Florida: Getting Away With Child Murder

Trayvon Martin was murdered in a shocking act of violence clearly motivated by racial bias, yet it looks like he won’t even get a slap on the wrist.

It appears that George Zimmerman drove up to Trayvon when the 17 year old was returning from a shopping trip with an iced tea and some skittles, got out of his car, attacked the youth, and shot him (emphasis mine):

According to 911 recordings released late Friday by Sanford police, Zimmerman said the person was walking slowly, looked drugged and appeared to be looking at people’s houses. Police would later learn that Trayvon had gone to 7-Eleven during the NBA All Star game halftime to get Skittles and Arizona iced tea.

These a–holes always get away,” Zimmerman complained.

What happened next is unclear, and has already reverberated nationwide. Calls to 911 alerted police to a scuffle and someone crying for help. In one, the chilling howl stopped after the clear, crisp blast of a bullet. Trayvon was lying face down on the ground near a pathway that runs through the townhouse community.

One 911 caller sobbed to the dispatcher over not having helped the young man who wailed.

Zimmerman told police that was him crying for help and that Trayvon started the fight. He claimed self-defense and was not charged

The history of consequence free violence against black people in this community suggests a systemic problem (emphasis mine):

n 2010, police waited seven weeks to arrest a lieutenant’s son who was caught on video sucker-punching a homeless black man.

In 2005, two security guards — one the son of a longtime Sanford police officer and the other a department volunteer — killed a black man they said was trying to run them over. Black leaders complained of a lackluster investigation. The guards ultimately were acquitted.

Police Chief Bill Lee is not helping the situation with his comments (emphasis mine):

“We are taking a beating over this,” said Lee, who defends the investigation. “This is all very unsettling. I’m sure if George Zimmerman had the opportunity to relive Sunday, Feb. 26, he’d probably do things differently. I’m sure Trayvon would, too.”

What the hell could Trayvon have done differently?

George Zimmerman has no need of going back in time to do things differently.  He apparently killed a child – and from the looks of things – will get away with it.


Hillary’s Supporters and Florida’s Primary Flop

Something is wrong.  These are our allies, and the level of mistrust and hatred is palpable.  But so is the level of denial (The Confluence):

Doesn’t look too good for him though. I love the stories from fellow conflucians about how they are responding to requests for donations from the DNC. I think Paul’s (plukasiak) was my favorite:

off topic, but…
Just got mail from the Obama campaign. So I wrote a check for $100, tore it in half, and am sending it along with this message…

Dear Senator Obama
On behalf of my friends in Florida, please find half a check for $100. Since your campaign saiid their votes should only count as half votes, I figure you’ll know what to do with half a check.
But, in case you need a hint – the RBC corruptly ensured your nomination while violating the DNC charter “sunshine” povisiions for meetings. In that spirit, you can take my half-check, and put it ‘where the sun don’t shine’.

Hillary Clinton ran in Florida against zero opponents.  If the Florida vote were to be in any way representative, it would have had to be a revote.  But at the same time, it is important Obama supporters recognize why the Florida situation is bullshit.  Its bullshit because the primary system we have let’s some states have an inordinate say in the process.  Florida tried to skip ahead in line, and got stuck arguing about whether or not it was caught doing anything wrong with the DNC.  Instead of acting like a sneaky kid in class, Floridians ought to join the rest of the country and demand that we do away with delegates, single-state primaries and conventions.  How about one national primary, popular vote only?  Hell, why not have that for the general?

This is the kind of thing we need to talk about, that we need to focus on.  Otherwise we can turn this quarrel about Florida into a debate over what caused us to lose to McCain.

Hillary Clinton Must Go

She shouldn’t be given a leadership position as a “consolation prize”.  She shouldn’t be bailed out by Obama or the party.  It has gotten to the point where Hillary and her supporters have showed their true colors, and the resulting picture is a nasty one.

Hillary Clinton’s threatening civil war within the party if she isn’t offered something.  In return for what?  There’s certainly value in ensuring Hillary’s supporters are listened to, especially in such a close race.  But the candidate herself is doing everything to make this a painful and damaging process for everyone.  That should not be rewarded, it should be condemned.

Arguments to make the vote “count” in Florida and Michigan are beyond cynical.  As Greg Saunders points out, her position utterly disregards the will of the voters, the integrity of the process, and the impact of her divisive actions (emphasis mine):

It’s stunning to me that Hillary Clinton supporters would have the audacity to claim that the popular vote is a metric that we should be using to determine who should get the Democratic nomination while at the same time insisting that Obama shouldn’t receive a single vote for Michigan. I’m ambivalent about whether or how the MI and FL delegates should be seated, but if you’re going to hold yourself up as a champion of voting rights and insist that the popular vote is a more legitimate way to gauge voter intent, then it’s pretty craven to chase a strategy whose only purpose is to cut into Obama’s lead with the implicit conclusion that not a single person in Michigan supports Barack OBama.

