Sheila Jackson Lee (D, TX-18) has a reputation for saying really stupid things in public, and introducing really stupid legislation in Congress. Her latest anti-gun bill is par for the course.
Sheila Jackson Lee, 14-term congresswoman from Houston, is known for many things: her anti-socialbehavior on commercial air flights, her mistreatment of staffers leading to the highest turnover rate on Capitol Hill, and her propensity for embarrassing gaffes. For, despite somehow acquiring a BA from Yale and a JD from UVA, Sheila Jackson Lee is a complete moron.
She asked if the Mars Rover could take photos of where the Astronauts landed.
She thinks North and South Vietnam are still two separate countries.
She believes the US Constitution is 400 years old.
She blamed Wikipedia for WikiLeaks.
Stupid is as stupiddoes.
Jackson Lee’s stupidity extends to guns, which she hates and has for years tried to ban. She once hefted an AR-15, declaring it “as heavy as ten [moving] boxes” and firing .50 caliber rounds. AR-15s weigh about seven pounds and are chambered in .223 / 5.56 mm, Sheila. Regarding gun control, Jackson Lee stated:
“Don’t condemn the gangbangers, they’ve got guns that are trafficked, that are not enforced, that are straw purchased and they come into places even that have strong guns laws. Why? Because we don’t have sensible gun legislation.”
If that made your head hurt, check out Jackson Lee’s latest ‘sensible gun legislation’, H.R. 127, the Sabika Sheikh Firearm Licensing and Registration Act.
Without explaining the intended purpose, it calls for a Federal database containing the “the make, model, and serial number” of all four hundred million guns in the country, along with “the identity of the owner of the firearm, the date the firearm was acquired by the owner, and where the firearm is or will be stored.” Jackson Lee is apparently unaware that guns are portable.
This is not an AR.
Also to be recorded is “the identity of any person to whom, and any period of time during which, the firearm will be loaned to the person.” So, if you’d like to lend your rifle to your buddy while out hunting, let your friend try out your pistol at the range, or even tell your spouse or house guest to grab your shotgun during a home invasion, you’ll need to let the Feds know well in advance.
But wait — H.R.127 contains even more ‘sensible’ stuff.
A Federal license would be required to possess both firearms and ammunition, issued only after the applicant (that is, all one hundred million gun owners) passes a background check — something they already had to do when purchasing their firearm.
Completing 24 hours of approved training “in the use, safety, and storage of firearms” would also be mandatory, presumably to drastically reduce the c. 400 accidental discharge deaths each year.
Further, every gun owner would need to carry liability insurance for “losses and damages”, oddly issued by the US Attorney General, for an annual fee of $800.
Finally, anyone who wishes to buy a new gun, or just keep the ones they already own, would need undergo a “psychological evaluation conducted by a licensed psychologist approved by the Attorney General”. If that shrink deemed it necessary, interviews would be conducted with spouses, former spouses (you may as well give up now), all other household members, and “at least 2 other persons who are a member of the family of, or an associate of, the individual to further determine the state of the mental, emotional, and relational stability of the individual in relation to firearms.” Fortunately, if you’ve ever been in rehab or previously received a mental health diagnosis for pretty much anything, you get to skip the above process, cuz you’ll never be allowed to own a gun again in your life.
This license, along with all requirements, would need to be renewed every year for the first five years, then every three years thereafter. Violators would face minimum punishment of a $150,000 fine and 15 years in prison.
Additionally, the bill makes illegal the usual scary black guns, labeled “military-style weapons”, with evil stuff like adjustable stocks and pistol grips — that is, features making them easier to aim, thus safer. Also banned would be autoloading shotguns holding more than five shells, and “large capacity” (i.e., standard capacity) magazines holding more than 10 rounds — essentially every magazine in existence outside of CA, MA and NY. And don’t you dare condemn the gangbangers when they forget to turn them in.
NB: The bill is named after Sabika Sheikh, a Pakistani exchange student, one of ten people murdered in the 2018 Santa Fe High School shooting. The killer that day was an underaged fellow student, prohibited from possessing any firearm, who filched his daddy’s 4+1 pump-action shotgun and a snub-nosed, five round revolver. He also brought along a Molotov cocktail. That’s right — our legal eagle named her legislation after the victim of a shooting that involved none of the weaponry her bill seeks to ban.
Ban this military-style weapon!
If you wish to comfort yourself in the thought that H.R. 127 is just a bit of demagoguery that’ll never even get a floor vote, remember that Congress is thick with folks just as moronic as Sheila Jackson Lee when it comes to ’sensible’ (sic) gun control. I’ll tell you who the real fools are, though: anyone who owns a gun and still votes for Democrats.
(c) 2021 by True Liberal Nexus. All rights reserved.
Kamala Harris was forced to drop out of the Democratic primary race months before a single vote was cast. Yet a handful of party insiders anointed her as vice presidential nominee. Now paired with an elderly running mate, Harris could well soon ascend to the Oval Office. Her personal past and professional record reveals how she managed this feat, and portends how she would comport herself as President.
A Pig in a Poke
Tonight, on this 281th day of the surreal anno 2020, Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, will debate sitting VP Mike Pence. Way back on Day 43, it would’ve been inconceivable to imagine that match-up on stage in Utah eight months hence. The New Hampshire primary had just been held, with win, place, and show going to Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and a surging Amy Klobuchar. Joe Biden had finished a distant fifth with only 8%, with pundits issuing Last Rites to his flagging campaign. Harris wasn’t even part of the conversation. She’d ended her run just after Thanksgiving; her grossly mismanaged campaign bankrupt and torn apart by acrimony, her polling sunken below 1%, the result of her caustic demeanor in debates, her serial flip-flopping on issues. And, perhaps, her inability to come across as empathetic, highlighted by her bizarre tic of protracted, cackling laughter at the most inappropriate moments.
There’s no need to detail what followed. The Dems’ backdoor scheming to block Bernie by settling for Biden. The George Floyd incident that indirectly knocked odds-on favorite, Klobuchar, out of the VP slot. The heated struggle among Biden’s handlers to select an African-American woman, one who neither espoused a too-far left agenda nor had a history as a tough police chief or prosecutor. All somehow resulting in the selection of a dark-skinned — though not African-American — former DA and AG with a record of draconian, often sadistic, law enforcement, who’d recently and eagerly embraced everything from open borders, to slave reparations, to gun confiscation, to socialized healthcare.
To give you an idea of the dread Kamala Harris instills in those who know her well, consider this: a large group of California Democratic pols desperately offered Rep. Karen Bass as an alternative. Not only is Bass an unknown with a thin legislative record, she’s an actual communist fellow-traveler. After pulling every string to thwart the socialist Sanders, these Dems were willing to place a Fidel Castro groupie on the ticket, just to keep Kamala off. Biden advisor and party veteran, Chris Dodd, vehemently opposed Harris’ selection on the principle of ‘first, do no harm.’
The American electorate, including the Democrat voters who endured a seemingly interminable primary season, are now asked to endorse a slate comprised of nobody’s first choice and everyone’s last choice. Simply because they aren’t Trump. Further, given Biden’s age and obvious mental decline, the tacit understanding is that Biden is merely a placeholder, with Harris the actual POTUS nominee “ready to step in on Day One”. Tellingly, Biden recently referred to a “Harris/Biden administration,” while Kamala haughtily spoke of a “Harris administration, with Joe Biden.”
If elected, Harris could well serve up to eleven years in the White House. She’s threatened to rule by fiat, ignoring Congress if it fails to pass legislation pleasing to her. Her record is rife with abuses of the powers of her offices, moral flexibility on issues and policy, and a machiavellian approach to anything or anyone standing in her way. Especially as her campaign is actively shielding her from public scrutiny, It would behoove us all to take a long, hard look at Kamala Harris.
Cette Petite Fille? C’était Moi.
Kamala Harris was born in 1964 to Donald Harris and Gopalan Shyamala, immigrants who’d met as grad students at UC Berkeley. As everyone now knows, when the young family lived in Berkeley, CA, little Kamala was bused across town. But the Harris’ were by no means poor or disadvantaged. Both parents were academics — Donald an economist, Gopalan, an endocrinologist. On her father’s side, Kamala is descended from wealthy Jamaican slave owners, while her mother comes from an elite Brahmin clan. With her parents, young Kamala visited relatives across the globe.
When Kamala was seven, her parents divorced. Kamala continued to reside with her mother in Berkeley while spending weekends at her father’s home in the upscale university community of Palo Alto. Five years later, Gopalan accepted a research and teaching position at McGill University in Montréal, where Kamala, now twelve, was enrolled in a private, French-speaking school.
So, whenever Kamala ‘code-switches’ into urban black dialect for the benefit of an african-american audience, recognize that she’s not just pandering, she’s faking.
Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.
In 1981, Harris returned to the US to attend college at Howard, a private HBUC where, she claims, she smoked a lot of weed while jamming to Tupac Shakur. Kamala must’ve been a huge Tupac fan, to be listening to the rapper a decade before he’d released any recordings.
Years later, as San Francisco’s District Attorney, the former stoner was unable to muster any empathy as she zealously prosecuted marijuana possession. As Kamala put it at the time, “It is not progressive to be soft on crime.”
Interestingly, Kamala’s life-long passion for hip hop came up again recently, during the candidate’s video appearance at the NCAAP’s streaming convention. When asked her opinion on the best living hip hop artist, Kamala blurted out “Tupac” — who, unfortunately, does not qualify for the honor, having died 24 years ago. When pressed to name a performer among the quick, Kamala demurred, saying “oh, there’s so many to choose from.” A much better response than admitting she was once again faking it.
On The Way Up
Harris attended law school at UC Hastings in San Francisco, gaining admission through the school’s Legal Education Opportunity Program (LEOP). The program
“offers special consideration in admission to applicants who have been subject to significant adversity that may have prevented them from attaining numeric criteria that fully reflect their motivation, talent, and academic and professional ability.”
