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



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No one executed since 1976 *Red: Has performed execution since 1976 Note: New Mexico's death penalty statute was repealed on March 18, 2009 but did not apply to inmates on death row at the time of the repeal when there were two death row inmates.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,






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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‘Can Be Used Against You’: Trump Took Big Risk Pleading the Fifth 400 Times in Deposition Says Legal Expert



A newly released video shows Donald Trump pleading the Fifth Amendment hundreds of times in a deposition, and a legal expert explained how that could be used against him in court.

The former president was finally hauled in to testify last year in the $25 million fraud lawsuit filed against the Trump Organization by New York attorney Letitia James, and he exercised his constitutional right against self-incrimination nearly 450 times — but MSNBC legal analyst Andrew Weissmann said the move carried potential risk in a civil case.

“I agree with him on the point of taking the Fifth,” Weissmann said. “It’s important to remember everyone has a right to the Fifth if a truthful answer would tend to incriminate you. In a civil case, it can be used against you, unlike in a criminal case.”

“One other thing I would disagree is when he is saying there’s this witch hunt, he left out jurors,” Weissmann added. “The Trump Organizations went to trial, they had their day in court. They could present all of their evidence, [and] 12 jurors, that’s everyday citizens, found beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a multi-year tax conspiracy that his organizations were involved in, and there was evidence he knew about it as would make sense. That’s one more reason for him to be asserting the Fifth Amendment.”

Watch video below or at this link.

Image via Shutterstock

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Stefanik Was Once ‘Laser Focused on Electing Santos’ – Now She Blames Voters for Electing Him as She Backs Away



One of the most powerful Republicans in the House of Representatives, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), used her reputation and geographic proximity to help get fellow New York Republican George Santos elected to Congress. But now, as her donors and his express anger at being misled and lied to, and ahead of what appears to be a likely federal investigation and possible prosecution against the freshman GOP lawmaker, Stefanik is blaming voters for electing him to Congress: “Ultimately voters make this decision,” she said Tuesday.

Stefanik is the Chair of the House Republican Conference, a role she was first elected to when the now former Congresswoman, Liz Cheney, was thrown out of GOP leadership for telling the truth about the January 6 insurrection and Donald Trump. Stefanik was re-elected to her role after the November election.

Amid Santos announcing on Tuesday he is temporarily recusing himself from the two committees he was appointed to, Stefanik was asked if she regretted supporting his candidacy.

Indeed, one of the top reasons Santos was elected was Stefanik’s endorsement – and all the donor money that came with it.

READ MORE: 2024 Fundraising Fail: Trump Took in Less Money After Declaring Run for President Than Before

“Stefanik’s team was laser focused on electing Santos to Congress – more than just about any other race in the country,” a senior Republican strategist involved in campaigns before the midterms told CNN. “Another donor, who attended a fundraising luncheon with Stefanik and Santos, confirmed to CNN through a representative that ‘he donated to George Santos because of Elise Stefanik’s endorsement.'”

It wasn’t just her endorsements. It appears Stefanik took great interest in getting Santos elected. CNN also reported that a source “said that a top political aide for Stefanik was involved in campaigning for Santos. Multiple sources told CNN that aide was closely advising Santos’ campaign and involved in hiring people.”

Stefanik’s spokesperson denied the allegations.

In July, Santos tweeted that Stefanik “has been one of my strongest backers and closest friends. I fully stand with her vote today as she stood up for civil rights. I look forward to serving alongside her when I’m elected to Congress in November.”

In fact, this was the banner atop Santos’ Twitter account for a very long time, up until recently:

Here is Stefanik tweeting her “major announcement” – her endorsement of Santos – on August 11, 2001, more than a year before Election Day.

READ MORE: ‘Ran a Bribery Center Blocks From the White House’: Comer Mocked for Claiming No Evidence of Trump Influence Peddling

“Excited to endorse my friend and fellow America First conservative George Santos for Congress in #NY03. @Santos4Congress will take on NYC liberal elites and bring a new generation of GOP leadership to NY and America. He has my full support!”

And in May of last year: “WOW! Great lunch event for @Santos4Congress! We raised over $100,000 to help George FLIP #NY03 George has my complete and total endorsement and come November, New Yorkers will send George to Congress! #SaveNewYork #SaveAmerica”

She literally told voters that electing George Santos to Congress will “Save New York” and “Save America.”

On Tuesday, Stefanik told voters something very different: it’s their fault they voted for him, she said, taking no responsibility for her endorsements.

“Like all of my colleagues, particularly in New York State, I supported George Santos as the nominee, and the people of his district voted to elect him,” she told reporters – not once mentioning there was no Republican primary and Santos automatically became the Republican party’s nominee.

READ MORE: Listen: Stefanik-Endorsed GOP Candidate Praised ‘Inspirational’ Adolf Hitler as ‘The Kind of Leader We Need Today’

“Ultimately voters make this decision about who they elect to Congress,” Stefanik declared, wholly removing herself, her endorsements, and any possible assistance she or her campaign may have given to Santos or his campaign.

See the tweets and video above or at this link.

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Santos Recuses Himself From Committees Amid Possible Criminal Investigation



Embattled freshman U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY), in what is the first time he has taken any steps to acknowledge the depths of political and now possibly criminal challenges he faces, says he will recuse himself from his committee assignments until his ethics issues have been resolved.

Santos also told his Republican colleagues of his plans on Tuesday, NBC News reports. Santos is on the Science and Small Business committees.

The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger, who has provided extensive reporting on the Republican frequently called a “serial liar,” adds that the Santos’ announcement came after a meeting with Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

“With all signs pointing to an active federal criminal investigation into his campaign finance activity, Santos has ‘voluntarily’ declined—after meeting last night with Kevin McCarthy—to stay off of committees, as Republicans try to sideline Ilhan Omar,” Sollenberger reports.

READ MORE: DOJ Signals It Is Conducting a Criminal Investigation of George Santos

Sollenberger broke the news that Santos, or his campaign, amended his FEC filing to indicate $625,000 in “personal” loans to his campaign were not actually from his personal funds.

Republicans are trying to keep U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), one of their regular, prime targets, from taking her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Speaker McCarthy has already blocked Democratic Congressmen Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the House Intelligence Committee, invoking his ability to do so because it is a Select committee and subject to the Speaker’s decisions.

MSNBC reported the breaking news on-air. Watch below or at this link.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.

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