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Liberals Stand Their Ground for Hypocrisy

February 19, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Racism

States-with-Stand-your-ground-laws_full_600Wait—I thought Florida’s Stand Your Ground law was a barbaric throwback designed to protect trigger-happy vigilantes who want to shoot black strangers.  So why is the left now defending it?

In 2011, 26-year-old U.S. Air Force active duty member Michael Giles was sentenced to 25 years in jail after being found guilty of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in a shooting incident at a Tallahassee nightclub.  After a melee involving 30 to 40 young men broke out in the parking lot, Giles went to his car to retrieve his handgun, then returned to the site of the fight to collect his friends.  At some point, a brawler named Courtney Thrower punched Giles and knocked him to the ground.  Giles, later claiming he had feared for his life, fired into the crowd and hit Thrower in the leg.  Two other men were injured by bullet fragments.  Giles was immediately arrested and charged with second-degree attempted murder.

Buoyed by recent national attention given to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law via the George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn murder trials, Giles supporters have been reviving their case and petitioning Governor Rick Scott for clemency.

As has been pointed out numerous times, Stand Your Ground was irrelevant to the Zimmerman trial, and state prosecutors didn’t even invoke it.  Zimmerman testified that shooting victim Trayvon Martin was straddling him and beating his head into the concrete.  In such a situation, there was no opportunity for Zimmerman to retreat, and therefore no way for him to stand his ground.

Similarly, Stand Your Ground is completely irrelevant to the Giles case.  Thrower punched Giles and knocked him to the ground.  If Giles had decided to stand his ground, he literally would have stood up, brushed himself off, put his hand on his firearm, and refused to let Thrower assault him again.  But Giles didn’t stand his ground, which is why his lawyer properly counseled him not to invoke that defense—a fact Giles supporters now cite as proof that he had an incompetent defense and that his conviction should be thrown out.

But Giles didn’t aim his gun at Thrower and declare his intent to defend himself.  He simply pointed his gun into a closely-packed crowd and fired.  That’s not cold-blooded first-degree attempted murder, but it’s awfully close to second-degree attempted murder.  And it certainly rises to the level of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Thrower, in contrast, didn’t have a weapon.  He admitted that, in the midst of the melee, he was simply itching for a fight and had decided to punch the first person who got in his way.  Thrower didn’t know Giles, have a vendetta against him, or threaten further violence against him.

Michael Giles didn’t bring a gun to a knife fight, he brought a gun to a fistfight.

Actually, he safely left a fistfight, then went to retrieve his gun, then charged back into the fistfight with a gun.

Meanwhile, the left’s brazen hypocrisy in applying Stand Your Ground to the Zimmerman vs. Giles cases is stunning.

Replay the Zimmerman case with Zimmerman and Martin in the roles of Giles and Thrower.  Suppose Martin had jumped Zimmerman and punched him, knocked him to the ground, and turned to leave, posing no further threat.  Imagine if Zimmerman had whipped out his gun and shot Martin, hitting him and two innocent bystanders.  Does anyone seriously think the same crew that’s now sending Zimmerman death threats would be signing a clemency petition by the tens of thousands demanding that Governor Scott commute Zimmerman’s sentence?

How about this scenario: Suppose Giles had been white, and Giles had shot his black assailant in the leg and wounded two other black bystanders.  Do you think those signatures would still be rolling in at change.org for the white Giles to be set free?

There is not a single conservative in America who thought Zimmerman was guilty but favored acquitting him because Martin was black, and now thinks Giles is innocent but supports finding him guilty because he is black.  In contrast, the left ignored the evidence in the Zimmerman case and favored finding him guilty because they believed the jury was racially biased, and now support Giles’s random act of shooting because he is black.

In liberals’ minds, smashing someone’s skull into the concrete isn’t grounds for fighting back, if the perpetrator is black; but drunkenly taking a random swing at someone in a parking lot brawl is justification for a black interloper to fire shots into the crowd.

I’m sorry that Martin was straddling and beating Zimmerman, whereas Thrower was no longer acting threatening when Giles shot him.  I’m sorry that Martin was killed in the scuffle, whereas Giles is serving a prison sentence because Thrower was merely injured.  But we can’t rewrite the facts of cases to ensure the racial balance of verdicts we’d like to see.

In their upside-down conception of justice, liberals once opposed Stand Your Ground in a case that didn’t invoke it, and now support Stand Your Ground in a case in which it isn’t relevant.

I suppose it’s nice that liberals are finally coming around to supporting a reasonable gun-rights law.  But don’t be surprised if Gloria Allred misapplies it to defend Satanic killer Miranda Barbour by arguing that Barbour killed the man she met on Craigslist to stand her ground against Male Oppression.

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The Ohio-Republican Myth

October 31, 2012 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2012

Mitt Romney doesn’t need to win Ohio to win the presidential election, he needs to do well enough overall that he ends up winning Ohio.  There’s a huge difference.

First, remember that correlation is not causation.  Ohio voters do not cause voters in other states to vote one way or another, such that securing Ohio votes secures votes in other states.  Ohio reflects a larger trend.

The Electoral College scenarios by which Romney can win the election start to proliferate at the point where he’s doing so well generally that the most likely outcomes include him snagging Ohio.  The site 270ToWin reports that there are 161 combinations of swing states Romney can win to reach 270 electoral votes, but that 8 out of the 10 most probable ways involve winning Ohio.  Nonetheless, Romney should concentrate on doing well generally, not spending all his time in Ohio.

Second, it’s true that since the first election in which Republicans participated in 1856, the party has won Ohio every time it has won the White House.  However, since 1928 the same statistic is true for Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Virginia, all swing states this election cycle.  That is, 100% of the time the GOP won the White House since 1928, it also won each of these states.  (North Carolina and New Hampshire also have near-perfect records on this metric.)  So why the obsessive focus on Ohio?

Also consider the inverse question: When the Republican lost the White House, how often did he lose particular states?  Since 1928, Republicans who lost the White House lost Ohio 82% of the time.  But they also lost Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina 82% of the time, and Nevada 91% of the time.  Again, why the spotlight on Ohio?

Here’s the real reason Ohio keeps getting so much national attention: luck.

For 75 years after the Civil War, Ohio was a much more Republican state than it is today.  Thus, it’s not surprising that Ohio had a perfect record predicting Republican wins during that period.

Then Ohio went for FDR in 1932, 1936, and 1940, during the Great Depression.  Since then, shifting demographics—an influx of Democratic-voting African-Americans from the South, a trend for Ohio unions to become more Democratic under FDR—morphed Ohio into its present-day, racially-mixed, blue-collar, purple condition.

After 75 years of being solidly Republican, another 75 years of good luck as a swing state in predicting elections—but no better than Florida, Virginia, Colorado, or Nevada—gave Ohio the bellwether reputation it has today.

But none of those swing states was as consistently Republican as Ohio in the 75 years prior to 1928.  This explains why none of their track records goes as far back as Ohio’s in picking Republicans, and why no one cites these as bellwether states today.  Specifically, Ohio voted for the Republican candidate 89% of the time in elections between 1856 and 1924, compared to only 60% for Nevada, 58% for Colorado, 18% for Florida, and 6% for Virginia.

Saying that Ohio was a bellwether state for Republicans from 1856 to 1924 is like saying that Kansas was a bellwether state for Republicans during that period.  Imagine if Kansas’s demographics had suddenly shifted during the Great Depression, such that a greater proportion of likely Democratic voters began flooding the state, and Kansas suddenly become a swing state.  Then everyone would be proclaiming today that no Republican president has ever won the White House without winning Kansas.

In short, for 75 years Ohio was Kansas, then it turned purple and had a string of good luck predicting elections for 75 years (like Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, and New Hampshire); ergo, pundits consider Ohio an infallible barometer of the national political soul back to the days of Abraham Lincoln.

The Ohio effect is a historical anomaly, and any of a number of other states could easily replace it as a more accurate bellwether as we experience changing demographics, population shifts, and voting trends in years to come.  The fact that the Ohio vote will likely depend on just a handful of on-the-fence counties—not a statewide electorate wildly shifting back and forth from election to election—reinforces this notion, as does the fact that Ohio’s electoral count has been dwindling since 1968.

Ohio is the Republican bellwether state—until it isn’t.  One of these days, a Republican is going to win the general election without taking Ohio, and it could happen in 2012.  Pundits will simply move the starting date of their favorite metric to the earliest date after which one of the other swing states had a perfect record, then declare this new state the hurdle Republicans absolutely must clear to win the general election.

Instead of camping out in Ohio for the next week, Romney should focus on connecting with as many voters in all of the swing states as possible, and hope that his nationwide momentum spreads to the important, but not eternally-important, Ohio.

Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics

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GOP Govs Succeeding in Spite of Obama

June 06, 2012 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Economy

On Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released disheartening statistics showing that the nation’s employers added many fewer than expected jobs to their payrolls in May.  The unemployment rate ticked up for the first time in almost a year from 8.1% to 8.2%.  The stock market suffered its worst day all year, and the dip in Friday’s Dow Jones Industrial average completely erased 2012’s gains.

Democrats’ constructive response to these dismal numbers was to accuse Republicans of being happy the economy was tanking.

Hey Democrats: Republicans don’t want the economy to fail, we want you to fail.  Hoping for the economy to sink is Democrats’ métier: Democrats do better when there’s more poverty and misery, because that gives them more of an opening to step in and “help,” and more of an impetus to “never let a serious crisis go to waste.”

Republicans expect that the economy will struggle under your policies, and we take bittersweet satisfaction when our predictions are proven correct—because it proves we’re not crazy, as you accuse us of being—but we take no joy in mass unemployment and despair.

The less-discussed flip side of Democrats’ narrative is that pointing out glimmers of hope in the economy equals endorsement of liberal economic policies.

Lately the mainstream media have been claiming that modest economic recovery in Republican-led states puts GOP governors in a bind, because they can’t showcase their states’ success without bolstering the case for Obama’s reelection.

Take the recent Time article “A Tale of Two Economies,” in which author Michael Crowley writes, “The President’s campaign argues that the economy, while still troubled, is clearly and steadily improving…  And he has gained some unlikely support: Republican governors in critical swing states like Ohio.”

Crowley reports that Ohio’s John Kasich and other Republican governors in battleground states such as Virginia, Florida, Nevada, Michigan, and Wisconsin are touting their states’ recent economic improvement.  He implies that these governors’ defense of their policies constitutes indirect campaigning for Obama.

There’s just one problem with this formulation: These states are improving despite liberal economic policies, not because of them.

These states have begun recovering only recently, and were doing crummy like the rest of the nation until their governorships changed parties midway through Obama’s tenure.

For example, Ohio governor John Kasich, who took office in January 2011, was preceded by Democrat Ted Strickland.

Virginia GOP governor Bob McDonnell, who took office in January 2010, was preceded by Democrat Tim Kaine.

Florida GOP governor Rick Scott, who took office in January 2011, was preceded by former RINO/current Independent Charlie Crist.

Michigan GOP governor Rick Snyder, who took office in January 2011, was preceded by Democrat Jennifer Granholm.

Wisconsin GOP governor Scott Walker, who took office in January 2011, was preceded by Democrat Jim Doyle.

Are you seeing a pattern?

These states’ economies have rebounded over the past year or so because of their newly elected Republican governors’ policies.  Yet Democrats are banking on undecided voters being dumb enough to think that their states’ economic reversals are due to consistent implementation of Obama’s plans rather than changes in their governors.

Saying that newly elected Republican governors can’t point to recent growth in their states without giving Obama credit is like saying there’s no difference between federal and state government.  This line of thinking suggests that all 50 states move in lockstep and are entirely controlled by the decisions Congress and the President make.

The fact is that the economy is improving markedly in many states that recently switched from Democratic to Republican governors.  Ohio’s unemployment rate, for example, dropped from 9.5% in December 2010, before its newly elected Republican governor took office, to 7.4% in April 2012.  Wisconsin’s unemployment rate plummeted from 9.3% to 6.7% in the 16 months Scott Walker has held office.  Florida’s rate plunged from 12.0% under fiscally liberal Charlie Crist to 8.7% under Tea Partier Rick Scott.  Michigan’s sunk from 11.1% to 8.3% under Rick Snyder.

In Hawaii, which hosts one of the few governorships Democrats managed to pick up from Republicans in 2010, unemployment has stagnated at 6.3%.  In New York, which elected a new governor in 2010, but one from the same party as his Democratic predecessor, unemployment inched up from 8.2% to 8.5%.  Other Democratic-controlled states such as California and Colorado have witnessed piddly declines in their unemployment rates in the past year-and-a-half.

If I were a Democratic campaign strategist, I wouldn’t count on undecided voters in Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and other recovering states being snookered into thinking that their modest growth over the past 16 months is due to Obama’s economic policies finally succeeding.  And I certainly wouldn’t push the nasty narrative that Republicans are glad the country is floundering.

Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics

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Race-Baiters Batting .000 in Trayvon Case

April 25, 2012 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

Up till now, the most accurate reporting the mainstream media have done on the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case has been relaying the fact that Martin had Skittles and iced tea on him when he was shot.  At the rate they’re going, I won’t be surprised if it emerges that he was carrying Pop Rocks and Four Loko.

Here is a partial list of the wild, reckless, irresponsible claims the left-leaning media have made in the Martin-Zimmerman case, every one of which has been rendered highly suspect or outright false:

Zimmerman is a white racist who killed Martin because he was black.

Multiple acquaintances of Zimmerman’s, including black friends, testified to reporters that Zimmerman—who is half-Hispanic—isn’t racist.  Zimmerman comes from a multiracial family and, during the period when the shooting took place, was tutoring a black neighbor’s two young children and helping raise money for her all-black church.

Maybe Zimmerman wasn’t racist, but he racially profiled Martin and told a 911 dispatcher Martin looked suspicious because of his race.  Zimmerman also uttered a racial slur.

In an egregious act of journalistic malpractice, an NBC producer chopped up the 911 audiotape to make it seem as though Zimmerman had found Martin suspicious because he was black, when in fact Zimmerman was merely responding to the dispatcher’s request to identify Martin’s race.  As for the slur, forensic experts enhanced the sound quality of the tape to isolate Zimmerman’s voice and concluded, not that he had used the archaic term coon, but that he was lamenting the cold.

OK, Zimmerman may not have racially profiled Martin, but he was a trigger-happy vigilante who shot Martin because of the cover provided by Florida’s barbaric Stand Your Ground law.

As Walter Olson and others have explained, Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is utterly irrelevant in the Zimmerman case.  If Zimmerman stalked Martin and shot him in cold blood, then obviously he didn’t act in self-defense.  If Martin set upon Zimmerman, knocked him to the ground, and started pummeling him, as Zimmerman claims, then Zimmerman couldn’t have safely retreated, which is what Stand Your Ground opponents would have potential victims do instead of fighting back.  Either way, Stand Your Ground has no bearing on the propriety of Zimmerman’s actions.

Well, Martin wouldn’t have started a fight with Zimmermanhe was a sweet, innocent kid.

The night he was shot, Martin was serving a suspension for carrying a plastic baggie with traces of marijuana.  Previously he had been suspended for tardiness, truancy, and spray painting graffiti on school property.  Martin had been reprimanded for possessing an assortment of stolen women’s jewelry and a lock-breaking device.  His Twitter account revealed an affinity for gangsta culture, a flood of misogynistic tweets describing graphic sexual fantasies, and the suggestion that he had assaulted a school bus driver.  Photos of Martin displayed a menacing figure grimacing at the camera with a grill over his lower teeth.

Martin’s school suspensions are irrelevant.  He may have gotten into a bit of trouble now and then, but clearly Zimmerman was lying about Martin bashing his head into the concrete.

Police on the scene confirmed Zimmerman’s injuries and the presence of grass stains on his clothes.  When ABC News released a grainy surveillance video taken in the Sanford Police Station that didn’t show obvious wounds on the back of Zimmerman’s head, the media jumped all over him and called him a liar.  When ABC later released an enhanced video that showed clearer evidence of two gashes on the back of Zimmerman’s head, liberals claimed the evidence was inconclusive and that conservatives were playing Columbo.  When multiple witnesses attested that Zimmerman had bandages on his head and nose the day after the shooting, skeptics questioned the witnesses’ credibility.  Finally, last week ABC released a graphic photograph taken just after the incident showing thick rivulets of blood streaming down the back of Zimmerman’s head.  Liberals have been silent while trying to figure out how to squirm out of the latest corner they’ve painted themselves into.

Confronted with evidence disproving their claims of discrimination, race-baiters always shift the standard of proof to make their case just one step harder to discredit, so that they get a clean slate from their previous raft of false accusations and must meet only their current, self-determined burden of proof.  When that standard is refuted, they cry, “Yes, but…” and move on to the next unmet standard, claiming that all of the previous standards are irrelevant to their case.  The logical endpoint of this burning platform approach to argumentation is for the left to claim that, okay, the facts don’t support their case this time around, but the problem they are decrying is nonetheless legion.

If the sheer volume of circumstantial evidence exonerating Zimmerman accumulates to such a degree that a majority of the population comes around to his side of the story, the left won’t ever admit that they were wrong.  They won’t take responsibility for the multiple retaliatory beatings across the country incited by their inflammatory race-baiting.  Just as they did with false rape allegations against the Duke lacrosse players, the flurry of phony noose-hanging and anti-black vandalism incidents on college campuses, the apocryphal rash of black church burnings, the Tawana Brawley case, and a million other made-up incidents, liberals will simply claim that the charges against Zimmerman were fake but accurate, because they drew national attention to a problem that in fact exists only in their heads.

Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics

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Liberals Outlaw Crime-Stopping While Redneck

March 28, 2012 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

Apparently “the system worked” in exonerating Casey Anthony, but we don’t need the system in order to be certain Trayvon Martin’s shooter is a racist, cold-blooded murderer.

Several weeks ago, 28-year-old George Zimmerman spotted 17-year-old Martin ambling around the Retreat at Twins Lake gated community in Sanford, Florida and called 911 to report suspicious behavior on Martin’s part.  Zimmerman followed Martin throughout the complex by vehicle and on foot, against the 911 operator’s recommendation.  At some point, Martin and Zimmerman scuffled, and Zimmerman shot Martin.

Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee told reporters there wasn’t enough evidence to arrest the shooter: “In this case, Mr. Zimmerman has made the statement of self-defense.  Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don’t have the grounds to arrest him.”

Never mind—the left wants him arrested, charged, and prosecuted anyway.  They’ve jumped to the conclusion that the attack was unprovoked and racially motivated.  Civil rights groups insist the Sanford Police Department and Seminole County State Attorney’s Office are racist.

Zimmerman had served as captain of the neighborhood watch patrol and had been instrumental in eradicating a recent rash of crime.  The Retreat had endured dozens of burglaries and a shooting in the past year, with residents having called the police hundreds of times to report suspicious activity.

Homeowner association secretary Cynthia Wibker testified on Zimmerman’s behalf: “He once caught a thief and an arrest was made.  He helped solve a lot of crimes.”  Resident Frank Taaffe believes Zimmerman’s motives were benevolent: “I just know he’s a good person and really cares for the neighborhood.”

Police records support Zimmerman’s account of the shooting.  Their report notes that officers “found Zimmerman bleeding from the nose and back of his head.  The back of his shirt was wet and had grass clippings on it, as if he’d been on his back on the ground.”  Zimmerman’s bloody nose and the testimony of one resident who witnessed the scuffle suggest that the 6-foot, 3-inch Trayvon Martin was punching Zimmerman.

The witness told reporters, “The guy on the bottom [Zimmerman], who had a red sweater on, was yelling to me, ‘Help!  Help!’ and I told him to stop, and I was calling 911.  When I got upstairs and looked down, the guy who was on the top [Martin] beating up the other guy, was the one laying in the grass, and I believe he was dead at that point.”

Early reports suggested that two gunshots bracketed a male’s cries for help.  Later reports clarified that there was only one gunshot. The number of shots and their timing is critical.  The earlier, disconfirmed view suggested that Zimmerman shot Martin, Martin cried for help, and Zimmerman shot Martin to shut him up.  The newer view suggests Martin was pummeling Zimmerman, Zimmerman screamed for help, and Zimmerman shot Martin in self-defense.  Supporting this interpretation, Martin’s father, upon hearing the 911 call, confirmed that the cries were not those of his son.

Two female witnesses, roommates Mary Cutcher and Selma Mora Lamilla, initially buttressed Zimmerman’s account, but Cutcher went to police days later and changed her story, claiming officers on the scene hadn’t been interested in everything she had to say.

Sergeant Dave Morgenstern disputes Cutcher’s account of the investigation, calling it “inconsistent with [Cutcher’s] sworn testimony to police.  Actually, officers who were canvassing the neighborhood looking for potential witnesses the evening of the shooting contacted her, and she said she did not want to get involved.”

The latest version of Cutcher’s story is that “there was no punching, no hitting going on at the time, no wrestling.”  Cutcher conceded that whatever fighting took place was over before Zimmerman and Martin had reached her backyard.  She admits it was possible that Martin had subdued and was attacking Zimmerman.

Cutcher hasn’t provided any evidence that what she told police the night of the incident was incorrect.  She merely claims she may have read too much into what she saw.  Her admission doesn’t invalidate other witnesses’ reports or Zimmerman’s grass stains and wounds.

Additional testimony from Cutcher and Lamilla revealed that Zimmerman’s behavior after the shooting was not that of a man who knew he’d committed an unprovoked murder against an innocent bystander, let alone a vicious hate crime.

On Tuesday, Anderson Cooper interviewed Cutcher and Lamilla, the latter of whom stated, “By that time [of witnessing the scene], you hear like a shot—like some other noise.  I run away from my backyard and I look at the person [Zimmerman] on his knees on top of a body [Martin].”

Cutcher added that Zimmerman was “straddling him.  One [leg] on each side, on his knees, with his hands on his back.  I immediately thought, Okay, obviously if it’s the shooter, he would have ran.  I thought, He’s holding the wound, helping the guy, taking a pulse, making sure he’s okay.”

So Cutcher implied that if Zimmerman had killed Martin unjustifiably, he would have run away.  Instead, he stayed at the scene, tenderly holding Martin’s wound, taking his pulse, and remaining with him until police arrived.

The national rush to judgment, the left’s abandonment of presumption of innocence, and the death threats that have forced Zimmerman to leave his home, abandon his job, and flee to an undisclosed location are all belied by the flimsiness of the case against him as a hate crime felon.

Once again, as with their smears against the Tea Party as racist, their campaign against Sergeant James Crowley in the Henry Louis Gates phony racial profiling case, and their uncritical acceptance of a black stripper’s disproven claims she was raped by white Duke fraternity brothers, liberals’ interest is never in justice.  Their interest is in using tragic cases like Trayvon Martin’s to perpetuate a society tormented by specious racial grievances and a permanently victimized minority underclass.

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Casey Anthony’s Defense: I Was “Trained to Lie”!

July 06, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

casey

Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

The Casey Anthony murder trial is the most depressing case currently working its way through the American court system, not just for the shocking and horrifying actions alleged, but for the way in which it embodies the prevalent left-wing worldview of phony victimhood.

All evidence suggests that 22-year-old Florida mother Casey Anthony killed her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony, so she could resume the hard-partying lifestyle she enjoyed before she accidentally got pregnant with and gave birth to Caylee.

According to prosecutors, Anthony coldly, methodically drugged her daughter with chloroform, covered her mouth with duct tape to asphyxiate her, stuffed her dead body in a plastic bag, stowed it in the trunk of her car, concocted an elaborate series of lies to tell authorities and family regarding Caylee’s absence, and later dumped her daughter’s body in a swamp.

Anthony’s attorneys’ brilliant defense against the mass of forensic evidence the prosecutors presented to support their case was that Caylee actually fell in the family’s above-ground swimming pool and drowned—a claim for which they offered not a drop of physical evidence.  The accident happened due to neglect from Anthony which, they argued, was justified because she had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her father.

In fact, the claim of sexual abuse was betrayed by such a complete lack of evidence during the trial that the judge refused to even let the defense utter it again in their closing arguments.

Defense attorneys couldn’t explain why Anthony would cover up an accidental death rather than call 911, why Anthony’s father would help cover up the death of his beloved granddaughter, why Anthony’s car’s trunk had traces of chloroform in it, or why Caylee’s skull had rotting strips of duct tape over its mouth and nose.

The defense called Caylee’s death an “accident that snowballed out of control”—you know, like when the hundreds of children who drown every year are whisked away by their conspiratorial mothers and grandfathers, wrapped in duct tape to make their deaths look like homicides, crammed in a car trunk for two weeks, and plunked in a nearby swamp.  Those sorts of everyday out-of-control accidents.

Anthony refused to take the stand, no doubt because she knew prosecutors would tear her testimony to shreds.  Even defense attorneys conceded that this congenital liar’s credibility was moot, due to the complicated, detailed fabrications she had fed investigators and her parents for a month after Caylee’s death.  These lies included nonexistent friends, a phony job at Universal Studios, a fake Mexican nanny scapegoat named “Zanny” who supposedly kidnapped Caylee, and an imaginary father for her daughter.

Inspection of Anthony’s computer’s hard drive revealed that in the months leading up to Caylee’s death, someone had done internet searches on phrases such as “how to make chloroform,” “neck-breaking,” and “ruptured spleen and death.”

There hasn’t been a case this open-and-shut since the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

Naturally, where Simpson’s defense team argued that he was innocent because police who investigated the crime might have been racist, Anthony’s defense team argued that the outrageously suspicious actions Anthony performed after Caylee’s death were plausible because of the “abuse” Casey had experienced as a child.

Suppose even for a minute that you believed the defense’s crackpot theory about Anthony covering up an accidental death and making it look like a homicide because she “panicked.”  The victimhood excuse they offered for her actions reflects the trendy modern worldview that people are not responsible for their actions, but are rather the product of societal forces beyond their control that push them to and fro like trash on the beach.  Anthony’s defense attorneys argued that her elaborate lies were proof, not that she was a calculating liar who was responsible for the crime all evidence suggests she committed, but that she needed help and compassion because there was “something wrong with her.”  Is there any other era in American history in which attorneys would cast someone like Casey Anthony as the victim in this trial with a straight face?

Lead defense attorney Jose Baez argued that Anthony couldn’t help telling bald-faced lies about her daughter, because the sexual abuse from her father had “trained” her to lie about stressful events.  That’s funny—I don’t recall, say, concentration camp survivors becoming pathological liars who cover up every misstep in their lives because they were “trained” to lie about stressful events.

Even prosecutor Jeff Ashton succumbed to this passive, victim-oriented stance in the language of his closing arguments: “[T]he conflict between the life that she wanted and the life that was thrust upon her was simply irreconcilable.”

Thrust upon her?  There was only one act of thrusting in this sorry saga, and Casey Anthony was fully amenable to it.

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Crist Drops Out of GOP, Cites Political Health Reasons

May 01, 2010 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2010

A cropped version of :Image:Charlie Crist.
Image via Wikipedia

Everyone’s bemoaning Florida Governor Charlie Crist’s “political” decision to run for Senate as an Independent instead of a Republican, since he knows he’d lose the primary to Marco Rubio.

Everyone’s missing the point.

The political rule-bending is tied to the ideology.  Liberals and centrists are more likely to bend the rules to win elections and votes than conservatives.  It’s part of their political philosophy.

Behold the following Democratic party-hoppers in recent years:

•    Senator Jim Jeffords left the Republicans in 2001 to swing the balance to Democrats early in George W. Bush’s first term, after being promised cushier arrangements by Democratic leaders

•    Liberal Mayor Mike Bloomberg switched from Republican to Independent in 2007 to garner greater support for his nanny-state governing style in New York

•    Arlen Specter left the Republicans for the Democrats last year in anticipation of a difficult primary race

•    New York Senate Democrats Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada, Jr. became Republicans temporarily last summer in an attempt to enhance their leadership positions, then switched back to being Democrats when their bid failed

•    RINO Dede Scozzafava endorsed Democratic candidate Bill Owens over conservative Doug Hoffman after dropping out of NY-23 last November

Also witness the following liberal rule-bending over the last decade:

•    Al Gore’s campaign pushed for hand recounts using loosened standards in select counties in the 2000 Florida presidential recount

