw flaws in the system and began to catalog them—inadequate textbooks, misdirected curricula, systemic finagling with standardized-test results. Determined to be the next Kozol, he turned to advocacy journalism. But the articles he'd so painstakingly researched and written appeared and faded without a ripple, leaving him frustrated and embarrassed.

      He was 30, an age when he had expected to know what he was doing and to be doing what he wanted. He didn't, and he wasn't. He taught two more years, this time at a junior high. One afternoon in the faculty lounge, he scanned the room and saw colleague after colleague exhibiting the symptoms of clinical depression. He felt the same....

      Somerby was living a picaresque existence in a Bolton Hill apartment, struggling to survive the school year, keeping busy with a part-time gig as a copy editor for a scientific publishing house. He needed a laugh. An article in the Baltimore Sun led him to El Brookman's in Anacostia, one of the early outposts of the comedy club era....

      One night in late 1980, he steeled himself and joined the line for the City Lights microphone. His knees knocked furiously as he talked, and he drew not one chuckle. After Christmas he returned with better material and got some laughs...

      On the forced daytime march through his last semester as a teacher, he began to live from performance to performance, honing his act, getting over his initial terror. June arrived, and with it manumission from teaching. He got the science publisher to let him edit at home, and got serious about being funny, mailing out head shots and bios, and roping paid work....<<<<<

  8. Was it a 10 day suspension from school (I read that somewhere)? Is ten days still a very long suspension? When I was in school a long time ago, a 3 day suspension was a long suspension.

    If it was a 10 day suspension (and if a 10 day suspension is still not ordinary suspension) this kid should have been adult-supervised round the clock. - Karen

    1. His mother kicked him out and his father probably never taught him not to start fights. Both are very involved with him now.

    2. "Both are very involved with him now."


      Through seances?

    3. Through lawsuits and appearances with Beyonce and JayZ.

  9. I just heard the post verdict Podcast of "Realtime." Going easy on Bill Maher has always been a chink the Howler armor, and never more so than in the Zimmerman case. Maher was respectful if leery with Zimmerman's brother, but the show had repeated all the network created misinformation on the case while Bill and his panel called Zimmerman a racist murderer. On this show Maher bungled the relevancy of "stand your ground" and essentially called Zimmerman a murderer again. The obvious elements in Zimmerman's strong case for self defense were not mentioned, and, we must note, Maher's two conservative panelists were too cowed by the liberal studio audience to come to Zimmerman's defense.
    Somewhat ironically, the two conservatives also stood by the IRS scandal, a travesty of right wing corruption that dwarfs anything the Martin case says about the left, but at least Maher got it on the table-the Daily Howler has lost all interest, it would seem.
    A bit of perhaps justifiable paranoia: This tragic case is not that difficult to understand. A Jr. G-man bozo, ignoring the instructions of his neighborhood watch creates a dangerous situation by playing Starsky and Hutch. He follows, perhaps challenges a thuggish young man, starts to take a beating and shoots him.
    It sucks but a credible claim of self defense cannot really be denied, despite the considerable horse hockey the defense team and the inept media have fed into the body politic, which results in a large, unfair settlement for the family of slain and a totally useless trail. Most people understand that a given court case may not reflect the actual social circumstances of a given issue (O.J. actually did not have a typical defense team for a black person).
    Most people understand that you go to court to try a set of circumstances, not right social social ills. Most people understand what self defense is. Most people understand that the affairs of the court are mostly for the people involved in the case.
    In this instance, the only people screaming are the worst of the far right and the worst of the far left, the kind of people who think that being mad makes them correct.
    It's also a freakish story in that the right is actually correct. So, why did the corporate media fall in love with story? Yes, it's clear that they get big emotional ratings spike, but wouldn't they get the same spike if they made some effort to present the facts of the case in an even handed fashion and presented the actual evidence in professional manner?
    Well, it might be that the viewer would quickly understand the case is not, in any sense, black and white. The drive time viewer would flee. It's also possible that the powers that be know very well the way this will play out as the years go by and more information leaks out: This is the Tawana Brawley that will keep on giving.

