Juror B37 Stands Her Ground

http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/15/justice/zimmerman-juror-book/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

 

So, Juror B37 really saw this trial as an opportunity to cash in on Trayvon Martin’s murder and the subsequent media circus laughingly called a “trial”.  Little tell-tale remarks clearly show her bias towards George Zimmerman: “…I think his [Zimmerman’s] heart was in the right place. It just went terribly wrong.”  “I think George got in a little bit too deep, which he shouldn’t have been there.”  In fact, she refers to Zimmerman twice as “George” if you listen to her comments, although she it seems to be in her personality to refer to people she doesn’t know by their first names if you listen to her comments.

And from her comments you get the clear impression that this a well-to-do elitist white property owner who would welcome Zimmerman as a neighbor if “he didn’t go too far”—like killing an innocent male black teen on his way back to his dad’s girlfriend’s condo where he was visiting?  She believes that although Zimmerman shouldn’t have gotten out of his car, she clearly believes his story that he was attacked by Trayvon Martin with no other evidence than Zimmerman’s testimony, because I think she believes this is what black men do when they’re being followed. She’s convinced it was Zimmerman’s voice on the 911 tape calling for help, because why would Trayvon be calling for help just because he’s locked in a death struggle with a scary dude who’s been stalking him for unknown reasons?

She also amply proves that, as I’ve always suspected, when a judge orders a panel to disregard certain testimony in court, at least some jurors ignore that order.  She says she was influenced by the important testimony from Sanford Police Detective Chris Serino that he had found Zimmerman to be “truthful”, a remark that the judge ordered the panel to disregard. Juror B37 claims she based her decision on that testimony, which I think would and should invalidate the verdict and call for a re-trial—IF there were any justice in Florida.

She also condescendingly describes Trayvon’s friend, Rachel Jantel, “not credible” and felt sorry for her because Jantel seemed “to feel inadequate because of her poor education and communication skills” (as described in a NPR report). Juror B37 would have us believe that she is so intuitive and insightful that she can read into the minds of both George Zimmerman and Rachel Jantel and thoroughly know their characters.  What a white elitist snob she is.

One of her most telling comments which clearly shows why she lives in Florida: “I think he has every right to carry a gun. I think everyone has a right to carry a gun.” You can bet this woman is a Republican who supports the Stand Your Ground law. The juror admits both she and her husband had concealed weapon permits but she let hers lapse.

The most telling comment of all was that she believed Zimmerman was not guilty from the start.  And yet the prosecution allowed this person to sit on the jury which was assigned to judge Zimmerman impartially and on the facts.  It was a setup from the beginning by the Florida legal system which doesn’t recognize that black citizens deserve justice, too.  At least the proposed book deal that she hoped to use to capitalize on her verdict has been cancelled.  I guess there is still some justice in Florida after all.

As I was upset by the black jury that acquitted O.J. Simpson of a double murder, I find no difference between that panel and this white one that acquitted Zimmerman of the shooting of Trayvon Martin. It serves to prove that miscarriage of justice in this country remains color blind.

 

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Stand Your Ground About To Stand Trial

Trayvon Martin was an ordinary, average 17 year old kid. Well, mainly average and ordinary. He was also black in a south Florida town, which some people think is a crime until itself. I would assume as most ordinary and average 17 year olds go, Trayvon never gave any thoughts to starting a movement to reverse insane NRA-written gun laws, or to strike back against the bigotry and discrimination hurled against most black people in the U.S. throughout every waking hour of their days. And in fact, Trayvon on his own didn’t start those twin movements. George Zimmerman did–by choosing to pump a 9mm slug into Trayvon’s chest under very shadowy and suspect circumstances. Trayvon Martin’s parents didn’t realize at the beginning that they were at the genesis of two national movements; they were just trying to get justice for their son. There was such pushback from the white power structures among the police and Florida state government that they soon found that the only way to get justice was to grow these two movements in the name of their son.

