SINN: Faith in the legal process leads to disappointment

On a sunny afternoon in the fall of 2012, I sat at my desk in the darkness of my freshman dorm room and stared blankly outside, desperate for the motivation to write a school paper.
Jul 23, 2013

 

At a time when cable and electricity were included in my housing bill, I constantly had the TV on and turned to one of my favorite liberal news stations.

On that particular day, there were reports that a man on a neighborhood watch in Florida had shot a black teenager who was walking through his community. All that I could gather in the wake of this event — in the form of countless reactionary interviews, bickering TV personalities, and playbacks of the 911 calls placed by the perpetrator — was a general sense of outrage and grief.

Then, out my window, a group of Grand Valley State University students marched by in a procession of protest, in solidarity, to honor Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old boy who had been killed. Their message was clear, simple and loud: We want justice.

Trayvon Martin’s family and all kinds of organizations across the country congregated to not only mourn the death of Trayvon, but to call for a legal proceeding to try George Zimmerman, Trayvon’s killer, for second-degree murder. Empathizers wore hoodies in commemoration of the deceased teen, and he quickly became something of an instant symbol of the minority shooting victim.

There is no denying there remains deep-seated, systemic and overlooked racial injustice in this country. Early analysis pointed to exactly that in the Zimmerman case. This story features a complicated storyline; many of its key points still resting in gray. But irrespective of the muddled facts and arguments, it has gripped America in an overwhelming emotional vice. It has shed light on many controversies even past the potentiality of a minority being murdered and justice ignored.

The shooting of Trayvon Martin happened in the midst of an ongoing context pertaining to gun violence in the United States.

Amid several mass shootings in recent years, President Obama and Democrats in Congress have persisted throughout Obama’s second term to pass legislation for gun control. Such propositions include background checks for firearm purchases, regulations on firing capacity and other such efforts to stem gun violence — most of which remain stagnant in Congress. The Zimmerman case is a part of this narrative, but it holds implications for a debate on a plethora of other sticky questions.

The death of Trayvon Martin sparked riotous frustration with the Stand Your Ground Law that exists in Florida. The law justifies shooting another person under alleged fear for one’s life or serious bodily harm — and, under this law, Zimmerman acted legally in shooting Martin, he claims.

The case ignited a feeling of distrust in law enforcement and the legal system. A teenage child shot dead. What could possibly have justified this? And where could empathizers, the affected and the mourning turn to seek closure, if anywhere?

The legal process in the trial of George Zimmerman is the source to which the country turned to seek an appropriate, democratic ending to a killing which leaves nothing to redeem, if only a chance for justice to play out in the American court system. And, as a casual reader of news, the process seemed to simply apparate from Point A (reaction and outrage) to Point B (the trial).

Since my vaguely memorable day at Grand Valley, self-concerned and stewing with writer’s block, I have written now 12 of these articles, delivered hundreds of pizzas to the Grand Haven-area community, experimented with facial hair, and passed a number of interesting and sometimes loathed classes. A lot has changed for me, while the shooting, the investigation, the debate and the trial have seemingly remained static.

To recall and reconnect with that initial period of time when the Zimmerman case erupted into the country’s consciousness is not as easy as I had anticipated, even with hindsight and experience.

A trial by jury has found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder, due to a lack of evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he shot Martin for any other purpose than self-defense. It is a verdict based on the solidity of what is unknown, rather than one rooted in a particular piece of evidence. To the many who awaited this trial’s conclusion, this is not the decision they had hoped for.

People wanted justice — justice for Trayvon Martin’s family; justice for George Zimmerman; and justice in the context of gun violence, controversial laws and a complicated case.

To those most affected by the shooting, closure is scarce in light of the jury’s decision. A trial is exactly what the people wanted to quell the sadness and outrage. Trial by jury has provided no such tourniquet.

Neither legislation nor protest nor the legal system can heal a tragedy embraced by the nation. A verdict which yields no resolution and no profound answers is a prime example of the how our system requires patience.

Democracy is inefficient. Its effectiveness, its ability to provide people with closure, requires time and all-too-frequent disappointment.

