Shorter Question Everything
And it isn’t getting any prettier.
• “I Feel Sorry for George”: 7 Shocking Moments From Zimmerman Juror B37′s First Interview. In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Juror B-37 — who initially planned to write a book about the trial — revealed that the jurors considered Florida’s Stand Your Ground law in reaching their verdict, appeared to strongly sympathize with the defendant, and felt that race played no factor in the incident.
• After watching this interview [with Juror B 37], I think there should be an investigation into whether or not the jury properly deliberated. According to reports, the jury asked two questions. The first was for a full evidence list and the second was for clarification on the definition of manslaughter. That question was not answered. Instead, the jury acquitted him about an hour later. [And why does she refer to GZ as "George", as though they were besties?]
• An Open Letter to Juror B-37 in the Zimmerman Trial: … I would love to see your face when you learn that “Georgie” threw a woman across the room, called his ex-fiance a “hoe,” had a restraining order put on him from his ex-fiance’ and the “meek” man who could not fight assaulted an undercover police officer even AFTER he identified himself, to which “Georgie” replied, “I don’t care WHO you are!” and assaulted him. You believed the wrong person. You set free the wrong person. YOU are a wrong person. …You are a disgusting human being. And I find your desire to write a book after you set a child murderer free to be disgusting and that’s why I repeat the insult. You are a racist and could never think about what Trayvon Martin might have been thinking or feeling. Perhaps you need to read my Closing Argument. …We already know you enjoy reveling in lies, Juror B-37, and we also now know that your attorney husband is friends with Mark O’Mara. I wondered why that other disgusting being, Frank Taaffe, was so confident about the verdict and knew certain votes and now I’m clear, you were the source.
• 4 jurors distance themselves from Juror B37. Four of the jurors at the George Zimmerman trial distanced themselves late Tuesday from statements that another juror made in a televised interview. The four jurors issued a brief statement on court stationary saying that the opinions expressed by Juror B37 to CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday night are not representative of their views. “The opinions of Juror B37, expressed on the Anderson Cooper show were her own, and not in any way representative of the jurors listed below,” said the statement, signed by Jurors B51, B76, E6 and E40.
Zimmerman is a horrible human being
• Infuriating: The real kicker came when Zimmerman accused African-Americans of rushing to judgement and asked everyone who he claims rushed to judgement to apologize to him. Zimmerman said, “I can’t guess to what their motives are. I would just ask for an apology. I mean if I did something that was wrong. I would apologize.”
• George Zimmerman May Have to Face Molestation Charges. A woman allegedly related to George Zimmerman and his family told investigators that members of Zimmerman’s family were boastfully proud racists and that Zimmerman sexually molested her for several years. “It started when I was six,” the woman told investigators in 2012. “We’d all lay in front of the TV and we had pillows and blankets and he would reach under the blankets and try to do things and I would try to push him off but he was bigger and stronger and older,” the woman said, audibly weeping in the Florida State Attorney’s Office interview recording released Monday. “It was in front of everybody and I don’t know how I didn’t say anything, I just didn’t know any better.” A number of news sources have reported that the woman is a relative of the Zimmerman family, though her exact relationship to Zimmerman was redacted from the interview recording.
• The Trayvon Martin Verdict Proves Only White People Deserve to be Safe. When a racist country is that obsessed with self-defense, the safety of men with white privilege — even those who, like George Zimmerman, have a record of abuse — takes precedence over the welfare of everyone else. The six-woman jury (five white, one hispanic) that acquitted George Zimmerman of second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager armed only with candy, never learned that Zimmerman had a long history of violence against women. Zimmerman allegedly molested his female cousin for ten years, starting when she was just ten years old. Zimmerman’s former fiancé sought a restraining order against him for domestic violence; she alleged (alongside other more violent claims) that Zimmerman was “trolling her neighborhood to check on her.” These two pieces of character evidence were deemed irrelevant, even though the latter suggests that he had a thing for “checking up” on people who didn’t want or need to be monitored and therefore seems particularly apropos.
On the trial
• Acquitted Development: John Oliver highlights blatant racial double standard in Florida’s self-defense laws
• Michael Steele: ‘Not guilty’ verdict is a moral injustice to Trayvon Martin. “Not guilty.” So Trayvon Martin’s family and the rest of the country are left with a legal versus moral conundrum. Even accepting that the law applied to the facts presented at this trial has led to this particular result, we are left feeling that somehow the morality of having a 17-year-old kid killed for doing nothing more than putting on a hoodie, purchasing some Skittles from the store and walking home has to be addressed. What gnaws at us is the overwhelming feeling that the law has failed us; but more importantly, that there is no moral closure. Trayvon Martin, for being 17 years old, black and a victim of a moral injustice: Guilty.