George Zimmerman was charged today with second degree murder and taken into police custody. He will stand trial. At a press conference, one of the Martin family attorneys, Benjamin Crump, said something I have been saying for weeks and I will paraphrase: the Stand Your Ground law will be on trial along with Zimmerman. This is the third national movement that Zimmerman created that night.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has found something he hates worse than Occupy Wall Street: Stand Your Ground. And this time, Bloomberg is standing on the right side of the law. He is calling for the repeal of these types of laws from every state which has put them in place. Van Jones and Color Of Change have mounted all-out campaigns against ALEC and its member companies who are responsible for funding the politicians who voted and signed these laws into place. Thanks to COC, companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation, and Kraft Foods have dropped out of ALEC, with more corporations to follow. The back has been broken on ALEC, and perhaps the NRA as well.

These Stand Your Ground laws have spread to 32 states like a foreign weed. Under this law, justifiable homicides in Florida from 12 a year to an average of 36. This means that either a lot of killings got a bum rap before this enlightened law, written by the National Rifle Association and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), or else this law is now being used as a license to murder, with the police and the courts unable or unwilling to do anything about it.

What Stand Your Ground allows is for someone to setup an entrapment situation where they lure someone into their home—or even the street—where they can then blow them away and successfully claim self defense. The Martin family is extremely lucky that Zimmerman had such delusions of law enforcement grandeur and was so stupid that he botched it up for himself, and now everyone else trying to disguise their murderous deed within the law.

George Zimmerman did not “stand his ground” according to Special Prosecutor Angela Corey. In the words of Dennis Baxley, the Republican state representative who carried the SYG bill through the Florida House, Zimmerman chose to “pursue and confront”.

There is an old adage: “the truth shall set you free”. George Zimmerman and his surrogates have now learned the opposite lesson: perpetuating a lie will land you in jail facing a second degree murder charge.

Win or lose the Zimmerman trial, the genie is out of the bottle now. After almost 150 years, black folks feel they’re more than entitled to full citizenship in this country with all the legal and social and professional rights it bestows. And people in general feel that they no longer want to be subject to laws that essentially make them living targets so that the NRA can get more guns and bullets sold which stuffing its special interest campaign coffers so full of cash that they have to shoot the lock off to get the damned treasure chest open.

So to all you white racists who hide your Confederate flag tramp stamps above your ass, or anyone who fancies themselves the thing standing between civilization and black anarchy, it’s time to face reality: this is 2012 and a black man is the President of the United States. Blacks are people, too, my friend. Not sure I can say the same about you.

The Republicans Are Protecting George Zimmerman

It doesn’t make sense that George Zimmerman has gotten so much protection from the Sanford Police, the Florida State Attorney, and the Republican mass media. They’re all fighting his arrest and eventual trial. Why would this be?

Zimmerman is just a loose cannon with a homemade police officer badge but with a very real 9mm semiautomatic handgun. He thought he saw a black male in a hoodie sneaking around the condo complex in the dark and immediately profiled him as acting weird and up to something.

Zimmerman got out of his SUV and pursued Trayvon Martin even though the real cop on the other end of the phone told him “We don’t need you to do that” and Zimmerman answered “Okay”.

Everyone on the Left and the Right is expounding on why Stand Your Ground does or does not apply in this case. But Zimmerman’s own attorney, Craig Sonner, has stated Stand Your Ground doesn’t apply in this case, as has State Rep. Dennis Baxley, who introduced the bill into the Florida House, and former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, who signed it into law. Rick Scott, current Florida governor, took State Attorney Norm Wolfinger, who personally told Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee to turn Zimmerman loose, off the case. Again I ask: why would this be?

The answer is clear: the Florida Republicans enacted Stand Your Ground into law. Zimmerman claims he shot Trayvon Martin in self defense, which is what Stand Your Ground is all about. If the law doesn’t exist, maybe Zimmerman thinks twice before pulling out his gun. So it is being argued at the highest levels of the Republican Party that they have a serious exposure problem to this if  with this first high profile Stand Your Ground case, Zimmerman is arrested and goes to court. It won’t just be Zimmerman who’s put on trial but the Republican written, passed, and signed into law legislation. And this…is an election year.  And Jeb Bush, who signed the bill into law, is a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016. If Zimmerman is tried and convicted, Bush would be the “Republican Governor Who Killed Trayvon Martin”. Not exactly a campaign slogan he’d want to see on bumper stickers.