But, you might argue, Obama chose to take his name off the ballot and therefore his lack of support is just the result of his own choices. Well, if we’re going to follow the rules to the letter and punish candidates for their choices, then it bears repeating that the rules state that Michigan and Florida don’t count and that the Clinton campaign made the choice to agree to the DNC sanctions against these states. If you’re only going to recognize the rules that help Hillary Clinton win, just drop the self-righteous bullshit about your sterling commitment to democracy and be honest enough to admit that you’re only interested in Florida and Michigan because you think Clinton is a better candidate.

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and all of the other Democratic candidates competed under the same rules and Clinton lost. Now she’s trying to work the refs and is trying to change any rules that might keep her from winning. That’s understandable, but when you wrap your attempts to move the goalposts in a veneer of moral superiority and question the values of your opponents (specifically, questioning whether or not Obama supporters believe in voting rights), don’t be surprised if you piss a lot of people off.

I’m willing to give Mrs. Clinton the benefit of the doubt on her RFK gaffe.  But she’s literally tearing the party apart when we desperately need to pull together to undo years of structural damage to the foundations of our government and way of life.  And all to satisfy this intense sense of entitlement that smells more like Lieberman’s independent run than the underlying commitment to our nation’s deepest issues she showed during the NH primary.  Its a huge waste of talent.  This primary should not have been a “last shot” to the NY Senator.  But with the way she’s bungled things and the misplaced priorities she’s shown, it looks like it is.  The more she gnashes her teeth and lashes out at Democrats, the more I am ok with that.

Clinton Straight Up Lies (No Joke)

Yes, Hillary Clinton, that paragon of honesty, has straight up lied about the popular vote.  Here’s the grimy details.  Sigh, emphasis mine:

Sen. Hillary Clinton is arguing that she is ahead of rival Sen. Barack Obama when it comes to the popular vote.

“I’m very proud that as of today, I have received more votes by the people who have voted than anyone else,” Clinton said Wednesday, one day after her decisive win in Pennsylvania.

Not so fast, says Obama’s campaign. Clinton’s count includes her wins in Michigan and Florida, but the Democratic presidential candidates agreed not to campaign in those states because they violated party rules by scheduling their contests too early.

Obama didn’t even have his name on the Michigan ballot, so he received no votes from that contest.

“We think that, in the end, if we end up having won twice as many states and having the most votes, then we should be the nominee,” Obama said.

Senator Clinton, what bullshit is this?  Michigan and Florida with either not count, or will have a do-over election in which the running candidates can both compete.  There isn’t a hint of ambiguity here.  What you said was a lie.

Florida, Michigan and the Primary Problem

Florida and Michigan tried to buck the system, which was unfair to the states that did not.  This was shitty, but I agree with riverdaughter, the idea that they need to apologize is ridiculous.  She quotes Matt Yglesias (emphasis mine):

Chris Bowers sketches out a plausible and appealing scenario in which Barack Obama wraps up the nomination on May 6. Among other things that would be good about such a scenario, it’s worth noting that at this point the main obstacle to a satisfactory resolution of the Florida/Michigan situation is that Clinton continues to be in the race. If she drops out and endorses Obama on May 7 or shortly thereafter, it’ll be easy for Michigan and Florida to be “forgiven” in late May and allowed to fully participate in a rubber stamp convention in exchange for promising to never do it again.

Our primary system leaves some states without a say in who becomes the party nominee.  It is disenfranchisement on a massive scale.  Also, certain states have an even heavier say in who the final field of candidates for the nomination will be.  This is a profoundly undemocratic process.  So while it was unfair to the states willing to sit in their cages and wait to be let out to vote, the real issue is how we go about picking a nominee.

What we have in place now is a sham.

The Gay Agenda

Ending the hate and violence of homophobia.  Via Pam:

What is going on in the Sunshine State? In Jim “Potty Sex” Naugle‘s Fort Lauderdale, apparently the homophobia is rubbing off on residents. (WSVN):

Police are searching for a man driven by hate, who beat a gay man and threatened him and his partner, after they finished a meal at an outdoor restaurant.

His crime?  Being homosexual.

There’s all this talk about the “Gay Agenda”.  Its psychotic.  The only agenda is one held in common by ethical people everywhere:  Equality.  And yes, I mean directly that if you oppose equality for Gay people, you are an unethical fuck.  There is no room for sugarcoating the blood being spilled by pretending homosexuality is a sin, a choice, a blasphemy.  Everyone on this planet deserves equal rights, deserves human rights.