•    Democrats won other elections by finding judges to approve different counting standards in Minnesota (Al Franken, Senate) and Washington (Christine Gregoire, Governor)

•    New Jersey Democrats put Frank Lautenberg on the ballot in 2002 after their candidate Robert Torricelli was hit with corruption charges, despite a law on the books against changing candidates so late in the election

•    Massachusetts Democrats withheld the right of Republican Governor Mitt Romney to appoint a successor in 2004 if John Kerry became president, then changed the rules in 2009 so Governor Deval Patrick could install a Democrat to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat until the special election

•    Mayor Bloomberg successfully pushed in 2007 to change the rule he had argued for in 2001 that had prevented Republican Rudy Guiliani from serving more than two terms, so that Bloomberg could go on to serve three terms himself

•    Democrats recently maneuvered to pass their health care bill, including using budget reconciliation to overcome a non-filibuster-proof Senate majority and an unenforceable executive order banning abortion funding to overcome their absence of a House majority in favor of the bill

In contrast, whenever a conservative abandons Democrats, it’s almost always due to newfound disdain for the party’s agenda.  It also almost always seems to happen at a completely inconsequential time, when there’s no crucial vote at stake or favors to be handed out, or even when the candidate has something to lose.

Alabama Representative Parker Griffith switched parties last December, citing revulsion over the direction in which House leaders were taking the country.  Griffith did not switch to join a majority party like Specter or improve his electoral chances like Crist—he did it because, as he put it, Democratic leaders “continue to push an agenda focused on massive new spending, tax increases, bailouts, and a health care bill that is bad for our healthcare system…  [A]fter watching this agenda firsthand, I now believe that the differences in the two parties could not be more clear, and that… I must align myself with the Republican party.”

New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg rejected President Obama’s offer of Commerce Secretary last year, after having met with Obama about the position and coordinated with Governor John Lynch to name a replacement Senator.  When Gregg got a closer look at Obama’s massive stimulus proposal and plans to politicize the Census, he ran for the hills.  There was nothing opportunistic above Gregg’s move—if anything, it cost him a prestigious position and soured his relations with the new administration.

Texas Representative Ralph Hall became a Republican in 2004 after 54 years of being a moderate Democrat.  Rumors had been circulating since the Republican Revolution that he would switch parties, but he didn’t do so when it was expedient, preferring instead to “pull my party back toward the middle.”  Hall was instrumental in forming the moderate coalition of Blue Dog Democrats.  After years of watching his party bash President Bush over Iraq, Hall changed parties, explaining, “When the country is at war you need to support the president.  Some of my fellow congressmen have not been doing that.”  Far from showering him with plumb assignments, Republican leaders refused to allocate funding for Hall’s district—as Hall said, “the only reason I was given was that I was a Democrat.”  The party eventually embraced him; but the point is that Hall did not switch for political opportunism, but rather at great cost to himself.

Virginia Representative Virgil Goode switched parties in 2000 after Democrats gave him hell over voting for three of the articles of impeachment against President Clinton.  Goode is rather ideologically conservative anyway, having voted for the Iraq War, the surge, and tough anti-amnesty immigration and veterans’ rights legislation.  He won reelection in 2000 as an Independent—a politically risky move, but one that genuinely reflected his evolving ideology—before joining the Republicans in 2002.

While hawkish Senator Joe Lieberman did leave the Democratic Party in 2006 to run in the general election as an Independent Democrat, he at least had the guts to face his opponent Ned Lamont in the primary first.  Lieberman did not, like Crist, go around quoting Abraham Lincoln, saying that he was switching parties so he could better serve the cause of “government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” and that his change in party had nothing—absolutely nothing!—to do with his reelection prospects.

There’s a reason liberals and moderates are more likely to switch parties or bend election rules in their favor.  They do not, at their core, all the way down, believe in a stable, predictable rule of law, as clearly stated and adhered to by all citizens in a system of government known as a republic.  They believe in doing whatever they can get away with, if they can convince enough people at the time that it’s right for them to do it—hence the “democracy” in Democratic.

Show me a DINO who bolted for the Republican Party for ulterior motives, and I’ll show you a rare creature indeed.

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