So, that’s why the Republicans along with their media surrogates have circled the wagons on this one. I think it’s possible the “temporarily stepped aside” Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee may have seen the political implications of a male black kid being killed in cold blood by a half Peruvian cop wannabe claiming protection under the law and communicated this concern to Wolfinger. I don’t know both men’s political affiliation but I could reasonably guess it’s Republican. But this would be why Wolfinger got so personally involved THAT NIGHT to the point of meeting with Lee to override the lead homicide detective’s recommendation to arrest Zimmerman on a manslaughter charge.

18 states have passed Stand Your Ground laws, some of these signed into law by Democratic governors who were cravenly pandering to conservative voters, or perhaps had received healthy campaign contributions from the NRA and ALEC-affiliated groups, or just didn’t have the guts to stand up to both. 31 states have passed the so-called “Castle doctrine” into law, which is what Stand Your Ground is derived from.

So, since both the NRA and ALEC funnel so much money—primarily to the Republican Party who introduced and passed the overwhelming majority of these bills, they could also be accused of being accessories to the killing of Trayvon Martin. Once again, not a good thing in an election year, especially with ALEC now bleeding corporate members and the loss of their dues.

This is why Fox, Limbaugh, and all the Republican surrogates are attempting to frame this case as a “liberal” and an “attempt at dividing the races” thing because those words their fans can understand. Most people who turn on right wing shows don’t know how to think logically and see the big picture: that’s exactly why they watch and listen to those shows—it’s done for them so they don’t have to.

George Zimmerman himself is small potatoes and no one on the Right gives a whit about him. It’s the Stand Your Ground law he symbolizes which is the Right Wing lightening rod. If this (literally) fatally flawed law goes down, then everyone who was responsible for getting it enacted—which are primarily Republicans up for re-election or will be in a couple of years—goes down with it. And believe me, there are quite a few Democrats who deserve to go down in flames with them.

Lies And The Lying Lawyer Who Tells Them

Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton the parents of Trayvon Martin, are extremely fortunate that George Zimmerman picked the highly incompetent lawyer, Craig Sonner, to be his attorney.

With the release of the police surveillance video by ABC News that clearly shows an unmarked, unbruised, and un-bloodied Zimmerman, Sonner, once again clearly uncomfortable on a TV interview, at least twice describes the video as “grainy”. The term grainy typically refers to video or film footage that was either shot in very poor lighting or the poor quality of the footage due to the age of the film or the video tape. Neither is the case here. By necessity, both the outside and inside of the police station are brightly lit. I’m not at the Sanford Police station but I would guess they’re using a digital video system. If they did to a transfer to tape, the cassette would be brand new since every recording of a prisoner being brought in and booked would have to be saved as evidence.

Sonner also said that one of the cops looked at the back of Zimmerman’s head. His implication is that the cop was examining the damage. Look closely at the video. There are two cops with Zimmerman next to the patrol car. As he’s being searched and frisked, neither cop ever looks at the back of Zimmerman’s head. They’re both taller than him and they don’t even peek at the top of his head. A third cop walks into the frame and opens the station door for the other two cops to walk Zimmerman inside. The two cops walk Zimmerman to the door and the one behind him is looking down at the ground. Once inside, none of the three cops look at Zimmerman’s head at all. In fact, it looks like a three were making a conscious effort to not really look at him at all. Near the end of the video, the cop behind him quickly looks away to the side as Zimmerman walks out of frame.

If there’s one thing worse than a lying lawyer, it’s a blatantly lying lawyer.

Mayday! Mayday! The GOP Is Being Shot Down In Flames

There are a number of military analogies to apply to today’s GOP: being shot down in flames, a bunker mentality from being surrounded on all sides, on a suicide mission, launching all of their nuclear missiles hoping a few get through.

The national agenda the GOP has carefully and methodically assembled over the past 40 years is falling apart.  Assault on women’s rights, including anti-abortion? The damn women are standing up and fighting back. Why, you can’t even call a young female law student a slut and a prostitute on national radio and get away with it.

Lower corporate taxes? A Democratic President has usurped that issue our from under their very noses by proposing it as part of his budget.

ObamaCare? They may have to live with most or all of it for another two years if the Supreme Court decides to kick the whole thing down the road. And the more they know about it, the more Americans like ObamaCare.

Fear of foreigners? Immigrants, legal and otherwise, are tired of being pushed around and having their children forbidden from going to college after graduated from the public schools system.

Gun control? Murder one black teenage boy in cold blood and they make an international incident out of it.

Starting with Occupy Wall Street, continuing with the successful online campaign to get censorship of the Internet set aside—for now—all of the oppressed groups and people just fed up with right wing Republican tea party politics are standing up and saying “No more!” And they’re fighting back. Florida governor Rick Scott has announced a special state task force will be looking into the Trayvon Martin shooting as well as looking at changing any state laws that allowed it to occur (Stand Your Ground). The Department of Justice will be investigating the Sanford, Fl. police department (who just lost their police chief, temporarily or otherwise) for possible civil rights violations, incompetence, corruption, and racism.

Even as I write this, the Republicans are making “Hail Mary” passes across the country: attempting to gather marchers for “religious freedom” from health care reform, attempting to pass a flurry of new anti-woman legislation, attempting to pass even more voter suppression laws.

But they look at Wisconsin and see their Republican governor and four Republican state senators up for recall. One of the senators decided to resign while the resigning was good and she’s gone, taking with her the Republican majority in the state Senate.

Lastly, the GOP looks at the slate of clowns with big shiny red noses galumping around the country in their big, floppy clown shoes while the President sits in the Oval Office laughing with enjoyment at their performances. You’ve got Mittens The Clown dressed in a top hat and doing magic tricks with an Etch-A-Sketch. You’ve the Rick The Clown with the painted-on sad face, crying because the Devil is in the D.C. details. You’ve got Newt The Clown wearing a moon rocket and leaping unsuccessfully into the air as he runs around the stage. And finally, you’ve got Ron The Clown with his head barely peeking out from his giant clown suit, always falling down onto the floor and refusing any help to get back up. After the performance, President Obama comes out onstage like Ed Sullivan saying, “Thank you Republican clowns for that wonderful bit of comedy.”

But truth be told, the floppy shoes guys are flopping all over the country. Hardly any Republican voters beyond the troupe’s base is coming out to see them. Voting is way down among registered Republicans where primaries have so far been held. These guys are the 2012 version of the Not Ready For Primetime Players. Who knew the Republicans had a Minor League?

So, the GOP plane is going down in flames while all on board are throwing gasoline on the fire and not one of them knows how to land that thing.

Politics has always been cyclical. Don’t like being shut out of power? Just wait a few decades until your turn comes around again. But the Democrats can’t afford to get too comfy with their anticipated victory. After all, the Democratic ship of state’s got a few leaky holes and is taking on a little bit of water. The Keystone XL pipeline Oklahoma crude and Canadian tar sands oils flow into one hole. The Afghan War is pouring water into another hole. But the largest hole of all, the leak that could sink the ship, is the hole that American jobs keep falling through.  Yes, it hasn’t gotten any bigger, hasn’t shrunk by much, but it’s enough to possibly cause the Obama Administration to pull a Titanic.

But that’s where the Republican clown troupe comes in. They’ve proven themselves extremely adept at pumping water out of the ship and into their Clown Car as they perform their wonderful bit of comedy.

So, as the Republican Party sinks quickly on the Right, we bid a fond farewell to the presidential aspirations of the GOP as we mix metaphors and turn off our radar screens so we don’t see the search beacons leading us to the eventual crash site. The Republicans are big on the DIY (do-it-yourself) lifestyle. They got themselves into this mess, they can get themselves out. They’ve already begun eating their own to survive.

Trayvon Martin And The Republican KISS Of Death

Republican voters believe in the KISS system, as in Keep It Simple, Stupid. First, because they’re all stupid. Being stupid, they need it kept simple.