• New Trayvon lie: Media, LAPD falsely report “rowdy” protests. Los Angeles’ W Hotel confirms that claims of $15,000 in damages allegedly resulting from protests never happened. Despite reporting to the contrary from both Los Angeles’ NBC affiliate and the Los Angeles Police Department, Trayvon Martin protesters in Hollywood on Sunday night neither “stormed” nor caused “about $15,000 worth of damage” at a local hotel. For the most part, protests in the wake of the “not guilty” verdict for George Zimmerman in Florida, have been peaceful here in L.A., though, at times, it seems as if NBC’s local affiliate, NBC4 hoped they might not be. The BRAD BLOG has confirmed with a spokesman at the W Hotel in Hollywood that “no protestors ever entered” the facility, even as NBC4?s NewsChopper4 reporter Megan Reyes told both the studio and viewers watching their live web stream of protests on Sunday night that protesters were “getting very rowdy” and had “broken glass” at the hotel. She cited no source for her reporting, and NBC4 did not respond to The BRAD BLOG’s request last night via Twitter for detailed on Reyes’ sourcing.
• Tavis Smiley: I’m waiting to hear the NRA say if Trayvon Martin had a gun, he might still be alive. “African Americans are not seeing that same kind of empathy and appreciation of the humanity of Trayvon that they saw for the children of Sandy Hook,” Smiley continued. “I’m waiting to hear, I haven’t heard it yet, I’m waiting to hear the NRA say that if Trayvon Martin had a gun, he might still be alive today. The bottom line is that race still the most intractable issue in this country, and when an adult can profile, and stalk and kill a child in America our democracy is threatened.”
• In perhaps his starkest terms yet, Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday condemned the controversial stand your ground laws that initially prevented police from arresting George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. “We must stand our ground to ensure that our laws reduce violence and take a hard look at laws that contribute to more violence than they prevent,” Holder told an audience at the NAACP national convention in Orlando. “It’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense,” he said. “These laws try to fix something that was never broken.” Holder went further suggesting that they can perhaps encourage “violent situations to escalate in public. Such laws undermine public safety.”
The next Trayvon Martin
• Another trial involving a Florida man who fatally shot an unarmed black teen. Michael David Dunn, 45, told police he shot and killed Jordan Davis at a gas station last year because he feared for his life. Dunn had told Davis and his friends to turn down their loud music. He claimed the situation escalated and the teens began threatening him. Dunn started shooting because he thought they had a shotgun. Dunn, who faces a first-degree murder charge and three attempted murder charges, plans to invoke Florida’s controversial “Stand your ground” law in his defense. The law allows gun owners to use deadly force without the “duty to retreat” first if they feel their life is endangered.
• Here’s Florida’s Next Trayvon Martin Case. A white man named Michael Dunn shot and killed an unarmed black teenager named Jordan Davis in Florida last year after a brief dispute. The prosecutor overseeing the case is Florida state attorney Angela Corey. Dunn, who will be tried for murder, claims the shooting was in self-defense. Sound familiar? No one but Zimmerman and Martin himself bore witness to Zimmerman pulling the trigger. But there were several eyewitnesses to the Davis killing, including his three friends who survived. Despite Dunn’s claim that one of the victims had a gun, police recovered no weapon, and witnesses say no one involved got out of a vehicle except for Dunn, who allegedly did so as he fired his final shots. Instead of calling 911 or waiting for police to arrive, Dunn then fled the scene with his girlfriend, went back to his hotel and ate pizza, and later returned to his home without calling police.
Voting Rights Act
• The U.S. Justice Department will beef up its enforcement of voting rights laws in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision last month gutting the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday. “I am announcing today that I have directed the Department’s Civil Rights division to shift resources to the enforcement of civil rights provisions that were not affected by the Supreme Court ruling, including Section 2, which prohibits voting discrimination based on race, color, or language,” Holder said in a speech to the NAACP.
• Congress is taking the first steps toward bringing back pre-clearance of voting laws under the Voting Rights Act this week, as activists express tempered optimism in lawmakers’ willingness and ability to act.
