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Death Penalty: We Are All Troy Davis. And We Are All His Executioners.

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One night in America, the death penalty was hard at work, and two men — Troy Davis and Lawrence Russell Brewer — were put to death by the state. Can one act be right, and the other be wrong?

Troy Davis was sentenced to death, scheduled to be executed by the state of Georgia last night at 7:00 PM. The U.S. Supreme Court intervened just moments before the killing was to be committed, and placed a delay on his execution. For all of three-and-a-half hours. While America focused on Troy Davis via Twitter and Facebook and Google+ and news outlets large and small, the state of Texas was busy executing Lawrence Russell Brewer for the murder of James Byrd, Jr. If the name James Byrd, Jr. sounds vaguely familiar, it should. Aside from being dragged to his death thirteen years ago by Lawrence Russell Brewer, a white supremacist, his name is forever emblazoned on the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Obama signed into law 23 months ago.

Map of Death Penalty State statutes in the United States *Blue: No current death penalty statute *Orange: Death penalty statute declared unconstitutional (New York Court of Appeals declared statute unconstitutional June 24, 2004) *Yellow: No one executed since 1976 *Red: Has performed execution since 1976 Note: New Mexico's death penalty statute was repealed on March 18, 2009 but did not apply to inmates on death row at the time of the repeal when there were two death row inmates.

“There is no outcry about the Brewer execution, unlike the Troy Davis case, even from people who traditionally oppose the death penalty,” wrote veteran reporter Mary Mapes Wednesday at The Huffington Post. “Governor Rick Perry received no pleas for mercy on Brewer’s behalf.”

“Jimmy Carter hasn’t said a word.

“There hasn’t been a peep from the Pope.

“The silence seems richly deserved. Brewer was convicted in a horrifying case, the 1999 racist dragging death of James Byrd in Jasper, Texas. I covered the trial and the unremittingly cruel details of the crime were beyond imagining. Byrd was killed by three yahoos simply for the fun of it, simply because he was black, simply because they were drunk, simply because.

“Now Brewer, who is unapologetic, unsympathetic, unblinkingly stupid, hateful and vile will be put to death for the same reason — simply because.”

Hours before Governor Rick Perry’s Texas execution machine added another notch to his belt — Brewer was number 236 under the Evangelical Christian’s watch — a grand jury in Mississippi charged a nineteen-year old with a hate crime murder, making him eligible for the death penalty too. Deryl Dedmon, Jr., who, too, can be described as a white supremacist, reportedly got drunk with seven friends one night back in July, and at one point said, “let’s go fuck with some niggers,” and proceeded to drive around in a pickup truck until they found one. Whom they attacked, and beat. (Is this sounding familiar?) And when that was done, Dedmon, 18 years-old at the time, reportedly got in his truck and drove over the 49-year old black man, repeatedly, until he was dead, and probably after. James Craig Anderson’s only crime was that he was out at night after his shift at the auto plant trying to retrieve the keys he had locked in his car. Dedmon’s act was recorded by a local surveillance camera, Dedmon’s lawyer is claiming it was an “accident.”

Last year, there were 46 death penalty executions in America. 64% of Americans support the death penalty, although when asked about life in prison in lieu of the death penalty, that number drops to 46%. Michigan constitutionally prohibits the death penalty, and it is also prohibited in Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

There are an estimated 3200 prisoners on death row, awaiting fate, at any given moment in America. Odds are that at any given moment in America, at least one of them is innocent. California, which has executed 13 since 1976, — among the fewest — has the most awaiting death: 721. And we all know Texas, which has executed 474 since 1976, and has another 321 awaiting death.

On Twitter last night, passion, and prediction poured out from all sides. Blogger and TV producer-writer Rod McCullom tweeted, “It’s over. #TroyDavis has been executed. I’m sure there will be lots of applause at 2morrow’s #GOP debate,” as he informed us, “USA Rank in Executions in 2010 = #5 (1) China (2) Iran (3) North Korea (4) Yemen (5) USA (6) Saudi Arabia (7) Libya (8) Syria.”

From the Left, comments flew, like, “I find it truly bizarre that the radical right believes the government can’t be trusted w/ taxes, yet they trust them with the death penalty,” and from the Right, (clearly missing the point,) “Still wondering why there’s no similar outrage over the white dude who is being executed tonight in TX.”

And then, of course, there was Ann Coulter, cheering Georgia’s intravenous hangmen on, tweeting,

NEW COLUMN POSTED! — COP-KILLER IS MEDIA’S LATEST BABY SEAL — WWW​.ANNCOULTER​.COM

then,

ONE TROY DAVIS FLAME-​BROILED, PLEASE –

then,

HOLD THE PICKLE, HOLD THE LETTUCE. FRYING KILLERS WON’T UPSET US.

And then, there were the tweets that reminded us, as author Chris Stedman wrote, “Tonight, we are all #TroyDavis. And we are all the executioners.”

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Gaetz: ‘Corrupt’ Republicans Could ‘Take a Bribe’ and Throw House to Dems, Blocking Trump Run

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U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) says some of his fellow House Republicans would “take a bribe” to throw the razor-thin GOP majority to the Democrats if a far-right faction calls up a motion to oust Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, allowing Democrats to hand the gavel to the Minority Leader, Hakeem Jeffries. he warned if that happens, Democrats would immediately declare Trump ineligible to be President, pack the U.S. Supreme Court, and pass numerous laws like the American Rescue Plan.

“I do believe in a one seat majority there could be one or two or three of my colleagues who would take a bribe in one form or another in order to deprive the Republicans of a majority at all,” Gaetz said Friday on his podcast (video below.)

He added, “the risk that one or two of my corrupt Republican colleagues might take a bribe, take a walk, feign an ailment and flip this thing to the Democrats is a risk that is too high for me at this time.”

Gaetz’s fellow far-right Florida Republican member of Congress, Anna Paulina Luna, told listeners, “I heard that when, if and when the motion vacate is introduced, that there will be immediate resignations of a couple of more moderate members of Congress. And in the event that that happens, that ultimately means it does go to a Democrat speaker.”

RELATED: Jeffries Vows Democrats Will Ensure Ukraine Aid Passes as Johnson Defectors Grow

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) last month filed a “motion to vacate,” which she can use at any time to force a vote to oust the GOP Speaker, Mike Johnson. U.S. Rep. Tim Massie (R-KY) and just today, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has signed on as co-sponsors.

Congressman Gaetz told listeners if Democrats do take the House through a force vote to remove Johnson, Democrats would “be declaring Donald Trump an insurrectionist and setting up a barrier to him being able to become the president United States.”

“That’ll be their leadoff hitter, and then the chaser to that shot will be a massive spending package that looks a lot more like the American Rescue Plan. They will blow past every concept of every cap ever imagined. You’ll be looking at Universal Basic Income, you could be looking at packing the Supreme Court.”

Watch a short clip of Gaetz’s remarks below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Stop Bringing Up Nazis and Hitler’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Smacked Down by Democrats

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Jeffries Vows Democrats Will Ensure Ukraine Aid Passes as Johnson Defectors Grow

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Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries vowed Friday the majority of Democrats will support Republicans’ Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and Gaza foreign aid legislation as Republican Speaker Mike Johnson lost support of another member of his conference to a faction determined to oust him.

“Democrats will provide a majority of our majority as it relates to funding Israel, humanitarian assistance, Ukraine, and our allies in the Indo Pacific,” Minority Leader Jeffries said. “It remains to be seen what Republicans will do in terms of meeting the national security needs of the American people, but it was important for House Democrats to ensure that the national security bills are going to be considered.”

Despite Republicans having a one-vote majority, more Democrats on Friday voted to move the critical and long-awaited foreign aid bills forward than did Republicans.

READ MORE: ‘Stop Bringing Up Nazis and Hitler’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Smacked Down by Democrats

The 316-94 vote included 165 Democrats and 151 Republicans voting yes, and 55 Republicans and 39 Democrats voting no.

Axios’ Juliegrace Brufke posted the list of Republicans voting against their party’s legislation.

Calling it a “rare” moment in modern congressional history to have to rely on opposition party votes to pass legislation, BBC News reports Speaker Johnson’s “hold on power is tenuous, and the legislators who oppose him – and his bid to provide aid to Ukraine – occupy some key positions within the House’s power structure.”

Amid the procedural vote to move the foreign aid funding bills forward, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, a far-right Republican of Arizona, announced he is joining Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and Congressman Tim Massie (R-KY) in formally announcing their will vote to oust Speaker Johnson.

Gosar, like Greene, is reportedly a Christian nationalist. In 2022 CNN reported his “lengthy ties to White nationalists, [a] pro-Nazi blogger and far-right fringe received little pushback for years.”

RELATED: ‘Repercussions’: Democrats and Republicans Stand Against ‘Pro-Putin’ House GOP Faction

“We’ve been very honest in our assessment of the situation from the beginning,” Jeffries on Friday also declared. “At the appropriate time as House Democrats, we will have a conversation about how to deal with any hypothetical motion to vacate.”

“Moscow Marjorie Taylor Greene, Massie, and Gosar are quite a group. But central to our conversation is to make sure that the national security legislation in totality is passed by the House of Representatives.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

 

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Biden Amps Up Field Offices, Trump to Mobilize Thousands of Lawyers to Monitor Vote Counts

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With less than seven months before Election Day the Biden campaign and the Trump campaign are taking shape, and like their politics they could not be more different.

President Biden is “scooping up record-making donations,” “flush with cash,” “building a behemoth of a campaign,” and “plowing the money into an expanding campaign operation in battleground states that appears to surpass what Donald Trump has built,” NBC News reported earlier this month.

Ex-President Donald Trump, struggling with donations, has “raised $75 million less for his presidential bid than Joe Biden and has 270,000 fewer unique donors now than at the same stage of his run for the White House four years ago,” the Financial Times reported Wednesday.

Now, as the Biden campaign invests in a massive ground game, Trump’s strategy is emerging, and it appears to be built on his “Big Lie,” the false and debunked conspiracy theory that there was and is tremendous election fraud.

READ MORE: ‘Repercussions’: Democrats and Republicans Stand Against ‘Pro-Putin’ House GOP Faction

Politico reports the Trump campaign plans to dispatch “more than 100,000 attorneys and volunteers across battleground states to monitor — and potentially challenge — vote counting in November.”

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee are calling their plan “the most extensive and monumental election integrity program in the nation’s history.” The RNC is chaired by Trump’s hand-picked elections specialist who worked on the Bush 2000 election Florida recount team, and co-chaired by Trump’s daughter-in-law.

Despite Trump’s claims of a stolen election in 2020, his own Attorney General, Bill Barr, his own FBI Director, Chris Wray, his own Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Chris Krebs, all concluded there was no widespread election fraud and none that would have changed any election results. An independent federal agency, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, came to the same conclusion, all as The Brennan Center for Justice reported more than a month after the 2020 election.

Politico warns, “should Trump once again attempt to overturn the election, he will already have in place tens of thousands of workers who could help with that effort.”

“Having the right people to count the ballots is just as important as turning out voters on Election Day,” Trump said in a statement.

The Trump campaign “plans to deploy lawyers to monitor voter machine testing, early voting, election day voting, mail ballot processing and post-election canvassing, auditing and recounts. The campaign also plans to station lawyers at mail-in voting processing centers and set up a hotline that poll watchers and voters can use to report problems,” Politico adds. “The RNC also stated that attorneys will be stationed at ‘every single target processing center where mail ballots are tabulated.'”

READ MORE: ‘Big Journalism Fail’: Mainstream Media Blasted Over Coverage of Historic Trump Trial

The announcement of that massive operation comes on the heels of a convention this week hosted by the far-right Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association that “drew a parade of felons, disgraced politicians, election deniers, conspiracy theorists and, in the end, a few sheriffs,” NBC News reports. Also among attendees were “MAGA celebrities.”

“The group sees sheriffs as the highest authority in the U.S., more powerful than the federal government, and it wants these county officers to form posses to patrol polling places, seize voting machines and investigate the Democrats and foreign nations behind what they claim is a criminal effort to rig the vote by flooding the country with immigrants who vote illegally.”

David Gilbert at Wired reported: “Far-Right Sheriffs Want a Citizen Army to Stop ‘Illegal Immigrant’ Voters.”

Their plan perfectly dovetails with Donald Trump’s campaign push.

Gilbert writes, “election deniers and conspiracists have coalesced around a narrative they plan to push ahead of November: Blame the immigrants.”

Richard Mack, founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association told Wired that immigrants “have already disrupted the election because they are getting registered to vote.”

“That is election fraud,” Mack added, “these people are not qualified to vote. They are going to vote for whoever got them here and gave them a bunch of free stuff to get here, and of course that’s the Democrat Party, who are complicit in all of this.”

There are no reports of undocumented immigrants registering to vote in any substantial number. NBC News last week reported, “noncitizen voting” is “already illegal and very rare.”

READ MORE: ‘They Want Russia to Win So Badly’: GOP Congressman Blasts Far-Right House Republicans

Those claims, however, echo some made by the Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson one week ago in his joint press conference with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

“We only want U.S. citizens to vote in U.S. elections,” Johnson said, standing next to Trump, “but there are some Democrats who don’t want to do that. We believe that one of their designs, one of the reasons for this open border, which everybody asked all around the country, why would they do this? Why would they allow all this chaos? Why the violence? Because they want to turn these people into voters.”

“Right now the administration is encouraging illegals to go to their local welfare office to sign up for benefits,” Johnson, one of the top election deniers in the country, claimed as he explained his conspiracy theory. He did not state how the Biden Administration is communicating with undocumented immigrants, nor did he offer proof of these communications. He also did not state that the vast majority of undocumented immigrants are ineligible for any government welfare program.

 

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