To that end, the Zimmerman trial, and wherever it leads, provides a lesson in suspending hope, and reminds us that the justice system works, but that its purpose is not to provide catharsis.

— By Alexander Sinn, Tribune community columnist

 

 

Comments

truthhurts

"There is no denying there remains deep-seated, systemic and overlooked racial injustice in this country"

-correct, except for the overlooked part. the black community (including Obama, sharpton, jackson etc.) in my opinion have taken everything that MLK, and other civil rights leaders have done in the last 100 years and flushed it down the toilet.

truthhurts

They need to learn to make positive change, not negative. All I see from them is negative action as of lately. Not in just this case, but many many more instances...local and national. MLK was not only a civil rights activist, but also a positive influence and role model and walked the walk that he talked...current activists have strayed from his teachings asking not what can we teach, but what we can get.

Fair and equal justice does not disappoint me, and justice was clearly served in this instance.

Lanivan

In this instance, Zimmerman waived his rights to be tried under the SYG law, and although it was not used as a direct legal argument, the judge's instructions to the jury were drawn from the SYG law. I think in all the issues discussed in this case, and reasons to rationalize the stunning verdict and nullified jury, is a surprising absence of scrutiny of the law itself.

The NRA-sponsored, ALEC-written legislation is based on centuries-old English law (Castle Doctrine). Americans have always had the right to defend their property and use lethal force against home invaders. But the SYG law removes the duty to retreat from a conflict in a public place even when one can safely do so.

Examination of cases in the states with SGY laws shows that the overwhelming majority of cases involve individuals of various criminal/psychological backgrounds engaging in mundane and unnecessary arguments or physical altercations that escalate into lethal violence. The law essentially promotes resorting to private violence and absolves people of the responsibility to learn how to manage conflicts non-violently without escalation.

It's obvious in the Zimmerman/Trayvon situation, the law promotes the spirit of gun-toting vigilantism, of promoting a sense of protection from the very likely scenario that Zimmerman's spotting, profiling, going against police request to wait for backup, leaving his car and approaching Trayvon for no other reason than he made the decision that Trayvon looked suspicious, would lead to violence.

The law was sponsored by the NRA for a very pertinent reason: in the last 30 years, gun ownership among US citizens has decreased dramatically, although the number of fire arms has increased among gun owners. The NRA, as a gun manufacturer lobby, must do it's job to increase gun sales, and what better way than to promote the purchase, possession, and use of firearms via Stand Your Ground laws.

Be prepared for additional disappointment with the legal system when it must try cases based on faulty law that promotes gun violence as a means to settle arguments and those who are wannabe vigilantes.

Wingmaster

Your smoking crack! The NRA is about defending the 2nd ammendment, not increasing gun sales...oui vey!

Try another spin.

Lanivan

You have got to be kidding! Surely you jest! C,mon, Wing - how dumb do you think your compatriots are? I will make the assumption this is just another ineffective target practice with me in the middle, and call it good. I simply refuse to believe you could be so naive and ignorant.

Wingmaster

Trying to sell guns as you suggest is an ignorant statement. The NRA was founded and still is about protecting gun owner rights, the 2nd ammendment.

Obama and his minions have done more for gun sales then any organization, ad campaign or Hollywood movie. In fact I'll take a step further and say your comments do more to insure gun sales then the NRA. Now nuance that!

Statements like yours only serve to promote the divide and misunderstanding regarding guns and the NRA. Whose the rabble rouser now?

Vladtheimp

You need to go easy on Lanny - she was informed that her BFF President sponsored Stand Your Ground legislation as a state senator http://www.sondrakistan.com/2013... and she is trying to reconcile the conundrums that he is a flip-flopper (like on homosexual marriage), that he was in bed with NRA and ALEC, and given such sponsorship he is likely a racist.

Such conflicts often resolve themselves in irrational thoughts and behavior.

I'm supporting you here, Lanny, because I believe in conflict resolution and understand that it takes time.

Lanivan

Thank you, I think, for your support and understanding. It is times like these when your grasp of coercive diplomacy and conflict resolution is a godsend.