• Ken Crow, who used to be president of Tea Party of America until he bungled logistics of a Sarah Palin speech and is now affiliated with Tea Party Community, got up and started talking about “well-bred Americans.” The transcript: “From those incredible blood lines of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and John Smith. And all these great Americans, Martin Luther King. These great Americans who built this country. You came from them. And the unique thing about being from that part of the world, when you learn about breeding, you learn that you cannot breed Secretariat to a donkey and expect to win the Kentucky Derby. You guys have incredible DNA and don’t forget it.”
• In an interview with Telemundo journalists from Dallas and Denver, Obama touched on one of the thorniest issues surrounding the immigration debate: making the 11 million undocumented immigrants U.S. citizens and not creating a second-class resident status. “It does not make sense to me, if we’re going to make this once-in-a-generation effort to finally fix the system, to leave the status of 11 million people or so unresolved,” said Obama. “And certainly for us to have two classes of people in this country, full citizens and people who are permanently resigned to a lower status, I think that’s not who we are as Americans,” he added.
• Snowden’s claim that he hasn’t released information that can harm “our people” is directly contradicted by Germany’s Der Spiegel, in a recent article on documents provided by Snowden’s accomplices: Der Spiegel: Snowden Released Information That Could ‘Endanger the Lives of NSA Workers’. “SPIEGEL has decided not to publish details it has seen about secret operations that could endanger the lives of NSA workers.” Greenwald also claimed that Snowden has a “dead man switch” that will be triggered if anything happens to him, releasing information that will cause massive harm to the United States. It’s clear that at this point, Snowden is simply saying anything that will get him into a better position.
• Greenwald can’t take a little criticism without getting pissy and lashing out? Is it really that hard? If Greenwald is going to act like Snowden’s crisis management team it’s pretty obvious that he needs a bit more work on his messaging or, better yet, he needs his own crisis management team so that he can get back to his advocacy journalism because he’s really losing the thread on this story and it’s not too late to save it. On the other hand, should Snowden defender Daniel Ellsberg have the cheek to even intimate that he doesn’t support every jot and tittle of what Greenwald and Snowden are doing, and Greenwald responds with “Well, Ellsburg hasn’t done any real whistleblowing in decades…”, then we’ll know that they have gone over the hill, round the bend, and deep into the woods of Crazy Narcissistland…
• Putin says U.S.-Russia relationship ‘more important’ than NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. “Relations between states are much more important than squabbles surrounding the work of security services,” Putin was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency. Putin’s remarks came after the White House voiced opposition to Snowden’s request for a safe haven in Russia as he tries to evade US espionage charges.
• The House Oversight Committee “has identified no evidence whatsoever” to substantiate claims that the White House directed the IRS to target conservative groups, according to a 36-page memo released Tuesday by committee ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings. The memo contains 15 transcribed interviews conducted with IRS employees in Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., including six who identify themselves as Republicans or having voted Republican. Read the full memo here.
• Real right to life: A Texas lawmaker has introduced a bill that would block anti-abortion laws from going into effect until the state ends its use of capital punishment. State Rep. Harold Dutton Jr. (D) introduced the measure to counter a slew of abortion restrictions proposed by Republican legislators in the Texas statehouse. Dutton’s measure, HB 45, would block any law that restricts access to abortions until 60 days after the state abolishes its death penalty.
• Russian Defense Satellite Falls over China. Russia’s Geo-IK-2 military geodesic satellite left orbit and presumably fell over the Qinghai province of China on Monday, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) website said.
• Israel’s Nuke Arsenal Off-Limits: Netanyahu went on American TV and threatened war on Iran for its alleged pursuit of a nuclear weapon, while being spared any inconvenient questions about Israel’s very real – and rogue – nuclear arsenal.
• Cuba says its ‘obsolete’ weapons found aboard North Korea ship are Soviet-era. Cuba has announced that weapons found on a North Korean ship close to the Panama Canal were “obsolete” Soviet-era arms, which the communist island had sent to Pyongyang for repair. The declaration came a day after Panama said it had found military equipment, which it believed to be missiles, after impounding the ship and conducting a drugs search.
• Britain is exporting arms to human rights violators: report. Britain has issued export licences worth £12 billion ($18 billion, 14 billion euros) for the sale of military equipment to states deemed possible rights violators including Syria, Iran and China, lawmakers said Wednesday. A report by a group of parliamentary committees said that 3,000 licences for arms and other equipment had been issued to countries on the Foreign Office’s list of 27 countries of human rights concerns. The countries for which licences have been issued include Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Belarus and Zimbawe, the Committees on Arms Export Controls of parliament’s lower House of Commons said.