In plain English, LEOP is a quota system for poor students with poor grades.
While Kamala, with a renowned cancer researcher and a Stanford professor for parents, likely didn’t meet the program’s financial hardship criterion, she was the daughter of immigrants, and surely played up the “impact on [her] academic performance” from the “bias” she faced as a Jamaican/Indian surrounded first by white Berkeleyites, then Quebecois, then Southern Blacks. She might even have had the temerity to claim that l’anglais was not her first language after those formative years at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges.
After passing the California bar in 1990, Harris was hired by Alameda County as a deputy district attorney, where she made a name for herself as ”an able prosecutor on the way up” by prosecuting child sexual assault cases. It was around this time that Harris first made the acquaintance of fellow up-and-comer, Gavin Newsom, and through him, his aunt, Nancy Pelosi — connections that would later serve Kamala well.
At some point in 1993 or early 1994 (accounts vary), the 29-year-old Harris became romantically involved with Willie Brown, thirty-one years her senior. A notorious philanderer, Brown was then speaker of the State Assembly and head of a very powerful, very corrupt, Democratic machine.
Brown bought his new squeeze a BMW and began sporting her on his arm at the many lavish society functions he frequented. Kamala was thus introduced to California’s political bosses, as well as to the philanthropists — among them Susie Tompkins Buell and Gordon Getty — the business magnates, and Hollywood moguls whose campaign donations sustained them. “I would think it’s fair to say that most of the people in San Francisco met her through Willie,” opined one Democratic bigwig. “It’s a club, and it’s bigger than Brown,” a former Harris backer observed. “It comes instantly with basically the entire business community at your doorstep, so it means you have access to large amounts of campaign money and institutional political support. It’s that simple.”
Brown’s next gifts to his new girlfriend were even more extravagant than a sports car: a seat on the California Medical Assistance Commission, then one on the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, with annual salaries of $72,000 and $97,000 respectively. These two prize patronage plums falling into the lap of a neophyte with no related expertise or experience irked politicos, but Kamala had clearly put in the work.
Shortly after Brown won the 1995 San Francisco mayoral election, he and Harris split up. Accounts conflict as to who dumped who, but Harris’ words a few years later are revealing. Describing Brown as “an albatross hanging around my neck,” Harris sneered, “[h]is career is over; I will be alive and kicking for the next 40 years. I do not owe him a thing … Willie Brown is not going to be around. He’s gone — hello people, move on.”
Brown readily admits he jump-started Kamala’s political career with his favoritism. “I’ve helped lots of people…. The difference is that Harris is the only one who, after I helped her, sent word that I would be indicted if I ‘so much as jaywalked’ while she was D.A.”
In 1998, San Francisco’s district attorney, Terence Hallinan, recruited fellow progressive, Harris, as his assistant DA. Little did he realize at the time he was nursing a viper in his bosom. As she had in Oakland across the Bay, Harris focused on sexual assault cases. But before long, Harris was generating friction within the office. Frequently and publicly clashing with colleagues over policy, Harris became persona non grata. She quit in 2000 to run the City Hall’s Family and Children’s Services Division.
Two years later, it was time for Kamala’s next big career step; only her former boss stood in her way. When Harris entered the 2003 San Francisco District Attorney race, she had nothing close to the name recognition enjoyed by her rivals, the progressive, two-term incumbent, Hallinan, or the moderate challenger, Bill Fazio. What Kamala did have were those establishment relationships she’d forged at Willie Brown’s many soirees, not to mention the sympathy of her pal, Gavin Newsom’s, coterie. Working these connections, she began lining up endorsements — at times resorting to veiled threats. The president of the city police union recalled Harris cornering him at a party: “I didn’t know who she was … and she came up to me and she put her finger in my chest and she said, ‘You better endorse me, you better endorse me. You get it?’”
The endorsement of other unions who recognized their true masters followed. Harris also received a boon from her friends in high places. In an unprecedented move, the state Democratic Committee, led by Diane Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi, declined to endorse any candidate in the race. The donations rolled in, too — hundreds of thousands of dollars, coming in so fast Harris was cited for campaign finance violations. Curiously, among Harris’ largest donors were numerous individuals, groups, and law firms associated with San Francisco’s Roman Catholic archdiocese.
But Kamala’s biggest advantage over her rivals was her own sheer ruthlessness. At the first debate, Harris sprung a carefully-planned ambush that entered Bay Area politics legend. After Hallinan and Fazio gave their opening statements, Harris rose from her seat to stand behind Hallinan. “You know Terence Hallinan has attacked Bill Fazio for being caught in a massage parlor,” she boomed. Then, walking over to stand behind Fazio, Harris noted how he’d ridiculed Hallinan “for people having sex in his office.” Returning to her spot in the middle of the stage, Harris announced: “I want to make a commitment to you that my campaign is not going to be about negative attacks.”
It was a performance worthy of Machiavelli’s prince. Harris had simultaneously slung mud at both opponents while chastising them for the exact same mud-slinging. The audience ate it up. Decades later, Harris reminisced that “San Francisco is hard-knocks politics. They punch the gut.” Hallinan always considered it more of a stab in the back.
In the election, Harris eked past Fazio to force a run-off with Hallinan. Her campaign literature attacked her former boss for his low conviction rates, while contrasting her sex and skin color with his and all the city DAs of the past century. References to her affiliation with Brown were declared sexist. Harris won the run-off handily. In her victory speech, she promised to balance compassion for minor offenders with a hard-nosed pursuit of the most depraved criminals.
Menace II Society
Harris’ eight years as DA were filled with controversy while her decisions disappointed and shocked many of her grassroots supporters.
The mystery behind Kamala’s large haul of Catholic donations was solved soon after she took office. Harris, who’d first made a name for herself as a young prosecutor fighting “sex crimes and child exploitation” and “later touted her record on child sexual abuse cases and prosecuting pedophiles,” quashed Hallinan’s ongoing, exhaustive investigation into sexual abuse of minors by priests. Harris failed to pursue any open cases, while refusing to release any files to the public despite the urging of SNAP and other victims’ advocates. Years later, in response to FOIA requests, the SF DA’s office announced the documents were nowhere to be found.
While Harris significantly increased conviction rates over her predecessor’s, she did so by aggressively prosecuting minor pot busts and by accepting plea bargains on outstanding murder cases, something she’d criticized Hallinan for.
At other times, however, Harris could be draconian. In 2005, the DA’s office brought murder charges against Lashaun Ternice Harris, a paranoid schizophrenic who’d thrown her three small children into the San Francisco Bay by the command of voices in her head. Ternice Harris, who was living in a homeless shelter at the time, had recently gone off her meds in hopes of retaining custody of her children. The judge rejected the guilty verdict, instead committing her to a mental institution. Harris successfully fought to have the murder conviction reinstated.
In 2006, Harris launched a crusade against school truancy, on the questionable theory that, as most violent criminals had been truants, forcing kids to attend class today would reduce crime in future. To add teeth to her program, Harris threatened parents of habitual truants with a $2,500 fine and a year in jail. Although no parents served time, several were prosecuted. When Harris’ own staff brought to her attention the program’s deep unpopularity among the public, she laughed.
Harris ran unopposed for reelection in 2007, her powerful SF machine friends advising any aspirants to stay out of the race if they knew what was good for them.
In 2009, Deborah Madden, a police lab technician who’d frequently testified in court over the years, was arrested for stealing cocaine from the evidence room. It soon came out that Harris’ office had for years been aware of Madden tampering with evidence, among other criminal offenses. Madden’s personnel file even included a folder labeled “Brady Implications.” Under Brady v. Maryland (1963), the DA was required to hand over this potentially exculpatory evidence to any defendant convicted in trials in which Madden had appeared. Harris did not, even though an internal memo had circulated in her office listing over a hundred law enforcement officials with criminal or misconduct issues impacting over 1,000 convictions (600 of which were later vacated.) Harris claimed she never saw the memo.
In 2010, Jamal Trulove was convicted of murder based on a solitary eyewitness. The conviction was overturned when it was revealed that Harris’ office wrongfully withheld from the jury that the witness had been paid $60,000 and given new housing. Trulove was awarded a $13 million settlement.
In 2010, after a judge vacated Caramad Conley’s murder conviction, citing “voluminous” evidence of false testimony, Harris nevertheless attempted to retry Conley. Once Harris left office, the new DA declined to pursue the case.
Still I Rise
The next logical stepping stone in the Rise of Kamala was state attorney general, which she sought in 2010. With a 33.6% plurality against six primary opponents, Harris advanced to the general election, where she garnered 46% of the vote in another crowded field. She easily won reelection in 2014.
As in San Francisco, Harris’ tenure in Sacramento was marred with nearly identical controversies.
One of Harris’ first acts as AG was to block, for two years, the release of Daniel Larsen, whose conviction for illegal weapons possession had been overturned based on exculpatory testimony of nine eyewitnesses, including a policeman. When Larson was finally set free, Harris appealed, claiming he missed a deadline to file paperwork.
Beginning in 2011, and sporadically for the following three years, Harris would attempt to inflict her draconian anti-truancy crusade on the entire state.
2013: Harris recommended that the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board not pay Rafael Madrigal the $282,000 he was owed for a wrongful conviction due to … you guessed it, suppressed exculpatory evidence.
2013: Harris, citing technicalities, declined to prosecute OneWest Bank for “widespread violation” of California foreclosure laws. Many legal observers considered her excuse bogus. Coincidentally, Harris later was the only US Senate candidate to receive a campaign donation from Steven Mnuchin, who’d profited greatly from OneWest’s subprime lending.