Outside of the calcified world of conservatism, people often display the ability to evolve, as difficult as that may be to assimilate. As Obama may have with same-sex marriage, I have as well. This may also be the case with SYG laws; I really can't say, given that although you refer to the President as my BFF, I've had no direct contact with him, other than an engraved Christmas card, which is stored in acid-free paper in my wall safe, so don't get any ideas.

To pull away from the shiny objects you have so cavalierly introduced, I would like to get back on topic and note, with pleasure, your acknowledgment that the NRA and ALEC are indeed in bed together (although ALEC is now flip-flopping and has declared that it will no longer sponsor gun-related bills. NOW they flip-flop....).

Vladtheimp

ALEC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing a non-partisan resource for its members, which include more than 2,000 Republican and Democratic state legislators. If you demonize these elected representatives for getting input from the pre-eminent private organization dedicated to the protection of Second Amendment rights, you need to be prepared to defend that the Schumer/Rubio Amnesty Bill was written in coordination with the governments of Mexico and El Salvador, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, unions, and representatives of illegal aliens like La Raza (The Race) while law enforcement organizations and the Border Patrol were excluded.

You need to be prepared to defend that Obamacare was written in collaboration with the health insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry (Big Pharma, which was double crossed by the odious Henry Waxman) the SEIU, and the trial lawyers.

I don't like the stench of special interest influence in legislation any more than you do, but the NRA is a pimple on the butt of the body politic compared with big insurance, big pharma, the unions, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Trial Lawyers.

Lanivan

If you don't like the stench of special interest influence in legislation, you should re-think your support of ALEC. It is the poster boy of "model" legislation creation that is governed, sponsored, and financed by special interests and Big Business. A national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations, ALEC — the American Legislative Exchange Council — presents itself as a “nonpartisan public-private partnership”. But behind that mantra lies a vast network of corporate lobbying and political action aimed to increase corporate profits at public expense without public knowledge."

http://billmoyers.com/episode/fu...

http://mediamatters.org/blog/201...

And you just couldn't resist the "pimple/butt" analogy, could you?

Vladtheimp

"In state houses around the country, hundreds of pieces of boilerplate ALEC legislation are proposed or enacted that would, among other things, dilute collective bargaining rights, make it harder for some Americans to vote, and limit corporate liability for harm caused to consumers — each accomplished without the public ever knowing who’s behind it." <[>

As though pushing for freedom of choice for America's workers, fighting for Second Amendment Rights (including for minorities who use SYG in Florida far in excess of their percentage of the population) and limiting voter fraud by requiring an I.D. (as is required for so many mundane matters in everyday life) is a bad thing. Don't know about the oblique reference to limiting corporate liability - maybe fighting for lower corporate taxes like the rest of the world?

Simply thought you would agree with my listing of bigger pimples. . . .

Lanivan

As verbiage is all-important to Goundswell, and other groups who must rely on words to persuade and manipulate, rather than content, so it is for ALEC. Right-To-Work has nothing to do with one's right to work and earn a living, but everything to do with weakening and busting up unions.

ALEC and the NRA are far less interested in the 2nd Amendment than they are finding avenues to sell more guns for their bosses, the gun manufacturers.

Voter ID to limit voter fraud - what voter fraud? There are virtually so few documented cases of voter fraud (very stiff penalties if caught apparently works) that the push for Voter ID clearly is a way to put up road blocks to the voting booths for those too old, poor, in college, infirm, without transportation, etc. And isn't it interesting that in states adopting ALEC voter ID laws, they are closing or reducing voter locations in democrat districts, and expanding hours and locations in republican districts. Voter ID laws = Voter suppression.

And finally, some pertinent analysis from the Tampa Bay Times:

A Tampa Bay Times analysis of nearly 200 cases — the first to examine the role of race in "stand your ground" — found that people who killed a black person walked free 73 percent of the time, while those who killed a white person went free 59 percent of the time.

The Times analysis found no obvious bias in how black defendants have been treated:

• Whites who invoked the law were charged at the same rate as blacks.

• Whites who went to trial were convicted at the same rate as blacks.

• In mixed-race cases involving fatalities, the outcomes were similar. Four of the five blacks who killed a white went free; five of the six whites who killed a black went free.

