Trump Is on a Killing Spree Unparalleled by Any President in 131 Years: Signorile
This article first appeared in Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter. To see the article in its original location or to subscribe, click here.
A rush of federal executions during the transition — of mostly Black men — unparalleled by any president in 131 years
While much of the country was swept up in the horrors of the escalating coronavirus pandemic, or focused on the unprecedented assault on the election by Donald Trump and his GOP enablers, the U.S. government has been carrying out more executions than at any time since the federal death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1988.
Last night 40-year old Brandon Bernard was executed after the Supreme Court refused to halt his death by lethal injection. He’d been convicted of being an accomplice to a crime in Texas at age 18. The three liberal justices dissented, with Justice Sonja Sotomayor writing in her opinion:
Today, the Court allows the Federal Government to execute Brandon Bernard, despite Bernard’s troubling allegations that the Government secured his death sentence by withholding exculpatory evidence and knowingly eliciting false testimony against him.
Jessica Schulberg at HuffPost covered the story and the aftermath:
Bernard, who is Black, was sentenced to death by a nearly all-white jury in 2000 for his role in a botched car-jacking that ended in the killing of married couple Todd and Stacie Bagley. Bernard was not present when his friends abducted the Bagleys and he was not the one to shoot them dead. Christopher Vialva, the man who shot the Bagleys in the head, was executed in September. Prosecutors claimed Bernard was the one who set the car on fire with the Bagleys inside, although the government’s cooperating witness admitted at trial that he didn’t actually see who lit fire to the car.
At 18 years old, Bernard was just barely legally eligible for the death penalty. The teens who participated in the crime and were under 18 received more lenient sentences, even those who were more culpable than Bernard in the Bagleys’ deaths. Two have completed their 20-year sentences; a third is serving a 35-year sentence.
In 2018 Bernard’s lawyers found evidence that was covered up by government prosecutors and would have helped his case, as Justice Sotomayor noted. A majority of the jurors who sentenced him have now said it would have changed their minds. But Bernard was turned away by courts from presenting that evidence before being put to death.
The Justice Department, with Trump’s urging, had scheduled 13 executions beginning in July, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Since the federal death penalty’s reinstatement in 1988, there had only been three federal executions, all under George W. Bush’s administration — one of them Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. There had been no federal executions since 2003.
Bernard is one of five men — four of them Black — to be scheduled to be executed by the federal government since Trump lost the election. With the scheduled execution of Alfred Bourgeois today, Trump will have executed more people in a year than any president in 131 years. No president in more than a century has carried out executions after losing an election and during the lame duck period, traditionally a time when most major actions are put off until the next administration.
To read the remainder of this article, visit Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter.
Image: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr
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Watch: Fox News Attacks Biden for Not ‘Condemning’ Will Smith
Unemployment has dropped so low there are now five million more job openings than unemployed Americans. The stock market continues to rebound from the drops it suffered when Russian President Vladimir Putin started his illegal war against Ukraine. COVID hospitalizations and deaths continue to drop. President Biden has regained America’s place as the leader of the free world, and Russia is in such desperate straits some believe Putin’s reign is coming to an end.
Donald Trump’s fate and the fate of some of his top aides and allies look increasingly dire as bombshell after bombshell drop, sometimes more than one a day, and to some it may appear Trump and Putin will be removed from the public stage at some point in the near future.
And while the price of gas is still a topic of conversation and inflation is the latest boogeyman, the Fox News-GOP partnership is running out of crises to wave in front of their base, so they’ve now returned to manufacturing them.
On Wednesday an unknown reporter asked Biden’s Director of Communications Kate Bedingfield if the White House “condones” the “level of violence” Will Smith “unleashed” on Chris Rock at the Oscars.
Fox News propagandists Harris Faulkner and Pete Hegseth jumped on that question – one that was roundly denounced the moment it was asked by many on social media.
“This White House is creating confusion,” said Fox News’ Pete Hegseth Wednesday, out of nowhere.
“And this is what I said yesterday,” Harris Faulkner replied, “with all the things that we have going on, even there – but our inflation, here are our crime here with everything we have going on, please stop making all of us focus on what he’s focused on, which is not being clear,” she said, falsely claiming Biden cannot communicate.
Faulkner is demanding the President of the United States not set the agenda for the country, a remarkable demand after four-plus years of his predecessor’s every thought receiving microscopic attention.
“Alright, I want to get to this because it is now beyond the Oscars. This this is a bigger situation now with Will Smith and Chris Rock, it’s opened a door on, you know, what do we want our kids to see? Who do we want our society to look like?” she added strangely. “It is a bigger thing.”
“The White House now has refused to comment or condemn Will Smith for smacking Chris Rock across the face at the Oscars,” Faulkner announced, because this White House has a policy, set by President Biden, of staying focused and not getting swept up in every minute scandal or social media sensation.
Even the video clip Faulkner showed includes Bedingfield saying President Biden didn’t watch the Oscars so they have no comment. The White House did not “refuse to condemn” anything, they just didn’t have a comment.
“The President was not able to watch the Oscars,” Bedingfield told the errant reporter. “Didn’t see it. So I don’t have anything. I don’t have any official comment from him or from the White House on this.”
Pete Hegseth, who it should be noted has (or at least, had) a policy of not washing his hands because he cannot see germs, weighed in:
“The White House has had no problem condemning issues of less consequence inside our culture. Clearly, they are copping out on this one.”