2013: Harris certified that “micro-stamping” of handgun shell casings in two locations “is a technology available to more than one [gun] manufacturer unencumbered by any patent restrictions”, despite its defiance of the laws of physics. When the related law was challenged, Harris’ office successfully argued before the Ninth Circuit that impossibility of compliance is no bar to a legal requirement. The net result has been an effective ban on the sale of new handguns in California, even though most new models feature improved safety mechanisms. Harris recently revealed that she herself owns a handgun for personal protection.
2013: Harris declined to prosecute a Pacific Gas and Electric executive for an illegal meeting with a member of the state utilities board.
2014: Harris declined to investigate a widely publicized ‘judge shopping’ scandal surrounding a lawsuit stemming from a PG&E gas explosion that wiped out an entire neighborhood. NB: PG&E is a major campaign donor to several powerful California Democrats, including Kamala’s longtime ally, Gavin Newsom.
2014: state attorneys attempted to block the early release of prisoners, citing the need for inmates’ assistance in fighting wildfires. When this provoked public outrage, Harris denied all knowledge of the effort by her staff.
2015: Harris declined to act on a memo from within her own DA’s office on the urgency of investigating the nutritional supplement manufacturer, Herbalife, for multiple fraudulent marketing practices. Herbalife was represented by the law firm of Kamala’s husband.
2015: Harris brokered a $33 million settlement with Comcast for its release of data of tens of thousands of customers who’d paid for unlisted phone service. Comcast realizes $109 billion in annual revenue. Apparently, the deal resulted in no hard feelings, as five senior Comcast execs donated generously to Kamala’s 2019 presidential campaign.
2015: Harris fought an appeal of a sexual assault conviction by George Gage. A judge ruled that Harris’ prosecutors had withheld exculpatory evidence, but Harris successfully blocked a retrial on a procedural technicality.
2016 : Harris ordered the state DOJ to raid the home of David Daleiden, a pro-life activist who’d recorded undercover video exposing Planned Parenthood’s sale of fetal tissue from abortions in violation of California and Federal law. Daleiden was then charged with violating California’s two-party consent law regarding recorded conversations. This was the first and, to date, only indictment made under this law, despite the regular use of undercover recordings by journalists in exposés.
It later came to light that prior to the raid, Harris had met to strategize and to coordinate her actions with Planned Parenthood executives, including one whose clinic was under investigation by a County DA for illegal sale of fetal tissue. That executive later pleaded guilty, his clinic accepting a $7.8 million plea bargain. Needless to say, Planned Parenthood has been a generous campaign donor over the years to Harris.
2016: Harris opposed the American Bar Association’s request for the retesting of forensic evidence in the case of Kevin Cooper, an inmate on California’s death row who claims his 1983 conviction for murder was the result of evidence-tampering by police. Shortly before launching her presidential run, Harris publicly reversed her stance, saying, “I feel awful about this.”
Just Passing Through
The upwards path opened again for Kamala with the retirement of US Senator, Barbara Boxer. After a brief scuffle with Gavin Newsom over the vacancy, the two pals agreed to divvy up the booty, with Newsom gunning for Governor. In an open Senate primary, Harris breezed past 37 others, then won handily in the general election vs. another democrat under CA’s newly-introduced ‘top-two’ format.
During her brief time in Washington, Harris has not made much of a legislative mark. Co-sponsor to nearly five hundred bills, she is the architect of none of consequence. Her notoriety has come primarily from her performances during televised confirmations and other hearings. Whether it was disparaging three federal district-court nominees for their membership in the Knights of Columbus, badgering the US Attorney General by asking him whether he was “aware of the perception” that his agents were just like the KKK, or her clumsy attempt to bluff Brett Kavanaugh with an allusion to non-existent incriminating evidence, in committee chambers Harris has employed the pit-bull tactics of a prosecutor.
But Harris never intended to forge a legacy for herself as a workhorse on Capitol Hill. It was merely a momentary stop on her lifelong climb to the very pinnacle of power.
The Last Laugh
What to make of someone who, during a tough-on-crime era, is willing to burnish her reputation by suppressing exculpatory evidence, but during a time when policing reform is trending, will preach about how going after crime is “wrongheaded” and we must instead “reimagine public safety?” Who threatened to throw parents of truants in jail, but gave corporate criminals slaps on the wrist? Who billed herself as a warrior against the sexual exploitation of youth, but was fine with letting child raping priests get off if it’d help her win an election? Who traded sexual favors for access to patronage? Who will morph her persona on the fly to pander to this or that group?
There can be but one conclusion: Kamala Harris is a sociopath.
Over the course of her bid to ascend to the Oval Office, Kamala Harris has employed all of the same ruthless machinations seen in her relentless, lifelong quest for power. As one of her former campaign managers warned, “the biggest mistake would be to underestimate her. She will leave no stone unturned in figuring out how to get it done.”
Witness how, when Harris’ most formidable obstacle was Joe Biden, she carefully laid a brutal ambush, tacitly calling him a racist by professing she did not believe he was a racist. Witness her readiness to “believe” Tara Reade’s accusations, only to later throw Reade under the bus. Witness her flip-flopping on policy positions from one week to the next, a brazen attempt to surf the undulating wave of popular sentiment. Or, on controversial issues where she cannot tell which way the wind will blow, her trademark prevarication, “we really need to have a discussion on that.”
When these tactics led to her rejection by Democratic voters, she bitterly accused them of being racist and sexist and “not ready” for her intersectional awesomeness. Whereas any other candidate, whose campaign had crashed and burned as spectacularly as Kamala’s did, would have entered into four years of introspection, Harris merely dusted herself off and unleashed her secret weapon, those insider connections she’d first first cultivated all those years ago as Willie Brown’s arm candy. It was these titans, the party’s shadowy power brokers, the Silicon Valley mega-donors, who strong-armed Team Joe to pick their asset, Kamala.
And when questioned about her sudden volte-face on her now-running mate, she barely hesitated before dismissing any concerns as to whether she possessed any scruples whatsoever, much less a soul. “It’s just politics!” she laughed.
(c) 2020 by True Liberal Nexus. All rights reserved.
The more folks get a good look at Beto O’Rourke, the more they realize there’s nothing to see.
To Kerouac and Back
Earlier this year, soon after his come-from-ahead loss to Ted Cruz in the Texas Senate election, Beto O’Rourke embarked on a solitary road trip across several states. Recording On The Road style deepities in an online journal, O’Rourke sought to find his true self. Actually, it’s a journey he’s been on his entire life. But Beto could’ve spared his car the mileage, because there is no real Beto to be found.
The Gush, The Rush, and The Bust
If you are situated anywhere left-of-center, at some point in 2018 you likely had some progressive approach you and in a gushing half-whisper ask ‘have you heard of Bayyhh-Toe?’ Or more tellingly, ‘have you heard Bayyhh-Toe?’, meaning one of his ‘inspiring’ speeches. For Beto O’Rourke’s particular style of demagoguery resonates with a certain cadre of Democratic activists, always on the lookout for the next Robert F. Kennedy/Jesus of Nazareth to ‘transform’ the Party and America.
So when the formerly obscure three-term congressman from El Paso (TX-16) snagged the Dem nomination to run against incumbent US Senator and nosferatu, Ted Cruz, the donations came pouring in from out of state — helping O’Rourke amass, at $80 million, the biggest war chest ever for a senate race. The left-leaning MSM played its part, showering O’Rourke with copious, fawning coverage. The spotlight and the cash had an immediate effect, as early polls placed O’Rourke 9 points in the lead. Dems squeed at the prospect of turning Texas blue and sending Cruz back to his crypt in Transylvania.
Then a funny thing happened. The more folks got a good look at Beto, the more they realized there was nothing to see. O’Rourke’s polling numbers began to steadily sink. The old political adage on the ability to consistently fool people was bearing true.
About that speaking style of his. It did charm the whisper-gushers, but whisper-gushers are suckers for cheap tricks of rhetoric. They fell for Tony Blair (okay we all did briefly), fell for ‘Ohh-Bahhh-Mahhh’, and are falling right now for Pete Buttigieg’s Sunday sermon and Lizzie Warren’s manic high. To this jaundiced ear, however, Beto’s public speaking is rife with ‘I’m a complete fake and I know it’ red flags. For starters, he never looks anyone in the eye. Up close, he stares past his interlocutors — he can’t even look a hand puppet in the rubber face.
From the podium, he gazes at a spot on the floor about four feet away. Throughout each performance, a hand with thumb pressed to forefinger jabs continually at the air. Presumably this is done on the theory that, if you point often enough, people will assume you have a point. Also trademark Beto is the metronome rhythm with pregnant pauses that last so long they could use cesareans. Are they designed to appear ex tempore? Because all these affectations do is make Beto appear like some 8th grader trying to recall his lines in the school play. Occasionally, Beto can get convincingly animated, even to the point of jumping up and down — but only when he’s talking about his totally awesome self.
As the 2018 senate campaign progressed, Beto’s once-lofty lead continued to fade, until he was behind just before election day, when Cruz defeated him by a narrow margin. Many theories were put forth by pundits, from voter suppression, to voter ennui, to the undead voting en bloc for one of their own. But the simplest explanation is that, when Texans were given an extended period to scrutinize Beto, they discovered there’s not a sincere molecule in his entire 6’5” beanpole of a body.
One part of O’Rourke’s failure on the big stage may be that, unlike your standard shape-shifter politician who consciously erects a false front, Beto is forever in search of his true identity. Pity he has none, for it leads him to don one false persona after another — often literally. Beto can most often be seen wearing dress slacks and an unbuttoned oxford. For Annie Leibovitz’ cover of Vanity Fair, though, Beto, now clad in jeans, posed between a pickup (or is that a Honda?) and a big black dog, Texas dirt road and Texas brush behind him. For GQ, a baggy baseball uniform draping his pencil-thin frame made him look about eight-years old. At one point in his early days, he wore a dress.