    1. Nice tirade, speaking of people screaming and being mad.

      Re: "In this instance, the only people screaming are the worst of the far right and the worst of the far left, the kind of people who think that being mad makes them correct.", where does Somerby fall in your spectrum, since he's the blogger here?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Some people need to look up tirade and rant, not everyone who disagrees with you is foaming at the mouth. I would call by an exception to my claim, to a degree. My position is actually a moderate one on this. It is disheartening many of the more sensible voices on the left, Harry Shearer or Kevin Drum come to mind, have not called out the liberal bullshit on this issue. Traditionally, liberals are not excited about innocent people being sent to prison. Balls on the left are in short supply. As someone pointed out, this is a dream story for Bob, and he's making the most of it. But he's largely been correct, even if he's given the story disproportionate attention....

    4. tirade: a long, angry or violent speech, usually of censure or denunciation.

      rant: violent, loud or raving speech.

    5. Where can one go to watch horse hockey matches?

    6. Greg
      I thought you were quite sensibly lamenting the negatives of the whole fiasco, not ranting.
      But I would disagree that he has given it disproportionate attention. The story deserves his complete attention considering how perfect it is for TDH.
      I think that politically this is an extremely important story. I think it could shave a few percentage points off democratic vote totals across the red states. Imagine how Romney could have used this against Obama, for example.

      Some people seem to want Somerby to cover everything, even the IRS scandals. Lot to ask of one guy ( though, of course, he has teams of analysts.)

  10. Bob,
    Your commenters:
    1) Bill Buckley quoted (not any of his racist writings).
    2) Decrying "the real liberal agenda of foisting political correctness and multiracialism on America".
    3) "Only when people like Mr. Somerby start to come to their senses can we begin the process of restoring our cultural and national heritage from the malaise of liberalism".
    Your new found fans seem intent on recruiting you away from liberalism.
    But I don't think they can. After all you taught inner city kids in Baltimore 30 years ago. And you liked them. Before they were 17 years old. (Boyz to Men, Maybe?).

    In your post:
    You say several times that you were not in Sanford the evening Martin was killed; You can imagine scenarios where Martin started the confrontation in which he was killed, and you can even imagine scenarios that Zimmerman precipitated the events that ended with Martin dead. Fair.
    Then you list Martin's negative involvement with school authorities and/or law enforcement prior to the fatal incident. But you never mention Zimmerman's prior negative involvement with law enforcement. Not fair.
    Maybe "vile"?
    You mention "false facts" as repeated over and over by the "vile" liberals. True.
    But how does "stay in your car" and "all white jury" change the fact that Martin is dead and Zimmerman killed him?
    You seem intent on telling Martin's parents that Zimmerman says this is what occurred. He is the ONLY witness to ALL that happened. What he said is plausible. Your son is dead.

    1. "telling Martin's parents" -- where do you get that?

      Oh wait, you can thereby pretend that *anything* that speaks against the bullshit spread about Zimmerman is a cruel stab at the parents of a dead boy.

      What a sick (but transparent) rhetorical ploy.

    2. We don't have to recruit Bob away from liberalism. He's seeing the light just fine on his own.

    3. Who else of any importance does he need to convince that Zimmerman's chronicle of events is what happened? Not me. And certainly not you.

    4. It's not Bob's job to tell the parents anything. Zimmerman's defense team told them the truth about their son, that he caused his own death.

    5. I notice you enumerate the commenters around to post during the day time. Those of us who work during the day cannot comment until later on. Since those with jobs skew more left, maybe your census would come out different if you included us?

    6. I'm a liberal and I am especially sickened by the obvious prejudice being showered on Zimmerman. What should be one of the non-negotiable principles of liberalism is that we judge people by the content of their characters and not by the color of their skin. George Zimmerman 1) comes from a mixed-raced family, 2) took a black girl to the prom,3) had a black business partner, 4) mentored black kids and 5) stood up for a black homeless guy who was beat up by the son of a police lieutenant. And yet, he's being treated as obviously a classic southern racist because he's white, NO! half-white but with a German surname which, I guess is close enough. Martin appears to have been a late-breaking juvenile delinquent.