Fox News is now outraged that *checks notes* the White House is not weighing in on Will Smith slapping Chris Rock.
Pete Hegseth: “The White House has had no problem condemning issues of less consequence inside our culture. Clearly, they are copping out on this one.” pic.twitter.com/IubdiT4xVe
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) March 30, 2022
Former Trump Official Claims Biden Choosing First Black Woman Justice Bars ‘Hispanics, Asians and Gays’
A highly-controversial former Trump official is claiming President Joe Biden’s promise to seat the first Black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court is discriminatory.
Richard Grenell, who served as Trump’s Acting Director of National Intelligence, and as Trump’s Ambassador to Germany, was seen by at least one lawmaker in Berlin as a “biased propaganda machine.” On Thursday Grenell attacked President Biden by attacking another Democrat, former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart.
Lockhart served as President Bill Clinton’s White House Press Secretary. On Thursday he tweeted, “Ahead of the midterms, I look forward to watching every Republican Senator oppose the first black woman to the Supreme Court.”
Earlier in the day Grenell posted a similar tweet:
Asians, gays and Hispanics had no shot for a Supreme Court seat from Joe Biden.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) January 27, 2022
Conservatives, including on the far right which Grenell has been accused of having ties to, have been falsely claiming it’s “racist” to choose a Supreme Court Justice who is Black and a woman.
Those same conservatives are apparently ignorant of the fact that smart presidents, like smart managers, create a Supreme Court team. There’s no such things as “the most qualified,” nor is there any way, any right way, to measure. Presidents, smart presidents, want justices who are young so they can have a decades-long impact on the nation and its future. They want great minds who are able to work behind the scenes to win over their colleagues. And, unlike Republicans, they want justices who have the lived experiences of more and more Americans –because the law is not stagnant, despite what the originalists and textualists falsely claim.
Here’s Grenell, attacking President Biden through Lockhart:
Joe Lockhart celebrates barring Hispanics, Asians and gays for a Supreme Court seat. https://t.co/gSQC8bprKU
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) January 27, 2022
Some responses to Grenell’s tweet:
Being a woman and black doesn’t necessarily make one straight ….
— Alex 🏳️🌈 (@Sanvers_TV) January 27, 2022
So there are no gay black women? Idiocy, the GQP way.
— Snyder (@madgamecc69) January 27, 2022
God, you’re exhausting. Would a gay Hispanic-Asian-African-American liberal suffice for you then?
— Dominic Antonio Crossey (He/Him) (@DominicACrossey) January 27, 2022
How many of those types of people were on the Heritage Foundation list that your old boss picked from? How many of those were on his short list? Maybe I missed the multicultural open call for the last three.
— just Todd (@ToddBergman) January 27, 2022
‘Never Forget’: Critics Blast ‘Senator Sedition Fist’ Josh Hawley on Anniversary of His Fox News Insurrection Threat
U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), whose fist-in-the-sky photo taken in front of the Capitol January 6 became emblematic of Donald Trump’s insurrection, is being raked over the coals as Americans remember the threat he delivered in a Fox News interview just one year ago today.
When you look up traitor in the dictionary you should find this picture of Josh Hawley taken January 6th. pic.twitter.com/x2C1QMmEMn
— Chris Hahn (@ChristopherHahn) January 4, 2022
Here he is, talking on January 4 last year with Fox News’ Bret Baier, who bluntly told him “Congress doesn’t have the right to overturn” the election.
Hawley then countered with a misreading of the Constitution, but his claim that Trump could remain president depending “on what happens on Wednesday,” January 6, is to many chilling:
That video, first posted one year ago today, has gone viral:
BRET BAIER: I want to pin you down on what you’re trying to do. Are you trying to say that Trump will be president after January 20?
JOSH HAWLEY: Well, that depends on what happens on Wednesday
BAIER: No it doesn’t
(Trump in fact lost an election!) pic.twitter.com/vsO2JyRJuk
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 5, 2021
“Never forget exactly 1 year ago today, Josh Hawley was on Fox spreading the big lie for Trump,” wrote on social media user. “He’s as guilty as anyone when it comes to the insurrection & if we lose the house in ’22, people like this Hitler wannabee will be first in line to overthrow democracy.”
“Hard to believe Senator Sedition Fist, aka Josh Hawley, is still a sitting Senator after this,” said another.
Other responses include:
“Josh Hawley is a dangerous fascist and he needs to answer for his crimes from January 6th.”
“Raise your hand if Josh Hawley is a seditious traitor who should be expelled from Congress ASAP!”
“We don’t talk about it enough, but Josh Hawley attempted to stop the certification of a presidential election and incited the attack on the U.S. Capitol.”
“A year isn’t enough time to forget that Josh Hawley (along with Grassley, Cruz, and others) spread misinformation about the election and even made statements implying that they expected it to be overturned. All of them traitors!”
A few more:
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.)
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
Defeated President, Donald Trump@FBI Here ya go! https://t.co/GBLTUp2jtU
— Pridegoesbeforethefall (@moderateresist) January 4, 2022
Josh Hawley was the 1st Senator to say he would NOT certify #Biden as President! Hawley wanted to get ahead of every Repub, including #TedCruz, to get attention! 3 Senators have been expelled & it was over the Civil War! #JoshHawley & Cruz should be EXPELLED for this coup plot!!
— Dan Pereira (@ddanpereira) January 4, 2022
Never forget Josh Hawley’s role in all of this. https://t.co/uJj02Jfepp
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) January 4, 2022
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