Because ‘Beto’ is the Spanish diminutive for names ending in ‘-berto’, Robert Francis O’Rourke has been accused of falsely suggesting mixed Irish and Mexican heritage, like Anthony Quinn, which would be cool, like Anthony Quinn. But Beto is all gringo, the nickname bestowed upon him at an early age by daddy. Nevertheless, O’Rourke oftentimes acts as if he were latinx. Facing his first debate question, Beto chose to answer in (halting) Spanish, immediately either alienating or simply bemusing most of the 22 million viewers. During the second debate, in a stilted, rising tone intended to emulate human emotion, he boldly promised to grant blanket amnesty for all illegals on his first day in office. On the campaign trail, Beto more times than not can be seen posing with latinx, despite running for president of the entire nation, not reelection from TX-16. Recently, he even campaigned in Mexico. One wonders whether Beto is the Mexican Rachel Dolezal.
Above all, Beto wants to be seen as cool. Playing sandlot baseball (and whiffing a lot.) Live-streaming his haircut. Live-streaming his dentist’s appointment. In one particularly sad display, skateboarding in a Whataburger parking lot. (h/t Kara).
Of late, Beto’s cool-signaling includes dropping F-bombs on CNN. Though he’s running for President of the United States, maybe all Beto really wants is to be liked by the other kids. Just how was a creature like this formed?
I Was Born a Rich White Child
Beto was born into a wealthy family, to an influential local judge father and a businesswoman mother. Though given a Spanish nickname to blend into heavily latinx El Paso, young Beto first attended Montessori, then was shipped off to prep school, where youth born with silver spoons in their mouths are taught How Succeed In Life Without Really Trying.
As a teen, Beto engaged your typical teenager stuff: international computer hacking, plotting an anarchist overthrow of the government, writing a gruesome story about a teenager intentionally running over a mother and her children, burglary, causing a car crash while DUI, the last two crimes swept under the rug allegedly thanks to daddy’s influence.
Beto studied English Literature at Columbia, where he was described as “curious, wry, bookish but adventurous”, and made a point of always being seen with a novel in his pocket, “whether Captain Corelli’s Mandolin or The Sun Also Rises”. Or perhaps also James Joyce’s Ulysses, a novel for which O’Rourke’s first son is named, and a favorite of poseurs seeking to appear intellectual.
It was at college where he discovered his true calling was music, playing in crappy punk bands — first guitar, then drums, then bass, until he realized he was a crappy musician no matter which band or what instrument. After graduating, Beto accepted a position in NYC as an Aimless Slacker. Realizing that nannying and dog walking were neither his true calling nor enough to pay the bills, Beto returned to El Paso and the comfort of his parents’ gentle wing. Drawing on his experience as a hacker, Beto briefly worked for mommy’s furniture company doing spreadsheets and shit. Realizing his true calling was entrepreneurship/community service, he used daddy’s money to found a software development firm, Stanton Street Technology Group, that hired lots of underprivileged local latinx. Stanton Street’s first client was mommy’s furniture company.
“I’m Just Born to Be In It”
When clients beyond mommy’s furniture store failed to appear, Beto had an epiphany — his software development company was actually an alternative weekly tabloid. So he published & edited Stanton Street: The Newspaper for a while, before realizing nobody wanted to read his lame rag his true calling was politics. He started volunteering for local Dem candidates, until, after each of them lost, decided to run for office himself. He set his sights on a city council seat. Running on a platform of legalizing pot and lots of free stuff for illegal immigrants, he won.
Inspired by plenty of local media coverage and frequent observations of his physical resemblance to RFK, Beto, running on a platform of legalizing pot and lots of free stuff for illegal immigrants, successfully stood for US Congress. Once in Washington, he joined the term-limits caucus, as not sticking for very long in any one job is a concept dear to Beto’s heart.
Senate Or Bust
Inspired by plenty of regional media coverage and frequent observations of his physical resemblance to RFK, and having accomplished everything humanly possible in three terms in the House, in 2018, Beto set his sights on unseating Ted Cruz, the most despised man on Earth.
Running this time on a platform of peace, love & understanding and lots of free stuff for everyone, Beto’s campaign garnered national attention. As mentioned, convoys of trucks loaded with cash donations were driven to Texas from Marin, Hollywood, Hyde Park, and the Upper West Side. Scores of endorsements followed from celebrities eager to drive a stake into Cruz, including Willie Nelson, Beyonce, Eva Longoria, LeBron James, Jim Carrey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Abraham Van Helsing.
Drawing on his experience in crappy punk bands, O’Rourke eschewed the advice of seasoned professional pollsters or consultants, relying instead on raw volunteers with no prior campaign experience. Inexplicably, he lost.
Despite gamely putting a positive spin to his concession speech, O’Rourke was clearly shaken to the core to discover that not everyone loved Beto as much as Beto did. Wife Amy, billionaire heiress and ever-cheery savior of poor Guatemalan children, recognized that Beto, ‘more prone to higher highs and lower lows [than she], was in a “funk.”’ The only remedy was to embark on a months-long solo journey down Route 66.
“Maybe if I get moving, on the road, meet people, learn about what’s going on where they live, have some adventure, go where I don’t know and I’m not known, it’ll clear my head, reset, I’ll think new thoughts, break out of the loops I’ve been stuck in.”
— from Beto’s journal
On his Hero’s Quest, Beto delved deep into his soul and the profundities of existence. He stayed in ordinary motels, ate ordinary blackberry cobbler, chatted with ordinary waitresses. He gazed at the leaden sky, gazed at the snow on the ground, read lots of Joseph Campbell. In New Mexico, Beto ate magic dirt reputed to have regenerative powers, bagging up some extra dirt to bring home for the wife and kids to eat. (I’m not making any of this up.)
The road trip, and no doubt the magic dirt, had the desired effect. Beto hadn’t uncovered his next true calling yet, but he was out of his funk — and most importantly, jogging again. One thing was clear, though: as previously pledged, Beto would not run for president in 2020.
POTUS Or Bust
But heck, once you’ve blown a senate race in spectacular fashion, what challenges remain? So, after talking it over with Amy and the kids, Beto realized his true calling was to serve as President of the United State of America. Barely able to contain his enthusiasm — or avoid Freudian slips — he described his candidacy as
“the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America.”
In his announcement (perhaps recalling the ordinary folks on Route 66,) O’Rourke placed special emphasis on the need to expand internet access to rural areas, because lonely farmers “can’t go on Tinder to find that special date tonight.”
And the MSM fawned, and the whisper-gushers whisper-gushed, and a convey of trucks loaded with $3.9 million in donations drove to Texas. And then the pattern repeated. Beto’s support in polls, initially in double digits, stagnated. Following his first debate performance, roundly deemed a fiasco, those numbers started to sink. Unable to distinguish himself from the other 19 progressives in the field, in the second debate Beto recast himself: he was now The One Who Can Deliver Texas’ 38 Electoral Votes™. Which makes total sense, considering how he trounced … wait, never mind.
And still his polling numbers sank. Desperately seeking some way to jump-start his campaign, regain the adoration of Ellen, LeBron, & CNN, and claw his way back ahead of Andrew Yang, Beto received a wonderful gift from Dame Fortune — or so he thought.
The Mask Slips
That ‘gift’ was a mass shooting of latinx by a white racist in his own home town of El Paso. Rushing back from the campaign trail, Beto went before the media to announce his reincarnation as The Ender of White Nationalism and Buy-Backer of All Assault Rifles™. And it just might have worked, had he been able to conceal his glee. But he could not. For Beto smiled and laughed on national television about the senseless murder of 20 people.
And it went viral.
It’s here that Beto’s White House aspirations end. Oh, he still has one last at-bat in the third debate, but will likely whiff on three pitches just like in sandlot. And, while his lust for attention might never dry up, the donations will and that’ll be that. The Houston Chronicle has already called for him to drop out.
It must be tough, being a narcissist yet unsure of yourself. Even O’Rourke’s old girlfriend found him difficult to know. “That’s kind of the mystique of Beto, is that he seems to be accessible, but there’s just this layer of protection. I don’t think it’s because he’s hiding anything. I think it’s because he’s keeping a part of it to himself,” she told Vanity Fair. I believe she’s wrong. Beto is hiding something; namely that, under that layer of protection, lies nothing.
What does the future hold for Beto O’Rourke? Now that the wax wings of his political career have melted, yet another personal reinvention is in order. I predict a brief ‘funk’, a morale-boosting appearance on The View, then wielding his touted “Beto Effect” by campaigning for down-ticket candidates, giving inspiring speeches before select audiences of whisper-gusher donors. Before long, there’ll be a deepity-laden memoir, accompanied by a PR tour and another appearance on The View. And finally, a high-priced, new-age Beto Effect™ Spa Retreat & Personal Reflection Center, overseen by Beto himself, barefoot and in loose-fitting white garments, quoting from The Hero With A Thousand Faces. Magic dirt available for an additional charge.
(c) 2019 by True Liberal Nexus. All rights reserved.
Lizzie Warren is moving up in the polls.But that exhilarating news for her devotees comes with serious caveats.For starters, her surge is primarily at the expense of Bernie Sanders.Poll after poll, these two radical socialists never garner more than 25-30% combined; the split thereof has merely tipped, in all likelihood permanently, from the grumpy old man toward the wild-eyed marm.Warren currently draws support almost exclusively from the far-left, affluent white elitist, wing of the Democratic Party.Even with the disproportionate influence the caucuses give to this bloc, Warren has no path to the nomination unless she can expand her base.
Despite claiming to be the champion of ordinary working folks, her fiery calls for a tumultuous social and economic upheaval to topple the archons of the “one percent” falls on deaf ears among the working class Democrats this revolution of hers supposedly would liberate.(This comes as no surprise to anyone outside of the ivory tower fantasy bubble that Warren and her ilk inhabit.)Indeed, Warren’s extremist positions on immigration, tax increases, and a host of issues, are deal-breakers for this demographic.