      Liberalism if fine, it's the identity-politics contingent, which at present rhetorically dominates, that's the problem. And how I hate them.

    7. If you want to argue that Zimmerman shouldn't be held legally responsible for murdering a teenager, fine.
      But making believe George Zimmerman's history of violence and paranoia shouldn't raise more red flags than were seen at a MayDay parade in Moscow circa 1972 isn't going to help your argument.

      In Mr. Zimmerman's defense, he's not the first scaredy-cat to buy the NRA's propaganda that owning a gun will make him a tough-guy frontiersman. In fact, he's not one of the first hundred thousand to fall for such a silly marketing campaign.

  11. "playing Starsky and Hutch" meaning what exactly? Some of us have actually seen that show, you know.

    "perhaps challenges" meaning you have no idea.

    "a credible claim of self defense cannot really be denied" -- Wow, I guess even a stopped clock like Greg is sometimes correct!

    "useless trail" ??? Did you mean "useless trial?" If it was a fair thing to charge the man, then the trial was very useful, since it resulted in acquittal.

    "the only people screaming are the worst of the far right and the worst of the far left" -- it would be helpful if you'd identify these people, otherwise you just come off as that guy who's pretending (and boy, are you quite a pretender!) to be "above it all."

    1. sorry all; the above was addressed to Greg's 5:01 rant

    2. I am above this story, which is something like sitting on the curb instead of rolling in the gutter. Zimmerman, as the Daily Howler does tend to forget, was ignoring the training given to him by the Neighborhood watch, and some people had to fork over a million bucks because he was a fool. I write "perhaps" because no one really knows what happened between these two. We do know that Zimmerman was punched and his head was slammed against the ground. So he can credibly claim self defense. And THAT is why it was a useless trail that couldn't be won, and a waste of the taxpayer's money. DA's are NOT supposed to bring cases to make point out social ills, or satisfy an public enraged by dubious media events. Worst of the far left in this case is everybody Bob mentions. The Nation ran the same racist game against Hillary Clinton in the primary, so I'm not surprised by their race based balderdash. Then you have Salon and MSNBC, whom, in a sane world, would have a lot to answer for. Bill Maher too in his pandering on the case. Like Bob, I tend to like Maher, and he has the excuse of being an entertainer and comic,
      but his shows on this subject have been fairly awful. The wonder comic Frank Coniff has also been revolting on his Facebook Page, and some clown named Steve Marmel has also stunk up my Facebook page with his garbage. They have all performed miserably, and been the worst of the worst. Worse still, as I have suggested, may be the lefties who know they are full of shit, but have clammed up and are still waiting for the whole thing to blow over.

    3. There is a process that enables a person to not be subjected to a trial if a DA or grand jury doesn't think it is appropriate. That process was interrupted by race agitators, Obama, Rick Scott and his AG, MSNBC, and a slew of other corrupt players, in a case involving a person who was CLEARLY not guilty of any crime.

    4. Anonymous at 8:53 THANKS!

      I haven't heard the term race agitator since the Bull Connor corwd in the 1960's. It is amazing how the new BFF's of Bob have brought back a plethora of terms we haven't heard since 70 year old guys called people coons.

      BTW, exactly what did Obama do to interrupt
      the process in Florida?

    5. You know what he did. He compared Martin to his hypothetical son. This was a step in deifying Martin, who, in reality, was no angel.

      He, or his Justice Dept, sent a unit to Florida supposedly to help produce calm. However, they actually aided in anti-Zimmerman demonstrations. These demonstrations played a role in convincing authorities to charge Zimmerman, even though it was clear that he couldn't be convicted.

    6. I indeed know what he did. He expressed understanding to the parents grieving for a
      child shot through the heart by a man who while armed, followed him for a fairly dubious reason, called him an "asshole" and a "punk" in a recorded conversation. And I know Obama did so after carefully saying the matter needed to be thoroughly investigated to get at the facts. He did so in response to a question from a reporter who asked his opinion about what the case said about the state of race relations.