This was a hate crime.  It was a crime that hurt the direct victims, who were threatened and assaulted.  It is a crime that says to Gay people everywhere this is what happens to you:

Brunner recalled, moments later, the man returned visibly upset. “He just started with this barrage, of, ‘Are you looking at me, you faggot? You know what I do to faggots? I break their necks!'”

This kind of violence and hatred has no place within society.  It is deserving of no respect, and must be given no quarter.  The struggle forhuman rights is a universal one, and one that we can all take part in.  I am a man and I am a proud feminist.  I am straight and I stand tall for Gay rights.  You don’t need to share anything in common with the victims here to share sympathy for their suffering and anger at those who caused it.  From the man who beat them to those who filled that man with ignorance and hatred.

Its the 2st century.  We don’t need to wait 20 years and live through a giant struggle to recognize the rights of our citizens.  We are in the midst of a new civil rights movement.  One that frames the struggle properly in terms of human rights, and that extends to people of every possible description and category.  The Gay rights movement is but a part of this struggle.  But it is a vital and irreplaceable part, just like every other battle for equality and humanity around the globe.  The Gay agenda is our agenda.  It is the Human agenda.

The Deft White Supremacist

The inaptly named “Patritoic Activist” put up a post on Obama’s economic stimulus package.  He titled it “Obama bribes voters”.  The actual post was mostly innocuous:

Democrat Barack Obama said Wednesday that as president he would spend $210 billion to create jobs in construction and environmental industries, as he tried to win over economically struggling voters.

Obama’s investment would be over 10 years as part of two programs. The larger is $150 billion to create 5 million so-called “green collar” jobs to develop more environmentally friendly energy sources.

Sixty billion would go to a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to rebuild highways, bridges, airports and other public projects. Obama estimated that could generate nearly 2 million jobs, many of them in the construction industry that’s been hit by the housing crisis.

No big deal.  One can easily point out that all candidates do the same by proposing, oh say, massive tax cuts our economy cannot support, as Republicans are wont to do.

So the post itself, objectivity (far) aside, appears harmless, save for a graphic (AIPAC for Obama) that links to a white nationalist website.  The Rational Psychic was first out the door taking PA to task for this:

 What are you trying to prove by having this white nationalist link on your page?

PA’s response?

I’m sorry but don’t I understand your question.

Take care,

Yeah, right.  But this guys blog makes for really good reading.  He’s pretty overtly anti-semitic.  But his bigotry towards immigrants is something special:

Originally from the Mexican state of Zacatecas, he’s lived north, in the US, for more than 40 years. He is currently president of the Federation of Zacatecan Associations.

The migrants’ influence comes with the massive amounts of money they send back home.

Despite the relative stagnation of the US economy, this flow of money keeps growing, according to recent data. In 2003 it increased by 35% – the total amount sent that year to Mexico was more than $13bn.

In other words, his point is that the migrants are bleeding an already wounded America dry.  This is a point you might see in the mainstream media.  Its always nice to know your source.

Bigots like PA use a particularly familiar rhetorical strategy.  Pick your target (non white christian males), pick your audience (christian white males), and connect the two via a vulnerability.  As much as possible, scrape the language clean of overt racism and stick to the meat of the issue, using it as a wedge to push your audience away from your target socially, economically, and politically.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Extra bonus, this guy is running for office in Florida.  Seems he has a political plan for bigots across the nation (St. Petersberg Times, emphasis mine):

“We’re sitting down and we’re waiting to die,” said John Ubele, a 28-year-old Shady Hills resident who calls himself a white separatist and has ties to two groups with similar views, the National Alliance and the National Vanguard. “We’re waiting to be wiped out.”

A stranger who ran into Ubele at a party might never discover his extremism. He is clean-cut and soft-spoken with no visible piercings or tattoos. He repairs windows for a living and likes his pancakes with butter-pecan syrup.

While he may not fit the profile of a political firebrand, Ubele has grand ambitions and a nationwide strategy.

If he can win a seat on the three-member Mosquito Control Board in the Nov. 7 general election – and the competition is stiff, partly because board members get $400 a month for attending just one meeting – Ubele wants to ride his political capital to the County Commission and perhaps the Governor’s Mansion after that.

There’s more. Ubele is using the Internet to mobilize other white separatists to run for office around the United States.

“Let’s make 2006 the year we explode onto the political scene,” he wrote on the Web site of the National Vanguard’s Tampa chapter. “Every other race has politicians in office which represent their interests. It’s time we have politicians to represent ours.”

The trouble for people like Ubele is that their bigotry and hatred comes seething out in the end no matter how skillfully they hide their ethical and intellectual failure, and its never pretty to watch.