Another sizeable voting bloc is still up for grabs, however, and Warren has set her sights on it.Comprising roughly 1/5 of Dems overall, and half in the early South Carolina primary, blacks are always potential king-makers. Unfortunately for Warren, she’s polling miserably — as in c. 4% — among black Democrats, who so far have strongly backed Joe Biden as reward for his eight years (and running) playing the faithful, deferential sidekick to Obama.
Still, you can’t blame Lizzie for not trying.Back in May, at a forum for ‘women of color’, and later on Twitter, Warren alleged that the high rate of infant & new mother mortality among blacks was due to “just one thing — prejudice.”Elaborating in an Essence magazine op-ed,Warren leveled the accusation that “too often, doctors and nurses don’t hear Black women’s health issues the same way they hear them from other women.” She went on to propose harsh sanctions for racist health care providers who failed to dramatically“[narrow] the mortality and morbidity gap between white women and women of color….”Her baseless slander was met with a furious response from the ob/gyn & pediatric professional community.
In July, the Warren campaign rolled out an initiative to connect with black voters, described as “a mix of one-on-one outreach to black political leaders when no one’s watching, and a deliberate focus on racial justice woven throughout her policy proposals. In addition to demagogic flourishes like quoting scripture and saying ”righteous” a lot, Warren has larded her platform with proposals that pander to blacks:$50 billion for historically black colleges and universities, $100 billion to expand black home ownership,and, of course, an undefined sum for slave reparations. In the same way CERN detects ever more subatomic particles, Warren’s feverish mind concocts new forms of racism, as listed by her during the last debate: “environmental racism, economic racism, criminal justice racism, health care racism.” We are awash in a sea of racism, but Lizzie has a plan for that.
And yet, Warren’s dismal numbers among black voters refuse to budge.So, in what can only be described as ham-fisted desperation, the other day Warren tweeted this rehash of BLM mendacity:
“5 years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael was unarmed yet he was shot 6 times. I stand with activists and organizers who continue the fight for justice for Michael. We must confront systemic racism and police violence head on.”
Let me be perfectly clear:Michael Brown was not “murdered”. Michael Brown was a criminal who’d just robbed a convenience store, during which he’d violently assaulted the shop owner. Brown was spotted carrying the stolen goods under his arm by officer Darren Wilson while on patrol.After first ignoring officer Wilson’s call to halt, the 6’4”, 300 lb. Brown charged Wilson and attempted to wrest away Wilson’s service pistol, at which point Wilson fired in self-defense.BLM placards notwithstanding, Brown never put up his hands, never cried ‘don’t shoot.’The coroner’s report confirmed this and ruled it a justifiable homicide.The Obama/Holder Justice Department, eager as it was to find racist intent, confirmed all thisand declared it a justifiable homicide.Michael Brown was a crook, a brutal menace, and a would-be cop killer.He was no victim, and he got the justice he deserved.
After her insensitive DNA test, Elizabeth Warren stooping to this new low comes as no surprise.But will offering martyrdom to a dangerous criminal really increase her esteem among black voters?BLM agitprop mostly resonates with the self-loathing, leftist, white elite — Warren’s existing, narrow base.
But even more so, these ploys reveal just how out-of-touch Warren and her ‘woke’ campaign staff are.Practicing the soft bigotry of low expectations, they envision blacks as essentially children, susceptible to overt pandering & pavlovian signaling on ‘black issues’. Vote for me and I’ll set you free! Rap on, sister, rap on. Not.In truth, black Democrats want what the rest of us do: a strong economy, stability at home and peace abroad, and a nominee who can win the general election. Nothing Elizabeth Warren has done or said so far indicates she can deliver on any of those.
(c) 2019 by True Liberal Nexus.All rights reserved.
Lately, social justice warriors have exhibited considerable agitation and sense of urgency over the rights of transgendered people, who are said to suffer considerable discrimination, harassment, and lack of acceptance. Joe Biden declared discrimination against this minority “the civil rights issue of our time,” while journalists and activists speak excitedly of transgender rights as “the next frontier.”
Just enforcing existing, or passing new, anti-discrimination laws is not enough, we are forewarned. “Cultural protections” for transgendered people, commonly known as trans*, will be erected, and society will be re-educated about how it conceives of sexual identity. “[I]t will need to reevaluate just how necessary it really is to define people according to what’s between their legs. This would clearly help the transgender community, but it might be healthy for the rest of us, too.”
The so-called “gender binary”, where the world is viewed as male and female, is evil and wrong, we are instructed. We must all now embrace the “Gender Spectrum” (“GS”), which better reflects nature and most importantly, is “inclusive.”
But is this novel way of perceiving human sexuality valid? What, if any, scientific evidence exists to support it? And why is changing not just how people treat trans*, but how they think and feel about their own sexuality, so important? We shall see.
“… a range of gender identities between and outside of the categories of male and female…”
which is usually expanded to include Gender Expression, “the ways in which people externally communicate their gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, haircut, voice, and other forms of presentation”, and Gender Role, “the set of roles, activities, expectations and behaviors assigned to females and males by society.”Sexual orientation (gay; straight; bi; asexual) is also frequently placed under the rubric.
In contrast to the “static, binary model”, The Gender Spectrum is presented as a “more nuanced, and ultimately truly authentic model of human gender” that describes the “far more rich texture of biology, gender expression, and gender identity intersect in multidimensional array of possibilities.” The concept has been around for about fifteen years.
Gender itself is a fairly recent coinage that refers to the personal sexual identity of an individual above & beyond their biological sex. People almost always identify as the gender that matches their sex, but trans* either identify as the gender opposite their sex, or, in rare cases, have no clearly defined gender identity. The causes of transgenderism are poorly understood. (A small fraction of the population is intersex — people who, due to genetic or embryological anomalies, have genitalia & other physical sexual traits that are neither completely male or female. Intersex is separate from transgendered.)
When people discuss transgenderism and the GS, they can be maddeningly vague with quantification — ‘not all people conform…’ or ‘many people express…’ or ‘some people display…’ etc. There happens to be a debate raging over the figures generally cited for prevelance of transgenderism. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) gives 1:30,000 among men and 1:100,000 among women, figures that found their way into APA’s DSM V. But these derive from just a handful of forty year-old studies, and Lynn Conway, a mathematician and a trans* zirself, has made a compelling argument that they’re off by several factors.
By adding up sex reassignment surgeries (SRS) performed in the US since the 1960’s, Conway arrives at a minimal transgender prevalence of 1:2,500, or 0.04%. But considering lessening stigma, and that not every person who identifies as trans gets SRS, more trans* are likely out there. Through a series of assumptions & back-of-the-envelope calculations, Conway extrapolates to a final estimate of 1:170, or <0.6%
A careful & comprehensive meta-study by UCLA’s Williams Institute, conducted in 2011, found that ~ 0.3% of US residents identified as trans* — all things considered, within the same ballpark as Conway’s figure. The results of other recent surveys tend to fall within Conway’s base and peak estimates.
Whether trans people constitute 3/10ths or 6/10ths of a percent of the population, describing them as ‘some’ is vague, and as ‘many’ downright misleading. ‘Very few’, ‘a small fraction’ and ‘rare’ are more fitting, as this visualization of the UCLA estimates makes clear:
Now, this is not to say that, just because trans* are a tiny minority, they are not deserving of our respect or equal rights. As Conway observes, the prevalence of blindness and deafness are similarly low, but society takes great pains to accommodate the blind and the deaf.
The Nature of Sex
This may seem pedantic, but a basic review of sexual development & reproduction is in order before examining the validity of the GS.
Homo sapiens reproduce sexually, as have our ancestors for the past 1.2 billion years. By design, each human comes equipped with either exclusively female, or exclusively male sex organs. We are not hermaphroditic, are incapable of parthenogenesis, nor do we self-pollinate.
Sex is determined by the X and Y chromosomes. Get two Xs and you’re female; an X and a Y, and you’re male — it’s either/or. (Specifically, the SRY gene on the Y chromosome determines maleness.) Rarely, something goes wrong when the gametes merge, creating a zygote with a lone X, an XXY, XXYY, or an SRY gene that’s fallen off the Y chromosome or migrated to an X. A meiotic anomaly can create XYY. Individuals born with any of these karyotypes are known as intersex and (except XYY) are infertile.
In the womb, the precisely-timed delivery of precise amounts of hormones is required for the initially amorphous embryo to develop either male or female attributes. This process, too, infrequently goes awry, leading to individuals with genitalia and other physical sex attributes that are neither fully male nor female. They are also intersex and infertile.
It must be stressed that karyotypic and embryological anomalies are errors in the processes — fatal breakdowns, actually, from the perspective of the germ line — and in no way ‘natural’ variants of sex. (It’s noteworthy that intersex pregnancies spontaneously abort at a far higher frequency than average.) This should be an uncontroversial statement of fact, yet there are those who deny it.
“… even if gender is to be restricted to basic biology, a binary concept still fails to capture the rich variation observed. Rather than just two distinct boxes, biological gender occurs across a continuum of possibilities. This spectrum of anatomical variations by itself should be enough to disregard the simplistic notion of only two genders.”
Evidence of this “biological continuum” presumably includes:
5-Alpha-Reductase Deficiency — incidence of births 1:40,000
This is idiotic. The above are all intersex conditions where the natural sex determinant processes have gone awry. Intersex people deserve our compassion and our support in developing their personal gender identity. Their conditions, however, are birth defects, not “rich variations.”
The Nature of Gender
To successfuly reproduce, an individual must: 1) attract members of the opposite sex; 2) be attracted to members of the opposite sex. Mating relies on physical cues and behaviors to achieve these two objectives. These physical traits and behaviors are fixed, phenotypic expressions of the genome.