      He didn't "send" a unit to Florida. They were already there. And they were asked into Sanford to help control developing tensions by Sanford officials. They didn't aid in anti-Zimmerman demonstrations. They made sure demonstrations did not turn violent, which would have only made things in Florida worse. You know that as well, a fact you made disappear.

      Why do you make facts disappear when bringing up Obama.

    7. DAinCA,

      There's no bottom to your malicious ignorance, is there?

      Obama said that if he had a son, he'd look like Martin. Which is true. And said in the context of sympathizing with a grieving family who had lost a son. If that's "deifying" Martin, then you must think that Obama is a god.

      The Justice Department has an organization that mediates in crises. They have to be called in by community groups or local governments. They do not organize demonstrations, and they didn't this time. There's no evidence to support your charge. Fact-free claims on the right-wing and white-supremacist sites you rely on for your opinions don't count.

      It's hard to believe that demonstrations convinced the teahadist governor of Florida to appoint a special prosecutor. It was clear that Zimmerman was overcharged on murder 2; for manslaughter, not so much.

    8. David in Cal didn't just make facts disappear about Obama. You should see what he left out in the shooting of a road raged white guy by a black police officer in an earlier thread.


    9. Quaker in a BasementAugust 2, 2013 at 1:02 PM

      However, they actually aided in anti-Zimmerman demonstrations.

      At best, you're repeating someone else's lie.

  12. Dear Anon 5:15:

    Try clicking on the "Reply" button next time so that your retort ends up being directed to your target.

    1. Like the First Golden Rule of Somerby: do as I say, not as I do.

  13. The focus on Bob's choice of issues and players is stupid. Over the years he has done a terrific job identifying the people and events that have done the most damage and deserve the most attention. In the case of Zimmerman he has devoted pieces to explaining in detail why it deserves so much attention.

    It's his space. If you disagree with his judgment and choice of topics don't read him or at least make a better case than whining.

    1. One of Somerby's favorite complaints is about others' choice of topic--Dowd, Kessler, etc. So it seems like that is a fair basis for criticism as practiced by TDH.

    2. I've never seen any evidence his choices are not extremely useful toward supporting his arguments about how media misconduct undermines progressive causes or corrupts society in general.

  14. "Over the years he has done a terrific job identifying people and events that have done the most damage and deserve the most attention."

    Then why do you think the focus on Bob's choice of issues (events) and players (people) is stupid? Isn't that what he's writing about?

  15. "Is it possible that Trayvon Martin did something foolish that horrible night? (Seventeen-year-olds often do.) Is it possible that he even did something gratuitously violent? This too is not uncommon, and some of the evidence suggests that this might have happened that night."

    No. It is totally out of character with everything he had done up to the point where he politely asks Z, "Why are you following me?" And of course, Zimmerman, confident and cocky, not yet realizing that there was a witness to that question by Martin, tells the police that Martin jumped out of the bushes and aggressively yelled, "you got a fucking problem, homey"

    So, no Bob. In this case, Zimmerman's cock and bull story doesn't quite add up.

    It's so nice to read Bob writing his own story, as he ever so humbly reminds us time and time again that he wasn't there.

  16. not yet realizing that there was a witness to that question by Martin,

    The witness who said he had already reached his father's place (so would have had to double back to get to Zimmerman's location), and said she wasn't worried about not hearing from Trayvon because she thought he "just got in a fight or something"?

    1. And yet Zimmerman was told there was a witness by police during their initial questioning of him. Zimmerman appeared relieved to hear there was witness corroboration for his account.

  17. ...confident and cocky, not yet realizing that there was a witness to that question by Martin,

    Yeah, George really lays it on thick,

    telling the police that Martin jumped out of the bushes and aggressively yelled, "you got a fucking problem, homey?"

    Still looking for those bushes

  18. Poo Poo Platter (We've Changed the Headline)

    Poor Al Gore got turned into a serial liar by the
    evil lazy press, whose silent liberal enablers led to the death of Americans and Iraqis and the unfortunate indictment of George Zimmerman after he had blows rain down on him MMA style. Finally the tables are turned and at least one of the lying race hustlers, despite being a "thoroughly good and decent person" has been exposed for what he really is....A PROFESSOR! And who needs professors if one of them says some wrong, inflammatory things while writing as a blogger about current events.