Keep in mind that the rich and powerful who run the Republican Party are highly intelligent and understand how to convert complex issues into simple-to-remember talking points.  You don’t get that rich and that powerful by being stupid, unless you inherited your rich and powerfulness from a smart rich and powerful pater familias.

For Republican voters, they don’t have to remember that more domestic oil is being produced by the U.S. than ever before. They don’t have to write down that U.S. oil imports are down because consumption is at record lows, while U.S. oil exports are up. They don’t have to understand how oil speculators account for 85 cents of every dollar per gallon increase in the price of gasoline. Nope, for them, the Republican Party has distilled the entire issue into three little words: drill, baby, drill. One word is even repeated for greater simplicity.

Abortion and birth control are converted to “religious freedom”. Taxation laws, which are way beyond any Republican voter’s ability to comprehend, are boiled down to “economic freedom”. Anybody can understand freedom, right? Republicans are all about personal freedom, except if the freedom includes marrying who you want and getting an abortion if you choose to.

Simple is as simple does to the Forrest Gump Party. That’s why the “Stand Your Ground” and “Castle Doctrine” laws pushed nationwide by ALEC and the NRA have been so popular with Republicans. With the latter, a resident has the right to use lethal force to defend themselves against an intruder or anyone else who they “reasonably” perceive as presenting a hostile threat to their personal being—personal property not included. If they blow the perceived assailant away using the Castle Doctrine, it’s stay out of jail free card.  With the former, if someone “reasonably” feels they are in mortal danger, they can use lethal force on the perceived threat anywhere they perceive themselves to be in mortal danger: on a public street, or in the backyard of a condo in a gated community. They don’t have to turn around and run, they can pull out their concealed 9mm semiautomatic handgun and fire at will, or whatever the perceived assailant’s first name happens to be.

It’s perfect in its simplicity. The shooter/victim is also innocent; the shot/assailant is always guilty—and dead. No thought required because the law has been written so there doesn’t have to be any. These cases are notoriously hard to prosecute and get a conviction because the court can only hear evidence from the shooter that they felt their life was in danger. The deceased assailant always remains strangely silent, offering no testimony on their behalf. Case dismissed, if it even got that far.

But George Zimmerman of Sanford, FL, apparently won’t use “Stand Your Ground” as his defense for shooting Trayvon Martin. He’s going for self-defense. You see he was armed only with that 9mm semiautomatic handgun against Trayvon’s bag of Skittles and a bottle of iced tea. Trayvon could have opened that bag of Skittles and poured it down Zimmerman’s throat, causing him to possibly choke. And that bottle of iced tea? That would smart something fierce if Zimmerman were hit upside the head with it. Just think of the abject fear Zimmerman felt when trailing the kid after 911 distinctly told him not to. If he had seen that bag of Skittles gripped at Trayvon’s waistband, he had no way of knowing if that bag were empty or if it was loaded with Skittles. And he wasn’t about to take any chances.

Stand Your Ground makes it easy for cops to not do their duty, too. A dead male black teenager walking alone through a primarily white gated community at night? Undoubtedly he represented a perceived threat to somebody and it’s a good thing a decent and honorable Neighborhood Watch captain stood his ground and dispatched this menace to white-owned private property. The law made it unnecessary to test Zimmerman for drugs and alcohol or to even verify that he actually wasn’t officially part of any Neighborhood Watch group. Had Zimmerman actually been part of Neighborhood Watch group, he would have known that Rule One is you can’t carry firearms and Rule Two is you don’t stand your ground in front of a perceived assailant. You call 911 and let the police stand THEIR ground.

Since Stand Your Ground requires no thought or moral considerations, the Sanford Police Chief, the Mayor, the City Manager, and the City Attorney thought nothing of sweeping the whole incident under the rug and going on about their business. George Zimmerman apparently thought nothing of the 17-year-old life he’d taken when he “reasonably” perceived his own life to be in danger from a black male teenager packing a bag of Skittles and a bottle of iced tea.

Drill, baby, drill. Shoot, baby, shoot. Very simple to remember. And one word is repeated for even greater simplicity.