For humans at least, it’s generally assumed that a gender identity is generated within the mind. To the best of my knowledge, humans are also the only animals who’ve developed elaborate cultural rituals and cues (most notably, hoop earrings, raised pick-up trucks, & line dancing) to augment or supplant instinctual sex behaviors and attributes.
Getting one’s gender identity or sexual attraction wrong is, again from the perspective of the germ line, a fatal mistake. That’s why we don’t find any trans* animals or gay animals. (Homosexual behaviors have been observed in animals, but they are — aside from one known example of male beetles depositing sperm packets on other males’ carapaces, and that an alternate, “piggy-back” strategy for delivering sperm to females — for dominance or other non-sexual social purposes.)
Homosexuals, bisexuals, and trans* are, of course, found among humans. Some hypothetical explanations for a genetic basis to homosexuality have been put forth (based on outlaw genes, kin selection), but no hard evidence exists (i.e., no “gay gene” has been found.) Pre-natal hormonal imbalances have been tentatively linked to lesbianism. Instances like ancient Sparta imply that culture can influence human sexual attraction. And that’s about the extent of what we know at this point.
How gender identity forms is even less clearly understood. A few studies have found that the brains of MtF trans* resemble the brains of normative females in certain ways, but no causation arrow can be attached to this correlation. What can be said is, although gender self-identification can sometimes be mutable in childhood, it nearly always is fixed by puberty.
In all but a tiny fraction of instances, gender identity aligns with anatomical sex. This should be considered the normative, default position. (Please bear in mind that this is not by any means a moral judgment.) Further, in most trans*, it seems that this default position has simply been reversed. Whether that cortex where gender forms developed differently in the womb, or whether the social cues that influence gender went askew, most trans* identify with the sex directly opposite their anatomy. A mere fraction of the fraction of people who are trans* are ambivalent, or “gender fluid”.
As with pretty much everything about us, nature and nurture are likely at play. Research into the mechanics of gender identity is almost non-existent, but the patterns indicate that we are predisposed toward a default ‘cis’ identity, with embryological or environmental anomalies sometimes perturbing it.
Scientific inquiry may thrive on tentative claims that are only as assertive as the evidence merits, but crusades are waged on dogmatic certainty. The social justice crusade to transform society’s attitudes about sex and expression requires that a continuous spectrum of gender identity exist across the entire population. The graphics found in SJW literature give an idea of how they envision the Gender Spectrum:
(Answer three simple questions about your wardrobe to learn where you fall on the Spectrum!)
(Reminder: Intersex is not the same as transgender.)
(As you become more masculine, you eventually turn feminine?)
(Why don’t these people have necks?)
Let’s compare those to a graphic representation of the findings in the UCLA study:
Do you see a spectrum, or a binary?
Ah, but, the SJW replies, you’ve ignored the hidden influence of sexual attraction, gender expression and gender role-playing. So let’s address those, too.
Whether you’re hetero-, homo-, or bi-sexual seems to me a separate issue from your gender identity, and even granting that connection, the raw data does not reveal a spectrum. The UCLA study estimated 3.5% of US adults identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual.
Other studies conducted over the past decade in the US, Canada, Western Europe and Australia, ranged from 1.2% to 3.7%, with one outlier at 5.6%.
Ah, but, comes the retort, as the noted anthropologist, Honey Boo-Boo, observes: “everybody is a little bit gay.” Straight, gay, bi — these are just artificial cubby holes! In fact, in all the surveys UCLA looked at, more people reported having had same-sex attractions than self-identify as gay or bisexual. Taking the highest figure, 11.0% (from that outlier study, the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth,) let’s graph it out:
The 89% of adults who reported having never had a same-sex attraction appear on the far left. For the purpose of this exercise, and lacking precise data, I’ve evenly spread out the other 11% along the ‘gayness’ scale, despite indications that around half of gay people are also decidedly ‘binary’ in their attractions. For the overwhelming majority of people, there is no spectrum.
Gender Expression, Gender Roles
When it suits them, SJWs insist that gender identity is hard-wired, and we so often hear them speak of ‘a girl born in the body of a boy.’ But when it’s time for the Cultural Revolution to begin, gender suddenly becomes mutable:
“Gender expectations and messages bombard us constantly…. Like other social constructs, gender is closely monitored by society. Accepted social gender roles and expectations are so entrenched in our culture that most people cannot imagine any other way.”
Thus, not only does society have no room for trans* expression, it actively suppresses the hidden gender-fluid tendencies inside all of us. This argument, however, is predicated on the alleged disparity between the ‘artificial’ binary and the ‘natural’ spectrum. As shown above, both gender identity and sexual attraction display marked binary properties. Spectrum advocates complain that
“individuals fitting neatly into [social gender role] expectations rarely if ever question what gender really means. They have never had to, because the system has worked for them.”
Could it be that the vast majority of people prefer these standard roles? Not the slightest effort has been made to produce concrete evidence showing otherwise — or to explain, exactly, why safeguarding the rights of a minority requires the majority to alter their private behavior and deepest self-perceptions. So, when Pistol Annies affirm that there’s nothing better than being loved by a workin’ man, who won’t do the dishes or laundry, but who can fix about anything and will keep your car real clean, instead of trying to re-educate those gals, we should take them at their word.
That being said, if, as a society moving toward greater egalitarianism and less gender-based dichotomy of labor, we now choose to relax enforcement of traditional gender roles for those who choose to deviate from them, that’s a good thing. But no half-baked theory is required to explain David Beckham or Steven Tyler. And we can have women astronauts and men nurses, women in suits and men in scarfs, women who chop wood and men who cry during TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, without the need to pretend they aren’t fully women and fully men.
Spectrum advocates assert that “[g]ender diversity is a normal part of human expression documented across cultures and recorded history,” and point to
“[n]on-binary gender diversity … throughout the world, documented by countless historians and anthropologists. Examples of individuals living comfortably outside of typical male/female identities are found in every region of the globe. The calabai, and calalai of Indonesia, two-spirit Native Americans, and the hijra of India all represent more complex understandings of gender than the simplistic model seen in the west.”
It is indeed possible to find scattered examples of cultures tolerant of intersex and transgendered people. (Sadly, they seem the exceptions to the rule.) One might well cite these examples to encourage greater tolerance in our own society. But they simply do not hold up as evidence of a gender spectrum. Just because these pre-modern societies — ignorant of chromosomes, pre-natal development, or orbital frontal cortices — invented third, fourth or fifth “sexes” to explain certain phenomena, doesn’t mean extra sexes exist for real.
Further, for this to serve as proof that our “simplistic” binary model actively suppresses expressions of gender non-conformity, SJWs would need to produce data showing a significantly higher prevalence of gender-queer individuals in these cultures. They haven’t bothered, and likely can’t.
Finally, hirja of the Indian subcontinent traditionally had, and often still have, their penis and testicles chopped off as boys, then are forced into a life of prostitution. This is not a cultural practice we should seek to emulate.
Spectrum proponents say our gender roles are ‘just a social construct.’ But societies and cultures do not appear out of thin air. The origin of human societal culture can be traced back through the group behaviors of our hominid & earlier social animal ancestors, all the way to the mating instincts of the first sexually-reproducing creatures. Our cultural gender constructs are the direct product of, and are designed to facilitate, sexual reproduction. Far from being arbitrary or capricious, our ‘binary’ gender roles and expressions precisely replicate the function of fixed sex displays like plumage or instinctual behaviors. Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a mating dance.
The Insane Charade
We have shown that:
Trans* individuals are extremely rare (~ 0.3%);
Same-sex attraction is rare (~ 3%);
Our species is by design a sexual binary of male and female;
The vast majority of people — cis and trans*, straight and gay — self-identify as either male or female;
Normative cultural gender roles and expressions, albeit sometimes taken to extremes by certain cultures, are consistent with that sexual binary and naturally emanate from it;
A large majority of people are comfortable with standard gender roles and forms of expression. That almost no one conforms to clichéd, exaggerated stereotypes is unremarkable; that a few people deviate widely from standard gender expressions does not equate to a smooth variance across the entire population, much less is proof of the existence of extra sexes.
In spite of all this evidence and logic, SJWs damn anyone who doubts the Gender Spectrum as ignorant and hateful.
Not atypically for SJWs, they conflate two separate arguments. The first, that trans* deserve equal treatment under the law, and don’t deserve ridicule or abuse, is one I heartily agree with, as would any fair-minded person.
Their other argument, over which they have launched a crusade, and against which they are experiencing considerable push-back, is that society must be restructured, our public institutions revamped, our very perceptions altered, to conform to a non-existent gender spectrum. So people are shamed for finding trans* sexually unattractive, or for denying that they themselves secretly harbor homosexual feelings. “He” and “she”, “his” and “hers” are banned as Words of Intolerance™, and we are now expected ask each person what are zir preferred pronouns before addressing qi. Teachers and students receive indoctrination sensitivity training to embrace the legions of spectrum-queer in their midst.
We have SJWs demanding that trans* be allowed to express their gender in any way they see fit, and expect ‘cis folk’ to not just tolerate it, but to find it groovy. Then, without batting an eye, they hector and shame people who desire and enjoy traditional gender roles and expressions.
We have parents now raising their children as gender neutral, afraid to impose arbitrary idenities in case their kid might be ‘two-spirit.’ Worst of all, many SJWs and therapists now actively encourage children as young as 3 years of age to identify as trans*. Considering that, while some amount of gender nonconformity & ambivalence is relatively common among children, nearly all children who experience it sort things out on their own to become ‘cis’ by puberty, this is unconscionable.
All this is stupid and wrong, highly unfair to individuals and disruptive to society. I don’t care how often you berate me, how many times you label me a ‘hater’, a ‘trans-phobe’, or ‘cis scum‘, I will not participate in your insane charade. I’ll gladly stand up for equal rights for trans* people, but I won’t deny the facts: there is no Gender Spectrum.