    You finally have some new followers, Bob, to lead through a retelling of the tale of how the nefarious lazy media did in your poor college roomie, who no doubt is a thoroughly good and decent person. I am sure, when you retell it, they will applaud you for rescuing civilization from the thread by which it hangs. Good luck to you in "restoring our cultural and national heritage from the malaise of liberalism," to borrow a phrase from one of them.

    Oh and Bob, I write as someone who shares your agreement with the Coates piece to which you link. Unlike you, were I purporting to say I didn't know what happened that night, I wouldn't just imagine and then write all the bad things Martin may have done. Yep, Bob, three school suspensions is a lot. So is 46 phone calls to police dispatchers. No, they weren't all about blacks, Just the recent ones reporting people who looked suspicious made after he became the neighborhood head watchman and took to riding around at night armed. And I would always remind people who thought who was suspicious, who had a gun, who got out of the car, and who started following whom.

    All your new friends here seem to only imagine Trayvon doubling back on the armed man, not the armed man continuing to follow. But you don't seem to want to admonish them. They are your commenters, not professors.
    But that is just the way it seems. I have no real idea. I cannot get inside your head.

    1. 46 calls to the police, and had he ever hunted down any of the people he called about? Ever confronted or tried to detain any of them? Or did he merely call and let the police handle things?

      These questions have been of interest to me in trying to assess the plausibility of his deliberately going after Martin with his gun as so many have suggested. But with all the endless coverage I never heard these questions answered.

  19. Triple-P,

    If you can't get inside Bob's head, why not try reading his words for comprehension?

    And that whooshing sound you keep hearing? It's the point going over your head.

    1. I think my comprehension is just fine. Professors are all bad. And snarky lying bastards. Unlike the Krugmans, Drums, and Dionnes, I will not agree to silence on no count. I do not want to be responsible for the deaths cause by media and professor enflamed Trayvon revenge seekers. Especially because they might listen to lawyers.

      Peace and PPP

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Quoting Somerby: "Is it possible that Martin behaved unwisely that night, perhaps even violently?"

    Many things in this life are possible. Of course, the above is "possible." We could here veer off into a discussion about the definition of "possible." How would you define "possible"? It includes all possibilities, even things that are 0.0001% possible. The "possible" only excludes the utterly and absolutely impossible. And of course, using the plain language of mathematics, what Bob Somerby said above is "possible." But to say it's "possible" is a trivial comment and sheds no light on the actual case at hand.

    How likely is it for a 17 year old boy-- just freshly turned 17-- who weighed about 150 pounds and was clearly incredibly thin at 5'11" with no history of fighting, no history of a criminal violent record (unlike Zimmerman), no history in school records of any sort of recorded violence, to suddenly double back on Zimmerman and want to MURDER him simply because Zimmerman was following him? It's "possible" but highly unlikely for a scrawny kid at 17 yrs old to suddenly develop a murderous rage, something Somerby calls acting "unwisely."

    Think about all the kids you've known in your life. Think about all the 17 year old boys you've known, if you've come in contact with them because you were a teacher or if your kids had friends that age or think back to your youth at 17.... How many scrawny 17 year old boys have you known that would act in the way that Somerby describes as "possible," i.e. to suddenly and without any previous warning or demonstrations of violent activity to out of the blue want to murder someone he doesn;t know for the simple reason that the 17 year old boy is being followed? It't just not within the realm of experience for 99.99% of teenage boys. If it were in their realm of experience, we'd be having constant stories of teenage boys committing murder all across this country. It's not normal behavior. In my experience, it's POSSIBLE only as a mere mathematical possibility. So in that sense, Somerby did not misuse the word. But it's highly, highly unlikely. Basically Zimmerman's scenario, if we are to believe him, involves Zimmerman doing his duties as a neighborhood watchman and magically finding that psychological needle in a haystack: finding that one teenage boy with secret pent up murderous rage who had never before demonstrated it and who on the turn of a dime suddenly wanted to murder the neighborhood watchman in the middle of his father's fiancee"s neighborhood simply because the neighborhood watchman had followed him....

    It's beyond absurd and ridiculous. And it's sad to see Bob Somerby peddling this.

    1. This is all true. But not only is this "possibility" bizarre in the abstract, it is also most importantly totally inconsistent with the behavior and actions that we know to be a fact of both people right up until the instant where no one was there to see what happened. Zimmerman was the one completely misreading the situation, acting aggressively and running around like his hair was on fire. And we're expected to believe Zimmerman's tale that suddenly, at the instant where there is no independent corroborative evidence, suddenly the roles are reversed. But Zimmerman fucked up and started his tall tale just a little bit too soon not yet aware that there was a witness, the girl Martin was talking to on the cell phone. So he turns an innocent non-confrontational question, "why are you following me?" into the words of some street thug "you got a fucking problem, homey?"

    2. Dude, two important facts came out of this trial that should have changed people's opinions on it if they weren't so cocksure in the convictions they initially held based on the slanted reporting of the case.

      1) Photos showing Zim with an obviously broken nose and injuries to the back of his head.

      2) Testimony from the girl on the phone putting Martin back at his house 4 minuted before he turned around and apparently hunted down Zim.

      Martin got the benefit of the doubt from pretty much everyone on the planet before those facts came out, and then opinion changed based on 1) and 2) among the open-minded.

    3. Quaker in a BasementAugust 2, 2013 at 12:54 PM

      You keep harping on Martin being "back at his house." Lets see it. Give us a link, a cite. Show us why you keep insisting this happened.

    4. Oh, don't worry. Bob will be writing a lengthy multipart series of articles on the origin of the favored narrative of how Martin was back at his house and doubled back to attack Zimmerman as Z was innocently returning to his vehicle and banging his flashlight while looking for an address to give to the dispatcher who he had already hung up with and had told to have the police call him on his cell phone. It will be fascinating.

      And by the way, although it shouldn't have to be said, I will say it anyway.

      If Trayvon Martin never said, "you got a fucking problem, homey", then the very next sentence that Zimmerman put in Martin's mouth, "well, you got one now" just prior to allegedly punching him in the nose, doesn't make any sense. It is totally incongruous.

    5. Quaker in a BasementAugust 2, 2013 at 2:46 PM

      Anon keeps insisting that Rachel Jeantel's testimony put Martin back at his father's house just prior to the confrontation with Zimmerman.

      Anon can't seem to remember that Jeantel also testified that Martin told her that he thought he had lost whoever was following him and then realized that the man was still behind him. She further testified that she could hear someone asking "What are you doing around here?" and then heard Martin saying "Get off! Get off!"

      I'm sure Anon can explain to us how these bits of testimony also show Martin was the aggressor.

    6. The problem is that Jeantel testified to hearing this at the exact time that Zimmerman was on the phone to the police and they didn't hear the same things being said.

    7. It isn't true that Martin had no history of fighting and other school difficulties, including being found with jewelry suspected to have been part of a burglary. Martin's cell phone text messages do not support the picture of him as a kid with no prior problems, since they refer to repeated suspensions, plans to buy a gun, hiding his stash of marijuana, and being kicked out by his mother and having to go live with his father. It is not right to ignore all of this in order to portray Martin as an innocent teen with no prior problems whatsoever, John Kane.

    8. "Plans" to buy a gun? So now we're convicting a kid on his text messages?

      Marijuana now makes him violent? Then so is pretty much more than half of America then.

      Being kicked out by his mother? Let's see some hard evidence of that.

      Trayvon had NO HISTORY OF FIGHTING and you present no evidence to contradict that. Zimmerman had numerous run-ins with the law that involved violence. He and his wife lied to the court about money.

      Pretty much everything you said was just made up.

  22. 2) Testimony from the girl on the phone putting Martin back at his house 4 minuted before he turned around and apparently hunted down Zim.

    Show me.

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