• Overall, black defendants went free 66 percent of the time in fatal cases compared to 61 percent for white defendants — a difference explained, in part, by the fact blacks were more likely to kill another black.

"Let's be clear,'' said Alfreda Coward, a black Fort Lauderdale lawyer whose clients are mostly black men. "This law was not designed for the protection of young black males, but it's benefiting them in certain cases.''

The Times analysis does not prove that race caused the disparity between cases with black and white victims. Other factors may be at play.

The analysis, for example, found that black victims were more likely to be carrying a weapon when they were killed. They also were more likely than whites to be committing a crime, such as burglary, at the time.

Experts note that most cases have unique combinations of facts and circumstances that determine whether a person goes free or goes to prison. They caution against drawing conclusions on statistics alone.

And although the Times' analysis likely included most of Florida's fatal "stand your ground" cases, some could be missing. That can make a big difference when there are few cases to examine. For example, the Times found only 26 completed cases in which a black person was killed and only eight fatalities with a Hispanic victim.

The analysis, however, is supported by numerous studies showing disparities in the way whites and blacks are treated by the criminal justice system. Studies have found that all-white juries are more likely to convict black defendants. Someone who murders a white person is more likely to get the death penalty than someone who kills a black person.

Adora Obi Nweze, state president of the NAACP, said she was not surprised that people claiming "stand your ground'' escaped penalty more often when the victim was black. But she sharply questioned whether "stand your ground'' really helps black defendants.

"It's very difficult to isolate the data on one law,'' she said, "when we have so many laws where blacks are disproportionately not released, not given the kind of equity you want in justice."

A rare case

Through news reports, official records and interviews with dozens of prosecutors, public defenders and attorneys, the Times compiled a database of 192 "stand your ground" cases that includes the race of every victim and defendant.

It is the first effort to determine how race affects the outcome for those who invoke the 2005 law.

The review found many cases where people went free after killing a black victim under questionable circumstances.

A Miami man stepped out of his home and shot his ex-wife's boyfriend at least 12 times as he sat in a car. A Jacksonville man standing in his garage shot to death an 18-year-old burglary suspect who was running away from his house. A West Palm Beach teenager shot an unarmed man he thought was demanding drugs.

But the Times found similarly questionable cases in which the victim was white or Hispanic. It also found that mixed-race cases — like that of Martin — are relatively rare.

Of the 88 fatal "stand your ground'' cases that have been decided, only about a fourth involved defendants and victims of different races — including six cases in which a white killed a black, five cases in which a black killed a white and six in which a Hispanic killed a non-Hispanic.

No charges were filed in most of those mixed-race cases.

Often, the self-defense circumstances were evident: A person was being robbed or beaten.

In other cases, the type that critics of "stand your ground'' consider questionable, people killed and went free when they might have avoided a conflict....http://www.tampabay.com/news/cou...

Vladtheimp

"The push for Voter ID clearly is a way to put up road blocks to the voting booths for those too old, poor, in college, infirm, without transportation, etc. "

To demonstrate the absolute stupidity of this liberal claim, logically that means requiring photo ID to:

Cash a check means banks and businesses are putting up roadblocks to check cashing;

Test drive a car means car dealers are putting up roadblocks to car purchases;

Apply for most jobs means employers are putting up roadblocks to employment;

Buy over the counter allergy medicine means drug stores are putting up roadblocks to the purchase of prescription drugs;

Get married means that states are putting up roadblocks to marriage;

Apply for a passport means the government is putting up roadblocks to foreign travel;

Rent a hotel room means hotels are putting up roadblocks to room rentals;

Close a real estate sale means realtors are putting up roadblocks to buying property;

Redeem a lottery ticket means states are putting up roadblocks to winning the lottery;

Get on an airplane means airlines are putting up roadblocks to flying;

Buy a beer at a restaurant means bars are putting up roadblocks to drinking;

Fill out and submit an I-9 tax form (actually TWO forms of ID required!) means the government is putting up roadblocks to paying taxes;

Pick up items at a store purchased online means businesses are putting up roadblocks to purchasing their goods;

Rent an apartment means apartment owners are putting up roadblocks to renting their property;

Apply for government housing means the government is putting up roadblocks to subsidized housing

Apply for Social Security/Medicare means the government is putting up roadblocks to retirement and healthcare;

And so on - and I don't see that the elderly, poor, college students, the disabled, or those without transportation ?? have any trouble proving who they are through photo ID to get Social Security, Medicaid, Bridge Cards, subsidized housing, Obamaphones, >prescriptions and the like. You leftists obviously think we are all stupid!


With respect to the plethora of information on Stand Your Ground, if Black defendants went free more than white defendants, if the analysis does not prove that race caused the disparity between cases with black and white victims," if "black victims were more likely to be carrying a weapon when they were killed. They also were more likely than whites to be committing a crime, such as burglary, at the time ," and if Blacks are only 13% of the population, what in the Sam Hill do you think you have proved with all that wasted verbiage?

Spare us all the left wing talking points and moralizing, and focus on what really matters - the economy, jobs, our failed foreign policies, the national debt, the failure of Obamacare (where apparently now you don't need a photo ID or to prove your income to get huge subsidies from the working class), and over-intrusive government, leading to the many Obama scandals.

Lanivan

First of all, I apologize for the excess of verbiage, but I find a certain skittishness has set in when replying to your comments, feeling the need to be ever aware of proper sourcing and linkage. Also, I should have added to the already inappropriate amount of verbiage a 'High 5' for your "p on the b" attempt - perhaps the first time ever by you on these pages - to lump ALEC, the NRA, and all other corrupt corporate and governmental entities together. I was remiss to not acknowledge your lists of bigger and more infected pustules.

Keeping this short, a little more about ALEC, since it's insidious influence through it's partnership with Corporate Power and legislators has so much widespread influence and clout through the controversial laws being passed in Republican states: Voter ID laws are very much voter suppression laws. Paul Weyrich, the father of the right-wing movement who co-founded ALEC and established the Heritage Foundation, also famously said, "Now many of our Christians have what I call the 'goo-goo syndrome.' Good government. They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down." —Paul Weyrich, 1980 http://www.dailykos.com/story/20...

What a guy! Seriously - imagine saying outright what everyone thinks - When more people vote, Republicans lose! Talk about boils....

And then your concern about jobs and economy: Did you know that last year's debt ceiling fiasco cost taxpayers $18.9 Billion over 10 years, the result of government having to borrow at higher interest rates during the stand-off? As the House Republicans again threaten a debt ceiling stand-off, business leaders are warning that such a callous move might again lower the US credit rating, which would generate uncertainty and undermine confidence in the predictability and reliability of the government as a borrower. So much for that concern for the US economy and jobs by the Republican House....

What makes it so much more worrisome is that technological changes are advancing continuously, requiring our policy leaders to think outside the box and plan for the inevitable disruption to the US and global economies, marketplace, and jobs. They are doubly shirking their duties to the American people by wasting time, energy, and resources creating economic fiascoes and stand-offs. http://www.mckinsey.com/insights...

And finally, your concern about the Obama scandals: There aren't any. You can put that one to bed, breathe a sigh of relief, and move on to the next outbreak of pustules on the back end of government. http://www.newyorker.com/online/...

Wingmaster

Definitions of Scandal:

A : conduct that causes or encourages a lapse of faith or of religious obedience in another 
B : loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety :disgrace  
C: a circumstance or action that offends propriety or established moral conceptions or disgraces those associated with it
D : a person whose conduct offends propriety or morality  
E :malicious or defamatory gossip

Pick any and apply to BO, several more available and fit but I don't want to spin you too far off on a Lansunami.

Vladtheimp

I take it you see the absurdity of the point you and the other leftists make about requiring photo ID to vote since you didn't dispute the analogies - Progress!

I love how you choose what one person said as being representative of what I and other conservatives believe. The opposite of what Weyrich apparently said is the actual policy of liberals, democrats, statists, socialists, and at least one "Centrist" about who should be able to vote, well stated by another corrupt Attorney General:

"I want Rustlers, Cut Throats, Murderers, Bounty Hunters, Desperados, Mugs, Pugs, Thugs, Nitwits, Halfwits, Dimwits, Vipers, Snipers, Con Men, Indian Agents, Mexican Bandits, Muggers, Buggerers, Bushwhackers, Hornswogglers, Horse Thieves, Bull Dykes, Train Robbers, Bank Robbers, A*s Kickers, S*it Kickers & Methodists." I would have provided the link but it would have been too much for the censors.

Your concern about the increased cost of borrowing due to the bi-partisan debt ceiling stand-off is noted; too bad you show no concern about the $6 TRILLION Obama has added to the National Debt since he was elected . . . $1.8 billion is a pimple on the butt of fiscal sanity compared to $6 trillion.

Wing covers the definition of scandals, but one question - if there were no scandals why did Obama and Hillary give solemn promises to the relatives of those killed in Benghazi to get to the bottom of it, impede any investigations, and renege on the promises? Why did he promise to get to the bottom of the IRS targeting, and lie about a few rogue employees in Cleveland? Why did he and his consigliere Holder promise to get to the bottom of going after James Rosen and lie about him in an affidavit? Why is Holder still AG when told Congress he had never been associated with "potential prosecution" of a journalist for perjury when in fact he signed the affidavit that termed Rosen a potential criminal. Why have we not gotten to the bottom of gun running under Fast and Furious? Why was there no action when Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson used the name "Richard Windsor" when corresponding by email with other government officials, drawing charges she was trying to evade scrutiny? Why is Sebelious still in office after violating the Hatch Act and strong-arming companies she regulates to donate money to implement Obamacare? Why is Obama arrogating unto himself the authority to amend laws and portions of laws he dislikes? And on and on.

Lanivan

You might sense a move towards Progress, but I see nothing but more Polarization, a Cold War of words. I didn't dispute your Voter Suppression analogies as I found them to be simplistic, misleading, and disingenuous. If voter ID is such a necessary component to legitimate voting, ensuring freedom from fraud and other irregularities, why wasn't it instituted many years ago? And if the concern is truly about voter fraud, why aren't you satisfied with the already stringent laws on the books that confer strict penalties on guilty parties? Why create even more laws and regulations, especially when, again, the number of cases of voter fraud is nearly negligible? It does lead one to consider placing all voting regulations entirely within the federal domain, with established protocols that must be followed from state to state, free from adulteration.

Am I reading you correctly when you say that Paul Weyrich/ALEC/Heritage Foundation/father of conservatism is not representative of what you or other conservatives believe? Could you possibly be establishing yourself as a free thinker, unburdened from the shackles of marching in lockstep with conservative dogma? Now THAT would be Progress!

I'm pleased to be given an opportunity to provide some solid facts to your Obama/debt chin-wagging. The following chart is the best thing since sliced bread. Read it and weep.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/bu...

Appears that Obama's policies are responsible for the debt far, far less than the Bush(wackers) policies of tax cuts to the rich, two wars, and the interest incurred on said boondoggles which make up the majority of the trillions. Sorry to lance the boil, but it is necessary for healing to take place.

It is also a sign of Progress that you have learned to put a humanitarian spin on the Obama 'scandals', professing concern for the parents of the deceased, and providing in-depth details of the unprecedented-in-the-annuls-of-American history dirty, rotten deeds of members of the current administration. Maybe they are all Methodists?

Meanwhile, the link highlighting the tide of global technological advances that will be changing life as we know it is ignored - not word one from you, or congressional Republicans who are much too busy hunting for mud to sling.

I would also like to add my kudos to Alexander Sinn for his fine work as a community columnist, writing columns with far more in-depth thought than some of the editorials that have been published of late.

Vladtheimp

Ah Ha! Lanny reverts to "It's all Bush's fault to explain how Obama has added $6 Trillion to the national debt. This is laughable on so many levels, starting with the question of why Obama didn't change the hated Bush policies when he controlled both the House and the Senate?

The Wash Post article you cited is merely a rehash of a chart produced by the left wing Center on Budget and Policy Priorities that fails Statistics 101:

"Under a current-policy budget baseline, Washington will collect $33 trillion in taxes and spend $46 trillion over the next decade. One could cherry-pick any $13 trillion in spending or tax policies and blame them for the entire budget deficit. CBPP chose to pick the tax cuts, wars, stimulus/bailouts, and economic downturn to equal the sum of the deficit. One could have just as easily singled out Social Security and Medicaid (combined cost: $13 trillion), Medicare and net interest costs ($13 trillion), or discretionary spending ($15 trillion) for blame. There is no mathematical reason to single out the programs CBPP selected while ignoring the other costs."

"So what is driving deficits? A better method would begin with historical averages and determine the moving variable altering the deficit. As the chart below shows, tax revenues (temporarily down due to the recession) are set to return to their 18 percent of GDP historical average once the economy recovers – even if all tax cuts are extended. Spending, on the other hand, is set to end the decade 6 percent of GDP above its historical average. Simply put the 6 percent of GDP deficit increase is the direct result of a 6 percent of GDP spending increase. There is no long-term revenue decline. And what’s driving spending? The chart below shows the escalating costs of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and net interest as responsible for nearly the entire inflation-adjusted spending increase projected over the next decade." http://blog.heritage.org/2011/05...

In fact, as an article in The Atlantic points out, the only way the Bush tax cuts can be blamed for such a huge expansion of the debt is based on the assumption that the Obama administration makes the tax cuts permanent.  http://www.theatlantic.com/busin...

Sorry Lanny, but nice try. Repeat after me: Obama is responsible for the things Obama does, as strange as that concept may be to Obamabots.

Lanivan

Isn't it rich that your "Ah Ha Lanny" moment came on the heels of the debt portion of my comment. And this from a guy banking on the repeal of the ACA! Obamacare will go a long way towards balancing the federal debt sheet...http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.c...

Which perhaps partially answers your initial question. Obama was able to pass the ACA plus turn back the collision course the economy was on in his first two years. The stimulus package and auto bailout were meant to jump start a failing economy and turn the tide of exploding unemployment, which it did. The current, stagnant, economy can be directly attributed to the austerity measures put in place by the Republican House of 2010. So the answer to your question of why Obama didn't change the Bush policies in his first two years in office is - he did until the 2010 House changed hands and reversed progress.

Your Heritage Foundation report is based on the assumption that there will be no cost reduction/revenue increasing measures with SS/Medicare in the coming years, which is highly unlikely (although less so should the ACA actually be repealed). The majority of the American public opposes cuts to Social Security and Medicare - http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes... - and it is next to impossible that the Ryan plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program will ever be implemented. With 10,000 baby-boomers applying for SS every day, 72% with no DB pension plan and 2/3 of Americans over 65 depending on SS for at least half of their income, the Republican House had better close their bifurcation strategy dossier, and repeat after you: the House is responsible for the things the House does.

Which brings me back to the voter ID laws (and especially the SCOTUS VRA ruling). It says something about Republicans and their responsibility to the citizenship when the only way they believe they can win elections is to keep Democrats from voting. If their lack of responsibility for their actions hadn't produced approval ratings in the single digits, they wouldn't be so desperate to cook the books.

Vladtheimp

It ain't Republicans who are voting illegally. If you believe Obamacare will reduce medical costs by covering millions more people, without rationing of health care, and will improve medical care with doctors leaving the profession in droves, then you probably believe, like Obama, that America and Europe are developing nations, that Weiner is an honorable man, and that the many scandals under Obama are really the fault of Bush and Cheney. Just Sad.

Lanivan

No one is especially voting illegally - just a shiny object to distract citizens and officeholders from focusing on the truly serious and pressing issues of our day. At least polling shows the American people have plenty of common sense - voter ID trails as one of the least important issues facing the country in many polls.

As to Obamacare, the issues and factors involved are far too complex to get away with just profiling Obama to justify the Republican strategy of blocking every Obama problem-solving initiative for political reasons. The ACA addresses many problems in the health care industry, and while acknowledging the disease, takes steps in treating the sickness.

For example: The explosion in costs in hospital uncompensated care costs - $41-49 Billion in unpaid medical bills in 2011. Hospitals have seen an enormous jump, brought on in part by the Great Recession, job loss, and new jobs that do not offer health insurance benefits. The ACA addresses this complicated and fiscally draining disease...http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruc...

And then there is the very sick issue of fraudulent Medicare/Aid claims (Cue: Gov (FL) Rick Scott who, as CEO of a major nursing home corporation, was indicted on charges of fraudulent Medicare claims totaling over $1 BILLION). Over the last three years, the government has recovered a record-breaking $10.7 Billion in recoveries of health care fraud. The ACA sets in place stricter guidelines to reduce Medicare fraud - another way it will save money.

Finally, an important article/chart that totally dispels the notion that the ACA is the "biggest tax increase in the history of the universe" (paraphrasing Rush here)....... http://www.washingtonpost.com/bl...

Anthony Weiner, although apparently very photogenic, is a ratfink, and I wouldn't give him the time of day. And to shine a ray of sunshine on your sadness - I personally believe an unexamined life is a hollow and very boring one, and regards to that belief, you and our "examinations" help to stave off the latter.

Vladtheimp

This tracks awfully closely with an article at http://wagingnonviolence.org written by the Director of Communications at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, been nosing around there lately?

Since I doubt that you have personally researched the state law statutes to make the statement "Examination of cases in the states with SGY laws shows that the overwhelming majority of cases involve individuals of various criminal/psychological backgrounds engaging in mundane and unnecessary arguments or physical altercations that escalate into lethal violence" or that you would even mention jury nullification in the Trayvon Martin context if you knew what jury nullification is, perhaps you wouldn't mind sharing with us the publication that gave you these insights - I for one would be most interested in knowing the qualifications of the author.

Thanks for your help - not asking you to do any research, just inform us of the source.

Lanivan

I'd be happy to oblige, especially in lieu of your ever-so-gracious request whereby you attempt a strategy of suggesting I'm a plagiarist and too stupid to understand such complex terms that only you could possibly understand, such as jury nullification, in order to cast aspersions on my argument, for your benefit.

You are most welcome, and I wish you Happy Reading! as you research each and every author of the following sources:

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/georg...

http://www.npr.org/2013/01/02/16...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cas...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sta...

and, finally,..http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jur...

Lanivan

And this time I really mean it when I say... finally,

http://www.prwatch.org/news/2013...

http://www.motherjones.com/polit...

Vladtheimp

Thanks, though I don't find any of it particularly authoritative or compelling. Since Stand Your Ground was not involved in the Zimmerman case, it is one of those shiny object scattered around to arouse the sleeping and slipping base of Obama. The decision of the mixed race jury of women had nothing to do with nullification - all of them clearly digested the evidence, applied the law, and found Zimmerman not guilty based on evidence that Martin was killed in an act of self defense by Zimmerman.

Lanivan

Stand Your Ground was not explicitly involved with the Zimmerman trial, but was most definitely an implicit factor in motivating, empowering, and entitling Zimmerman to target, approach, and shoot to kill, with no duty to retreat.

Vladtheimp

Evidence? The evidence presented to the jury, and that withheld from the jury but in the public domain, was that the MMA style fighter (from pictures on his phone and texts), with drugs in his system and a history of burglary, who had plenty of time to return to his father's girlfriend's house even after claiming he was being followed by a "Creepy-As* Cracka" (a homosexual as he was warned by his girlfriend on the phone with him) approached Zimmerman, attacked him raining blows on his head into the concrete, causing his victim to shoot him in a clear act of self-defense. He had no opportunity to retreat, which is why he never involked stand your ground.

Vladtheimp

This is a better explanation of the facts excluded from the jury, and why they shouldn't have been from a legal perspective, than I could ever provide: http://legalinsurrection.com/201...

Vladtheimp

Here is a wonderful example of the anti-Zimmerman liberal press coverage that undoubtedly colored the opinion of you and others:http://ace.mu.nu/archives/341996... and http://ace.mu.nu/archives/341992...

I think I now may understand how a rational person like yourself may reach such irrational conclusions - you need to be more discriminating in your sources, or at least try to read sources representing both sides. (For many years I read both the Washington Post and the Washington Times to try to reach a conclusion about the facts of a story).

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