I want to bring to the attention of my fellow true liberals a post I’ve written on another blog, where I critique a young feminist’s own critique of certain concepts central to social justice activism:
Specifically, I address the worth of Gender as Performance, Rape Culture, and Privilege as scientific models.
(Note: don’t anyone be put off by the blog’s name — this post has nothing to do with atheism!)
I invite you all to read my piece, and tell me what you think.
Immediately following the Not Guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, the hysterical editor-in-chief of ThinkProgress wrote a typically hysterical response. Also typical for TP, he got his facts all wrong.
This is more than just sloppy journalism. Writer and TP founder, Judd Legum, draws heavily on The New Jim Crow, a racist polemic by Michelle Alexander. Not only does the US justice system suffer from institutionalized racism, Alexander claims, there’s a vast conspiracy to replace Jim Crow laws with incarceration:
“Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to … engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind. Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination … are suddenly legal. As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.”
Alexander’s argument runs something like this:
1. Jim Crow denied blacks the vote
2. A felon can’t vote
3. Blacks are much more likely to commit a felony than whites
4. Ergo: Convicting blacks for felonies = Jim Crow
This conversion from overt discriminatory laws to covert felonization was both stealthy and willful: “The new system had been developed and implemented swiftly, and it was largely invisible, even to people, like me, who spent most of their waking hours fighting for justice.” (Or just maybe, it’s “largely invisible” because it doesn’t exist!)
Legum attempts to substantiate Alexander’s conspiracy theory by deceptive presentation of crime statistics. Below, each point is addressed one-by-one.
1. A black male born in 2001 has a 32% chance of spending some portion of his life in prison. A white male born the same year has just a 6% chance. [Sentencing Project]
This 5.3:1 ratio correlates well with the 7:1 disparity in the commission of crimes, blacks vs. whites. It is not evidence per se of racism in the penal system.
Legum insinuates that police go out of their way to arrest more black perps than whites. But FBI reports on crime statistics show that, by race, arrest rates and the rates of commissions of crimes correlate extremely closely. (In 2011, whites were actually slightly more likely to be arrested for their violent crimes than were blacks.)
Similar findings first appeared in The Color of Crime (“TCOC”), a 1999 study that stirred great controversy because the authors were white supremacists. Though TCOC often overreached, especially when analyzing hate crimes and inter-racial crime, its presentation of crime-by-race data was accurate: blacks as a demographic do indeed commit crimes, especially violent crimes, at a far higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group.
Critics were reduced to the intentionally misleading — “[p]eople of color are disproportionately arrested, sentenced and incarcerated when compared to white people accused of similar offenses” — or the obtuse: one community leader rejected the FBI data on the grounds that it omitted “corporate crime” committed mostly by whites.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, while not objecting to the raw data, insisted that “socioeconomic factors including poverty, education, social status and urban residence account far better for criminal behavior than race.”
Nevertheless, the fact remains that blacks are more frequently incarcerated because blacks more frequently commit crimes.
2. In major American cities, as many as 80% of young African-American men have criminal records. [Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow]
That’s over 3x higher than the national average for adults. Where Alexander spots a racist conspiracy, The Southern Poverty Law Center finds socio-economic factors at play. Instead of pointing a finger at the legal system and its commensurate response to the high urban crime rate, shouldn’t we address the culture and environment that produce so many urban criminals?
3. African-Americans who use drugs are more than four times as likely to be incarcerated than whites who use drugs. African Americans constitute 14% of the population and 14% of monthly drug users. But African-Americans represent 34% of those arrested for a drug offense and 53% of those sentenced to prison for a drug offense. [American Bar Association]
Legum deceitfully compares drug use rates with drug arrest arrest rates, as most arrests are for drug sales. (FTR, in 2011, illicit drug use was 8.7% among whites, 10.0% among blacks.) Nor is any distinction made for the type of drug involved.
Blacks are 2 1/2 times more likely to belong to gangs as whites. A large percentage of those arrested for drug violations are gang members. Around 30% of crimes committed by gangs are related to drug sales, and often involve the use of a gun. Nearly half of all youth gang members are involved in street drug sales, greatly increasing their odds of being arrested.
Considerable disparity does exist in the severity of punishment received by black drug offenders vs. whites. But as the very ABA paper cited in the article concludes, this is not due to overt racism, rather “unanticipated consequences” of “ostensibly race-neutral policies.” Foremost is the poor “quality of defense counsel” available most black perps: “too often the lawyers who provide defense services are inexperienced, fail to maintain adequate client contact, and furnish services that are simply not competent.” Another key factor is the profusion of “drug laws that penalize drug offenses that take place within a certain distance of a school more harshly than other drug crimes.” As blacks are more likely to live in urban areas, “blacks convicted of a drug offense are subject to harsher penalties than whites committing a similar offense in a less-populated area.”
The ABA also found that
“[a]t the sentencing stage, low-income substance abusers are also disadvantaged compared to defendants with resources. Given the general shortage of treatment programs, a defendant who has private insurance to cover the cost of treatment is in a much better position to make an argument for a nonincarcerative sentence than one who depends on publicly funded treatment programs.”
Now, is that racist, or economic?
4. In seven states, African Americans constitute 80% or more of all drug offenders sent to prison. [Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow]
If you want to exaggerate the severity of a problem, just cherry-pick the data and pass it off as a new stat. Apparently, the overall 53% rate cited in #3 wasn’t quite awful enough for TP’s creative class, white-guilt self-flagellation.
5. Black students are three and a half times as likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers. One in five black boys receive an out-of-school suspension. Education Secretary Arne Duncan who commissioned the study, said “The undeniable truth is that the everyday education experience for too many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise.” [New York Times]
Nowhere in the NYT article or the Dept. of Education’s report is there a single, concrete piece of data showing racial bias, only innuendo. Comparing generic data, lumped together from every school district in America and for every offense regardless of type or severity, is statistically worthless.
Statements like “Black students are punished more harshly when committing the same offenses as white students” are meaningless when “same offense” is defined as ‘anything leading to a suspension.’
“One thing experts do agree on is that the causes for the discrepancies are complex. Some urban schools with the highest suspension and expulsion rates also have high populations of poor black students, a higher-than-average percentage of whom come from single parent families. Other studies have shown that children from such homes are more prone to disciplinary problems.”
The Education Dept. study, the Monitor reports, “also suggests that the problems are inherent in how American schools are set up, with the lowest paid and least experienced teachers most often working at poorer, urban schools with more discipline problems.” Once again, we encounter socio-economic factors, not racism.
A 2009 study of North Carolina public schools by Josh Kinsler confirms this. Firstly, Kinsler looked only at 6th and 9th graders, to reduce the effect of any ‘reputation bias’ among teachers & principles. He then compared punishment rates across schools, by type of infraction, and between whites and blacks in the same school. His findings are striking:
“Across schools, black 9th grade students receive 22% longer suspensions than white students when committing simple rule violations. This gap disappears entirely when black and white student suspensions are compared within schools…. Within schools, black and white students are equally likely to be suspended and receive similar suspension durations conditional on behavior and a host of other observable characteristics.”
The only racial bias Kinsler uncovered was unexpected: black principals tend to mete out harsher punishments than their white colleagues, especially in schools with large black student bodies.
6. Black youth who are referred to juvenile court are much more likely to be detained, referred to adult court or end up in adult prison than their white counterparts. Blacks represented 28% of juvenile arrests, 30% of referrals to juvenile court, 37% of the detained population, 35% of youth judicially waived to criminal court and 58% of youth admitted to state adult prison. [National Council on Crime And Delinquency]
Again, Legum neglects to mention any mitigating factors, leaving the reader to assume racism is at work. Yet the very paper cited, Justice For Some, admits:
“It is not clear whether this overrepresentation is the result of differential police policies and practices (targeting patrols in certain low-income neighborhoods, policies requiring immediate release to biological parents, group arrest procedures); location of offenses (African American youth using or selling drugs on street corners, White youth using or selling drugs in homes); different behavior by youth of color (whether they commit more crimes than White youth); different reactions of victims to offenses committed by White and youth of color (whether White victims of crimes disproportionately perceive the offenders to be youth of color); or racial bias within the justice system.”
The NCCD report presents data showing that blacks, 17% of the youth population, were responsible for 27.5% of all youth offenses but 45.6% of all violent crimes committed by youths. As a “growing number of states have adopted legislation to exclude certain serious crimes from the jurisdiction of juvenile court and send them directly to adult court”, one would expect black youths, given their greater prevalence for violent crimes, to be more often charged as adults. Youths committing violent crimes are also more likely to be referred to juvenile court instead of remanded to the custody of a relative.
7. The United States imprisons a larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid. [Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow]
This is the sort of moronic non-sequitur that passes for common sense among proglodytes. To imply that racism in the US is worse than it was under Apartheid is the height of insanity.
News flash: crime is always low in police states. Apartheid exerted blanket control over every aspect of the lives of South Africa’s blacks, with an unflinching, militarized police to enforce it. Note Legum won’t compare the US with today’s South Africa, where there’s 55 murders every day, and violent car-jackings are reaching epidemic proportions. Where the police — under a black president — have been re-militarized, and — under a black commissioner — face charges of widespread brutality.
Blaming the Bogeyman
Unlike Legum’s deceptive bullet points, the real statistics show very little overt racial bias whatsoever in our justice system. What does exist is largely unintentional and linked to socio-economic status. These areas of unfairness must be addressed. But a crusade against the chimera of institutional racism is misinformed, misdirected, and counter-productive. While it may fuel the masochism of ThinkProgress fools, and help dung beetles like Alexander get published, it lets down the very people in whose name these social justice warriors ostensibly act.
In 1911 Booker T. Washington observed
“There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs – partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”
A century later, a new generation are playing the same con game. Instead of attacking the real culprits — poverty, dysfunctional schools & families, a sub-culture that actively promotes crime & violence, the rise of gangs, half a century of flawed, failed social engineering — the race-baiters and their prog facilitators target bogeymen.
