Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Baying at the Moon

No matter what you may think about President Obama I think you have to give him very high marks for persistence. He’s at it again, trying to get Republicans to cooperate with him. He never seems to give up. But no matter what he offers them, even proposals they themselves originated, they never agree. His attempts at bipartisanship have truly produced virtually noting, like baying at the moon. It should have been clear to him long ago that the Republicans who actually announced they were not going to cooperate were going to keep their word, and they have for the entire term of his Presidency.

It is hard to understand this. On the one hand you might argue that Obama’s persistence shows a trend towards insanity (trying the same thing over and over again and expecting to get a different result). On the other hand, what else could he have done? After all, he is the President and it is his job to try to get things done. It’s not his fault they have refused to cooperate (other, that is, than trying to be President while Black). I mean, this is the United States, he could not really have declared martial law, arrested Republicans for their near treasonous attacks, sent them to the desert for cultural indoctrinations or whatever (which, given their current level of their atrocious behavior might be the only solution).

I confess to not being happy about Obama’s foreign policy, especially the drones, Afghanistan, and other military adventures around the world. And I am not at all pleased with his sanctions on Iran, although I guess I should be happy that he has at least kept us out of outright war. I am still outraged at his failure to prosecute Bush/Cheney for their blatant war crimes although I guess I understand why he could, realistically, not do so.

I am also not too happy about his coziness with the Banks or his flirting with changes to Social Security. But of course when it comes to domestic affairs in general his is obviously the “only game in town.” He does seem to be genuinely concerned with trying to save the Middle Class, raising the minimum wage, providing health insurance, improving education and our infrastructure, and so on. When you contrast his agenda with that of Republicans there is simply no contest, and their hypocrisy literally seems to know no bounds. Having blocked his every attempt to create jobs they still have the audacity to blame him for not creating jobs. This is truly a case of telling a gigantic lie so often that some will come to believe it. And they have also refused to give him the respect any President should have received as a matter of course (racism, pure and simple).
As far as I am concerned, starting with their unprecedented attack on President Clinton, and throughout the worst of “Roviation,” and the Bush/Cheney “nightmare years,” their party has descended to the level of pond scum, where it sits at the moment with no hope of renewing itself. If they are not massively defeated in 2014, I doubt there is much hope for the remainder of Obama’s Presidency and his legacy, an outcome that will have racism written all over it.

 Of course Hillary is going to run in 2016. She is a woman who has always hoped for a female President, has more than enough credentials to become the first one, and is uniquely in a position to attain the highest office in the land. And she is experienced and tough enough to stand up to the outrageously vicious attacks Republicans will no doubt throw at her. Even though I think she is too “hawkish” I’m all for her. Go Hillary!

   “Do you really believe ... that everything historians tell us about men – or about women – is actually true? You ought to consider the fact that these histories have been written by men, who never tell the truth except by accident.” 

Moderata Fonte

Monday, July 29, 2013

Workers of the World...

“Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains.”
This was one of the most important slogans of the communist manifesto written by Karl Marx in 1848. Communism failed, of course, but don’t you find it strange that this slogan is just as appropriate t today as it was in 1848? What does it tell you about how far we have come from those difficult days of naked capitalistic exploitation? Doesn’t it strike you as strange that at this very moment in time Fast Food workers all over the country are striking for “living wages,” at least double what they are presently earning, and what is obviously far too little to feed a family or even themselves? Don’t you find it unacceptable that apparently four out of five adults in the United States live paycheck to paycheck, barely staying afloat in “the most wealthy country on earth," that children are going hungry from day to day, that poverty has now become endemic in our nation?
How can this possibly be when we have such a wonderful capitalistic society:
The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm, capitalism is that kind of a system.

“America's abundance was created not by public sacrifices to the common good, but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America's industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages, and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance- and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way.” 
 Ayn Rand

Curiously, at least I find it curious, for every positive quote you can find about capitalism you can probably find fifty or more that expose it for the greedy, cannibalistic, unfair, explotive, dysfunctional system it truly is. And yet, we have it, promote it, glory in it, and defend it as the greatest economic system ever conceived. This is finally, I think, beginning to change. More and more workers are striking for decent wages, there is an increasing interest in unions, the situation for the middle class and the working poor has finally become so dismal it can no longer be tolerated. The gap between rich and poor has become so obscene it can no longer be tolerated. But as we are in the grips of a fascist conspiracy between government and corporations the road ahead will be difficult indeed.  And if, unlike many other nations, we eschew violence to bring about change, it will be a time-consuming and frustrating experience.

I cannot help but think of that depressing scene in Dr. Zhivago when he returns home to find his mansion occupied by several families. I wonder how many families could be comfortable in the seven or so homes owned by John McCain, or the “x” number owned by Romney, or the enormous homes so typical now of the wealthy (where the books in the library are often still in their plastic covers)?
In fact, our form of capitalism has not worked. It has been a disaster. It has been so rapacious and greedy it  has not only produced a nation of paupers and peasants, overseen by corporate and wealthy “masters,” it is quite likely on its way to destroying life on our tiny planet.
“A castaway in the sea was going down for the third time when he caught sight of a passing ship. Gathering his last strength, he waved frantically and called for help. Someone on board peered at him scornfully and shouted back, "Get a boat!” 
Daniel Quinn

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Life in the Slow Lane

I cannot honestly say I have ever truly lived life in the fast lane, but I can say truly that I now live life in the slow lane. This is partly a function of age, partly a function of where I live, partly because virtually all of my friends are no longer alive or compos mentis, partly a result of loss of motivation, and partly a result of cynicism grown so profound as to result in a loss of interest. I have found that I no longer have much interest in what may be going on in the world that I don’t hear about, and even less interest in what I do hear about, incessantly, day after day. Of course I am outraged at the Zimmerman fiasco but my outrage doesn’t grow stronger the more I hear about it. And of course I think it is wonderful that England has a new heir to the throne, but ho hum after the first few days of infantomania. Frankly, I don’t give a damn about Carlos Danger and his penis. I cannot get excited about the claim that Israel and the Palestinians are going to have new peace discussions when I know they will inevitably go nowhere. And yes, the Middle East is in turmoil, but all we hear about it is not much and probably not true, ditto Manning and Snowdon, ditto the spying, and yes, the House is controlled by mental midgets and will no doubt continue to be so for the foreseeable future as most everyone seems to have lost interest in governing some time ago. The Supine Court has succumbed to political activism, the President talks but no one listens, global warming is about to destroy us leaving billionaires without a pot to piss in but they don’t care, but nip slips and wardrobe malfunctions are a genuine concern. It’s the American way.

My concerns are more personal and more serious, at least to me. My wonderful wife of thirty years has been dead now for almost a year. I am still going through her things, saving some but destroying most. This is a terrible experience. Today I could not overcome the feeling that I was throwing away her life, things that were of such importance to her she saved them for years, dutifully filing them carefully, refusing to let them go, treasuring them, only to have them now go to the dump or the thrift stores. It was a painful experience, made even more depressing by the realization that it was part of my life as well. The journey to the west is at times most unpleasant. You cannot just throw things away will-nilly, without looking at them, and many times the glimpses of the past are loaded with emotions and memories that may have been temporarily forgotten. There are her notes and memories of Oaxaca, Paris, Stuttgart, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Costa Rica, and other places we visited together, all with photos to bring it all back as the wondrous experiences they were, experiences gone now forever except in memory growing more (perhaps mercifully) dim with each passing day.

But things are not all bad. I have my marvelous grandson, now nine months old, who amuses and amazes me every day as he matures, crawls, sits up, stands, and babbles sometimes with what must be to him meaningful sounds and phrases, a language of his own we cannot as yet fathom. My son and daughter-in-law love him passionately, as do I. What a wonderful experience! One of those facts of life you must savor while you have the opportunity, knowing that nothing in life lasts forever (nor, I guess, should it). Indeed, if it were to last forever it would not be the incredible experience it is.

Do I enjoy my life in the slow lane, of course I do. I enjoy it even more knowing that it is fleeting, another milestone on my inevitable bumpy journey to the west. This evening I spoke with two of the remaining four friends from my youth and young manhood still alive. They, too, in their dotage, have a new grandchild, a beautiful daughter, who, like my grandson, are now embarked on their own journeys to the west with a long and difficult adventure before them. Bless all the children and wish them well.

Morialekafa has now passed the 9th year of life!

“Nothing goes to waste on the journey of life. Both good and bad experiences shape your mind and heart for what is to come.”     

 Leon Brown

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Weird and the not so Weird

No, that is not exactly what I want. How about the almost normal and the perhaps not normal, or maybe, the expected and the not expected? To oversimplify, perhaps we might consider simply the normal and the abnormal, maybe the somewhat strange or the truly bizarre? I don’t know, this is really, as we say, “a tough nut to crack.” I am trying to understand the relationship between sex and politics, and I assure you it is not an easy task.

Consider, first of all, the case of a married man who has an affair with a woman not his wife, the Sanford case, for example. This was a terrible scandal at the time but it didn’t keep Sanford from being re-elected to office. This was perhaps because this was a more or less normal affair, at least in the sense that people could understand it and such affairs happen fairly often. But how about cases where public figures are caught with prostitutes, as in the cases of Congressman Vitter and Governor Spitzer? Vitter was re-elected with apparently little harm done, whereas Spitzer felt he had to resign in disgrace, so what’s the difference? Here again, one might argue, there is nothing terribly strange about men engaging prostitutes. You might even argue it is pretty normal as in many countries it is perfectly legal and no one thinks much about it. I guess one might argue that in states or cities where it is illegal it might be considered a crime, but that is really pretty silly and does nothing much to prevent it. Having affairs and engaging prostitutes is really not very unusual and might even be considered pretty normal.

Of course there are places where prominent men frequently have mistresses or are rather notorious for having affairs. President John Kennedy was known to be a genuine womanizer but in those days such things were not regarded as a subject for the press. I suspect this might have been true for many of our former Presidents but it seems not to have been a subject much mentioned. President Clinton, too, was widely regarded as a womanizer but the real evidence, I think, was somewhat thin, except of course when it came to Monica Lewinsky. Here we encounter a somewhat more complicated case as Lewinsky was a young (but adult) intern who voluntarily performed oral sex on the President in the White House. Most everyone was outraged. It was never clear to me exactly what was regarded as so outrageous. Was it the oral sex, the fact that it occurred in the White House, that Lewinsky was a young intern, that Clinton somehow took advantage of her (most unlikely), or that he was married to Hillary and this constituted adultery, or perhaps all of these things together? Ultimately it didn’t seem to matter much as Clinton stayed in office, even though impeached, and to this day is wildly popular. It was not as if other politicians in Washington never enjoyed oral sex or other sex acts, probably in their offices as well as elsewhere.

Of course there have been many cases of Congressmen caught having illicit sex, John Ensign, John Edwards, Newt Gingrich, for example, Ensign and Edwards had their careers ruined, Gingrich, strangely, did not, or at least not because of his sex life. Giuliani, when he was mayor openly appeared with his mistress which seemed to do him little harm. Schwarzenegger’s out of wedlock child by his maid doesn’t seem to have affected his life much (after all, his political career was mostly over and he was, of course, a “movie star” that mostly absolves him of anything). John Edward’s child out of wedlock almost landed him in jail and certainly destroyed his career.  

This raises the question of just what sexual behavior is involved, by whom, with whom, and how “normal” it might be considered. The current Spitzer and Weiner cases are interesting in this respect. Spitzer had sex with prostitutes, nothing really strange about that, and it appears he will be forgiven and get elected to an important office once again. Weiner, on the other hand, did not actually have sex but engaged in behavior that might well be considered weird. It appears he might not be forgiven, as sending photos of your penis in your underwear, or even exposed, to women on the internet is a bit strange (maybe not so strange these days). Anyway, you might say that Weiner’s behavior was weird whereas Spitzer’s was not so weird. This raises an interesting question about just how weird would someone’s sexual proclivities have to be to automatically disqualify him/her from office. Happily (perhaps unhappily) we do not usually know the details of these various sexual adventures. But there are hints of at least somewhat weird behavior, the famous Clinton cigar, for example, or in another case the subject apparently liked to wear a diaper when comporting with prostitutes, still another was described as enjoying sex while wearing his socks, and it seems that Weiner was fascinated by heels (not clear whether this meant high heels or just regular heels). The question of interest here is, basically, just how “kinky” would someone’s behavior have to be to be disgraceful enough to finish his/her career? We don’t know because we (perhaps mercifully) rarely get the actual details of the situation. There is perhaps something to the claim that an individual’s sexual behavior should not be considered when evaluating his/her professional behavior.  After all, as I was assured by a recent bumper sticker, “It’s only kinky the first time.”
Then there is the case of homosexual activity in Congress. There has been much less tolerance for homosexual scandals than for heterosexual ones. This is no doubt because until recently homosexuality was regarded as much more deviant. Idaho Senator, “Wide Stance” Craig, for example, was never forgiven when caught soliciting sex in an airport bathroom. Mark Foley was forced to resign and never forgiven for his attention to underage male interns.  There has never been much tolerance for homosexuals in spite of the distinguished career of the openly gay Barney Frank, who was himself briefly involved in a scandal but successfully recovered. Several others, like Bob Allen, Glenn Murphy Jr., and Phillip Hinkle, for example, never recovered and quickly disappeared from politics.
Finally, at least for the moment, there are cases of behavior so egregious they cannot be tolerated. You may remember the case of Bob Packwood of Oregon who resigned in shame after at least ten different women complained of his unwanted sexual attentions to them. There is a similar case at the moment in San  Diego where the current Mayor will be forced out of office for his apparent unusually aggressive approach to women. I am sure there are all kinds of sexual harassment every day, but unless it becomes unusually serious it goes pretty much unnoticed and unpunished.
What seems to be the case here is that in cases where people can see true “affairs of the heart,” or even ordinary cases of prostitution, they have a tendency to understand and forgive. In other cases, especially involving homosexuality, minors, or actual criminal acts, not so much. Similarly, when the behavior is perceived as weird in some way, chances of forgiveness are less. As we never know just how weird the sex may or may not have been this seems to be relatively unimportant. These questions never came much to the forefront until the unprecedented and shameful attack on President Clinton by Republicans, many of whom I am pretty sure were just as guilty as he was of improper sexual adventures (this was certainly true of Newt Gingrich, arguably  the world’s greatest hypocrite).

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Definition of DYSTOPIA
: an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives

What if Dystopia was not an imaginary place? What if it was a real place? And what if it was called The United States of America? Don’t laugh, if Republicans have their way we will soon be able to rename our country Dystopia.

We certainly live increasingly fearful lives, what with the Patriot Act, increasing surveillance (to protect us from terrorists, of course), warnings everyday about the danger of Obamacare (death squads, and worse, socialism!). And “Bibi” tells us regularly we are subject to attack by Iranian rockets and nuclear bombs (when they get such things they will immediately turn on the entire world), and don’t forget our military budget, larger than almost all of the rest of the world put together, necessary to keep us from being attacked (by purely imaginary enemies). Of course there is always the danger we will be taken over by the United Nations (in their black helicopters hovering just over the border). Then there is the danger that Sharia law is about to overcome our own legal system, Muslims hate us for our freedoms and are our implacable enemies. Black people, especially young Black men are a constant threat, are as immigrants (especially Hispanics). Labor unions and minimum wages will doubtless destroy us, and so on and on. There is no doubt whatsoever there has been a deliberate attempt on the part of Republicans and their corporate masters to keep us in fear, as that makes it so much easier to control us, and we are increasingly being controlled, spied upon, lied to, and mostly ignored (where does public opinion matter when considering gun laws, health care, immigration, or whatever?).

Similarly, we are being increasingly dehumanized, partly as a result of technological changes that tend to minimize human contacts in favor of texts, email, gmail, Facebook, Linked in, internet shopping, and such things. I do not blame Republicans for this type of inevitable dehumanization. But what is involved when they are opposed to health care, unemployment insurance, food stamps, Planned Parenthood, choice, minimum wages, gun control, same sex marriages, and virtually everything else that would improve the human condition for everyone. Obviously they ignore the fact that these various institutions have a direct effect on individual human beings. You cannot be opposed to such things unless you dehumanize the potential recipients, pretend they are not involved as individual human beings. Indeed, the rationale for “privatizing” everything under the sun, which is what they believe in, is that institutions should not exist for the public good, but, rather, for private profit. Profit can only be made by exploiting labor and the environment, thus labor is merely a commodity, divorced from the human being that performs it, and the environment, too, is merely a commodity rather than the physical environment we individual human beings depend on.

Dystopia seems to me to be the goal Republicans are striving for. Boehner summed it up rather neatly, “Congress should be judged on the amount of laws we repeal.” The laws exist to protect human beings, without them we become no more than just another animal species. Laws, rules and regulations, mean government, and government, thanks to St. Ronnie and his idiot idolizers, has become perceived as bad. Government of some kind is a uniquely human phenomenon, whether you are governed by the eldest male in the group, chiefs, councils, kings, elected officials, or dictators. Given the fact that we possess virtually no instincts and have to create our own rules and regulations for behavior, culture, if you will (no matter how flawed any given system may be), and given the fact this is a basic prerequisite for human life, to ignore it, or try to destroy it, is the ultimate in dehumanization. So keep it up, Republicans, Dystopia may soon be yours.

      “I believe in a relatively equal society, supported by institutions that limit extremes of wealth and 
poverty. I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it.” 
 Paul Krugman

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Definition of SLANDER
: to utter slander against : defame
Slander is oral defamation of character. Defamation is a civil offense that occurs when one party makes false and malicious statements about another to a third party. Many jurisdictions have slander laws allow the harmed party to that address this type of behavior and recover damages.

“Nugent is certain to raise eyebrows by calling Trayvon Martin a "17-year-old dope smoking, racist gangsta wannabe." Nugent placed the blame for the shooting squarely on Trayvon Martin.”
Nugent’s vicious, untrue, unconscionable, and completely stupid remark is actually quite mild when compared to many of the other things that have been said about Trayvon Martin. I do not want to repeat any of them but they run the gamut from gang banger to pimp, to doper, to street fighter, burglar, and I don’t know what all else.

I don’t know anything much about slander and such but apparently slander laws don’t necessarily apply to public figures. Thus any idiot can say anything about the President, exercising his/her right to free speech, and nothing can be done about it. So we find right wingers and even others calling President Obama incompetent, a socialist, communist, fascist, Kenyan, racist, and so on ad infinitum.
Trayvon Martin was/is not a public figure, merely an ordinary teenage citizen of the U.S. There seems to be no doubt he has been terrible wronged and defamed. I have seen nothing about any potential lawsuits regarding slander. If no such suits occur I guess we can conclude that these days anyone’s character can be unfairly, untruthfully, and unconscionably defamed at will, even if it influenced a jury trial and a legal judgement. Or is it the case that slander doesn’t apply when a Black person is the target? You might have noticed that little was said about Zimmerman’s somewhat shady record while so many were eager to accuse Martin of whatever came to mind. There is no doubt in my mind that Martin was racially profiled, not only by Zimmerman, but also by the jury, and, in fact, by the public at large.

The idiotic Stand Your Ground law seems to apply only to Whites. It certainly wasn’t applied in the Trayvon Martin case for him as it was for Zimmerman. I wonder, does it apply to Black people at all? Why doesn’t someone start a foundation dedicated to raising funds so that all Black people can be armed to protect themselves from obvious racial discrimination and attacks? The NRA seems to be remarkably silent on this question, puzzling as it would certainly provide even more profits for the gun industry. Indeed, if they could only figure out how to get us to kill each other more and more often their profits would soar. Why not launch a slogan like “Buy a Black a Beretta,”  or “A Bersa for every Black man and woman.” “A Browning for every Brown,” or better yet, “A handgun for every hand.” Maybe something real cute like “A Machine Gun for Every Matron.” The marketing possibilities are endless, the NRA has barely touched the surface.

Money talks, corrupt Congresspersons listen and count their loot. The farce continues. Just think of it, the more people die from handguns (and other guns) the more profit is made. This is true not only here at home and on the streets of our cities but all around the world. More killing, more wars, it’s a beautiful life.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Most Terrible Irony

You might remember one or another of the idiot Republicans (usually a Southerner) saying at one time or another that Black people were better off under slavery, a claim that is, of course, completely absurd, but is consistent with the notorious Republican apparent lack of human compassion (to say nothing of their obsessive inability to tell the truth about anything).

Paradoxically, I should probably say perversely, and certainly ironically, there is perhaps a bit of bitter truth in such a mindless claim. When young Black men (any Black person, for that matter) were slaves they actually had value. They were property, commodities, they could be bought and sold for money, the price presumably based on what the market at any given time could bear. Their labor, and even their virility could be, and was, exploited. It appears that at the present time young Black men have no value whatsoever, and can be killed virtually at will because of laws that extend that privilege primarily to White gun owners. As all people everywhere have always had the right of self-defense there really is no necessity for Stand Your Ground laws, laws that as they are currently used seem to be more like “License to Kill Young Black Men,” than anything else. Unarmed young Black males have been killed fairly routinely in the United States, especially since such laws were enacted in Florida and elsewhere. The chances are very great that a White person who shoots a unarmed Black man will be exonerated.

Black males in the United States have little or no value. A great many of them are in prison, a great many more are unemployed, and those who are employed most probably do not make a great deal of money, and not only that, Black families in general have very little in the way of savings or other assets. Similarly, as a group they tend not to be very well educated. This means they are not a fertile ground for the exploitation of credit card debt, a functional equivalent for slavery. So, between education, prison, unemployment, low wage jobs, last hired, first fired, in a system that demands and exploits cheap and plentiful labor, they are virtually without value. If you don’t own one, and don’t need one, there is small or no loss involved when one or more are “disappeared,” either in prison, unemployed, or worse. I have no doubt there is a causal and intimate link between all of these conditions.       

There is a similar kind of irony that might be seen in Defense Attorny O’Meara’s idiotic claim that had Zimmerman been Black he might not have been arrested or charged for killing Trayvon Martin. Given the obscene numbers of Black men in prison it would seem we have little trouble in charging them with crimes, so how could O’Meara make such a claim? It only makes sense when you understand that what he must have had in mind is the idea that Black on Black crime is as inconsequential as the death of an innocent, unarmed teenager, that Black on Black murders are nothing much to be concerned about. I don’t know, but I suspect that in some quarters, this may be the rule in some cases.

We have a situation in which business demands a large and surplus labor pool, one in which Black people are low on the priority list, constitute a potential  cost to society because of their circumstances, and are therefore at risk. Whereas we could have spent money on their education and health care we have chosen to spend it on prisons, more and more private prisons that can exploit the plight of Blacks for profit (just as we now also exploit our college populations for profit).  It’s a truly vicious system based on short-term profits, exploitation, greed, short-sightedness, and the law of the jungle. We call it free-market capitalism (rather than something more apt, like “Idiot’s Delight”).

 “I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.” 

Eugene Victor Debs

Saturday, July 13, 2013


The crime of Second Degree Murder (in Florida) occurs when a person commits either:
·         Murder with a Depraved Mind or
·         Accomplice Felony Murder

Well, after all these weeks Zimmerman is found to be not guilty of Second Degree Murder or even Manslaughter. Personally, I think this verdict is an absolute outrage. Granted that proving someone has a depraved mind can be difficult, but manslaughter in this case was virtually admitted. I do not understand how a jury of six women could have come up with such an absurd conclusion. Indeed, I am almost in shock.

Set aside for the moment that when an adult male stalks, confronts, shoots, and kills an innocent, unarmed teenager, and shows no remorse whatsoever, that might in and of itself be evidence of a depraved mind. 
Set aside for the moment that the death of an innocent, unarmed Black teenager in Florida was not regarded as important enough even for an investigation, and only occurred 44 days later as a result of public pressure, that might rightly be considered an example of cultural depravity.  

I don’t believe a word of Zimmerman’s claim. It is true he had the right to carry a concealed weapon, but as a watchman he was not supposed to be carrying a gun. He was specifically told not to follow Trayvon Martin but disobeyed that order. He repeatedly lied, most importantly about his claimed ignorance of the Stand Your Ground law. He also had a history of domestic violence as well as a history of other misbehavior, but it was Trayvon’s character they systematically tried to destroy.  Zimmerman’s story was full of inconsistencies, exaggerations, and probably outright lies. We are supposed to believe that a 17 year-old boy turned on and deliberately attacked a larger (White) man who was following him, a man who could have been (and was) armed, and could, in fact, even have been a policeman. This makes no sense to me. Zimmerman’s claim of self defense because he was in imminent danger of his life seems to be based only on the fact that he could not overcome the teen. And we are supposed to believe that this man who wanted to be policeman, worked out regularly in the gym, took lessons in self-defense, as well as shooting lessons, outweighed Trayvon by probably forty pounds, was reduced to crying out for help in the face of a non-lethal confrontation. This strikes me as nonsensical, if not perhaps an example of outright cowardice.

There is no doubt that Trayvon Martin was stereotyped, was considered guilty, or potentially guilty of criminal behavior for no reason other than being a young Black male. He was, beyond any doubt, racially profiled as one of “them,” who are “effing punks,” “a……s, who “always get away.” He had done NOTHING whatsoever to be so stigmatized. He was innocently walking home with tea and skittles, hardly dangerous weapons. Whatever happened to the tea and skittles, did he carefully place them on the ground when he decided to attack this larger stranger who was following him? Did he throw them away when accosted? Apparently no one cared enough to even consider what happened to them (just as they initially didn’t care enough to even investigate the boy’s murder). It was also shown to be virtually impossible for Trayvon to have seen or attempted to actually get hold of the pistol that was in a concealed holster inside Zimmerman’s pants and under his shirt. And why was Zimmerman’s 9mm pistol holstered on his right side back on his hip when he is apparently left-handed? Maybe there was an answer to this question, maybe Zimmerman is ambidextrous, but as far as I know it wasn’t even considered. It appears to me that the murder of an innocent, unarmed, Black teenager was (as usual) considered inconsequential, something to get over with as easy and quickly as possible. After all, unarmed young Black males are fairly routinely shot and killed here in the good ol’ U.S.A. I think Trayvon Martin was racially profiled, not only by Zimmerman, but also by the jury (even though they could have been completely unaware of what they were doing).       

  “Race prejudice is not only a shadow over the colored — it is a shadow over all of us, and the shadow is darkest over those who feel it least and allow its evil effects to go on.” 
Pearl S. Buck

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Sky IS Falling

Perhaps you all remember the story of Chicken Little and how, because an acorn fell on her head, she feared the sky was falling, but of course it was not. Well, I fear we have a situation where, at least from the point of view of White male Western-Europeans, the sky truly is falling. I am considering once again,  the increasingly obvious failure of the dominant paradigm of Western-European thought, the paradigm that has been held for at least five hundred years and contains within it the myths of White, Western-European male superiority, as well as the superiority of Western-European culture. I speak of these beliefs as myths because that is what they basically were, although from the first appearance of Portuguese caravels along the African coast, through the horrors of European colonialism, the continued exploitation of the third world, the recent “wars” that still continue it, and the dominance of the West until the present time they have appeared to be facts. That is no longer so.
The American “empire” will be the last of the colonial empires. It is increasingly clear in the Middle East and in Central and South America that Arabs, as well as our “Little Brown Brothers” are no longer going to accept Western hegemony. India, Japan, and China either have or soon will surpass the U.S. in science, technology, mathematics, physics, as well as production. We are rapidly falling farther and farther behind in everything except perhaps military power and nuclear bombs, both being exposed as pretty much useless capabilities, as nuclear bombs cannot be used and our military might can’t even defeat a group of mostly illiterate Afghans fighting with only small arms. And we have, in truth, been defeated in our recent wars in both Asia and the Middle East (I guess we did great under Reagan when we took on Grenada).
In any case, like Chicken Little, we are in a panic, but for good reason, the sky really is falling for us. We, who have been brought up to believe in our superiority and “American exceptionalism,” are now being confronted with the truth, and it is terribly unpalatable for many, as well as somewhat pathetic to witness. Putting our “wars,” foreign policy, and economic problems aside, there are two manifestations of this panic that stand out: the seemingly irrational hatred of President Obama, and the “War on Women.”
I suppose if you were brought up to believe that Black people really are inferior to Whites, hatred of Obama who violates that basic belief might not be considered necessarily irrational. But it is the fact that he violates this basic belief that has to be the real reason for the hatred. As President, Obama has been like most Presidents, both good and bad, depending upon your points of view. His performance as President cannot explain the intense hatred. He is hated precisely because he has shattered the paradigm of White superiority and many just cannot tolerate that. No previous President to my knowledge has ever faced the massive opposition to everything he tried to do, even when those things were first presented by his opposition. When Obama was elected Republicans chose to oppose him no matter what he tried to do, and they have, much to the harm of our nation. And they have, of course, employed the “race card,” describing him as incompetent, a witch doctor, an “other,” and of course everything else from a socialist to a communist, fascist, Muslim, and etc. They hate him, in short, because he is Black, because, in the terms of Anthropologist May Douglas, he would be considered, “Dirt out of place.” It is not only Republicans who feel this way about Obama, it is the vast majority of the less educated White population as well, and, in fact, some of the more educated.
The other seemingly irrational behavior going on at the moment is the so-called “War on Women.” As this is politically suicidal for Republicans but they continue it anyway it can easily be seen as irrational. We wonder how it is that men believe they can decide better than women what is best for women’s health and reproduction. But remember, women were no higher up in the paradigm than children and Black people. In all societies I know of there is none where women held the most significant positions of power. Even in matrilineal societies (there are no truly matriarchal societies) power does not reside in women, but, rather, in mother’s brothers. In the matrilineal Trobriand Islands it is not the daughters that ritually “suck the bones of the fathers,” it’s the sons. Power everywhere resides in males, in Western-European societies in White males. Republican men do not believe they are in engaging in a war on women, they believe it is their “right” to decide such matters, it has always been so.
The belief in this basic paradigm is stronger in older people than in younger people who have been brought up in a more diverse cultural and ethnic society. We are witnessing the last gasps of a traditional belief system undergoing a basic paradigm shift, the last desperate attempts of Whites to cling to the powers they have come to expect as their due. With slavery gone, lynchings gone, Jim Crow gone, demographics changing, equality gaining ground, and voting and abortion rights being upheld, it is clear which direction we are going. It has been and continues to be a difficult journey.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Sleaze at Work

I fear we are witnessing a genuine case of sleaze at work “in the fields of the law.” Of course I have the current Zimmerman trial in mind, but sleaze is sleaze wherever found. I wonder if Karl Rove learned his sleazy political machinations from defense attorneys or if they have benefitted from his technique of “roviation?” In any case, there is no doubt the Zimmerman defense from even before the trial has been one attempt after another to portray Trayvon Martin as a less than desirable character, suggesting he was a “street fighter,” a poor student, a possible burglar, a pot smoker, and so on. This is a classic case of using Rove’s technique of attacking your opponent either for his possible shortcomings, or his strong points, rather than those of your candidate, or client. Perhaps the best example of lawyerly sleaze came when Zimmerman’s defense attorney tried to bully Trayvon Martin’s mother into saying that perhaps her son had brought his untimely end on himself. He said something to the effect of, “Wouldn’t you have hoped your son did nothing to bring this on himself?” Pure sleaze, what a ridiculous question, that wasn’t even meant to elicit an answer. Of course any mother would have hoped such a thing, IF it was necessary to even ask such a stupid question in the first place, and IF a mother fell into the trap. It is much to Trayvon’s mother’s credit that she did not, saying simply, “I don’t understand what you are asking me” (apparently she couldn’t believe anyone could ask such a stupid question).
Anyway, I think the defense attorneys for Zimmerman have done everything they could to destroy Trayvon Martin’s character and credibility even though such things should have nothing to do with what happened. The blond analyst on MSNBC has praised them as being among the finest defense attorneys she has seen. I guess they are, if defense attorneys employ any sleazy tactic they can to win their case. I guess I would think they should try to prove their client is innocent rather than try to destroy the reputation of the victim, but what do I know, I’m not a lawyer. But to my way of thinking the whole defense reeks of, what can I say…just plain sleaze.
 I continue to believe Zimmerman is guilty. Of course I could possibly be wrong. But as far as I can see his whole story lacks credibility, from start to finish. He wants us to believe that even though he went on his watch fully armed with a semi-automatic pistol (that he was not supposed to be carrying according to the rules for such watchmen), and even though he followed Trayvon when he was instructed not to, and even though it has been established that Trayvon was frightened by being followed by a strange man, that it was he, Trayvon, a 17 year-old with tea and skittles, minding his own business, who ultimately was the aggressor and attacked Zimmerman. Zimmerman also wants us to believe that it was he who was screaming for help rather than the boy. Zimmerman, who outweighed the boy, who aspired to be a policeman and even studied police tactics, who had been working out 2 to 3 times a week for more than a year in a Gym, learning boxing and other self-defense methods (he apparently wasn’t very good at it), had lost about 80 pounds of weight, was fully armed and obviously looking for trouble, was reduced to a helpless screaming victim when supposedly attacked by a smaller Black teenager. Some cop he would have made.
The screaming stopped after the shot was fired. Common sense would suggest the victim stopped screaming because he was shot. Zimmerman’s defense wants us to believe it was Zimmerman who stopped screaming, “because he had no further reason to scream.” I simply cannot get myself to believe this no matter how hard I try. And of course we already know Zimmerman is a liar, having lied about his bail money, and, more importantly, lying that he knew nothing of the infamous Stand Your Ground law even though he had studied it in a class devoted to such topics. His description of Trayvon seeing and trying to get his gun is an unbelievable fairy tale. Zimmerman has shown no regret whatsoever for taking the life of an innocent, unarmed 17 year-old victim. His story reeks of dishonesty. He probably even feels proud of having rid us of another “punk,” that at least he finally succeeded in keeping one of “them” from “always getting away.”  As Black people live in the complex where this unfortunate even occurred, it wasn’t as if Trayvon was suspiciously out of place in a White neighborhood. He seems to have been guilty only of “Walking while Black.” It seems pretty clear to me that this wanna-be tough-guy, wanna-be cop, wanna-be hero, tried to apprehend (capture? Hold? Warn?) Trayvon Martin, didn’t prove to be man enough for the job when the boy resisted, and shot him dead out of desperation. He wants to convert his unwarranted attack on Trayvon to Trayvon’s (defensive, but imaginarily “deadly”) aggressive sneak attack on him. If sleazy lawyering gets him off I don’t believe it will prove “justice” had anything to do with it.

Then not only custom, but also nature affirms that to do is more disgraceful than to suffer injustice, and that justice is equality.

Friday, July 05, 2013

They're Trying to Kill Us

The Koch brothers, that is, as well as other business interests that are spending fortunes to actually block any action to curb global warming. What can they possibly be thinking? It is hard to imagine that such people are stupid enough to believe that global warming is not happening, and that it has at least something to do with human activity. I mean, with all that money and power, no matter what they might personally believe, they must have well-informed consultants who presumably know what is going on in the world. Or do their consultants just tell them what they want to hear? When some 97% or more of all world scientists agree that global warming is happening, and it has something to do with human activity, you would think everyone would take it seriously. While it is true the deniers can hire scientists to say it isn’t happening they must know that is what they are doing – hiring scientists to deny it is happening. They can’t possibly think otherwise, can they? Could their obsession with short-term profits be so great they literally cannot think beyond that? Can they be totally blind to reality, so brain dead and greedy they just don’t care what happens to us? Don’t believe that as a species we are not potentially in danger of disappearing, there have been several varieties of us in the past (Australopithecines, Cro-Magnons and others) that have not managed to survive.
Maybe they are well aware they are putting us in danger but assume they can enjoy their obscene wealth during their lifetimes and before the curtain falls? It reminds me of one of Idaho’s earliest senators (I’ve forgotten his name), who, having made his fortune cutting all the timber he could as fast as he could, when questioned about possibly leaving some for the next generation, replied, “Let the next generation shift for themselves.” This seems to be pretty much the attitude of humans throughout history, having slaughtered many species to extinction, dammed the rivers with little thought to the fish, cut the timber as if there were no tomorrow, extracted oil and minerals in the same mad fashion, and only just now seem to be waking up to the possible consequences of their thoughtless actions. Let us hope it is not too late.
Perhaps with all that money, and being used to getting anything they want, they think they can bribe their way out of the mess they have certainly helped to create. President Obama said he has little patience with climate change deniers and now suggests we act when it may well be too late. Our rivers, lakes, and oceans are so fouled there may be little chance to save them without much more urgent action than anyone has suggested, anyone that counts, that is (scientists apparently don’t count). Think of it, we may be the only species with the ability to prevent our own extinction, but didn’t bother to do it. Can it be the case that species, like individuals, must inevitably die? It seems to me that much of our ordinary activity is leading to extinction. Our behavior is certainly responsible for global warming, but what about our obsession with the internal combustion engine, plastics, built-in obsolescence, and so on, all slowly contributing to our eventual demise, slowly fouling our nest potentially to the point of no return? It is not merely the Koch brothers and their ilk that are trying to kill us, we are killing ourselves.  On that cheerful note let me close with still another problem.
Some are concerned that Zimmerman, who admittedly shot and killed Trayvon Martin, has shown no regret. Why should he, as far as he is concerned he killed a “fucking punk asshole,” not an innocent unarmed Black teenager minding his own business. Our interpersonal relations, too, need a great deal of work.

[History] is little else than a picture of human crimes and misfortunes.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Grasp of the Bloodsuckers

I suppose it might be possible to find a more idiotic way to fund higher education, but I cannot conceive of what that might be. Student loan debt now stands at 1.1 trillion dollars, apparently higher even than credit card debt. Congress in its willful and infinite ignorance just allowed the rate on student loans to double. As many of the students in debt cannot find jobs to begin with, and those with jobs generally don’t earn enough to making paying back their loans very easy or even feasible, the possibilities for defaults will inevitably grow. And, of course, fewer and fewer young people will be able to attend college. In any case, we now have generations of wage slaves, the same generations that will be responsible for taking over the tasks of governing, making advances in science, technology, medicine, and promoting human life in general. This is, to put it mildly, “NO WAY TO RUN A RAILROAD,” and certainly does not bode well for the future of the U.S.
This ridiculous situation is the very antithesis of how a democracy is supposed to both survive and thrive; that is, with an educated citizenry. We have allowed our young people to become prey for capitalistic, privatization bloodsuckers, a clever but rather obscene way of making short term profits at the expense of our future. It would seem obvious to me that when a nation neglects to educate succeeding generations in the very skills they will need to keep it successfully functioning it is heading for eventual disaster. When you consider what is happening to the U.S., no longer leading in virtually any mathematical, scientific, medical, or vital educational category, this seems to be, in fact, coming true. We are, by choice it appears, becoming a third world nation.
How is it we have allowed this to happen? Is it an accident because we weren’t paying attention? Partly perhaps. Is it because we can’t afford it? Obviously not. Is it because we don’t really need an educated citizenry? Of course not. Is it simply inevitable? That, I think, depends on the circumstances. Perhaps the simplest explanation (possibly even the best) is because our country is controlled by a few huge international corporations who demand low wages everywhere they operate, which inevitably drives down wages in the U.S. and decreases the demand for better educated citizens. But I think it is a more complicated and longer story than that with a history of the attitudinal change and an accompanying attack on our educational institutions.
Our basic attitude towards education and the educated seems to have slowly changed. Remember those stories of how children had to walk several miles to school, or ride horseback, and endure hardships of various kinds, of how Lincoln studied by firelight on the floor of their cabin, how small communities raised money for a one room schoolhouse, and so on. Actually much of that was true. In the earlier days of our Republic there was a value placed on education and people did suffer in order to achieve it.  Now, of course, it is difficult for communities to fund their schools, class sizes are large, regimentation rather than education seems to be the priority. Many children do not even want to go to school. Large numbers do not graduate from High School. There is an important movement underway to privatize our schools, thus making a profit from our children and their well-being. Our schools are ripe for capitalistic short-term profit making just like our prisons, hospitals, and so on. While this might well be good for business in the short run it is suicidal for a nation in the long run.
Interestingly enough even the concept of a “nation” is slowly disappearing. A few enormous corporations, with annual budgets that exceed those of most nations, control our lives. As these are international entities, national boundaries and interests are not as important as they previously were, and this change is accelerating. As corporations can find what they need elsewhere if a nation’s rules and regulations are regarded as too stringent, either the rules must change for their benefit or a nation loses out in the competition.
Our attitudes toward higher learning, too, have changed. Now we speak of “Nutty Professors,” “Pointy-headed Intellectuals,” “Know-nothing Perfessers,” and say things like “Them as can’t do, teach,” and so on.  Even many who should know better disparage education:
It is true that for every negative quote you can find on education there are many more extolling the importance of it. But when you look at what is actually happening to education in the U.S. you soon realize these are mostly idle chatter. Those with power and influence in the U.S. are not only sucking the blood from our young people, they are sucking it from the nation itself.
 The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize.

Franklin D. Roosevelt 

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

What's New with Women?

You may recall my earlier discussions of the basic paradigm of Western/European culture that placed White Caucasian males at the very apex of a “great chain of being” where “civilization” had evolved through savagery and barbarism to what constituted Western/European culture in the 19th and 20th centuries. This paradigm had, of course, Black people as lower on the scale of civilization than others, with Asians and others somewhat higher, but inevitably all overshadowed by Whites. It also equated “savages” with children and vice-versa when it came to thought, art, and reason, and so on. What I did not mention previously was the position of women in this paradigm.
Women, in fact, were considered similar to children and savages, partly but not exclusively on the basis of brain size. Consider, for example, some of the major ideas on this subject:
Cesare Lombroso, perhaps the most important criminologist of the nineteenth century, not only linked women to savages and children but  also to criminals: “We also saw that women have many traits in common with children; that their moral sense is deficient; that they are revengeful, jealous, inclined to vengeances of a refined cruelty. In ordinary cases these defects are neutralized by piety, maternity, want of passion, sexual coldness, by weakness and an undeveloped intelligence. But when a morbid activity of the psychical centres intensified the bad qualities of women, and induces them to seek relief in evil deeds; when piety and maternal sentiments are wanting, and in their place are strong passions and intensely erotic tendencies, much muscular strength and a superior intelligence for the conception and execution of evil, it is clear that the innocuous semi-criminal present in the normal woman must be transformed into a born criminal more terrible than any man. What terrific criminals would children be if they had strong passions, muscular strength, and sufficient intelligence; and if, moreover, their evil  tendencies were exasperated by a morbid psychical activity! And women are big children; their evil tendencies are more numerous and more varied than men’s, but generally remain latent.”
Lombroso’s views on women were shared by others. Paul Broca, for example, whose” craniometry movement “preceded IQ testing, believed that women’s brains were smaller than men’s and therefore inferior. He did not, however, believe this was simply due to the relative size of men and women. He knew a priori that women were less intelligent than men! Topinard, one of his disciples, offered an evolutionary explanation for this: “The man who fights for two or more in the struggle for existence, who has all the responsibility and the cares of tomorrow, who is constantly active in combating the environment and human rivals, needs more brain than the woman whom he must protect and nourish, the sedentary woman, lacking any interior occupation, whose role is to raise children, love, and be passive.”
Gustave LeBon, in one of the best anthropological journals of the time: “In the most intelligent races, as among the Parisians, there are a large number of women whose brains are closer in size to those of gorillas than to the most developed male brains. This inferiority is so obvious that no one can contest it for a moment; only its degree is worth discussion. All psychologists who have studied the intelligence of women, as well as poets and novelists, recognize today that they represent the most inferior forms of human evolution and that they are closer to children and savages than to an adult, civilized man. They excel in fickleness, inconstancy, absence of thought and logic, and incapacity to reason…”
Even Darwin himself linked women to a past stage of civilization: “It is generally admitted that with women the power of intuition, of rapid perception, and perhaps of imitation, are more strongly marked than in man; but some, at least, of these faculties are characteristic of the lower races and therefore of a past and lower state of civilization.” (If you wish to know where these quotes come from see my book, The Study of Culture, 2005).
Just as the racism that is implied in this ubiquitous early, and still stubbornly persistent paradigm, so, too, does the sexism, as is obvious in the Republicans “War on Women” currently raging across so many states. I need not remind you that the right to vote came late to women (along with the right to wear pants), until quite recently women were regarded as subservient to men, could not have their own bank accounts or be involved with legal matters independently of their husbands, were not accorded “loss of consortium,” and continued to be considered less intelligent and responsible than men. Thus is it any wonder that men think they should be in charge of women’s bodies with respect to childbearing, rape, health care, and etc., that they know best, that in the words of Zorba, “they are such poor weak creatures, how can we not love them?”  In fact women are now becoming as “uppity” as Blacks, much to the dismay of (especially Republican) men. The standard paradigm that served us for so many years is now being exposed as the colonial fraud it was, both in the White House and in Texas. Good riddance!
The attitudes toward women enshrined in this evolutionary paradigm might even be considered somewhat mild when compared to what various church fathers thought of women. See the article on AlterNet by Valerie Tarico, “20 Vile Quotes Against Women by Religious Leaders from St. Augustine to Pat Robertson.” My favorites:  “Wife: Be content to be insignificant. What loss would it be to God or man had you never been born.” John Wesley, founder of Methodist movement (1703-1791), and, “No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise. – Martin Luther, Reformer, and finally:  The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians. -- Pat Robertson, Southern Baptist leader.

“The problem with women is that they have small, smooth brains.”

An African elder being interviewed by an anthropologist.

Monday, July 01, 2013

None of the News Most of the Time

I have no idea why MSNBC decided to follow so thoroughly the Zimmerman trial. It is so slow and mostly boring (like most such trials) that I cannot believe most of their viewers can be following it equally in as much detail or with as much interest. Perhaps the editorial board thinks it is really more important than the scandalous behavior of the “To-Big-to-Fail” Banks that continually escape any punishment for their crimes, other than minor fines. And maybe they think it is less important than the fact that we are being constantly monitored and spied upon by our own government. Then, again, perhaps they don’t want to mention the ongoing Israeli crimes against the Palestinians and their complete disregard for international laws. It appears to me that “Bibi” has now established himself as the ruler of the planet as he simply ignores the demands of the international community, with the support of the U.S., of course, and does whatever he wants (and continues to get away with it, just like the Banks). I guess if I were a news agency in the U.S. I might well be too ashamed to mention such things. Of course our relations with Russia, China, South America, and Africa are all going so splendidly there is no reason to spend time there. We do have the Zimmerman fiasco to keep us entertained.
And speaking of the trial, I said earlier I could not have been a juror because I already believe Zimmerman is guilty. I have not (actually cannot) watch the trial for more than a few minutes at a time, but I confess to having seen and heard nothing so far to make me believe  he might be innocent. You might recall there might not have been a trial at all if the Police Chief and the Prosecuting Attorney had had their way as they chose not to prosecute Zimmerman at all. This was a most interesting decision. Here was a case where a volunteer Night Watchman who was told not to follow the boy did so anyway, armed with a handgun he was not supposed to have been carrying according to the rules of the Night Watchmanship, who then shot and killed an unarmed Black teen-ager on his way home with tea and skittles, argued that he was merely “standing his ground,” according to a ridiculous superfluous Florida law that need not have been passed in the first place as self defense has always been a prerogative, and the Chief of Police and Prosecuting Attorney felt the death was so inconsequential as to require no further action. Whew!
Anyway, after considerable pressure was brought to bear charges were finally filed (second degree murder) and we are now being entertained by what seem to me to be mostly a waste of time. I say a waste of time because Zimmerman’s account strikes me as totally far-fetched which I believe will inevitably be exposed by the evidence. To believe Zimmerman you have to believe that a 17 year-old boy who was demonstrably afraid enough of being followed to consider running away, actually turned and pursued a larger man he did not know and attacked him. For all Trayvon Martin could have known the man was not only larger and threatening, but could even have been armed (which he was) or might even have been a policeman. Zimmerman’s claim of having been the victim strikes me as preposterous on the face of it.
The fact that Zimmerman had injuries consistent with fighting and having his head banged on the cement walkway indicates to me that Trayvon put up a substantial fight against a strange man intent upon either capturing him or at least punishing him, thus it was Trayvon who was “standing his ground,” not Zimmerman. Zimmer man’s account is full of inconsistencies and has changed over time. He has Trayvon  jumping out of bushes (there were no bushes), with his hand in his waistband (where were the tea and skittles), Trayvon threatening him with dying that night and other things (which so far, at least, no witness has said they heard), and others as well. And do not forget the animosity with which Zimmerman approached Trayvon, referring to him as an “fucking punk,” an “asshole,” and complaining that “these guys always get away.” Zimmerman also referred to Trayvon as a “suspect.” You are not considered a suspect unless there has been a crime, what crime did Trayvon commit (or was presumably going to commit)? it seems pretty clear to me that Zimmerman, in his zeal to capture “one of them” tried to subdue Trayvon, failed to do so, and was then forced to shoot and kill him, and now wants to be exonerated using a ridiculous defense that should never have been allowed in the first place. Of course I could be wrong. On the other hand I don’t know what all the fuss is about, unarmed Black teen-agers are shot and killed quite often in the U.S. I suspect that might have been the motivation for the Stand Your Ground law in the first place.