Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Is This Still America?

Thomas Sowell

There are no winners in the trial of George Zimmerman. The only question is whether the damage that has been done has been transient or irreparable.

Legally speaking, Zimmerman has won his freedom. But he can still be sued in a civil case, and he will probably never be safe to live his life in peace, as he could have before this case made him the focus of national attention and orchestrated hate.

More important than the fate of George Zimmerman, however, is the fate of the American justice system and of the public's faith in that system and their country. People who have increasingly asked, during the lawlessness of the Obama administration, "Is this still America?" may feel some measure of relief.

But the very fact that this case was brought in the first place, in an absence of serious evidence -- which became painfully more obvious as the prosecution strained to try to come up with anything worthy of a murder trial -- will be of limited encouragement as to how long this will remain America.

The political perversion of the criminal justice system began early and at the top, with the President of the United States. Unlike other public officials who decline to comment on criminal cases that have not yet been tried in court, Barack Obama chose to say, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon."

It was a clever way to play the race card, as he had done before, when Professor Henry Louis Gates of Harvard was arrested.

But it did not stop there. After the local police in Florida found insufficient evidence to ask for Zimmerman to be prosecuted, the Obama administration sent Justice Department investigators to Sanford, Florida, and also used the taxpayers' money to finance local activists who agitated for Zimmerman to be arrested.

Political intervention did not end with the federal government. The city manager in Sanford intervened to prevent the usual police procedures from being followed.

When the question arose of identifying the voice of whoever was calling for help during the confrontation between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, the normal police procedure would have been to let individuals hear the recording separately, rather than have a whole family hear it together.

If you want to get each individual's honest opinion, you don't want that opinion to be influenced by others who are present, much less allow a group to coordinate what they are going to say.

When the city manager took this out of the hands of the police, and had Trayvon Martin's family, plus Rachel Jeantel, all hear the recording together, that's politics, not law.

This was just one of the ways that this case looked like something out of "Alice in Wonderland." Both in the courtroom and in the media, educated and apparently intelligent people repeatedly said things that they seemed sincerely, and even fervently, to believe, but which were unprovable and often even unknowable.

In addition, the testimonies of the prosecution's witness after witness undermined its own case. Some critics faulted the attorneys. But the prosecutors had to work with what they had, and they had no hard evidence that would back up a murder charge or even a manslaughter charge.

You don't send people to prison on the basis of what other people imagine, or on the basis of media sound bites like "shooting an unarmed child," when that "child" was beating him bloody.

The jury indicated, early on as their deliberations began, that they wanted to compare hard evidence, when they asked for a complete list of the testimony on both sides.

Once the issue boiled down to hard, provable facts, the prosecutors' loud histrionic assertions and sweeping innuendos were just not going to cut it.

Nor was repeatedly calling Zimmerman a liar effective, especially when the prosecution misquoted what Zimmerman said, as an examination of the record would show.

The only real heroes in this trial were the jurors. They showed that this is still America -- at least for now -- despite politicians who try to cheapen or corrupt the law, as if this were some banana republic. Some are already calling for a federal indictment of George Zimmerman, after he has been acquitted.

Will this still be America then?



The Election of a Black President Has Meant Nothing

Dennis Prager

The greatest hope most Americans -- including Republicans -- had when Barack Obama was elected president was that the election of a black person as the country's president would reduce, if not come close to eliminating, the racial tensions that have plagued America for generations.

This has not happened. The election, and even the re-election, of a black man as president, in a country that is 87 percent non-black -- a first in human history -- has had no impact on what are called "racial tensions."

In case there was any doubt about this, the reactions to the George Zimmerman trial have made it clear. The talk about "open season" on blacks, about blacks like Trayvon Martin being victims of nothing more than racial profiling and about a racist criminal justice system, has permeated black life and the left-wing mainstream media.

I put quotation marks around the term "racial tensions" because the term is a falsehood.

This term is stated as if whites and blacks are equally responsible for these tensions, as if the mistrust is morally and factually equivalent.

But this is not at all the case.  "Racial tensions" is a lie perpetrated by the left. A superb example is when the New York Times described the 1991 black anti-Semitic riots in Crown Heights, Brooklyn as "racial tensions."

For those who do not recall, or who only read, viewed or listened to mainstream media reports, what happened was that mobs of blacks attacked Jews for three days after a black boy was accidentally hit and killed by a car driven by a Chasidic Jew.

A Brandeis University historian, Edward S. Shapiro, who wrote a book on the events, described those black attacks on innocent Jews as "the most serious anti-Semitic incident in American history."

Blacks stabbed a Jewish student to death, injured other Jews, and screamed, "Heil Hitler!" and "Death to the Jews!" while carrying signs with messages such as "Hitler didn't finish the job."

And how did the New York Times report the most serious anti-Semitic incident in American history?  As racial tensions.

One of the Times reporters who covered those riots was Ari Goldman, now a professor of journalism at Columbia University. Last year, eleven years after the riots, this is how Goldman described his former newspaper's reporting of the events:

"In all my reporting during the riots, I never saw -- or heard of -- any violence by Jews against blacks. But the Times was dedicated to this version of events: Blacks and Jews clashing amid racial tensions."

As a New York Times editorial described the black attacks: "The violence following an auto accident in Crown Heights reminds all New Yorkers that the city's race relations remain dangerously strained."

That was the entire left's take: "strained relations" between blacks and Jews. "Racial tensions." Both sides equally at fault.

Once one understands that "racial tensions" is a euphemism for a black animosity toward whites and a left-wing construct, one begins to understand why the election of a black president has had no impact on most blacks or on the left.

Since neither black animosity nor the left's falsehood of "racial tensions" is based on the actual behavior of the vast majority of white Americans, nothing white America could do will affect either many blacks' perceptions or the leftist libel.

That is why hopes that the election of black president would reduce "racial tensions" were naive. Though a white person is far more likely to be murdered by a black person than vice versa, all it took was one tragic death of a black kid to reignite the hatred that many blacks and virtually all black leaders have toward white America.

Let's put this in perspective. Ben Jealous of the NAACP, Al Sharpton of MSNBC, Jesse Jackson, and the left-wing media compete to incite hatred of America generally and white America specifically. Over what? A tragic incident in which a Hispanic man (regularly labeled "white") said, with all physical evidence to support him, that fearing for his life, he killed a black 17-year-old (regularly labeled "a child").

The very fact that George Zimmerman -- who is as white as Barack Obama -- is labeled "white" bears testimony to the left-wing agenda of blaming white America and to the desire of many blacks to vent anger at whites.

And that is why the election of a black president has meant nothing. Indeed, to those whose lives and/or ideologies are predicated on labeling America and its white population as racist, it wouldn't matter if half the Senate, half the House and half the governors were black.



Labor versus Obama

Major fault lines have suddenly appeared in the formerly dependable Big Labor/Democratic Party coalition, and the earthquake that follows could have major future electoral ramifications.

Labor unions are one of the primary funders of Democratic and far left politics.  The hundreds of millions of dollars they contribute into the Democratic machine gives them clout that far exceeds what one would expect given unions represent fewer than seven percent of privately employed workers.

Now, private employer unions are running headlong into the realities of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and are shocked that it threatens to destroy one of their only membership recruitment selling point.

Back in the halcyon days when the promise that an employee would be able to keep his/her health insurance if they liked it, big labor unions like the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Food and Commercial Workers and UNITE Here loved the new health care law.

Now, four years later as the law is on the verge of being implemented, the consequences are becoming clear.  Those labor union negotiated Cadillac health insurance programs are not likely to be sustainable due to government penalties imposed upon them, and employers read the law and discovered that it no longer makes sense to employ low wage employees for more than 30 hours a week due to the resulting health care costs.

Somewhat incredibly, last week Big Labor cracked, attacking Obamacare with language that one has come to expect from Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter writing to Senator Harry Reid,

“Right now, unless you and the Obama Administration enact an equitable fix, the ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”

It went on to state, “We can no longer stand silent in the face of elements of the Affordable Care Act that will destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans.”

Signed by the Teamsters James Hoffa, Jr, United Food and Commercial Workers head Joseph Hanson and UNITE Here’s D. Taylor, the letter changes the politics of Obamacare and may just force the Democrat-controlled Senate to suspend implementation the law, before it dooms their close political allies.

One can imagine the political ads targeting private employee union members attacking Democrat opposition to Obamacare changes using the very accusations levied by these Big Labor leaders.

This fissure comes on top of the already tense relationship between the Obama Administration and labor unions which try to build or mine due to the undue influence of environmental extremists throughout the Administration, who are charged with carrying out Obama’s war on coal and other fossil fuels.

The four year delay in the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline has drawn the ire of various construction unions with a leader of the Laborers International Union of North America testifying before Congress that,

“For many members of the Laborers, this project is not just a pipeline; it is in fact, a life line. The construction sector has been particularly hit hard by the economic recession. The unemployment rate in the construction industry reached over 27 percent in 2010, and joblessness in construction remains far higher than any industry or sector, with over 1 million construction workers currently unemployed in the United States. Too many hard-working Americans are out of work, and the Keystone XL Pipeline will change that dire situation for thousands of them.”

In the 2012 elections, the United Mine Workers refused to endorse Obama’s re-election bid due to his Administrations regulatory attack on coal and mining as a whole.

Now that Big Labor has discovered that not only does Obama’s environmental policy kill their jobs, but his health care law destroys their member’s health care coverage, it is not a question of if, but when, the private sector unions stop funding the politicians on the left.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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