So long as groups like ThinkProgress continue to spout lies, charlatans like Alexander promulgate conspiracy theories, and demagogues like Jackson & Sharpton spread hate, the real causes of the problem will never be addressed.
Not Guilty was the correct verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. That is my firm belief, based on the definition of the charges and of self-defense under Florida law, on the sum of the evidence and testimony presented in the trial, which I followed closely, and on the prosecution’s utter failure to prove beyond a reasonable doubt pretty much anything.
How a reasoning, informed person could see otherwise baffles me. Yet many of you, my friends, colleagues and acquaintances, have expressed dismay, disbelief, and rage that Zimmerman was exonerated. I suggest that your belief in Zimmerman’s guilt is founded on false information, ignorance of the law, &/or faulty logic. I will attempt here to disabuse you of those.
With alarming frequency, people impute malevolent motives to those who disagree with them. Since my facts and logic are impeccable, people assume, anyone who disagrees must be a vile [___]-ist. Dividing us into camps of Good vs. Evil is wrong, it is highly corrosive, and it must end now.
I invite and encourage all of you to debate this important topic with me. Our first impulse may be to sweep it all under rug, but I earnestly believe that unless we discuss it openly and civilly, things will only fester. We need to talk. Show me where my knowledge is deficient, expose my logic as fallacious. I’d never hold it against you to question what’s inside my head. I will if you question what’s in my heart.
All We Know
Despite rampant speculation, extrapolation, and conjecture, there’s very little of the events of the evening of February 26, 2012 that we know for certain. We do know that George Zimmerman (“GZ”), a member of the local neighborhood watch, called 911 about an unknown person he believed to be acting suspiciously. We know his neighborhood had recently suffered a spate of burglaries and home invasions, something that concerned GZ. As he exited his car and attempted to locate the person in the heavy downpour that night, GZ stayed on line while awaiting the arrival of the police officer he’d requested. Though not required by law to comply with the advisements of a dispatch operator, GZ did indicate he was following the dispatcher’s suggestion to not actively follow the suspicious person.
We know that Trayvon Martin (“TM”) was walking through the neighborhood that night, returning from a trip to the store. His friend testified that while on the phone with her that night, TM mentioned an unknown person checking him out, expressed his concern, and his intent to run home.
Approximately four minutes later, GZ and TM encountered each other. It’s unsure if one or the other intentionally precipitated the contact, or whether it was by chance. Per GZ’s testimony, TM approached him, then punched him without provocation. A police photo and a doctor’s exam showed that GZ received extensive injuries about the face and head, including a broken nose and gashes on the back of his scalp. The coroner found no fight injuries on TM except some scrapes on the knuckles, consistent with using his fists. The single eye-witness described GZ laying on his back, TM straddling GZ and furiously beating him.
In a 911 recording we can hear what witnesses confirmed: someone screaming desperately for help for almost a minute. When questioned by police, TM’s father and brother were unable to identify the voice. In court they and TM’s mother testified it was TM. Numerous people in GZ’s circle testified that the voice was GZ’s.
We know GZ shot TM, killing him with a single bullet.
The entire incident, from GZ calling 911, to TM receiving a gunshot wound to the chest, lasted about seven minutes.
_ The Law
After questioning GZ, the police found no grounds for arrest. After reviewing the case, the DA found no reason to convene a grand jury. Responding to public pressure and meddling by the DoJ, Florida assigned a special prosecutor, who filed a charge of Second Degree Murder against GZ, considered excessive by most legal experts. Just before the jury was set to deliberate, a lesser charge of Manslaughter was presented for them to consider.
All of us are familiar with the phrase “presumed innocent until proven guilty.” In a civil case, only a preponderance of evidence is required to reach a judgment. In a criminal case, guilt must be proven “beyond, and to the exclusion of, a reasonable doubt.”. If we stray from these principles, if we no longer recoil at the thought of punishing an innocent person, either out of emotion or the ‘desire to send a message’, we sell our liberty cheap.
Second Degree Murder
Florida law is explicit in what must be proven for Murder 2:
The death was caused by the criminal act of (defendant).
There was an unlawful killing of (victim) by an act imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life.
A “series of related actions” may constitute an act if “arising from and performed pursuant to a single design or purpose.” An act is “imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind” only if:
a person of ordinary judgment would know is reasonably certain to kill or do serious bodily injury to another, and
done from ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent, and
of such a nature that the act itself indicates an indifference to human life.
GZ committed no crime that evening. He was well within his legal rights to walk through his neighborhood. He had the right to follow an unknown person, and challenge them, if that’s what he did. GZ was licensed to carry a gun, and was operating it properly.
To presume guilt, you must prove beyond reasonable doubt that GZ either committed a crime, or was acting in a way no reasonable person would ever act.
GZ’s actions cannot be interpreted as pursuant to any “single design or purpose” other than identifying a stranger. That GZ had resolved to shoot someone that night is completely unsupported by evidence. If you haven’t listened to the entire 911 call, do so.
To presume guilt, you must rule out all possible alternative interpretations of GZ actions.
Neither do GZ’s actions, nor his personal character as revealed by witnesses, point to “a depraved mind without regard for human life.”
To presume guilt, you must prove beyond reasonable doubt that GZ possessed a depraved mind.
The jury was also allowed to consider the lesser charge of Manslaughter:
(Defendant) intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of (victim).
(Defendant) intentionally procured an act that caused the death of (victim).
The death of (victim) was caused by the culpable negligence of (defendant).
Judge Nelson’s instructions to the jury were meticulous in laying out the considerable burden of proof, and deserve quoting in full:
Each of us has a duty to act reasonably toward others. If there is a violation of that duty, without any conscious intention to harm, that violation is negligence. But culpable negligence is more than a failure to use ordinary care toward others. In order for negligence to be culpable, it must be gross and flagrant. Culpable negligence is a course of conduct showing reckless disregard of human life, or of the safety of persons exposed to its dangerous effects, or such an entire want of care as to raise a presumption of a conscious indifference to consequences, or which shows wantonness or recklessness, or a grossly careless disregard for the safety and welfare of the public, or such an indifference to the rights of others as is equivalent to an intentional violation of such rights.
The negligent act or omission must have been committed with an utter disregard for the safety of others. Culpable negligence is consciously doing an act or following a course of conduct that the defendant must have known, or reasonably should have known, was likely to cause death or great bodily injury.
GZ was not obliged to curtail his movements simply because there was a chance the stranger might punch him. (There is no “eggshell ego” principle).
To presume guilt, you must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that GZ must have known his actions would likely result in a death.
Contrary to popular belief, GZ did not invoke Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law. GZ claimed he was unable to retreat, so his act of self-defense was Justifiable Homicide:
The killing of a human being is justifiable homicide and lawful if necessarily done while resisting an attempt to murder or commit a felony upon the defendant….
To presume guilt, you must prove that, after his nose had been broken and while his head was being slammed against the pavement, GZ’s “fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm” was not reasonable.
The Wrong Guy
“Ah, well, technically…” you may mutter, while remaining unhappy with the verdict. I suspect that’s because ‘you’vegot the wrong guy’, as the line in the old crime dramas used to go. Two wrong guys, actually.
Within hours of the news breaking, the media and other agitators were spinning a tale about it. Some crazed, racist vigilante had hunted down a little black boy clutching a bag of candy. Yet again. Blacks were outraged; whites both shamed and ashamed.
That tale was false, concocted from bits of biases, stereotypes, resentments, misinformation, and a whole slew of lies. The very first lie (one still being repeated to this day) was the photo released of the departed, a cherubic thirteen year-old:
‘What kind of sick bastard could gun down a little child like that?’ you must have thought. I know; I thought it, too. Only TM wasn’t thirteen. He was seventeen, athletic, 6’0″, 170 lbs.:
To get a true perspective of the physical bulk of this “boy”, look , if you can, at the crime scene photo.
What you never learned if you only watched Pravda MSNBC, what the jury never got to hear, was that TM was serving a 10-day expulsion from school, his third. That he’d recently been caught with stolen jewelry. That he’d boasted on twitter about punching a school-bus driver, and how he’d learned to drop someone with a sucker-punch. That he’d been caught at school carrying marijuana and that the coroner found THC in his system. That the skittles and fruit-flavored soft drink he was carrying were actually two of the three ingredients (along with codeine cough syrup) for “Lean” or “Purple Drank”, a trendy & intoxicating rapper’s concoction TM used to talk about making.
The first blow to the Zimmerman-as-racist fable came when his photo was released. The distinctly latino features failed to match their cartoon-image of a racist. The hate-mongers quickly ‘pivoted’, labeling GZ a “white-” or “self-described” hispanic. In the same way we describe our president as “half-white” or a “self-described black.” Pravda MSNBC lent a helping hand by editing GZ’s 911 call to make him sound racist.
Then, as more kept coming out that belied the racist slander — GZ has black relatives, mentored a young black teenager, spoke out against police brutality against a black suspect, has several black friends, is a registered Democrat!!! — the smears shifted to framing him as some frustrated, out-of-control “cop wannabe.” That caricature, too, was resoundingly undermined. If you haven’t yet listened to the testimony of the many character witnesses who spoke on GZ’s behalf, do so.
All that was despicable, but let’s not lose focus on the crux of the matter. GZ had nothing to prove. Perhaps you find him creepy, inept, whatever. Doesn’t matter. You don’t need to like George Zimmerman to conclude his innocence. You only need a reasonable doubt about his guilt, and there is an ocean of doubt. Finally, and most importantly: you, me, all of us — need to adhere to our Law, or we all lose our freedom.
Update 7.23.13: Some have questioned what caused the Sanford Police to treat the the incident as self-defense. Here, a photo taken by police of GZ just after he was brought in for questioning: